More information on Designers


Blackwell & Associates

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

A natural play space is one in which the range and selection of materials is not restricted to off-the-shelf items with rubber softfall and standard perimeter fencing (ie. not kit, fence and carpet, or KFC, playground). One where the landscape is integrated into the play space and the boundaries of play are blurred. One where children are free to interact and shape their environment. 'Environment' can be animal, mineral or vegetable!

Children can be expected to encounter situations which are non-uniform (ie. not a typical step ladder with rungs spaced to Australian Standards) and require a greater level of awareness to negotiate improving spacial coordination, balance, strength, etc. Nature play spaces do not necessarily need to be restricted to 'natural' materials. The best nature playground is untouched environments, ie. bush-walking, remnant vegetation, dunes, etc. However, the intensity of use in urban environments quickly renders these spaces into disrepair. All playspaces need to be robust enough to handle this intensity, therefore use of a range of materials is appropriate.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. It depends whether it is a greenfield or brownfield site and if there is a community that could be engaged. Often we will meet with relevant stakeholders such as disability councils, playgroups, council representatives, etc. If in schools, the children are the experts and we can ask for a representative group of students to provide the liaison. If a new community park, most times our clients are councils and they will distribute concept plans and hold community functions to allow comment. We will often visit surrounding parks to assess what level and style of playground are adjacent so as to help fill a perceived gap in play experiences in the immediate area.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

An overall project budget of $25,000 and over.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor? If so, who and for which elements?

Corocord are good for rope equipment but engagement with local artists is also a good source of adding value.

Back to top

 


Childscapes

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

A nature play space allows children to personally connect with the natural world. It is a space where children are free to feel, touch, dig, eat, climb, roll, run, hide and pretend. The space requires fixed natural elements as well as natural loose parts for the children to use in their play. The space changes with the seasons, the weather and from the changes the children make to the space. There are endless possibilities for play in a nature play space, which are best supported by long blocks of uninterrupted time for children's exploration.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. I consult with educators in consultation meetings, professional development sessions and mentoring. I consult with families and the wider community through meetings and feedback verbally and via phone and email. Most importantly, I consult with children through conversations and sessions and drawing plans together and receiving drawn and written ideas from the classes in the schools and centres. This consultation continues throughout the whole process until all parties are happy with a final design!

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

Any size.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor?

No

Does your business offer other services you think our readers would be interested in?

Yes. Professional development, training and consultancy visits to childcare centres on developing naturally beautiful spaces in line with the National Quality Framework and EYLF.

Back to top

 


Deering Designs

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

Natural play spaces emulate the natural environment by the use of natural materials. Children learn that rocks are hard and wood can be slippery and play is fun. They challenge children physically and mentally. Maintaining the balance between offering children risk and minimising real danger is the art of a Playground Designer.

'Traditional playgrounds' are 'litigious' playgrounds and it is now evident that we are not allowing our children to learn risk assessment at an early age. As a consequence, as children age they may not have learnt that the world can hurt if they have not practiced this risk assessment skill. These early experiences can assist the growing child, to make good decisions especially later in the teen years when the consequences are higher and they are less supervised.

Above all we should offer the children an environment to learn and enjoy that stimulates the imagination and builds skills and allows them to just have fun.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. I sometimes include broad community consultation as required by the client/clients by inviting interested parties to workshop meetings. The outcome is formulated and the group is presented drawings and 3D models for feedback.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

Any size.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor? If so, who and for which elements?

No. each playground is hand built from natural materials. Evironmental cosiderations are a high priority in the playground build, they are mostly built from material that have little other use and some times preventing them from becomming landfill or being burnt.

