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NATURALL GOOD DES Y IG

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SMP PLAYGROUNDS LTD


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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

AN INTRODUCTION TO US… We are a design led company with over 45 years experience specialising in the manufacture and construction of high quality play spaces. We work closely with our clients and their communities to provide attractive, fun and challenging play spaces for children of all ages and abilities to enjoy for years to come. The current debate around good design for play is something that has been on our minds for many years. At SMP we welcomed the recently published guide to creating successful play spaces, “Design for Play, A Good Practice Guide” published jointly by DCSF, DCMS and Play England and we believe this comprehensive guide provides an excellent basis for creating inspiring places. By following the core information, or this ‘diet’ version presented by us here, play providers will find themselves a long way down the path towards providing excellent play facilities that are packed with exciting child-centred play attractions. SMP are able to help at each step along the way and will be your perfect partner from concept design to completion. We are able to offer full project management with our own team of highly experienced Contracts Managers who specialise in managing the building of play spaces.

WHAT’S THIS BOOK FOR? SMP have created this guide to assist each person involved with the important task of designing and providing play spaces. We can take each element of your project, discussing individual needs and will work with you to deliver your project in its entirety, giving you peace of mind and easing your time by having just one point of contact for all the elements you want to include. At SMP we like to demonstrate that by working together with the right partner exceptional, sustainable, dynamic play spaces can be created that children, parents and the community will love for generations.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

DESIGN FOR PLAY : THE GOLDEN RULE The Golden Rule

“A successful play space is a place in its own right, specially designed for its location, in such a way as to provide as much play value as possible.” We love the golden rule. It’s all about having a local focus and getting it right for kids to have fun. Research published in march 2009 by the government department DCSF confirmed that both parents and children want “Exciting equipment and features that allow for a variety of play experiences these were central to the appeal of the sites”.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

DESIGN FOR PLAY : THE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES The 10 principles underlying this design-led approach to play space creation depends on all the adults involved being able to imagine a place that children will seek out, enjoy visiting and return to –remembering their time in that place for years to come. Below are the 10 Design Principles (as defined in Play England’s published guide)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE DESIGNED TO ENHANCE ITS SETTING. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE PLACE. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE CLOSE TO NATURE. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE WHERE CHILDREN CAN PLAY IN DIFFERENT WAYS. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE WHERE DISABLED AND NON DISABLED CHILDREN PLAY TOGETHER. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE LOVED BY THE COMMUNITY. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE WHERE CHILDREN OF ALL AGES PLAY TOGETHER. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE WHERE CHILDREN CAN STRETCH AND CHALLENGE THEMSELVES IN EVERYWAY. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE MAINTAINED FOR PLAY VALUE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE THAT EVOLVES AS THE CHILDREN GROW.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

1. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE DESIGNED TO ENHANCE ITS SETTINGS

. . . .

Use the skills of an experienced designer to provide a thoughtful layout. Consider pathways for busy play spaces, for flow of users, mothers with push chairs and wheelchair users. The positioning of seating, dynamic moving equipment and other attractions should be well thought out, taking care over positioning is advisable and we can offer advice if you require it. Space to circulate and run around. An open area for just running, making a noise and letting off steam can be a great benefit to today’s children.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

2. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE PLACE “a location to be proud of”

. . .

Location, Location, LOCATION!! This may turn out to be the most important consideration for your whole project. Factors to asses are accessibility, size, setting, visibility or ‘soft policing’. General appeal to the public will determine the success of the area. A children’s play space deserves careful planning and suitable land to develop, not just an after-thought in an adult environment.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

3. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE CLOSE TO NATURE

. . . . .

There is strong evidence that a balanced diet gives you a healthy lifestyle. This goes for play, too: a balanced play space should provide opportunities for increased contact with nature as well as making suďŹƒcient use of the fun and challenging aspects oered by well-designed play equipment. Mounds, grass, trees, shrubs, rocks and boulders can be superb features that add play value if sensitively chosen and incorporated. Blending the play space into the surrounding environment is an important consideration (but this might not always mean green grass and green swings!). Maintenance implications should be taken into account to ensure the sustainable ongoing upkeep of the area, long after your contractors have left. There is no one, single solution. Every site will be unique; some may provide a more natural feel and in others a more urban feel might be more appropriate.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

4. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE WHERE CHILDREN CAN PLAY IN DIFFERENT WAYS

. .

Favourite games, new experiences, variety, challenges, exploring, learning about you, learning about others, playing together, playing alone, stretching imaginations, testing bodies, showing off, growing up. At SMP we’re lucky to call all this our business. And because it’s our business we are experts in understanding what kids love to get up to, how they play and what makes them tick at different ages and different stages of development. Our product design team work closely with specialists to create play experiences that are well researched, appropriate to the target age group and stretch bodies and minds through the enjoyment of playing in many different ways.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

5. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE WHERE DISABLED AND NONDISABLED CHILDREN PLAY TOGETHER.

. . . .

