Utopia Landscape DesignBackyard Design Ideas Article
Utopia Landscape Design


Incorporating play areas into backyards
Ideally, play areas should be designed to blend with the backyard area rather than be the first thing that is seen. The location and visibility of a play area will be determined by the age of the children that will use it, for example, parents like to be able to see young children so only partial screening of the play area is possible, whereas older children can play without supervision so the play area can be totally screened.



In each of these cases, using plantings or structural elements such as screens or features etc. which are sympathetic with the surrounding landscape will help the play area become part of the backyard environment. Positioning the play area to one side of a backyard or a slightly less visible space will also make it less obvious.

Additionally, creating multi purpose areas will maximise the play potential of every backyard, ie; driveways (suitably fenced) and rear tiled areas can be used for bikes, skateboards, games of handball etc. Portable items such as trampolines and basketball/netball hoops, can be used then moved to one side or stored away entirely.

Ultimately the size of the yard will determine the size of the play aparatus that can be used. A small yard might only have space for a single swing or small cubby house, whereas a large yard can accomodate a sprawling maze of play items.

Type and surface
There is now a small industry which now specifically makes a variety of childrens play eqipment both for commercial purposes ( public parks etc.) and residential areas. These range for single components such as swings and slippery slides through to modular units which can be continually added to create a childrens wonderland. Alternately, a landscape designer can design specifically for a clients/childs needs using materials that best suit the landscape.

Surfacing needs to comply with local government guidelines and in most applications, softfall fine bark and sand to an appropriate depth is adequate or custom laid rubber and synthetic materials are also commercially available and are installed by professionals.

Reusing an area
Play areas should be designed with a contingency use once the area is no longer needed. This may involve simply extending garden or lawn areas to reclaim the space or a specific alternative use, such as an area for a spa etc. The more elaborate the play area though, the more extensive the transformation will be.

Cost
Like every project, the cost of a play area is determined by the size, complexity and quality of the materials and labour used. A play area can be as simple as a commonly available swingset positioned on a sand area and will cost around $600 or a detailed labyrinth of swings, bridges and climbing towers and cost many thousands of dollars. The average play area however would cost around $2000 - $4000.


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