School Playground Solutions – How to maximise a limited Play Area

Outdoor space varies hugely from school to school. Those located in rural areas often have plenty, but schools in cities are presented with more of a challenge. Space tends to be at a premium in these areas, backed up by the fact over 60% of children and adolescents in London do not have adequate open and green space at their school.

Children gain many advantages from being outdoors, and it is important they all enjoy this experience each day. So for schools with limited outdoor space, it is essential to maximise every inch that your school does have. This can be challenging, as outdoor space can be oddly shaped, sloped or hard to access. But with some creativity, these spaces can be made into highly engaging play areas. We’ve put together some school playground solutions that we hope will get you thinking!

Make use of slopes in the playground

Sloped areas can be very limiting, and to level them out often involves major ground works that aren’t realistic. But slopes can be embraced into a play feature in their own right with a little creativity. Climbing robes, embankment slides or amphitheatres are all great solutions to making an awkward slope an interesting playground feature.

Playgrounds with level changes

Dramatic changes in playground levels can be frustrating and often limits the potential use of areas. However, the level change may be able to be creatively incorporated as a main feature of the playground. For example, the below area at Star Primary School in Newham, London, shows how a level change in the playground has been used to create a fabulous playground area.

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Playgrounds with limited access

Some areas of the school may not be challenging due to their size but due to their location. Areas such as courtyards often have no external access and are lined by the school building on all four sides. If this is the case, fear not! We have created many play spaces in areas with limited access, including movement of materials through the school itself. Whilst most playground projects can be done during term time, those requiring access through the school corridors are best done during holiday periods.

Working with smaller multiple playgrounds

There are many schools, particularly in London, where the outdoor space is split over several levels. This is not ideal – it often means each area is on the smaller side and breaktimes have to be phased due to the space. However, it does enable great opportunity for creating different play zones in separate areas. For example, one could be a dedicated sensory play area, another an active area and another a pitch for ball games.

Plumcroft School in Plumstead, London, is a great example of what can be achieved on a sloped site with playgrounds at different levels.

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Call in the school playground experts

Our playground designers are experts at creating outstanding play spaces, and well used to coming up with school playground solutions to make a scheme work. If you have an awkward space at your school that you want to utilise, please contact us and we will be glad to look at what can be done.

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