Check out this play space developed by Maidens Park Primary School Principal, Stuart Cumming, as inspiration for your project.
Stuart offered the following insight into the process of creating a nature-based playground at his Bunbury school.
Westwood St, Bunbury, WA
First phase completed in November 2011, with a ten-year plan for eight areas to be developed around the school grounds.
- Large jarrah 'crowns' from Forest Products Commission obtained at no cost
- Recycled tyres dug into ground as path borders
- Cubby-building area using on-site tree prunings
- Strategically planted native vegetation to grow into a special play area hidden in the bush
- Landscape architect to draw up grounds plan, $10,000
- Playground audit (as part of a risk assessment and mitigation strategy) by KidsafeWA $400
- Weed-mat for paths, $200
- Machinery hire, $150
- Tyres, free
- Woodchips from storm damaged trees, free
- Plants for re-vegetation, $5000 from grant from City of Bunbury Habitat Project
An extensive year-long planning/consultation process was undertaken with a school 'grounds committee' made up of parents, students and staff.
Landscape Architect used?
Peter Roberts, Design Workroom, www.designworkroom.com.au
Did you use a builder?
No, the school gardener worked in conjunction with the kids and staff to plant the gardens, dig the tyres into the ground and lay down the woodchip pathways.
Were there any insurance issues?
A risk assessment and mitigation plan has been implemented and will be developed further based on the upcoming Kidsafe WA playground audit.
Would you do anything differently next time?
"I wouldn't have spent $70,000 on a steel playground five years ago – imagine what I could do with that much money in a nature-based playground!"
Keys to success
Planning and student involvement