Protecting Our Playgrounds – We Need To Make Playgrounds More Natural

Protecting Our Playgrounds – We Need To Make Playgrounds More Natural 

We’re now able to make playgrounds and surrounding areas safer by using the methods implemented by Ozbreed and Fiona Robbé Landscape Architects. These methods meet the Australian Standard and have also won an award at the Kidsafe 2012 National Playspace Design Awards.

In conjunction with Fiona Robbé Landscape Architects, Ozbreed found the need to make playgrounds more natural because during their time playing in playgrounds, kids very often wander off to explore their surroundings.

Whilst still ensuring to create an optimum safe play environment, something that needs to be considered more closely by landscape architects and designers is that kids love to play with plants.

The premise for this trial was set by the increasing demand and interest in the performance of non-woody plants in mulch, in and around play equipment (including fall zones).

The core aim of the trial is to systematically determine the optimum growth conditions for non-woody plants in playgrounds mulch. This will allow playgrounds to look more natural and reduce the open bare appearance of play equipment without compromising safety.

Plant Health in Playground Mulch:

2 garden beds were used in the trial, containing 2 different mulches; Playbark Pinebark Mulch and Port Stephens Pine Mulch. Naringa Westringia ‘WES01′ PBR and Tanika® Lomandra longifolia ‘LM300’ PBR, were installed in each garden bed and planted in two different sets of conditions: Planted in pure mulch and planted with soil underneath (soil base method).

Preliminary results as of November 2010 showed that plants with soil underneath established and rooted out much quicker than the plants planted straight into the mulch, and the plants in Port Stephens Pine Mulch had rooted out much quicker than in the Playbark Pinebark Mulch.

Naringa displayed affected growth between the soil base method and when planted straight into mulch. Photos depict that with soil, growth has been abundant, while without it seemed to stay the same since planting.

Tanika however showed a better growth habit in the soil base method and the foliage looked cleaner. Results as of February 2011 showed that …read more

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