Welcome to Eagle Play Structures ‘Ask The Expert’

Eagle’s professional playground designers answer common playground planning questions, from initial planning and budgeting to design and safety. To keep up to date on our ‘Ask the Expert’ questions and other Eagle Play Structures news, become a fan of our Facebook page by clicking here.

What are your main considerations when choosing components for a new play structure?

We typically start our new playground designs with three criteria in mind: 1) the age appropriateness of the equipment for the intended users; 2) the space available; and 3) budget. We also typically ask for a “wish list” of play components that the buyer would like to incorporate into the design. Our sales & design associate will take that wish list and do their best to incorporate these components, or propose similar activities that are more suitable given the target user, site, and budget considerations. Visit our Planning Guide for more information.

My PTA is planning a new playground project. Where should we start? 

There is more to planning a playground than simply choosing equipment from a catalog. Overlooking important considerations in the planning process can lead to cost overruns and project delays. To avoid common pitfalls, you should start by assessing your site. Determine the actual size and dimensions you have to work with and identify any site work necessary to make the area a safe “play environment” for your kids. Next, plan an accurate budget. Your playground budget must cover costs above and beyond the actual play equipment. Be sure to consider all the job costs, including demolition of existing equipment, site grading, drainage, borders, and surfacing. With an informed budget, you can move onto the fun part, designing your playground. Think about the equipment you want and how best to lay it out within your new play area. Your Eagle Play Structures Sales & Design associates can help you through this process from start to finish. We provide free design concepts and estimates, allowing you to completely customize your new play environment to fit your site, equipment wish lists, and budget. Call us today!

What types of expenses should be considered when budgeting for a new playground? 

For customers exploring a playground project, we find there are some commonly overlooked expenses that can cause headaches down the road. But no worries. Eagle Play Structures is here to help. Here is a list of expenses to consider when planning a new playground.

1. Removal and Disposal: If you plan to replace an existing playground, the old equipment will need to be removed. This might include the old borders and site furnishings as well. Remember these systems are embedded in concrete, so removal is labor-intensive and requires disposal of a lot of material.

2. Site Preparation: Proper site preparation addresses issues such as drainage, grading, access, fencing, etc. Depending on the site, these expenses can range from modest to extensive. Choosing the best location based on these factors is the wise course.

3. Equipment and Installation.

4. Safety Surfacing: All playgrounds require safety surfacing. There are several surface options, including engineered wood fiber and pureed-in-place rubber, which can range widely in cost.

When you work with Eagle Play Structures, your local manufacturer and recreational construction firm, there are no extra costs such as shipping, installation, or sales tax. Our own crews mobilize from our Ijamsville, Maryland factory and install your playground TURN-KEY! Our business model makes us different than any other commercial playground manufacturer. As your personal (certified) consultant, it’s our job to guide you through design, assist by preparing proposals for your budget, and manage your project as it is installed.

I hear a lot of talk about Playground Surfacing. Why is it so important? 

A play area’s safety surfacing is the first thing CPSI’s look at when walking onto a play area for inspection. Each year, over 200,000 injuries reported (emergency room visits) are playground related. Approximately 70% of these injuries are due to falls to the ground. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission Handbook for Playground Safety, the surfacing under and around playground equipment is one of the most important factors in reducing the likelihood of life-threatening head injuries. Please don’t underestimate the importance of proper ground cover/safety surfacing.

When building a playground for 2-5 year olds, what should I keep in mind?

We get that question quite a bit. Obviously, the climbing, upper body, and balancing capabilities of a 2 year old are vastly different than what a 12 year old can handle.  In turn, you must design your 2-5 playground with that in mind. Certain components are not recommended for 2-5 year olds, including sliding poles, log rolls, overheard rings. Other components have height and reach limitations. While upper body hanging and climbing is important to older kids, the younger children have not developed that strength yet.  Imaginative play is more important at this age and can be encouraged a number of ways on the playground. Interactive play panels and themes are two easy ways to get younger minds moving.  And when at all possible, it is best to separate these younger playground users from the older (5-12) kids. Traffic flow and age-appropriate equipment can make this age separation tricky.  It is best to ask your playground designer for help on that front.