Back to top

 


Design Workroom

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

Nature play areas must be free flowing with soft mulch paths or similar leading to fun play elements within the landscape. Generally the kids love undulations (grass mounds or similar), climbing, running and exploring, tunnels and huts, logs and challenging play, music and art, quiet nodes and sustainable elements and environmentally sensitive features such as water habitats for frogs, insects, bug collecting, and learning about edible landscapes, indigenous cultures and native plants. The kids generally do not want the traditional 'plastic fantastic' off the shelf play equipment.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. The kids are the first to be involved in the design process - the design must reflect what they enjoy the most and they take ownership of the spaces, evolving and developing each space as they learn and grow. The support of the parents and community is achieved by informal presentations to them, with the support and enthusiasm of the teachers and kids. Open discussion about any safety concerns is very important with all involved. Certification from Play Safe Australia is essential.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

An overall project budget of up to $100,000.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor? If so, who and for which elements?

Logs, living tunnels and grass mounds are fun, inexpensive and assist in creating great spaces within the nature play landscape. No manufacturer as such can provide these elements, but soil suppliers for mounding, nature supplies logs often from storms, garden supply businesses for plants and turf, and business donations in terms of materials. I have to say however, there are some fantastic nature play elements from such manufacturers as Kompan and PlayRope.

Does your business offer other services you think our readers would be interested in?

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) based designs, sustainable and environmentally sensitive designs, Streetscape and Public Realm design, Waterfront projects.

Back to top

 


Ecoscape

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

Playgrounds and play spaces are essential in the physical, mental and emotional development of children. Well designed play spaces engage and challenge children of all ages and abilities in a safe and fun environment. Playground design offers the opportunity to establish or enhance the theme of an environment. To achieve safe and engaging play environments, attention to detail and a thorough understanding of safety standards are critical

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. Ecoscape’s experienced design team recognises that children have abilities that are often stifled in urban settings and restricted in 'well designed' playgrounds. We aim to create play environments that encourage children of all ages and abilities to discover, experience, feel, touch, taste, see, hear and learn while they play in a safe environment. To maintain a sense of place, the biophysical and socio-cultural attributes of each site are analysed and play themes developed.

Our knowledge of playground standards and CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) principles, combined with water sensitive design techniques and the use of native flora create culturally and environmentally sensitive playground solutions which are functional and economically sustainable. Ecoscape’s playgrounds are designed to nurture the whole community, regardless of age, physical or intellectual ability.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

An overall project budget of $100,000 and over.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor? If so, who and for which elements?

No.

Back to top

EPCAD

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

Nature play, unlike a traditional play space, usually comprises some bespoke or natural elements designed to evoke a sense of adventure, stimulate imagination and intuitive play. An object's use is not always pre-defined, but the use differs depending on the individual. Natural elements such as logs, stepping stone, tunnels and creative landform help to provide a sense of freedom and natural world for children to explore.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. EPCAD are well versed in community consultation and have facililated, managed and contributed to many workshops, working groups and community feedback events. The community needs to be engaged at the very early stages of a project and the presentation of clear information, good communication and honest responses facilitate a very positive outcome.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

Any size.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor? If so, who and for which elements?

No. Every project is site and theme specific. We dont like to restrict our ability to respond to the environment and site vernacular. Therefore fabricators and manufacturers are chosen to complement the design.

Does your business offer other services you think our readers would be interested in?

Interpretation trails with signage, boardwalks,lookouts and bird hides.

Back to top


Josh Byrne & Associates

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

Nature play spaces provide children the opportunity to discover, observe and interact with nature, natural elements and materials. Outdoor nature play provides children the freedom to experiment with pretend/imaginary play, music/sound and active physical play. Unlike traditional manufactured playground environments which are bought off-the-shelf and offer a relatively structured, individual play experience, nature play spaces are individually designed and often draw from the natural or local setting and can also provide great opportunities for learning about fauna and flora.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. Depending on the size of the project, its location within the community and the available budget, Josh Byrne & Associates can tailor the community consultation approach to fit every project, from large half day workshops open to the whole community through to individual meetings. We have experienced facilitators and Landscape Architects who can work with the community to identify their aspirations, needs and opportunities. These community consultations give people the opportunity to share and listen to different ideas, discuss the pros and cons of different themes and identify some priorities for the playground design. We are also able to offer community communications via print and online media (facebook/newspaper) to keep the interested parties informed and to provide feedback on the project.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

Any size.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor?

