Can a Natural Playground meet budgetary needs and cater to the whole community’s needs all at once? It may not be easy, but we here at Westplay believe it is possible.
In our experience working with First Nations communities (and other clients, for that matter), every project is unique in its playground needs. Some care more about aesthetics and have a specific goal in mind, some prioritize play function, and the financial aspect is the top priority for others. The key point here, though, is that these priorities don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
The biggest variable in any playground project is scale, which includes the dimensions and budget of the specific playground location; these are often set by the time a playground contractor (such as Westplay) is called into the project. With these fixed elements in mind, there are a few general ways to proceed with playground planning:
- A larger budget may allow more options in terms of materials and quantity of equipment, such as custom Natural Playgrounds like those manufactured by our partner Eskair, which offers a wide variety from large united playstructures to smaller balance beams, outdoor classroom setups, and even customized benches and decorative wooden sculptures. A Natural Playground with enough physical space can also easily include other park features to enhance the usefulness for the whole community such as sandboxes, picnic areas, shade structures or pergolas, multi-sports courts, and other features.
- A tighter budget for a project that prefers Natural Playgrounds may benefit from either a) smaller wooden structures spread out over the same area, such as a psychomotor course, b) a smaller area achieved by a single unified play structure, or c) a more locally-sourced wood products like our easily-scalable White Rhino line, which uses BC lumber with a handful of specific European designs and hardware. By choosing budget-appropriate equipment and local equipment sources, a small-budget playground can still include features that will appeal to more community members than just the children.
- A project with a budget that has not yet been determined may be waiting to see what equipment options are available. Westplay is eager to meet with you to show you what options we can offer for your unique space, and to explore the wide variety of ways your Natural Playground or outdoor recreation space can engage your whole community at any budget.