Inclusivity is an important aspect for every playground. It is also unrealistic to expect all parts of the play environment to be accessible to every person. A well designed play space provides areas that can be inclusively used and enjoyed by all, at many different levels and in different ways. Disabled children will seek out well designed, controlled spaces where they feel safe and know they can take some measured risks in their play. There are many play products available that offer inclusive use and will be suitable for encouraging disabled and nondisabled children to play together. We can offer advice relating to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2004.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

6. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE LOVED BY THE COMMUNITY “community pride”

. . . . .

As well as the community’s excitement on a busy opening day, sustainability and up-keep of the play space is very important. Providing a play space that gives a legacy for many years is a vital consideration. A well designed play space will stand the test of time and become part of future adult’s memories. It is important to choose materials, natural or manufactured, which will provide inspirational play value and are capable of withstanding demanding use. Consultation with the community is important to ensure the proposed play space meets the desires and expectations of the local community.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

7. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE WHERE CHILDREN OF ALL AGES PLAY TOGETHER

. . .

In a society where style is a key influencing factor for children there is an expectation for play spaces to be well designed with attractive and modern features. Style expectations differ amongst age ranges, for example older children will not want to be associated with younger kids stuff as it would be labelled un-cool or boring. Equally most very small children would not feel comfortable sharing a play structure dominated by the hustle and bustle of older children. There are several options for implementing older and younger children’s activities in the same area without conflict or resorting to fences. The ‘challenge factor’, styling and colour of equipment will make it apparent which age range the equipment is appropriate for and offer a sense of ownership. Younger and older children are at different stages of development and enjoy different types of play. Manufacturers of play equipment publish target age ranges to make the selection of equipment easier.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

8. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE WHERE CHILDREN CAN STRETCH AND CHALLENGE THEMSELVES IN EVERY WAY.

. . . . .

It is important to provide challenging play environments to allow children to fully test and stretch their abilities. This will make them less likely to seek their thrills elsewhere and enjoying coming back again and again. There is lots of equipment to choose from that encourages children to challenge themselves and build skills and confidence. Play environments should be designed so that kids can enjoy elements of perceived risk such as height or speed, but any real danger, the type that users could not foresee, is controlled. Industry standards EN1176 and EN1177 give essential advice on how risks and hazards can be controlled with play value maximised in play environments. SMP can help you through these decisions and provide advice and guidance on ‘Risk verses Benefit” assessment decisions. Over many years SMP have played an active role in drafting and reviewing public playground standards. Our Technical Director, Andy Yates is Chairman of both the UK and European standards committee for outdoor play and we’re available to offer advice and our expert opinion on matters of risk assessment and safety. There is also a sister guide published jointly by DCSF, DCMS and Play England covering “Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation Guide”. This can be downloaded from www.teachernet.gov.uk/publications (search for the reference: 00942-2008).

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

9. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE MAINTAINED FOR PLAY VALUE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY.

. . . .

Play providers are encouraged to think about the type of surfacing they provide and it’s suitability for the specific project. Loose fill surfaces can be less expensive initially and can also offer play value, but will require regular maintenance. Rubber based surfaces may provide some advantages in terms of reduced maintenance and cleanliness and can include colourful, playful features. There are a variety of different surfaces available for play spaces; it all depends on your project objective and budget. SMP have experience with working with many different types of surface and we’d be happy to discuss your project requirements and show you some of the many options available.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

10. IMAGINE A PLAY SPACE THAT EVOLVES AS THE CHILDREN GROW

. . . .

New places to play should always be exciting and often they evolve over time as the community takes ownership and children grow up. Allowing for this natural process is an important part of planning your project’s long term success and will mainly concern boundary treatment along with the overall layout. Fencing is not always essential for every play space, there are important factors to consider such as location and safety, particularly in relation to roads. Options such as landscaping and planting will grow and evolve with each play space and can create a visual and physical boundary as well as providing a pleasant aspect for users and some additional play value. An un-fenced area will be much easier to extend and adapt in the future.

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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

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IDEAS FOR PLAYFUL LANDSCAPES


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NATURALLY GOOD DESIGN : 1 GOLDEN RULE 10 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

THE LAST WORD… SMP Playgrounds are here to help. Our knowledge and experience are available to help you develop a play space that is loved. If you want some advice or ideas on design or what play activities to include, safety or material specs, project management or maintenance we are happy to talk. We also like the ‘doing’ as well and we can help you with a site survey, consultation materials, bespoke design, layout drawings, pricing and the complete design and build service if you decide you like what we’re offering. All these services are offered free of charge. SMP Playgrounds is registered on the National Children’s Bureau (NCB)/ Play England ‘Play Designers List’ and is a founder member of the API (Association Of Play Industries). Working with an experienced and specialist designer and provider for play will help to make the most of the space, budget and timescale that you have. Working with a single partner like us will help you to deliver your project on time and on budget to the design solution agreed by all.

www.smp.co.uk

0845 260 1655 (local rate wherever you are in the UK)

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UK CUSTOMER SERVICE 0845 260 1655 SMP (PLAYGROUNDS) LTD TEN ACRE LANE, THORPE, EGHAM, SURREY TW20 8RJ TELELPHONE 01784 489100 FAX SALES 01784 431079 EMAIL: sales@smp.co.uk www.smp.co.uk

Naturally Good Design Brochure  

Brochue highlighting good practise play area design

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