No.

Does your business offer other services you think our readers would be interested in?

Design of sensory, adventure or educational play spaces.

Back to top

LD TOTAL

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

Nature play space should be themed around nature and the outdoors. These play spaces should energise and engage children to create their own adventures and entertainment. The play space's qualities should enhance all the senses being touch, feel, smell, sound, sights, balance (vestibular) and body/strength with movement (proprioception). The children need to be encouraged to become aware of the own movements and individual abilities to mitigate risk, the nature play spaces should allow creativity and exploration of a child’s mind and body movement.

The essential elements of a nature playground is the use of natural recourses and materials such a logs, timber, stones, rocks, water, streams, mulch and sand etc preferably located outdoors, however indoor applications still have their place in the design sense. 

The nature play park is an exciting and challenging area for children to explore, discover, play and simply enjoy being outdoors. Each element of the play space is usually more customised in its detail of ‘equipment’ and location to the other elements within the space. Compared to the ‘traditional’ play space the nature based play space incorporates innovative use of materials and layout, including unique “playable” art features to enhance the character and encourage children’s sense of imagination. Features that may appear in the nature play compared to the traditional play spaces are elements including, but not limited to, creeks and wetlands, large viewing towers, rock springs, seating pod shelters, raised steel boardwalk, cubbies and nests, balancing logs and rope swings, natural and mythical sculptures made from stone, wood carvings, rubber and/or metal.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. 

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

Any size.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor?

No.

Back to top


Nature Based Play

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

Nature play spaces allow for the engagement of the imagination and for the physical manipulation of the place. The elements used are predominantly natural, ie. rocks, logs, plants, swales, mounds, wind and water elements. They are about local community, local ecology and local stories.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. Our projects engage with the community from the outset. Each community is unique and so is its ecology and stories. We explore the opportunities that each community may bring to the creation of the space. Recycled materials used in new and different ways may add to the sense of place.

Communities know their local environment and are always keen to be involved. They add tremendous value to the project beyond the financial budget.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

Any size.

Do you have a preferred playground element manufacturer/distributor? If so, who and for which elements?

We most like to find what is locally available in timber mills and quarries, also recycle yards.

Do you offer other services you think our readers would be interested in?

We provide a selection of natural timber cubby frames.

Back to top

 


Natural Play Australia

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

After twenty years of commercial landscape I have installed many traditional steel playgrounds. Children need to connect and resonate with nature, they need to assess and take risk. I design our play spaces with a simple ethos safe, natural and fun. As consultants I use a well known child OT and a senior child psychologist to create a learning playspace to engage all the senses with the main focus on natural settings.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. Community is the core regardless if the client has three hundred dollars or three hundred thousand. If we can help get a child into a natural play space we will. It's the community mindset of safe structured play we have to change, let children do what is natural in a natural setting.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

Any size.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor? If so, who and for which elements?

No, everything is custom built from the playground art to the timber structures, sourced from sustainable suppliers and designed by myself, my engineer and my consultants to provide an age appropriate natural, inviting playspace.

Do you offer other services you think our readers would be interested in?

Yes.

Back to top

 


Natural Play Environments

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

We create diverse outdoor play environments, which offer experiences for all senses and stimulate the development of the child. A variety of natural materials are used like water, stone, wood, and planting which allows the children to experience, feel, see, touch, hear and learn while they play. It is important that the person can engage with the environment and develops imagination and individuality.

NPE incorporates art and music into the social, interactive and tactile environment, sculpting a new dimension in the field of play, extending the thinking and encouraging a higher fantasy. Our aim is to create play spaces, which nurture the whole community regardless of age and physical or intellectual ability.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. If necessary we have community meetings and collect ideas and opinions. We take into consideration wish lists,and consultate with P&C groups and other steering organisations in the community.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

Any size.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor? If so, who and for which elements?

