“Natural Play” – What’s it all Mean?

Much is written today about the desirability of “natural” play environments and I suspect that that is because of well founded concern that children are spending less and less time outdoors exploring the natural world.  This unfortunate trend was well documented in the now famous 2005 book by Richard Louv called Last Child in the Woods, in which the author coins... Read More »

The Value in Maintenance

This month Ross Recreation hosted a complimentary Landscape Structures’ Learning Academy Maintenance Seminar in Sacramento, CA.  With close to one hundred in attendance, the session included industry insight and hands-on information and techniques on playground repairs, risk management and graffiti removal techniques.  The seminar put a focus on the importance of proper and consistent maintenance and safety work for those individuals who... Read More »

Greater & Greener 2015

City Parks Alliance and San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department present this year’s Greater & Greener 2015: Innovative Park, Vibrant Cities.  The Greater & Greener conference is a “leading international conference for urban park leaders, city planning and design professionals, public officials and innovators to explore the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing today’s urban parks”.  With statistics projecting that 66% of the world’s population... Read More »

Monoliths of the Playground

Sometimes inspiration can come from the world around us. Landscape Structures Inc. newest play features, the Canyon Collection™, were molded from the Gneiss Outcrops in Granite Falls, Minnesota. This design process provided incredible realism, which translated into playground components that challenge and can bring kids closer to nature. With four rock formations to choose from, the combinations can transform any play... Read More »

Playgrounds Coming In Different Shapes & Sizes

Cookie-cutter playsystems with posts and elevated decks are beginning to give way to new innovative designs. Since the early 1970s, playgrounds have invariably featured composite playstructures with elevated decks. And while these traditional playsystems have their place, new design trends are increasingly breaking this traditional mold, offering users an array of functionally linked net climbers, fitness clusters, and independent slides.... Read More »

Playgrounds Aren’t Just For Kids

Someone recently sent me an AARP article – yup, I’m a grandpa. The article touted the health benefits of multi-generational play for people of all ages. Over the years, I’ve come to intuitively believe that playgrounds aren’t just for kids, but in fact can be centers of healthy living for people of all ages and abilities. When Bonney and I... Read More »

New Website Helps Communities Evaluate Their Parks

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) this month launched “ParkScore,” a fun, interactive new website that compares and ranks the parks in any one of 40 of America’s largest cities. For city planners, there is a section devoted to improving your ParkScore by locating underserved neighborhoods and identifying the best locations to invest in new park improvements. TPL is a... Read More »

Universally Accessible Play

The City of San Jose goes the extra mile when it comes to creating truly inclusive play environments for children of all abilities. Adopting design standards pioneered by Landscape Structures called Universally Accessible Play (UAP), the City’s Parks and Recreation commission requested staff in 2010 to go beyond existing Federal access standards to provide enhanced social and creative play opportunities... Read More »

Shane’s Inspiration Honors Steve King

Steve King, my friend and business colleague for 27 years (and fishing buddy for 20) will be honored this month by Shane’s Inspiration. Steve co-founded Landscape Structures in 1971 with Barb, his late wife, and is widely credited with having created the concept of continuous play in modern children’s playgrounds, a concept that has led to the component linked modern... Read More »

New ASTM Standards

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has issued updated safety standards for public playgrounds:  ASTM F 1487-11 for children age 2-12; and ASTM F 2373-11 for children age 6 months 23 months. Notable changes to the standards are the requirement for barriers on stairways above 48″ (instead of handrails), the addition of guidelines for multiple-user to-fro swings, increased requirements... Read More »

Are Today’s Playgrounds Too Safe?

I’ve noticed more articles on a theme that resonates with me personally and professionally: people are finding increasingly that modern playgrounds lack challenge and are potentially “too safe”. Last year, the New York Times published a widely circulated article titled “Can a Playground Be Too Safe?”. The article cites important studies that show children need to encounter risks and overcome... Read More »

Life Costing Equipment

When I meet with cities and schools to discuss play equipment, I try to initiate a conversation about “the ownership proposition.” What do I mean by that? I mean the shared vision of what owning play equipment should look like over the life of the installation, not simply the initial purchase price. Isn’t that really the measure of performance? How long will... Read More »

A Move Outdoors for Fitness

With the arrival of the New Year, many of us resolve to increase our physical fitness and overall well being. We seek a variety of ways to achieve our well intentioned goals, but the traditional springboard for many remains the indoor gym. I don’t know about you, but my days in the gym are gradually giving way to healthy outdoor... Read More »

Sonoma County Strives to Be the Healthiest

I am a Sonoma County guy and proud of it. Bonney and I have lived here for over thirty years, raised our three children here, located our business here, and take pride in its unique beauty, agricultural heritage, wonderful communities, and commitment to kids. And recently, county leaders adopted an ambitious, but achievable goal of being the healthiest county in... Read More »

Success at ASLA 2012!

Last weekend, Landscape Structures attended the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Annual Meeting & Expo in Phoenix, and came home with an award that we’re excited to share with you. Landscape Structures’ booth space, themed Designed with Play in Mind, was voted by the attending Landscape Architects as Best in Show. The booth featured the PlayBooster Vibe with nature-inspired... Read More »

Shapes at Play

Who says outdoor play and learning have to be mutually exclusive? As a culture, we tend to compartmentalize play and learning (recess vs. classroom). The San Francisco Exploratorium has taken the concept of blending play and learning one step further by funding geometrically shaped climbers at museum playgrounds, school and city playgrounds. Kids are learning about geometry and spatial relationships,... Read More »

Why Outdoor Playgrounds Are Important

With our schools reopening, it’s a great time for all of us to remind ourselves of the abundant benefits that playgrounds provide to our communities and to the healthy growth of our children. An earlier blog posting explained how properly designed playgrounds can actually offer therapeutic benefits to kids with sensory processing disorders, including autism. Other studies have shown additional... Read More »