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 »

Helping Communities Build Playgrounds is Our Specialty

A small site and a challenging budget doesn’t always mean that an exciting new playground is out of reach. Ask Catina Haugen, principal at Grant Elementary School in Petaluma. After an initial site visit, we explained to Catina how we could create an exciting but affordable new playground for her kindergarteners. By relying on parent volunteers, Catina was able to... Read More »

Glankler Early Childhood Learning Center, Fremont USD

It’s not every day that I get a chance to have a playground tour with an expert in children’s special needs. But that’s just what happened recently when Anita Allardice, Principal and Program Director at Glankler Early Childhood Learning Center, graciously devoted part of her whirlwind morning to visit with me at her newly installed, Landscape Structures “Nature Themed” playground... Read More »

Splashpad Opens in Mission District

Mission District youngsters can now take a break from the summer heat with the newly opened Mission Playground, San Francisco’s first Vortex splashpad. The new splashpad features kid-activated bubblers and fountains. More young families are making this new outdoor recreational amenity a destination visit, enlivening and enriching this Mission District neighborhood. Splashpads are accessible to everyone and offer inclusive 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 »

Building Community in the Napa Valley

They say necessity is the mother of invention. In Napa, the realities of shrinking city budgets resulted in a very non-traditional alliance of municipal government, community volunteers, and “The Playground King.” The City of Napa, with Jon Bawden of Ross Recreation, had developed plans for a major renovation of the city’s large playground at Buhman Park. With growing budget cutbacks,... 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 »

On The Front Lines of School Playground Safety

Earlier this month, I got to spend time with 75 dedicated people who commit themselves on a daily basis to child safety on busy San Jose school playgrounds. Because of our long-standing relationship, the San Jose Unified School District had invited me to speak at a playground safety training with their playground supervisors. At the training, I gave an overview... 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 »

Ever Wonder What Happens When You Put An Elephant On A Slide???

Heading out to the ol’ ballgame just got a lot more fun for young Oakland A’s fans and their parents. Earlier this spring, the A’s asked Ross Recreation to help them remodel their Fun Zone on the Coliseum’s mezzanine section with a new play area featuring a customized Landscape Structures playstructure.  Ross was there this weekend at the Ribbon Cutting,... Read More »

The Ross Difference

As we launch our new website, I thought I would kick things off by addressing a simple question: “Why Ross?” When I meet with a prospective client, I’m often asked “What makes Ross Recreation different from others in your industry and why should I work with you?” As a consumer myself, I’m always interested in what sets products or services... 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 »

Heather School

Occasionally we are fortunate enough to work with a truly remarkable group of school parents and community volunteers. Such was the case with the Heather School PTA in San Carlos, located 25 miles south of San Francisco. After interviewing equipment vendors and visiting nearby playgrounds, the PTA chose Ross Recreation Equipment to design the school’s new playground, sited high above... 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 »

Landscape Structures Seminar Offers Solutions for Inclusive Playgrounds

An energetic group of city planners, landscape architects, and park maintenance professionals gathered this week at San Jose’s City Hall to attend a seminar sponsored by Ross Recreation Equipment Company and conducted by Landscape Structures’ Inclusive Play Specialist, John McConkey. Over the past 10 years, John has played a lead role in developing design theory and practical solutions for outdoor Inclusive... Read More »

Ship Ahoy!

Landscape Structures’ ability to personalize a park site is in full display at the City & County of San Francisco’s newest playground at Cabrillo Park in the outer Richmond District. The park is named for the famous Portuguese explorer, the first to navigate the coast of present day California in 1542. Jasmine Kaw, landscape architect with the City & County of... Read More »