NPE designs all its own playground elements and equipment. The elements are integrated and part of the environment. Every playground is an individual environment. There is no preferred manufacturer for any of our elements.

Back to top

 

 


Nature Play Solutions

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

A nature play space is one that provides flexible, open-ended free play opportunities within existing and/or added natural features representative of each site’s local environment. It is a space that stimulates all the senses, invites exploration, discovery and manipulation, provides diversity of individual and group play options and supports whole child development, health and wellbeing.

A nature play space is a creative play environment, with children’s play more purposeful, cooperative and sustained. Essential elements include:

  • Natural or added landscape features including change of level, rocks, boulders, trees and vegetation.
  • Sand, water and loose parts.
  • Plants for shade, amenity, sensory diversity, observation of natural cycles, habitats, aesthetic value and loose parts.
  • Opportunities for balancing, hanging upside down, climbing up, over and through, stepping, jumping, etc. to help build physical strength, agility and coordination as well as resilience, self-esteem and a sense of mastery.
  • Journey pathways of different surfaces, challenge and interest for children to navigate their own way through the space.
  • Semi-secluded social spaces where children can feel ‘away’ from adult supervision and in their own world.
  • Varied and graduated physical, social and intellectual challenges and risk-taking opportunities that children can approach at their own level of interest and ability.

The important point of difference from a typical fixed equipment playground is the flexibility of the space and the range of play options that children can choose from – making their play experience more self-directed and creative; less prescriptive and adult directed – better suited to children’s natural play tendencies and preferences.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes. Consultation strategies are chosen to best suit the particular project. For example: face to face meetings with teaching staff; public forums with community stakeholders; conversations, surveys and hands-on modelling with children.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

Any size.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor?

No

Does your business offer other services you think our readers would be interested in?

Mud days, pop up playgrounds, mobile containers with loose natural elements, Outdoor Play Consultations, Professional Development Workshops.

Back to top

 


Phase3 Landscape Construction

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

A nature play space is somewhere that encourages kids to go outside and play in an unstructured nature rich environment. A place that challenges children to make their own fun. We do not interpret ‘nature play’ as a “logs and mulch” playground, nor do we concur with the current trend that ‘nature play’ is a business model that can simply be ‘rolled out’. The point of difference between traditional play spaces and natural play spaces is that nature play spaces are unstructured and invite children to create their own way of interaction.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes.  We facilitate workshops with community stakeholders to define expectations, concerns and desired outcomes.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

$25,000 and up.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor?

No.

Back to top

 


South Coast Nature Play & South Pole Structures

As a designer, how do you define a nature play space? What are the essential elements/qualities and how does it differ from a traditional play space?

A well designed nature play space should ideally entice, engage, stimulate and challenge children, (or even adults). It should also be constructed from as many naturally based materials as possible and sit harmoniously into it's environment. The play space should also ideally promote imaginative play, a sense of adventure and healthy risk assessment. In contrast, traditional play spaces are often static, generic, unimaginative, sterile and lack challenges.

Do you include a community consultation in your design process? If so, how is this achieved?

Yes.  At Albany Primary School we worked with the students, P&C and teachers to brainstorm ideas then all created numerous small clay and bush wood models. Recently we have been working with community groups in Albany to have a Nature Play Trail endorsed by the City, this is now likely to be adopted in 2015. We also worked closely with students, P&C and staff of Parklands Primary when we built the National Kidsafe School Playground of the Year in 2012.

What project budget size are you interested in quoting on?

Any size.

Do you have a preferred playground element maufacturer/distributor?

We design and construct most of our playgrounds from native hardwood timbers but have had some cargo nets supplied by Haraford in NSW.

Does your business offer other services you think our readers would be interested in?

Yes, we offer mobile containers with loose, natural play elements.

Back to top

 

To post a comment, please login (or register)

Proudly supported by