The reality of putting in a commercial playground is that it costs a lot of money. Commercial grade pieces are always expensive because they are made to handle lots of use. However, a budget can very easily be stretched in a lot of ways by the choices that are made. Here are seven ways to save on building a commercial playground:
- Choose mulch
- Look for similar systems
- Add swings
- Identify the favorite activities
- Stay away from themes
- DIY your installation
- Order as much from the same vendor as possible
One of the most expensive parts of the playground is the surfacing. While safety surfacing is absolutely a requirement for public playgrounds, it can be the biggest drain on a budget. By choosing engineered wood fiber (wood mulch) or rubber mulch, the budget can immediately be slashed. You will still need to add borders and a geotextile fabric to go underneath the mulch, but it will still cost significantly less than purchasing a surface like poured in place rubber.
Look for similar systems
If something is popular, companies will imitate it. That works to your advantage as you can often find the same style of playground equipment or group of activities at multiple price points. When looking, be sure to think about how many kids are using it and what their age groups are. Once you find one that fits that criteria, you’ll probably begin to see a bunch of similar setups in a range of prices. Picking something similar from a different manufacturer or made in different materials can save you big bucks.
When it come to great value when putting a playground together, few can match the timeless swing set. While you will need a good amount of space to add swings to any playground, but if you do have the space, this is a great way to save money. Swing sets can be built with almost any number of seats, as long as you have the space. Additionally, different bays can hold different types of swings. The one way you will pay more, is in the shipping. As swing sets are very large, you will need to pay higher shipping costs than with some other types of equipment.
While a huge structure with a million activities looks fun, it will be a waste of money if kids only play with one or two of the activities consistently. If you can narrow down which things kids like now and which ones they will grow into, you can save a large amount of money. Some of the favorite play events for kids on the playground are:
Stay away from themes
While themed playgrounds are really cool looking initially, they become dated more quickly and cost more. Themed playgrounds typically start at a few thousand dollars more than their counterparts. Another issue is that it can be unintentionally gender biased. As society works to become more accepting of play being gender neutral, a space themed or fairy garden themed playground still may not appease as many children as a plain playground.
This is an option for a community that has people that can lead the installation and a group of people to help. A major way to save money is to do the installation yourself. Just like any other DIY project, you need to start by assessing whether or not that is truly a viable option. You want this to be a successful project. If you quickly realize that you need to have a professional installer come in to help, you will end up not saving at all. And if you have done anything wrong, it can cost you more to fix it.
Order from the Same Vendor
When you order from different vendors, you lose the opportunity to combine shipping costs. Items are shipped on pallets or crates. By purchasing from one vendor, you often end up with fewer pallets and crates making the overall weight of the equipment lower.
This also helps you plan for installation. If you order from multiple vendors, their shipping times could vary by weeks or even months. You will spend money on storage as you wait as people rarely have extra space to keep a full sized playground stored.