Landscape-led Design From Proludic
Client: Taunton Deane Borough Council
Age Range: Toddler/Junior/Teen
“The play space has a pleasant character and 'feel', and illustrates many of the benefits of designing a landscape setting alongside the equipment. “
Aileen Shackell - Lead author of the Design for Play guide.
Taunton Deane Borough Council wanted to create a play area that reflected the real needs of the community and transform the flat grassy space into a showcase site. Taunton Deane had already undertaken extensive resident consultation on the need for a play area on one of its large open spaces.
Proludic advocate the need to consult with children and residents at an early stage in the project, so the council and their partners actually know what it is that the community wants. These included setting up a dedicated website with play specific questionnaires, working with play participation workers and a landscape architect and inviting local schools to design their ideal play area using arts and craft materials.
Time was also spent in educating children and residents about the type of play equipment that is available and the play value of landscape features such as mounds, rocks and logs. This included helping people to understand the type of activities that could be included rather than talking about product specific names. Words such as rocking, natural, sliding, climbing, dynamic were used to describe play equipment that could be incorporated.
Louise Baugh, a landscape architect from Swan Paul Partnership worked with Proludic, Taunton Council and Barnardos to best transform the ideas into a play area that followed a landscape-led approach to achieving a play area that compliments the park surrounding and enhances the opportunities for play.
The result was an area designed to maximise the play potential of the landscape, alongside fixed play equipment chosen for its aesthetic qualities and play value.
One of the key aspects was to develop pockets of activity, altering the ground contours to position the equipment in an exciting and natural environment. Careful consideration was given to the size and shape of the natural elements to ensure they provided the right level of challenge for the intended age group.
A subtle blend of hard and soft materials were chosen as a pallet, such as sand and low level planting around toddler equipment or boulders and tougher materials for the more boisterous older age group.
“Together a team of professionals and young people have created a unique play space for Taunton. It looks fantastic, the young people love it and it is already proving a magnet for them.” Karen Hughes - Leisure Development Manager,
The site was officially opened to the public by Deputy Mayor Bob Bowrah on the 30th October and has had an excellent response from local residents.
“It really is exciting and a wonderful play area to be proud of. I wish I was 50 years younger. It will be superb for the youth of Taunton Deane – thank you to all involved for making this space possible,” Cllr Richard Lees - Executive Councillor for Sports, Parks and Leisure.