Contact Us

4 Must-Have Additions For Your Custom Outdoor Playground

Custom outdoor playground at a scenic park

There’s something truly magical about a playground. The laughter, the energy, the sense of endless possibilities – it’s where imaginations soar and lifelong memories are forged. Yet, creating an exceptional play experience takes more than just well-designed play structures. While slides and swings form the heart of any play area, other elements are crucial to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for children and caregivers alike.

In this blog post, we explore four essential additions that will elevate your custom outdoor playground to new heights of enjoyment and functionality.

Must-Have #1: Seating

Comfortable seating is a crucial component for any playground. It offers a space for parents and guardians to relax, supervise their children, and socialize with others. This simple addition significantly enhances the overall experience, making it easier for caregivers to stay longer and engage more fully with their surroundings.

But seating isn’t just for adults. Children also benefit from having places to rest their legs, catch their breath, and chat with friends in between their adventures on the play structures. Well-placed benches or picnic tables can become social hubs where kids plan their next big game or simply enjoy a snack.

Strategic Placement for Supervision

The placement of seating around your playground is vital. Properly situated benches allow caregivers to keep an eye on their children without having to hover, fostering a sense of independence for the kids while ensuring safety.

Consider placing seating in areas where most activities occur, such as near slides, swings, and climbing structures. Also, providing seating in quieter zones can give adults a respite and children a place to unwind away from the main action. This balance ensures that every part of the playground is easily observable.

Options for Seating

Various seating options can cater to different needs and preferences. Here are a few ideas:

  • Benches: Classic and timeless, benches are a staple in any playground. They come in various designs and materials, making them adaptable to different themes and aesthetics.
  • Picnic Tables: These provide a functional space for snacks and gatherings, encouraging social interaction and family meals.
  • Built-in Hillside Benches: These unique, space-saving options blend seamlessly with the landscape, offering a creative way to incorporate seating into the playground’s natural elements.

Must-Have #2: Shade

Shade is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity. Providing ample shade in your custom outdoor playground ensures that children can play comfortably and safely, protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays. It helps prevent overheating and sunburns, particularly during peak playtime hours.

Effective Shade Solutions

There are various ways to incorporate shade into your playground design:\

  • Shade Sails: These are stylish and colourful, offering partial shade with an aesthetically pleasing look. They can be arranged in various configurations to cover high-activity areas effectively.
  • Pavilions: For more comprehensive coverage, pavilions provide full shade and can accommodate larger groups, making them perfect for community gatherings or events.
  • Natural Shade Trees: Planting mature trees around the playground can offer beautiful, eco-friendly shade. They add a touch of nature while ensuring the area remains cool and inviting.

Balancing Aesthetics and Function

When adding shade structures, consider both their function and their visual impact. Aim for solutions that complement the playground’s design while providing maximum protection and comfort. Integrating natural and man-made elements can create a harmonious and visually appealing environment.

Must-Have #3: Safety Surfacing

Safety surfacing is paramount in any playground design. It provides a soft landing for falls, reducing the risk of injury and ensuring that children can play freely and confidently. A well-chosen surface material can make a significant difference in the overall safety of your playground.

Popular Safety Surfacing Options

There are several common materials used for playground surfacing, each with its benefits:

  • Wood Chips: This affordable option is readily available and provides decent impact absorption. However, regular maintenance is required to ensure it remains safe and effective.
  • Rubber Mulch: Known for its excellent impact absorption, rubber mulch comes in various colours, adding a vibrant touch to the playground. It’s more expensive than wood chips but requires less maintenance.
  • Poured-in-Place Surfacing: This seamless, long-lasting surface offers the best impact absorption. Although it typically has the highest cost, its durability and low maintenance make it a worthwhile investment.

Surfacing Options to Avoid

While exploring safety surfacing, it’s crucial to be aware of materials that may not be suitable. Hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt can significantly increase the risk of injury and should be avoided. Ensure the chosen materials meet safety standards and provide adequate cushioning for falls.

Must-Have #4: Waste and Recycling Receptacles

A clean playground is a happy playground. Providing waste and recycling receptacles encourages visitors to keep the area tidy and litter-free, ensuring a pleasant environment for everyone. Cleanliness also plays a role in maintaining the aesthetic appeal and longevity of playground equipment.

Strategic Placement of Receptacles

Place waste and recycling bins throughout the playground, focusing on high-traffic areas such as entrances, exits, and near seating or snack areas. Clear signage can help visitors easily locate these receptacles, promoting their use and maintaining the playground’s cleanliness.


Creating an extraordinary playground goes beyond selecting the right play structures. By incorporating essential elements like seating, shade, safety surfacing, and waste receptacles, you can ensure a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable environment for all ages. Be intentional in your design, considering the needs and preferences of both children and caregivers. With careful planning and thoughtful choices, you can create a playground that is both functional and visually appealing, providing endless opportunities for fun outdoor play experiences. So keep these must-haves in mind when designing your custom outdoor playground and watch it become a beloved destination for families in your community.

Looking for a Custom Outdoor Playground?

If you’re dreaming of designing a unique, high-quality playground for your community, our team at SPI Plastics is here to help. With a wide range of custom playground equipment options, we can turn your vision into reality. Our experts will work closely with you to create a playground that’s not only fun and functional but also safe and inclusive for all children.

Contact SPI Plastics today to learn more about our custom playground solutions and start your journey toward creating an exceptional play space!

SPI Plastics Inc.

165 Stoneman Drive, Box 100
(Shouldice Block Road & Joynt Street)
Shallow Lake, ON
N0H 2K0

T   519-935-2211
TF 800-269-6533
F   519-935-2174

Business Hours

Monday - Thursday: 8am to 4:30pm
Friday: 8am to 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Find Out More About SPI Plastics Inc.

Learn More

Contact SPI Plastics