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Serious business: Bringing play into urban spaces

Collaborating with a playground specialist on your park and garden commissions brings exploration, creativity and adventure to children's neighbourhoods

In association with
The playground in Queen's Gardens, Croydon, south London: Playequip's central structure is a slide designed to mimic the form of the crocus, after which the town is named.
The playground in Queen's Gardens, Croydon, south London: Playequip's central structure is a slide designed to mimic the form of the crocus, after which the town is named. Credit: Timothy Soar for HUB Residential

Play design specialist Playequip has collaborated with landscape architect Grant Associates on a project to reinvigorate the outdoor and playground spaces at Queen's Gardens on Park Lane in Croydon, south London.

The gardens opened in 1983 and encompass the former site of a police station and the Victorian Town Hall Gardens, which were laid out originally in the 1890s.

Central to the playground design is a large bespoke wooden structure, crafted to emulate the form of a crocus flower, a nod to the area’s namesake - Croydon means 'crocus valley' in Anglo Saxon.

Inspired by the gardens' natural beauty and Victorian charm, the structure functions as the focal point of the playground, inviting children from the local area to explore and play.

Close communication and a shared vision were crucial to getting the design from the initial concept phase to final installation.

To ensure a cohesive and immersive play experience, Playequip designed and constructed a range of playground equipment to harmonise with the crocus-inspired structure.

The main piece and a selection of more challenging equipment, including monkey bars, pull-up bars, balance beams, slide and a cantilever swing, sit in the upper playground, which was designed for older children.

Each piece was created using natural materials to mirror the aesthetic of the central structure and blend with the surroundings.

  • Playequip's cantilever swing in the upper playground.
    Playequip's cantilever swing in the upper playground. Credit: Thirsty Photography
  • The wooden bridge in the lower playground.
    The wooden bridge in the lower playground. Credit: Timothy Soar for HUB Residential
  • The balance trail in the lower playground.
    The balance trail in the lower playground. Credit: Timothy Soar for HUB Residential
  • Balance beams next to the main playground structure and slide.
    Balance beams next to the main playground structure and slide. Credit: Timothy Soar for HUB Residential
  • The natural materials and planting help the playground blend into the gardens around it.
    The natural materials and planting help the playground blend into the gardens around it. Credit: Timothy Soar for HUB Residential
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In the lower play space for younger children, visibility was important. A custom-made wide slide, wooden bridge, balance trail, trampoline and playable seating are placed strategically in a loop within the gentle topography to offer a world of fun. 

Throughout the project, the Playequip team of specialist playground designers, builders and installers worked to integrate the bespoke playground equipment while preserving the gardens' historical integrity.

Incorporating vibrant, socially valuable playgrounds into neighbourhood urban parks and gardens gives local children access to endless adventures, exploration and creativity.

Landscape designers and architects can collaborate with specialist play designers to facilitate beautiful, ambitious, cost effective and safe play spaces. 

Playequip offers a free online CPD for designers wanting to understand its development process, innovative designs and how it can assist with the creation of better play spaces. 

Find more on this case study at playequip.com/queens-gardens

For more information and technical support, visit playequip.com

Contact:
0203 627 0769
info@playequip.com


 

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