Nature Playground Maintenance Recommendations
As we all know all building works, parks and landscapes etc require some form of maintenance, and nature playgrounds are no different. You may be thinking “OH MAN” this sounds like hard work, however like most equipment, if you keep on top of it then the maintenance will never amount to a big job to undertake nor will it be a costly one. Nature Playgrounds are constructed primarily from natural products so below is a list of maintenance recommendations.
- Regularly check timber products for wear and tear. Most timber will have timber restorer products applied when originally installed or supplied but this will wear away with normal wear and tear from climbing and use of the products etc. If you do notice some timber with worn sections, just give it a light rub back with light sandpaper and then apply some more timber restorer as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Alternatively, we recommend that you have the timber inspected and treated every 4 months.
- If irrigation systems are involved in the playground, regularly check for exposed lines and just put the entire program through a “TEST” cycle at least every fortnight. If any sprinklers or lines become blocked or damaged you will be able to notice this before too much damage is caused to the garden. Weekly tests are recommended during hot summer periods.
- Hand pumps can be checked weekly to make sure they are free from foreign matter and operating as required. Each pump has 4 small screws on top of the pump. These can easily be removed and the entire internal section of the pump can slide out for cleaning and inspection. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wEaBnGeV8A
- Mulch. Just check that your mulched areas are not wearing too thin or compacting. If you notice compaction of certain areas then this can quickly and easily be turned over with a garden pitch fork. If areas are wearing thin then you can speak to your landscaper regarding a top up.
- Mechanical attachments and moving parts such as swing brackets etc should be regularly checked for defects. It is very unlikely that you will notice a defective or damaged hinge etc but if you do then it is most likely just a lemon and should be replaced immediately. Speak to a representative about a warranty claim on the product. Flag the specified piece of equipment as out of bounds or unsafe for use until the replacement piece has been installed.
- Sandpits. For some reason kids feel the need to take the sand out of sandpits and spread it everywhere where it shouldn’t be. Do regular checks of the sand depths, especially if they are also a softfall zone and ensure that levels don’t go below a minimum depth. If they do, then speak to your landscaper or maintenance company about getting the sandpit topped up. Also do regular checks of the sandpit to check for foreign matter that could cause harm such as glass, aluminium, stones or contaminated products such as gravels and mulches etc.
- Timber decks should be checked for splintering on a regular basis. We recommend that the lightly sand and apply new timber restorer to your timber decks twice a year at minimum. Also check the deck for loose screws or nails and decking boards that may be shifting or cupping out of position. If you are looking to let your timber deck “age” and do the grey drying out thing, that’s cool, just pay closer attention for splinters.
- Do regular checks of balustrades to ensure they are structurally sound. Just grab a hold of the top rail and give it a good hard shake. If there is noticeable movement, cracking sounds or it feels insecure, please report it and have it inspected asap.
- Check for rust of corrosion of any metal surfaces and treat accordingly if required. Most metals these days are powder coated and if done correctly then you should not have any concerns.
- Check regularly for loose or protruding bolts etc in equipment. Have maintenance personal rectify any issues immediately if required.
- Lawns. If you are lucky enough to have natural turf in your playground then you are most likely going to have a mowing contractor manage this but, in the event, that you do not then we recommend Autumn and Winter mowing 3-4 weekly and Spring and Summer mowing should be 1-2 weekly. Raise your cutting height in Autumn and Winter so you do not scalp your lawn. Speak to your maintenance company regarding fertilising and spraying programs.
Nature Playgrounds are leaders in design, supply and construction of nature-based playgrounds for early learning centres, schools, public spaces and private use. In addition to our design and construction service, Nature Playgrounds also provide a supply only service which enables our clients to order individual components from a wide range of nature based, playground equipment.