It is not for nothing that most Russians consider the dacha to be the most popular place for the whole family to relax in warm weather. On your site, you can not only grow vegetables and fruits, but also actively relax or relax in the fresh air, arrange gatherings with friends, invite relatives to a barbecue. But any owner of a summer cottage or a personal plot with children understands that babies and adolescents are not interested in just beds with tomatoes. A playground will help solve the problem of outdoor leisure for children of different ages. Regardless of whether you are going to purchase a ready-made version, order the manufacture of a playground according to your own project, or do everything yourself, you need to prepare for any variation. We hope that our large selection of open air playground projects will help you to understand the design, safety, manufacturing methods and filling of this irreplaceable play complex for families with children..
Criteria for choosing a playground model
Currently, manufacturers of ready-made solutions for the arrangement of outdoor playgrounds offer an incredibly wide range of models. And there are no restrictions at all in the manufacture of a gaming complex to order. From such a wide choice, it’s just right to get confused. Let’s try to limit the scope of the choice of a suitable model by the following criteria:
- the age of children and their predilections for spending leisure time in the country or in a private yard;
- free area that can be used to install the game complex;
- financial budget for the project.
Age and childhood preferences
Let us dwell in more detail on the age criterion, given that it largely determines the interests of children in active or passive rest:
- kids do not need large and complex playgrounds, a sandbox with a canopy or awning is enough as protection from the sun, a simple swing and a small slide;
- preschoolers (up to about 6-7 years old) like swings of various modifications (suspended and type «scales»), slides, possibly small «climbing wall» or an incline with a rope for climbing, simple sports equipment;
- from 7 to 12 years old, children may be interested in a thematic play complex that meets their interests. Game modules in the form of a pirate ship or a wigwam of Indians with many different devices will become a favorite place for outdoor activities. Buying a ready-made solution in this case is the most favorable option;
- a playground for teenagers over 12 years old is created not so much for games as for sports. Swedish walls and horizontal bars, elementary outdoor exercise equipment should be designed for the height and weight of an adult. This will allow you to use the site for as long as possible and adults to work with older children..
What should families do with several children of different ages? The answer is simple – to purchase a ready-made play solution for the playground, having assembled the components according to the tastes and preferences of the children. Such modules can be supplemented over time or, on the contrary, abolished, modifying the site, but not completely redoing it. In terms of costs, this option will justify itself with long-term service and meeting the needs of all family members..
Place for a playground in the country
The correct choice of location for the location of the playground will affect the level of its safety and comfort. Ideally, a place for organizing children’s leisure time should meet the following requirements:
- must be removed from outbuildings, greenhouses and greenhouses, thorny bushes, communication lines;
- if the dacha has an artificial pond, pool or any other type of reservoir, then the site must be separated from it by any type of fence – from a hedge to a low fence;
- the playground should be visible to adults, i.e. clearly visible from the place where parents spend most of their time;
- you should not place the site completely in the shade (in the northern part of the site) or completely in the sun, ideally shade should «cover» from one aunt to half of the site (it can be tree branches or an awning, as well as a structure in the form of a house or any other object with a roof, awning);
- it makes no sense to locate the site in ravine places, on slopes, in places where groundwater flows (after rain, the site will dry out for a long time, and constant dampness will not add comfort from using the complex);
- the playground is best placed on a flat surface (if there is even a small pool on the playground, the water will be unevenly distributed, toys will accumulate in one place);
- the site can be located near the main building or the fence of the site, it is only necessary to take into account the distance reserves for swinging the swing (if any) and descending from the slide.
Playground parameters and its safety
Only at first glance it may seem that no preparations and calculations are needed for the construction of a playground on the site. Be sure to depict on paper or in a design program the location of all elements of the play complex and mark the distance between them. Don’t lose sight of even the smallest items. The location of objects on the playground will determine the safety of children and the durability of structures, the comfort of the operation of the complex and your costs for alteration or replacement of parts, elements.
Depending on what area was allocated for the arrangement of the playground, a complex for games will be selected, the number and size of its components. If there is very little space, it is better to prioritize and select the most important elements for creating a playground than to try «load» small space with a maximum of game elements.
When drawing up a detailed plan for the location of all elements of the game complex on paper or in a program, consider the following safety rules:
- in front of the slides and some types of stairs there should be a free area for the race (if a ready-made complex is purchased, then the manufacturer usually indicates the permissible values in the equipment passport);
- there should also be free space in front of all types of swings and carousels (about 2 meters around the perimeter), but much depends on the size of the structures themselves and the so-called «maximum swing zones» (the exact information can also be obtained from the manufacturer and do this before purchasing a ready-made gaming solution);
- a small free space must be left around all sports equipment;
- the size of the play complex itself should be in accordance with the age and height of the child. If a slide is enough for a preschooler to slide 2 meters high, then for schoolchildren and adolescents this value is necessary «to raise» up to 3-3.5 meters. The size of the sandbox, portable pool and other elements should correspond to the number of children in the family and their age.
In addition, it is necessary to leave a small margin in the space of the playground, taking into account the children who may come to visit. In this regard, ready-made gaming complexes free you from the need for calculations for an ergonomic and safe arrangement of all elements. You will only need to take care of the free space around the entire complex.
From a safety point of view, you also need to make sure that the playing elements of the court you made do not have sharp metal corners, and that all wooden surfaces are carefully sanded, varnished or painted. Swings and carousels are not easy to dig into the ground for safety, but they are concreted and covered with soil.
