Wood is our primary construction material because it allows for flexibility of design, high play value and maximum customization. The senses of a child react positively to wood. Wood shows traces of hand-craftsmanship, signs of growth, as well as variations in structure and colour. In short, wood is real. It feels pleasant to touch because it never gets too hot or too cold.
We are very particular about the species of wood that we use and different types of wood are used for different parts of each playground. Our research regarding the best species of wood for use in a play space has been extensive and includes how different woods react in varying climatic environments. We estimate the lifespan of much of the the wood we use to be upwards of 25 years; it has a very high resistance to rot, insects, disease and wear from children.
Children love to climb up, jump off and run on different types of terrain. Uniquely shaped rocks offer play challenges and opportunity. Large boulders are eye-catching and add interest and variation to a play space. They are used strategically to create play zones, as a play element, or to provide seating.
Colours found in nature are also found in our designs to add interest and tell a story. We don’t believe a playground needs to look like a circus but it does benefit from subtle colour variation. To add interest or tell a story, we use water-based stains and coloured ropes. The wood itself doesn’t need any artificial protection; the graying colour is part of the natural aging process.
Steel core-centre, polypropylene covered rope is often added to our playgrounds. Ropes add colour and connect spaces and elements. Custom designed net structures and rope arrangements give us the flexibility to include challenging elements of varying heights and distances.
Stainless steel is a strong, elegant, high-quality material that allows us to create unique shapes in our designs. Oriented in a northerly direction, stainless steel is the preferred material for our slides and is also used to connect timber structures. It is an aesthetically pleasing and tactile material that is a signature of high-quality materials.
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Every Earthscape playground design is rigorously evaluated to ensure compliance to safety standards; CSA-Z614 in Canada and ASTM F1487 in the United States. A combination of internal and third-party safety and accessibility consultants review each piece of custom equipment as well as overall playground layout to avoid hazards while still integrating opportunities for risk and reward. ADA requirements and Annex H guidelines are used to provide inclusive play for all.
We are commonly asked whether wood playgrounds are more susceptible to vandalism. We believe timber playgrounds are actually a better choice, and not any more likely to be destroyed by vandals than any other playground. [ … ]
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