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Top Park Design Trends

Top Park Design Trends

Today, parks are more than kids playing on a swing set. With some creativity, a community park offers plenty of opportunities for an inclusive, inter-generational space for all to enjoy.

Demographics other than kids who want to play can benefit from spending time at a park. While fitness seems the obvious benefit to parks, just the act of spending time outside offers plenty of mental health benefits for all ages. Building an inclusive space for all ages and ability levels helps people, especially young kids, interact with individuals who are not like them. This opportunity supports their emotional and psychological development and makes them more compassionate people in the future.

A successful park combines landscape architecture and park design to give residents a sense of community and a space to appreciate the great outdoors. When planning your neighborhood park, make sure you have all neighbors in mind — not just elementary school children.

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How to Design a Public Park

When designing a public park, there are a variety of factors you must consider before you start brainstorming and researching. These questions will help direct and focus your efforts. This way, you’ll build an inclusive space for the whole community to enjoy.

  • Who will use the space? What age range lives in the community? If there are young families, you’ll want areas for kids and parents to play together. If retirees live near the park, you’ll want plenty of places for members of the community to sit and enjoy the sunshine. What homes are around the park? If there are apartments surround the park, those users will have different needs than someone who has their own backyard. Considering the demographics of your intended user base will help you pinpoint the exact needs you must meet.
  • How can we make the park accessible? Not every child who wants to use the playground has the same level of physical ability. Children with walkers, wheelchairs and other mobility devices should have equal access to the space. Select a turf under the playground that a wheelchair can easily maneuver over. Wood chips won’t work. For the seating areas, make sure older residents can safely walk across the surface. Include some tables that have a side without benches so users of wheelchairs can sit at the tables, too.
  • What is the park’s mission? Are you building the park for community sports leagues? For young children to practice fine-motor skills and learn lessons like sharing? Perhaps you need a space for community events like theater or a movie in the park. Maybe you just want a place for people of all ages to enjoy nature. Think about what you want the park to accomplish because that will shift your method for achieving those goals.
  • How can the park highlight the land’s features and integrate into the community? Especially in urban settings, the park might be the only place some members of the community get to experience nature regularly. If a lovely grove of trees already grows there, incorporate them into the layout of the park. If the land has a rolling hill, work with the feature, not against it. Parks should collaborate with the natural space it occupies, so try to let nature dictate the planning. If the land is a blank slate, make sure you add natural features to the park.

Parks built today don’t match ones built in the past. Just like everything else, architecture experiences shifts in trends, and park design is no different. These changes keep parks relevant in the 21st century and adapt to the changing ways communities experience the outdoors. Here are just some of the current public park design trends in landscape architecture.

1. Inclusivity

Until recently, designers only considered one type of child when building parks, but not every child can climb a slide’s ladder or walk across uneven surfaces. All children have a right to play together, and thankfully, newer parks are now considering kids who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

Traditional parks also forget the elderly. Parks aren’t just for running around and playing. Some people enjoy getting out in the sun, and with level walkways and accessible picnic tables, grandparents can sit down for an outdoor lunch with the grandkids at a table that accommodates their wheelchairs.

2. Creative Shading

Additionally, not everyone who enjoys the outdoors can sit out in the sun. For people with skin conditions or those at a higher risk for overheating, shaded benches provide shelter to those who can’t stay out in the sun too long.
These work well for retired individuals who want to read a book at the park, people who need less sun exposure and guardians watching the children’s safety on the playground.

Green Spaces

3. Green Spaces

People living in urban spaces may not get many opportunities to spend time in nature. The park shouldn’t just be another extension of the concrete jungle. If there are no natural features on the land, adding some flowers and greenery will give color and vibrancy to the space. Children are attracted to bright spaces, and giving the area natural beauty provides a sense of peace to those who visit.

4. Dog-Friendly

For people who live in condo neighborhoods or apartment complexes, the park may be the closest the dog gets to spending time in a yard. The National Recreation and Park Association’s 2018 Agency Performance Review discovered that 59% of parks and recreation agencies have a dog park facility. Those who did not were planning them or already building them.

Even if there is no designated penned area for a dog park, show that dogs are welcome on the walking paths with a mounted trash receptacle for dog waste. This way you’re encouraging exercise and environmentally sound trash disposal.

5. Integrated Games

Not everyone who goes to the park wants to participate in physical activities. Having games like checkers and chess integrated into the tables appeals to a broader audience than just those who came to run around.

Mental engagement is just as important for children’s development as physical exercise. Having these tables also allows parents, teens, young adults and older adults to join in on the fun as well.

Green Spaces

Build a Park With Your Community in Mind

When deciding how to design a park, make sure you think about how the whole community can enjoy it. Bramsford Outdoor Furnishings has all the furniture and site amenities you need to create a park that all can enjoy.  Customize and order online for direct delivery!

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