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Tips to Take Your Association's Playground From Drab to Fab

Could the playground in your community use a little TLC? Read here for some tips on improving your association's playground.
Jennifer Harvey | Apr 10, 2024 | 5 min read
playground with slide

If you have noticed that your association's playground needs a little TLC, it is not necessarily a bad thing. 

First of all, it probably means that it is getting a lot of use which is great for the community. Secondly, innovations are always coming, even with something as classic as a playground. 

When you've decided it's time to update your association's playground, consider these easy ways to take your playground from drab to fab. 

Improve Equipment

If you are replacing the equipment anyway, you may as well improve the type of equipment you have. All the classic playground equipment like slides and swings is fine, but there is plenty of additional equipment to consider.

Playground equipment has come a long way since the days we were in school. New equipment engages kids in many ways. Look at options for excavating dinosaur bones or making music. 

Consider installing some inclusive equipment that can be accessed by kids with different physical and cognitive needs. If you have space, you may consider two separate playground systems for toddlers and bigger kids. 

Improve Surfaces

The old school gravel and wood chips worked well enough in the past, but they aren't the softest material and are not environmentally friendly. 

New playground flooring is often made of recycled plastic or rubber, so it is better for the environment, safer, softer, and often lasts longer. 

Again, consider accessibility needs. Mulch and pea gravel is often not accessible for kids in wheelchairs or other mobility devices. 

Add Seating and Shade

Often parents take their kids to the playground to get a little break from the chaos of family life. The last thing that they want is to have to be standing around under the hot sun while they are trying to relax. 

So create seating for families around the playground and offer overhead covering to protect from the sun and any inclement weather.

Shade covers come in a variety of designs and colors. Be sure to have a shade study done that looks at where the sun is positioned at certain times of the day. This will ensure that your shade cover is placed at the right angle and location to protect the park users during the hottest times of the day. 

Planting trees now will also provide shade and beauty to the area for years to come. 

Improve Waste Management Options

Playgrounds are multi-use areas, and it is likely that if you are updating your space with seating and cover, it will get used more for gathering, which is excellent but can also lead to a litter problem. The last thing you want is something positive in your association to become a nuisance. 

Spend time considering how the space will be used before finalizing the number and location of trash cans. How will this area be used? Where will they sit? Will they be eating at certain locations? How far from the tables is it to a trash can? 

Update your waste management options with more garbage, recycling, and even compost options. Newer options such as solar trash compacting cans allow for less frequent emptying, and the latest models will even send a test when full, reducing park maintenance costs. 

Taking the time to consider these questions and options will be off in dividends in happy park goers, cleaner spaces, and reduced maintenance costs. You will keep your neighborhood cleaner, and residents will be happy to know that they live in an environmentally conscious association. 

Give Adults Something to Do

Getting out to the playground is just as much about activity and fresh air as it is about fun, so don't forget the teens and adults. 

New park design is often incorporating exercise equipment for adults into their playground plans so adults can work on their health while their kids play in a safe environment. 

A few more options would be to set up board games like checkers, chess, or scrabble designed to be played outdoors. Frisbee or Disc golf is also growing in popularity. 

Set Boundaries

Although you always want the playground to feel open and friendly, it can be important to keep playgrounds fenced.

Now is the perfect time to install or replace the fence around your playground with a child-proof lock. Including a small fence will prevent kids from running off when their parents are distracted. 

Go High-Tech

If you really want to make a splash, consider energy-harvesting playground equipment. This innovative idea uses kinetic energy from the equipment to create electricity that can power the lights in your neighborhood. 

While the technology is just getting off the ground, it is one to watch as people continue to look for new ways to reduce their fossil fuel use. Depending on how much energy your playground could make, it could save the association in energy costs in the long run. 

Take a Poll

There are many great ways to take your association's playground from drab to fab. Consider creating a survey for your residents to have a voice in the playground updates.

They may have unique ideas you hadn’t thought of, and as the primary users of the playground, you should consider their feedback throughout the remodeling process. 

No matter what the final design looks like, the families in your association will likely love their new space, and it will always be put to good use. 

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