Design Process

playground design

From the first time we meet to the day we stand back to look at the finished product, a clearly defined playground design process is crucial in order to deliver the best solution for the playspace.

Verbal Consultation

This initial meeting allows for professional discussion about your play grounds with one of our lead designers. We will come to your site, walk your play area, understand your playground dreams, measure and document your requirements and limitations/challenges. We will gather your initial thoughts on playground elements, discuss circulation and play patterns and the overall look and materials that could be integrated into your design within your budget.

play grounds

Walk your play grounds, understand your preferences, opportunities and limitations, propose ideas.

Concept Design

At Earthscape, we are committed to excellence in design. Your playground will be a unique creation, specifically tailored to your preferences and site conditions. Using the information gathered at our verbal consultation meeting, we will develop a computer generated colour 3-D model of your design to test the combination of forms, materials and functions.  The fly-through visualization and screenshot images will be presented to you.  After this presentation, we welcome your feedback to refine the design and finalize a plan.

playspace

Understand your playground dreams and thematic ideas, take site measurements, document site requirements, prepare base plans, design and present concepts.

Master Plan

In the master plan, the end design will be finalized.  We will give you site specifics and a detailed itemized budget.  At this point, plant list species will be determined.  Detailed plans and working drawings for construction are prepared and permits and approvals are obtained where required.  Play element designs are approved by a Canadian Certified Playground Inspector (CCPI).

Master Plan

Determine the final design.  Prepare detailed plans for construction.

Reality

Project Management and Construction:  With industry leading professionals and multiple construction awards, our playgrounds are built to the highest construction standards and best safety practices.  Before beginning construction, we will meet to discuss logistical issues (access to the site, access to water, timing of the presence of  large machinery, working with children near-by) to ensure clear communication between our design team, build team and you.

Enjoy: Giant tube slides, outdoor classroom, play decks, swings, large playable sculptures, gardens, water features, musical instruments, berms, trees and tall grasses  …whatever you imagined becomes reality.  Watch children play, explore, interact and challenge themselves in the play space you and your children helped to design together.

construction

Outdoor classrooms, playable structures, hill slide, shade areas, trees and gardens…the design is built and becomes real!  Watch the children explore and play in their new space.

FAQ

Why spend money on a playground design?

Playgrounds can cost tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Spending this amount of money without a plan is like going on a trip, with no map and no destination. You might end up somewhere you might like a bit but it will not likely be your ideal place.  Play space design and planning is the most important, and sometimes most neglected part of a playground project.  There are many variables to consider and we will help you to determine them and work through them.  Issues like soil type, snow removal, pedestrian circulation patterns, shade and drainage must be addressed.  “Free” designs can be very costly in the end when misunderstandings and errors require additional funds for corrections.  Park playground designers should demonstrate their design ability by showing you completed drawings that demonstrate creativity, careful planning, and attention to detail.

Can work be done in stages if funds are not available to do everything at once?

Phased implementation is a great way to build your playground, especially for larger and more complex projects. Earthscape is happy to phase your project, prioritizing immediate needs first, and deferring less critical items for the following years.  We will ensure that a phased build means that work done does not need to be re-done.

When is the best time to contact Earthscape and start the design process?

In our climate, we have nine months when we can construct projects and three months to plan!  Working on projects beginning in late fall or early winter means we can begin building as soon as the frost is gone.  We encourage our clients to connect with us at any time but finalizing designs over the winter months is ideal if work is to be completed in the spring or summer.

Does Earthscape give free estimates?

Yes and no. Confusing aren’t we? If you have complete Construction Drawings done by a professional that are accurately dimensioned and measured to scale, then we can provide a fixed-price quotation, at no charge. If you have no qualified drawings or only a rough sketch, then we firmly believe it is in your best interest to finalize a professional design before trying to provide a fixed-price quotation.

Why isn’t there just one price for Concept Designs?

The varying complexity of playgrounds makes it impossible to set one price for a Concept Design. Large, technically involved sites naturally take more effort to work through than simpler sites. After the initial Verbal Consultation, we can give you an accurate price for design services, in which the design will be tailored to your budget.

Why does Earthscape produce colour perspectives and 3D plan view drawings?

Perspective drawings represent the playground as it will appear when complete.  Everyone – you the client, and the Earthscape professionals – can better envision your site the way it will appear using colour on these drawings. Three-Dimensional videos help to bring the playscape to life and show you the full layout and detail of the playground design. Browse through some of our online designs and videos to get a better idea of what we mean.

Can I hire Earthscape to design a playground and then have someone else, maybe even volunteers, do the work?

We’ve done many projects working co-operatively with clients.  Some clients enjoy being involved or like “learning on the job” – encouraging children to learn how to plant a garden, or build a log bench.  As a design/build firm, Earthscape always plays a significant role in the implementation of a project.  We solve technically challenging parts of your project and ensure the final result is what you imagined.  As a company, we take sole responsibility that a play structure is built in accordance with CSA Z614-07 safety regulations.  WSIB requirements mandate that specific parameters must be upheld and handled by our company.  While we have a safety inspector on staff, we run our designs by chief playground safety personnel to make sure all is safe for the client and the children.