Landscape Structures - Smart Play - Big Fun For The Little Ones
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Problem Solver - August 2007

Furnishing a Park Site


PROBLEM:
We're ready to furnish our park site, but we're a little overwhelmed and need some guidance.


SOLUTION:
If you're thinking you just need a few benches here and there, think again. Creating the right environment requires some time and careful planning. Consider each element as essential in some way to the success of your facility. Ask yourself, if you were a park patron, would you use this picnic table, trash can, bike rack or bench? Would it be inviting or distract in some way from the overall look and goal of your space? Are there enough accessible furnishings? What will your budget realistically allow?

Questions like these should be answered before purchasing your site components. Luckily, these days, the selection of site furnishings is greater than ever. But while that's good, it can also be daunting. Going back to those benches, they are an essential component to any park setting, and shouldn't be taken as an afterthought. Make them a priority by working with a company that has enough frame configurations and colors to suit the style and theme you're going for. Don't know what that is yet? Some manufacturers also provide consultations to help with design layout.

One of the key factors to consider when deciding which benches to purchase is what they're made of. Depending on what you choose, your maintenance costs will vary. While wood benches make for a nice rustic touch, they can require more effort to keep up their beauty. Plastic lumber is a less care-intensive alternative and can be recycled.


But for durability and ease of maintenance, one of the best options is metal. Look for benches that are made with heavier steel to prevent sagging, with an ultraviolet-stabilized PVC coating that's fused and baked to an attractive, glossy finish. The gloss coating not only looks good, but it serves a purpose: It helps prevent fading over time. Frames should be sturdy and durable as well, and you'll find benches made from heavy galvanized steel tubing that's topped with a baked-on polyester powder coat. Just be sure to perform regular checks of the hardware and quickly repair any surface damage so the metal underneath doesn't begin to corrode.

Now that you've decided on which benches to buy, get the most out of your selection by placing them in appropriate areas. For instance, most people who want to sit down also want a break from the sun, so situating at least some benches in shady areas is a smart move. Be careful about placing wooden benches in wooded areas, because the moisture and lack of drying sun can make them vulnerable to rot. Also, you might think a nice, secluded spot is a romantic setting for a bench, but not only does it make them difficult, if not impossible, for people with disabilities to get to, but it also makes it tricky to mow the area fully. The best solution is to place benches along cement or paved paths. That way, they're easy to access, and you can avoid any disruption of mowing.

Other site furnishings to consider for your park include picnic tables, lounge chairs, ash urns, bike racks and swing benches. Choosing to work with a company that offers a full spectrum of these products can make furnishing your site much easier and smoother, helping to turn your plans and goals into reality and making your facility a pleasant place to sit and stay.


FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visions Innovated Products Inc.:
800-505-5101
www.webcoat.com


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