North Perth Primary

North Perth Primary School nature playground

Name of school: North Perth Primary School

Location: Albert Street, North Perth, WA

Year completed: 2014

Playground elements: tree logs, outdoor classroom, bamboo cubby, tunnels, chimes, rocks, stepping logs

Designed for: Years 1 - 6

Total project cost:  $9,000

Cost breakdown:

Stage 1 (50m long eastern boundary) - $3,000. Our biggest cost was culverts used as tunnels. We were very lucky to have all labour and materials (logs, limestone blocks, rocks, bamboo plants) donated by local landscape business, school families and mulch and plants donated by City of Vincent.
Stage 2 (early childhood area - not yet completed) - $4,000 for materials and play elements.
Stage 3 (courtyard area - not yet completed) - $1,000 for new native planting and painted mural to brighten up brick courtyard.
Stage 4 (near front entrance 'Rainbow Gate' - not yet completed) - $1,000 for steppers, woodchip mulch and native plants to lift appearance and reduce degradation on garden beds and tree from kids' busy feet!
Stage 5 (embankment slide - aspiration!) - not costed and finalised as yet but we have identified appropriate location and started planning.

How long did the play space take to complete: Installation - 1 week; design and planning - 2 years!


1. Idea presented to school at P&C meeting in 2012 for comment and commitment for funding.
2. School principal and parent organiser attended a workshop hosted by Nature Play WA/WA Primary Principals with a presenation by Tim Gill spoke on risk management.  From there, principal was much more comfortable with the idea.
3. A Kid Safe WA playground audit was commissioned in October 2012. The report identified areas we could develop that were underutilised.
4. The P&C undertook fundraising activities during 2013 - our school now has a Dad's band called the playground!
5. Application was also successfully made to the City of Vincent for grant for Stage 1.

North Perth Primary School playground design6. Matt from Canopy Designed Exteriors in North Perth worked from our $17,000 budget to come up with a concept for the Stage 1 playground along the eastern boundary - this took some months as Matt volunteered his services but was still running a business so it was hard to insist he hurried up!




7. With our concept agreed upon, enquiries were made to Heritage Council, Education Deptartment Works contractors (BMW) and City of Vincent to ensure appropriate permissions were granted. This process took many weeks.
8. Ground scan survey undertaken to locate cabling in the area to be used.
9. Site accurately measured and a scale plan drafted.
10. A call for material donations was made, we received tree logs, pavers, limestone retaining blocks, logs, telegraph poles, bamboo plants and rocks! A school parent Craig Woodroffe from Ellenby Tree Farm helped us to firm up the concept after some minor clearing on the site and based on the materials we had.
11. Next with the help of a school parent Adam Jongeling from Wandoo Building Company a schedule for materials and quantities was drafted and alternative materials were suggested and decided upon to reduce costs where we could, and still retain natural feel. Part of our design was altered to ensure fall height regulations were met.
12. Busy bee was planned, and work was completed during the school holidays to alleviate need to fence area during construction and again save expense.

Was consultation undertaken on this project?

Yes, with parents / P&C, teachers and the City of Vincent. The principal took some photos from nature playgrounds in the area, and our Kid Safe WA report to the staff for feedback and comment. Parents were invited to offer suggestions and ideas and the P&C project managed and funded the playground.

North Perth Primary School playground concept plan












Landscape designer: Canopy Designed Exteriors (volunteer) Craig Woodroffe Ellenby Tree Farm (volunteer and recent graduate landscape architect)

Builder: Adam Jongeling Wandoo Building Company & Eric Diaz from Erban Develoments (school parents and volunteers)

Did you get a safety audit completed by Kidsafe WA's Playground Advisory Service or similar? Yes

Were there any insurance issues? No

Keys to success: A committed and generous parent body! This couldn't have happened otherwise.


What have been the key benefits from creating this nature play space? Taking a previously unused area to create a new playground that has a mix of active and quiet play spaces.

What do you think is the 'thing' the kids most enjoy about this space? Having a new place to play! Balancing logs are a big hit and so is the bamboo grove - eventually to become bamboo dens.

Contact: Sonia Hills, parent volunteer, North Perth Primary School P&C, email [email protected]

Gallery: North Perth Primary School Nature Playground

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