Problem Solver - August 2012
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Furnish Your Site

Outfitting your site with park benches, picnic tables, receptacles and more puts the finishing touches on a beautiful spot. Furnishing a site can be tricky though. You want to encourage activity, both for groups and for individuals. When you select and place your furnishings well, you'll make your park a destination for all.

Q: How should we design our picnic and seating areas?

A: Arrange your picnic tables and park benches in a variety of locations and configurations. Be sure to provide ways for people to enjoy your site as a group, but also provide more isolated seating, so individuals will have a place to enjoy your park in comfort. Groupings of picnic tables will make for an excellent spot for family reunions and smaller get-togethers.

Place your benches along trails so visitors can rest and enjoy the view, near playgrounds so caretakers can keep an eye on their children, and next to sports fields to provide seating for spectators. Be sure to place the benches so people will be facing the action or the view.

Make sure all your site furnishings are easily accessible. People of all abilities should be able to enjoy your seating.

Seating located near the parking area or entrance provides a place for people to gather when waiting for a ride or to meet a friend. And be sure you are aware of ADA requirements. You'll need to locate accessible picnic tables and seating where wheelchair users can easily use these amenities.

Many experts recommend offering both fixed and movable seating. Movable seating can be enjoyed by patrons who want to congregate together or enjoy a unique view.

Q: Where should we place our trash and recycling receptacles?

A: As with seating and picnic areas, trash and recycling receptacles should be easily accessible. You want to place them to encourage their use. Patrons who can't figure out where to put waste will leave it in all the wrong places.

Place your receptacles in the vicinity of picnic areas and shelters, as well as at trailheads, parking areas and near the entrance to your park.

Q: We'd like to outfit our park with benches, but we don't have a large budget. Is there a way we can install site furnishings without breaking the bank?

A: Sponsorships and memorials are a smart way to get help funding your site furnishings. You can allow local community members to dedicate a bench to the memory of a loved one, or allow local businesses or service organizations to sponsor a bench and provide a message about community support.

Almost any site furnishings can be personalized, from benches and picnic tables to receptacles and more. When you provide a way for community members to take ownership of your facility, it creates better stewardship of your parks and open spaces. Citizens who are involved in their parks are committed to the future of those parks.


Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls Inc.: