Playgrounds play an important role in every child’s development. Whether you’re planning to build a new playground for your school, church, or community in the new year or want to expand and upgrade an existing one, budgeting is key. The planning phase is the most critical step in this undertaking, and you’ll want to pay close attention to the following areas.
The overall budget for a playground is generally determined by the number of kids you expect to play there at a single time. The rule of thumb for this is to allocate $1,000 per child in your budget. This is, however, not the case if you want to build a themed playground, which will be more costly. The age group of the kids you expect to frequent your playground will also play a role in your choice of equipment.
Safety surfacing is a must-have for any playground to prevent injuries from falls. The budget for preparing the site area and installing surfacing, such as wood and rubber, depends on the type of surface you want. Keep in mind that surfacing like engineered wood fiber requires maintenance over the course of the year, while rubberized surfaces require little or no maintenance, making it a cheaper option in the long run.
Amenities will attract more families to your playground, and of course these costs must also be factored into your budget. Consider whether you want to include benches, grills, tables, bike racks and other accommodations. Make sure the costs of amenities you choose fall within your budget and that they will appeal to the families in your community (think about demographics, ages of kids, proximity of bike trails, etc).
Another item to keep in mind when budgeting for your playground is the installation cost. This includes site preparation, surfacing and installation of the equipment. Depending on the site, additional preparation may be required when clearing the area for installations, which can increase your costs. Therefore, always ensure that you know the landscape and what will be required to prepare it for your playground.
Shipping costs for your equipment vary depending on the company you order from as well as their proximity to your location. The further away the company, the higher the shipping costs will be. Do some research and see if you can get the same materials and equipment from companies that are closer to you.
A few additional tips:
- Make sure all the right permits are in place before you begin your project.
- You can save on costs by choosing a site that is relatively flat and has good drainage.
- Account for the costs surrounding sidewalks, wheelchair-accessible paths, and good drainage if these are not already in place.
- Make arrangements for a storage facility in case your equipment arrives earlier than anticipated.