Playground Planning Checklist

How to Plan a Playground: Your Checklist

We understand that planning a new park or playground addition can be a difficult task. From safety guidelines to playground inclusivity and ADA requirements, there is just so much information to know and consider!



Our goal at Adventure Playground Systems is to make the process of planning your next outdoor recreation project as easy as possible.





Do you want the park or playground area to be about bringing a community together? Do you want to encourage fitness and sports in your community? Do you want to make an area more family-friendly? Are you looking to build an aquatic playground or splash pad? Do you want to offer educational and enrichment activities for kids? Do you want incorporate a dog friendly area for your communities furry friends? We offer a wide range of playground and park products guaranteed to provide the best outdoor recreation solutions for your establishment.

Taking a moment to think about what you ultimately want to accomplish for your outdoor space can help determine whether you will want communal areas, aquatic play components, outdoor fitness equipment or different types of play equipment. Since we know every community, organization, school and business has different needs from a outdoor recreational space, we offer innovative solutions for every market. Check out our Solutions page for a helpful guide to define your goals based on the industries we work with most often!


Before you start planning, consider your needs.

– Where is the outdoor recreation space located?
– How many children or visitors do you expect will visit at once?
– What ages and abilities will use your play area?
– Is there a specific theme, color scheme or design aesthetic that you want to incorporate?
– Would you like to include other amenities such as shade structures, picnic tables or park benches?

Answering some of these questions will help determine the age range and capacity of your play equipment to help refine your search options. Additionally thinking about inclusivity requirements, themes and additional park amenities can help you ultimately determine what products you must include and budget for. We also offer educational tools on Age Appropriate Play and Inclusive Play that can offer additional guidance in this area.

STEP 3 : Decide On A Budget

Create a budget before you shop. Funding the perfect playground project can be a challenge for any organization. We have created a variety of tools to help you in this area. Our Playground Budget Breakdown will help you determine a realistic budget for your project and show you what costs are consistent with different scopes of outdoor recreation projects. Consider how much you can afford to spend on play equipment, safety surfacing, installation and maintenance. Do not overlook the cost of safety surfacing, shade structures and site amenities if you are planning on including these items.

In today’s economic terrain, even if you do have the capital to invest right away, funding options should always be considered. Adventure Playground Systems provides a variety of funding resources such as grant guides and financing options in our Purchasing Tools section just for this reason.

If you are wondering about budget options, contact our friendly team of Adventure Play Experts. They can help you determine what you will need to spend and can find ways to help you choose more budget-friendly options if your funds are currently limited. They can also talk with you about other solutions, such as phase building. Constructing your playground in phases allows you to keep adding to your playground over time, allowing you to pay for your play space gradually.

STEP 4: Evaluate the Space

Use our helpful guide to Taking Measurements and evaluating your outdoor space in our playground planning tools. Once you have an idea of the scope of your project, consult with an Adventure Play Expert to determine your needs based on space. Start by measuring and mapping out your space so you understand how much room you have. Note any topographic features, such as uneven ground or hard surface areas where you might not be able to insert poles. Take note of the climate and any nearby areas, such as busy streets or existing buildings, you need to consider as well. Check out our handy APS Site Inspection Form for a step by step guide to evaluating your outdoor space. The more fully you understand the space, the better you can create a play area that adapts seamlessly to the unique area you have.

STEP 5: Design Your Outdoor Recreation Space

So far you have defined what goals you have for your project and the specifications for those you are building a playground for. You know what your targeted project budget is and where you would like to build your playground. The next step in the playground planning process is the one we like to think of as the best step! It is time to design your ideal playground area or outdoor recreation space. Our team of Adventure Play Experts are available to help you decide on the play products that are right for your space. When it comes time to design your next playground, we want you to rely on the friendly Play Experts at Adventure Playground Systems for all your sales, service and installation needs. Our Adventure Play Experts are happy to offer their expert advice and suggestions to find the commercial play equipment that is right for you. We can guide you through every stage of your outdoor recreational project so you get the park or playground area you’ve always dreamed of.

Visualize it With Our Playground Planning Video

STEP 6: Install/Build

Now that you have selected your desired equipment to complete your park design, it is time to build your perfect playground! There are several options for how to have your equipment installed.

APS Installations

At Adventure Playground Systems we offer complete playground installation services in our home state of Texas. All of our installations are inspected by one of our in-house certified playground safety inspectors to ensure that every playground we offer exceeds all required state and federal standards for safety and durability.

Supervised Community Build

Do you have a strong community following for your playground and a network of volunteers willing to lend a hand? A Community Build event might be a perfect fit for your project. This is a great option that can help keep down costs for your overall budget, while inspiring your team with the power of play.

Professional Installation Contractor

A perfect option if your project is outside of the APS installation coverage area but you would still like a professional installation crew to handle your build. We can help you find a certified installer through our partnership with the International Playground Contractors Association (NPCAI).

STEP 7: Maintain and Play All Day

Celebrate the completion of your outdoor recreation project by developing a maintenance plan that will extend the life of your investment. When new play equipment is installed or at the introduction of a new playground safety and maintenance program, it is a good idea to have an audit performed by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). Play equipment and surfacing wear with use, climate and abuse. Because of this, they must be inspected and maintenanced on a regular basis. There are many benefits to properly maintaining your equipment:

Manage risk.

Timely, routine maintenance is a way of managing risks in a community’s play areas. Protect patrons from costly accidents by demonstrating the community’s standard of care while you lower your liability.

Protect your investment.

Play structures, safety surfacing, shade and site development are significant investments for any company or municipality. A maintenance program for your equipment will extend the life of your organization’s investment.

Improve children’s play experiences.

The better maintained the equipment, the better the opportunity that a child’s life is improved through play. Your effort makes the difference!

Control expenses.

Timely, preventive routine maintenance controls expenses by reducing upkeep and replacement costs, enabling more accurate budgeting

Our Customers are supplied with in depth maintenance instructions and inspection guides to help with the development of a successful maintenance program. Additionally our Adventure Play Experts are happy to set up a training for your staff to ensure proper maintenance procedures.



Let Us Guide You Through the Process

Adventure Playground Systems has been a leading manufacturer in the commercial playground industry for more than 20 years. Serving Texas and beyond — our commercial-grade playgrounds are known for their quality, durability and innovation. We offer a wide range of playground designs— including custom solutions — so we’re sure to have the perfect pieces for your playground, park, school or recreation space.

If you’re ready to start planning your next park project, contact Adventure Playground Systems by calling us at 1.888.935.2112 or filling out our online contact form. Our friendly team of Adventure Play Experts are happy to offer their expert advice and suggestions to find the commercial play equipment that is right for you. We can guide you through the purchase every step of the way, so you get the park or playground area you’ve always dreamed of.

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