The content of the children’s complex and the material of manufacture
The filling of the playground depends on its size, age and number of children, and their interests. As a rule, the game complex includes the following elements:
- swings (various suspended structures, rockers, «bungee»);
- carousel (swing-«scales»);
- sports equipment (ladders, horizontal bars, rings, ropes, bars);
- inflatable pools (seasonal element);
Some items can be purchased separately, some are easy to make yourself. If you are planning to buy a ready-made gaming complex, then you need to study the options for their manufacture. In modern complexes for playgrounds, the following materials can be used:
Wood. Large manufacturers of ready-made solutions for playgrounds use wood for the execution of the main elements of their structures. Metal or plastic acts only as an additional raw material (most often for the production of slides, spirals). Natural, durable, durable and safe material easily fits into any landscape design of a summer cottage or a private yard. But gaming complexes made of natural wood are not cheap.
Plastic. Plastic complexes are presented in a more democratic pricing policy. But a lot depends on the manufacturer. Russian firms using high-quality non-toxic plastic that can withstand high loads and wear and tear, offer beautiful, bright, but not cheap models of gaming complexes. Chinese counterparts will help save money, but there will be no guarantees as to the quality of performance and safety of materials. In any case, when buying any gaming complex, it is necessary to check the quality certificates, learn about the maximum permissible loads and methods of seasonal surface care..
Inflatable complexes. This is an option for the little ones. The compact, portable and inexpensive complex is absolutely safe. But this is a seasonal option, which is usually represented by a pool with a slide, a trampoline or a dry pool with balls..
Another important aspect from the point of view of safety and comfort of use is the correct choice of coverage for the playground. It should be unsteady (do not injure the child in the event of a fall, and children will definitely fall, you just need to accept this fact and try to reduce the risks), non-slip, environmentally friendly and easy to maintain. To cover the playground in the country or in a private two, the following options are most often used:
Lawn. What could be more natural and more pleasant to the touch than evenly trimmed grass. Select for planting a variety of lawn grass that is resistant to trampling and uniform seedling density. Most likely, children will want to run barefoot on such a site. Of course, such a coating has its drawbacks – it is necessary to monitor the uniformity of seedlings and sow the grass in places of trampling. The lawn must be watered and mowed in a timely manner. After the rain has passed, you will not be able to play on the court for some time – you can slip on wet grass.
Sand. For the site, it is best to choose sand of coarse fractions, in which a child’s leg will not sink. Natural and affordable material will perfectly protect children from injury when falling. The disadvantages of such a coating include the complexity of cleaning and the need to wait for drying after rain. Yes, and sand will spread throughout the site constantly. But there is no need to arrange an additional sandbox. Usually sand is poured in a layer from 2 to 10 cm, and under it there is an embankment of granite screening with a height of 5-7 cm, covered with geotextiles and a geogrid.
Bark. This coating is very often used for playgrounds in America and Europe. In our country, this natural and inexpensive material cannot yet be called a popular way to create a covering for playgrounds. The bark is environmentally friendly, does not stick to the body and clothing, and perfectly softens the fall. But it will not be easy to clean the area with such a coating. And its service life is short – about 2-3 years (but it will not be expensive to replace it completely). As a rule, a bark-coated site is equipped as follows:
- dig a hole about 20 cm deep;
- cover it with geotextiles;
- cover with sand about 15 cm;
- again covered with geotextiles;
- the remaining 5 cm are covered with bark.
Artificial turf. It is a roll material with an elastic base. Artificial grass perfectly imitates natural turf. But it doesn’t need to be watered or trimmed. After rain, such a coating dries out quickly enough. Artificial turf does not cushion impacts from falls as well as sand or natural grass, but it is highly wear-resistant, durable, does not trample and is easy to clean. Such a lawn does not stain clothes, does not stick to the body, but it is quite expensive. When choosing artificial turf, consider more than just height «blades of grass», but also their density – the lawn should not hinder the movement of the child. As a rule, artificial turf is laid on a concrete base..
Rubber tile. You may have seen this kind of coverage in many urban playgrounds. This is the most practical and durable artificial flooring for the play area. The cover material is slightly springy, which minimizes the effects of falls and bumps. The coating is easy to care for, it is easy to clean, dries quickly, and is capable of passing moisture. Tiling can be done on any surface (even on the ground), quickly and easily. The material has high wear resistance and durability when used correctly. Tiles are produced in different colors, with different images. As a result, the rubber coating can be used not only as a protective layer, but also as elements for games, studying colors and shapes..
Self-leveling rubber coating. Like tiles, rubber sheeting is a mixture of crumb rubber and a polyurethane binder. But unlike tiles, such a flooring has no seams, and special equipment is required for its installation. Therefore, within the framework of a private home, this type of coverage for playgrounds is rarely used..
Modular plastic cover. The covering is assembled from separate modules held together with a special lock (like laying a laminate). Installation is simple and quick on almost any type of substrate, even ground. The cover is mobile – if necessary, it can be disassembled and assembled in a new place without losing its original presentation. The plastic used for the manufacture of such modules does not fade in the sun, allows moisture to pass through (due to special perforation), and withstands quite serious loads and mechanical stress. The cost of the coating is relatively expensive, but it pays off for the duration of operation..