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Designers Top Choices to Help Create Extraordinary Places

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

When deciding on play equipment to add to your park design do you ever think “Outside the Playbox”?  It’s sometimes easy to forget creating a play space can mean so much more than just installing a play structure.  Miracle Playsystems offers many choices for creating an extraordinary environment, everything from surfacing, to exercise equipment, to music and shade shelters.  We are your one stop shop for creating a really unique space that everyone can enjoy!  We asked our talented in-house designers to think “Outside the Playbox” for a moment and show you ways to add elements to your space for everyone to enjoy.  They came up with this diagram below to help point out areas that are often overlooked when designing a playspace.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when designing a new dynamic play environment:

  1. Will groups be able to gather at your new space?

  2. Does your site have unusual topography? Do you know what to do with it?

  3. Do you have the opportunity to have some sand and water play?

  4. Are there places for people to sit in the shade, dispose of their trash and maybe BBQ?

  5. Can people bring their dog to visit the park?

  6. Would this be a good environment for some outdoor exercise activities for adults?

  7. How can I take advantage of the ground plane surface to make my park unique?

  8. Do I like music, do the neighbors?

  9. Does this park need something to make it unique and special or a statement piece of art?

Our design team at Miracle Playsystems has some great suggestions for answering these questions. Check out these ideas below!

#1 Gathering Spaces, Resting Spaces and Places for Learning

We all need a place to gather.  Shade shelters are a great addition when you want a gathering place for community events and celebrations or have a place to watch a performance.  Shade cloths and umbrellas are also appreciated by parents and care givers who take their children to the park, especially on warm sunny days.  Children’s play spaces also benefit from adding shade shelters or umbrellas to protect them from the elements.  Adding a seating area opens up the opportunity for outdoor classroom space and areas for community clubs to gather and meet. Products from manufacturers such as USA Shade, Superior Shelter and UPC Parks have many options for shelter from the elements, shade from the sun and seating options for large group areas.

#2 Topography and Play

Not all sites are flat which could lead to some challenges on how to best utilize the space.  Let us help you create something fun!   Kids love to climb, slide and scramble up the hills.  Create a fun play space for them by adding an embankment slide or mounding.  This adds another dimension of play value that cannot be accomplished by manufactured playground equipment alone.  Mounding with surfacing is a versatile approach to playscape design and can be introduced in most locations. This can be accomplished with the use of a foam base, compacted baserock, or by creating a series of retaining walls or stacked stone to create a hillside.  Check out our HAGS, Miracle Recreation, and UPC Parks lines for some inspiration!

#3 Water and Sand Play

Kids love to get dirty!  They learn so much more when they can manipulate their surroundings.  Sand and water play let’s them have the opportunity to explore and create and let their imaginations run wild! Sand and water play is an experience like no other, building dams and channels, getting your hands wet, and working together with friends!   UPC Parks has unique pieces that can make your water and sand play full of adventure.  Check out their Sand Diggables which give the children the opportunity to dig and uncover ancient fossils like real archeologist!  Creek Play is an exciting social experience, great for inclusive play and children of all ages and abilities.  Children can push the pump button and watch water flow through their sand creations.  Other lines such as Miracle Recreation, HAGS, Norleg, and Bison Pumps have some great pieces that can add some dirt, mud and water to your playspaces as well.

#4 Site Furniture and Amenities

Site furniture and amenities can be an often unappreciated element in a play space.  People need places to sit, socialize, have lunch, play games or even host a BBQ or birthday party.  Drinking fountains and water bottle fillers are also an important piece to add to any park site.  Site amenities from our Wabash Valley and Haws lines of products can round out a space and make everything come together. Also check out our Miracle Recreationand HAGS lines for more options.

#5 Dog Parks

Dogs need parks too!  Luckily Miracle Playsystems can help you pick out some fun agility systems for your next park.  Check out these agility course pieces from our HAGS line.  Don’t forget drinking fountains for the pets too!  Haws has some that work great in a dog park setting.

#6 Outdoor Exercise Equipment

Can you do a pull up? Parks are great places for people to exercise and strength train. This gives the adults something to do while the little ones play.  HAGS has a great line of products including outdoor fitness equipment, ball courts, parkour equipment.  Miracle Recreation and Greenfields also have many options for adding in exercise equipment in your outdoor space.

#7 Surfacing Fun

Engineered Wood Fiber is a cost effective way to finish a playground, but there is so much more that can be done with the surfacing. Let’s add some fun elements like Letters, Numbers or Shapes.  Poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing is great for playgrounds, splash pads, pool decks, baseball fields, walking/jogging tracks and much more! Another option for surfacing is rubber tiles, synthetic play turf, bonded and loose-fill rubber mulch.  Artificial turf is also a great way to bring some “green” into the play box.  Check out No Fault Safety Surfacing for your unique surfacing needs.

#8 Music Play

Do you hear what I hear? It’s music!  With the musical instruments available to Miracle Playsystems anyone can get their groove on and play music! It’s a great way to add some excitement to a play environment.  Percussion Play has some amazing unique outdoor musical instruments to add to your space. Whether you are looking for a new addition for an urban space or a rural play area, school playgrounds, elder centers or tourist attraction, Percussion Play has a range of funky percussion solutions to meet your musical demands and to effortlessly create soundscapes in your outdoor area.  Also check out Miracle Recreation’s Concerto line of products, Sonic Architecture and Freenotes Harmony Park.

#9 Public Art

Public Art is a great way to show some community pride and really take your design to the next level.  We work closely with UPC Parks to help you design a unique, one of a kind piece of artwork to add into your space.  

Hopefully these tips will help you be inspired to think “Outside the Playbox” when designing your next park.  How will you create fun in your new space?

Contact your Miracle Playsystems rep today to schedule a lunch and learn to see more!

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