Garden Play – Top Tips

High quality outdoor play equipment can enhance your garden and prove to be an excellent long-term asset for your home.

Here are Caledonia Play’s top ten tips to help you choose the equipment that’s right for your garden:

1. Make sure the equipment fits your size of garden. This may seem obvious but you need to plan the location so there is at least 1-2m safe space around the equipment. Avoid fences and leave plenty of room for someone to swing back and forward unhindered. A good supplier should be able to supply you with a footprint or area to help plan the positioning in your garden.

2. If your ground is uneven, don’t worry. Play equipment can still be safely installed and should not require a concrete base or foundations.

3. It is OK to place the equipment on grass but we recommend the use of EN1177 approved safety grass mats. These provide protection from slipping and also prevent grass being worn away under swings or at the base of a slide.

4. Avoid bark as it restricts you to a single permanent location, needs maintenance and can attract cats and foxes. Moreover if it requires a wooden box frame this can be a potential safety hazard.

5. Choose free standing equipment where possible as it can be taken with when you move and does not count as a permanent fixture.

6. Do not position the equipment too far from the house as children are more likely to use it if it can be seen from the house. In addition, from a safety point of view it makes sense to be able to see the children playing should they have a mishap.

7. Pick an ‘open’ design where you can see through the structure as this is more pleasing to the eye.

8. Make sure the equipment is suitable for use by the big kids as well – parents and grandparents!

9. Don’t be too prescriptive in choosing ‘girls or boys’ play equipment. That play fort can equally be Rapunzel’s fairy tower or Colonel Custer’s last stand! Also choose equipment which will have a decent life span and does not restrict you to a specific age range. Modular equipment is ideal as it can be added to as the family grows and budgets permit.

10. Think of play equipment as a long term investment which the whole family can enjoy. It makes the ideal present – unlike some toys it is not forgotten about in a few days. Why not get relatives to club together to buy something which will give many years of enjoyment and fun.