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Designing Playgrounds with Landscape Architects - Q&A With Brandon McBride


We recently spoke with Brandon McBride, Vice President of Design at GameTime, about how our Landmark Design team works with landscape architects. Brandon shared his thoughts on the importance of creating a play and recreation area that appeals to all generations. The role of landscape architects is essential in making playgrounds a centerpiece of the community.

Read and learn how GameTime and Landscape Architects work together to enrich childhood and build communities through play.

What drives your creative process when you work with landscape architects?

One of the main driving forces is the idea of how children will use the space. We work with landscape architects to incorporate elements that create positive challenges and stimulate the imagination. That is a critical component to the success of any project.

Understanding how kids use the area lays the foundation for creating a design that will make it easier to interact with their peers. Each of us has a fundamental desire to connect with our fellow human beings. A playground is great for a child's physical development, but it's also important for enriching their social, cognitive, and emotional skills.

What drives your decision process on choosing materials?

Just like a landscape architect, GameTime's Landmark Design team looks at each project individually and examines the materials or products that best complement that space. Our TuffCrete sculptured concrete offers great durability and excellent textures. It can also create a connection to a community's history or culture.

Some projects are suitable for a more modern style or advanced levels of play. Choosing the right components and materials is essential for a positive user experience and achieving the desired results.

What has changed most in the design of playgrounds over the past decade?

One of the most important changes in playground design is a well-thought-out process towards an intergenerational design philosophy. Playgrounds have evolved from a peripheral recreation space to a central communal area. There is evidence that parents want to interact with their children while playing, and communities understand that play environments are critical anchor points where people of all ages come together and develop a stronger sense of community.

Do you consider other family members/generations when designing a playground with landscape architects?

It is important to consider all users who can use the space. Everyone should feel comfortable in their surroundings. We want people to spend as much time as possible in a park or on a playground so that they can enjoy all the benefits (physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, etc.) of the design. If someone has a positive experience, they're more likely to come back.

At the beginning of each project, we also consider making a play area as accessible and inclusive as possible. I want every play area to have something for everyone, regardless of age and ability. Parents and grandparents need spaces to interact playfully with their children, grandchildren, and their peers.

We also look for ways to add comfortable seating for parents to meet, socialize, and watch their children play.

Why is it important to design playgrounds that are out of the ordinary?

Communities and landscape architects who look for unique play environments help our designers flex their creative muscles and create better, unexpected designs. When a playground includes unexpected elements, children and families are more likely to play and explore the space. This encourages people to be more active and healthy. And that's how we can help people forge lasting relationships and create playful moments they'll never forget.

Let's Create Something Extraordinary Together

If you are planning a park, playground, or other recreational space for people of all ages and abilities, we'd be happy to talk to you, meet the needs of a target group and exceed their expectations. Please contact your local GameTime play expert for more information.