playground maintenance in autumn and winter

Playground equipment can provide children with a joy and excitement found nowhere else. If you own playground equipment, then you know the importance of keeping it in the best possible condition. Along with extending the life of play structures, it helps to reduce the potential risk of injury. In addition, the right maintenance will leave your playground looking new for years to come. Below we go into detail about ways that you can help keep your playground equipment maintained during the autumn months.

Know What to Expect

Autumn brings with it variable temperatures and a lot of moisture. Both of these things can eat away at playground equipment. The combination of wet and dry cycles helps to break apart the outer coating of the material while the changing temperatures stress the material and expose things like joints and bolts to rust. Be aware that while the damage done during the Autumn months may not be that dramatic, they are a problem none-the-less and will result in significant damage if ignored for years. So, what can you do to maintain your playground equipment?

Collect & organise your tools before you begin

Start by collecting the tools you will need. Get a torch, WD-40 oil, mulch, polyurethane and brushes, an s-hook plier, and wrenches for tightening bolts. Also consider a roll of paper towels to help clean up the playground equipment when you are done.

Perform weekly inspections

During the Autumn months, you will want to perform regular weekly inspections. These inspections are preventative in nature and will require little effort once you get into the swing of things. Check to make sure none of the bolts are coming loose for things like climbing frames or play towers. Examine the plastic parts to see if there has been any damage done. Consider applying new mulch and performing a light raking. The higher levels of rain typically result in more mulch work having to be done.

Clean and Prep for the following year

There are a few things you can do during the Autumn to prepare your play structures for the rest of the winter and the following year. One of the most important things for you to do is to treat the joints with WD-40. This helps decrease the risk of rusting. In addition, check nearby trees to see if they have encroached on the playground and consider cutting them back if they are within 6 feet. Also, you may want to check the swing clearance to ensure that it has not decreased since the last time you measured.

You can take the inspection further by using a torch, check for insect or animal activity around and inside the frames of structures like outdoor shelters and play towers. Finally, consider installing a coat of polyurethane on the equipment before finishing. The coating will help to fully protect the playground equipment against the elements and leave your play structures happy, safe, and like new.

plastic playground equipment

It could be argued that any sort of play area would attract at least some children to play on it, however there are many ways to maximise your appeal to the youngsters and, therefore to make your play area gain more visitors. Here are 5 ways to create a play area that would get flocks of children pestering their parents to go and play on.

1) Add More Colour
Everyone knows that the eyes of children light up with the sight of vibrant, bright colours. You should definitely try to incorporate this into your commercial play areas, especially if you are trying to appeal to children of key stage 1 or key stage 2. If your climbing frame is lacking a lick of paint, or you’re thinking about installing one, an array of colours definitely should be a big priority.

2) A Variety of Equipment
If you are looking for your play structure to appeal to a wider audience of children, then you should think about installing a variety of equipment that is suitable for children of both key stage 1 and key stage 2. This could be a play tower that is suitable for key stage 1, which is not very high but still incorporates a slide and a rock wall so they can still have bundles of fun, but have more safety than the older children. Whereas if you include this as well as a play tower for key stage 2 children, you have the ability to appeal to these children as well without losing the interest of the younger kids.

3) Suitable Seating
As well as the enjoyment of the children, parents also want to relax whilst watching their children play. This means that they are going to need some sort of comfort, as standing up all the time won’t convince them to stay and let their child play! A form of seating is vital in all good play structures for this exact reason, as well as this, children may want a drink, something to eat, socialise or just a rest after a long time playing at your play area, so seating is convenient for all.

4) Keep an Eye on Equipment!
Children can get too giddy and excited from time to time, this can result in damage to your equipment sooner than you think. This means that you will have to keep your climbing frames maintained more frequently and may need more paintjobs or repairs than your usual object! By maintaining your equipment to a high standard, this will continue its visual appeal to children and parents alike. The parents are more likely to let their child play on a well maintained play area than one that is run down and potentially dangerous!

5) Location, Location, Location
The final way to make the best possible play area would be to make sure that the location of this area is in an accessible and convenient place. For example, having a random play area in the middle of a woods wouldn’t be a good idea, neither would be putting one near a main road. If possible, the play area should be in touch with its natural surroundings to allow children to experience a different environment than that near their homes. However, children in key stage 1 and key stage 2 are more themselves when they feel like no one is watching, so a more private play area may be suitable for children of this age.

about peak playgrounds

After a few months of hard work, we are pleased to announce that our new website is live. The new site introduces our new logo and branding and lots more installation photos.

Our Instagram feed is now connected so you can see our latest installs and playground design ideas without leaving the website. Over the coming months we will be updating the blog with news and case studies from recent installs.