Learning, celebrating and connecting in Philadelphia

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Last weekend, we were in Philadelphia for the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Annual Meeting and Expo. First thing on Saturday morning, President Pat Faust introduced the speakers of the Opening General Session, Susan Stamberg and Laurie Olin. Following, we welcomed visitors to our booth space, which featured the Alpha® Tower and Friendship® Swing.

On Saturday night, we hosted an event for customers at NOTO. It was great connecting with all of the landscape architects, hearing about their amazing visions and sharing how, together, we can create word-of-mouth legendary play spaces. We’re already looking forward to next year in San Diego.

Case Study: Teaching kids as they play

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Client: Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC), Upper Marlboro, Md.

Designers: Brenda Iraola, landscape architect supervisor; Chris Colvin, landscape architect; and Rene Albacete, landscape architect

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Goal: Create a storybook playground design for Watkins Regional Park based on the original Oz storybook to encourage learning through play

Solution: Kids and families can experience Auntie Em and Uncle Henry’s Kansas farm, Dorothy’s house, Munchkin Land, the poppy field, the Emerald City and Dorothy’s attempt to get home via hot air balloon. Even more, Dorothy’s ruby slippers were adapted to be playground slides! The design also includes a unique experience for the children to become the characters of the storybook. Brenda and her team used play panels containing graphics of the drawn storybook characters—Dorothy and Toto, the Cowardly Lion, Tin Woodsman and the Scarecrow—with cut-outs for children’s faces to allow them to become a part of the story.

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Read more about how the Wizard of Oz-themed playground at Watkins Regional Park has become the main attraction for visitors all over Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Case Study: Healing through play

Thomas M. Menino Park, Boston, Massachusetts

Client: Boston Redevelopment Authority, Boston, Mass.

Designers: Cheri Ruane, landscape architect at Spurr, Weston & Sampson’s design studio

Goal: Design an exciting and interesting playground that would be truly inclusive so that kids who are typically developing and those with special needs could play together

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Solution: Cheri and her team collaborated with physical and occupational therapists from nearby Spaulding Rehabilitation Center to learn and understand what kinds of therapy and activities should be supported in the park. The playground combines the Evos® playsystem with the PlayBooster® playstructure, landforms were used to create elevation so that space wasn’t taken up by really long lengths of ramps. And sensory-rich and therapy-specific components were included to meet the needs of all visitors.

Read more about how Thomas M. Menino Park brings fun and therapy to the Boston Waterfront.

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The Canyon Collection™, landscape architects ROCKED Chicago

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At the American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting & Expo last weekend in Chicago, we ROCKED the exhibit hall! Our booth space featured The Canyon Collection™ and a customized Netplex™ in our new colors and the HealthBeat® Chest/Back Press and Elliptical stations.

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Visitors to our booth were met with our nature-inspired climbers, which enticed many to test out their rock-climbing skills. All that play combined with Pop Rocks took attendees back to days from their youth. In addition to our booth, we were proud to sponsor the Opening General Session featuring creators of the PBS series, 10 Parks That Changed America. We also sponsored the Edible Landscape Celebration, which included healthy, locally sourced and heirloom foods, dancing and a Blues Brothers tribute!

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Even more, we were excited to celebrate our President Pat Faust, who was presented with an Honorary Membership in ASLA. This honor is given to non-landscape architects for their commitment to the landscape architecture profession.

We had a great time in Chicago visiting with park and recreation professionals, hearing from industry experts and taking in all that the city has to offer. Our employees and playground consultants are already looking forward to the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting in New Orleans!

Celebrating landscape architecture throughout April

In addition to being Autism Awareness Month, this April has also been designated as World Landscape Architecture Month. The month-long event celebrates landscape architecture and the work its professionals do to design public and private spaces.

World Landscape Architecture Month 2015

We’re proud to be able to work with landscape architects to create innovative playground designs. Whether it’s a curvy, sprawling design of playground nets, an environment that teaches kids about the history of their community, or a themed playground that sends kids on an adventure in their imagination, playgrounds designed by landscape architects become spaces that welcome individuals of all ages, abilities and cultures.

Summit Park, Blue Ash, Ohio

We love the result of collaborating with landscape architects, but their designs go way beyond parks and playgrounds. See projects “Designed By A Landscape Architect” by following #wlam2015 on social media, then visit asla.org to learn more about World Landscape Architecture Month and the landscape architecture profession.

From prison yard to Grammy’s Garden

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A former prison might seem an odd place for a childcare center. But places change over time, as do the people who inhabit those places. And when those people are between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, they experience a lot of change in a short amount of time.

Prince George's County Employees' Childcare Center.

Read about the metamorphosis of the play area at Prince George’s County Employee’s Childcare Center below, and get the full story at playlsi.com.

Client: Prince George’s County Employee’s Childcare Center

Designers: Brenda Iraola, landscape architect, and Sparks@Play

Goal: Develop a fresh narrative for the existing play environment around the theme of transformation

Solution: Drawing on the memories of her Grandmother Freda’s farm in Minnesota, Brenda divided the courtyard into four play areas where kids can follow the journey of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. A larger-than-life caterpillar welcomes explorers into an enormous, interactive garden. Play structures are outfitted with flowers, ladybugs, bees, ants, mushrooms and leaves to create an immersive storybook experience.

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Designing beyond the boundaries at ASLA 2012

Next weekend, we will be in Phoenix, Ariz., for the 2012 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Annual Meeting & Expo. More than 5,000 landscape architects are expected to descend on the city, and we’re excited to meet new landscape architects as well as reconnect with others.

ASLA Annual Meeting & Expo: Phoenix, Ariz.

We are exhibiting in booth 921, and invite attendees to stop by. Our custom design team, with experience that ranges from building large-scale parade floats to sculpting highly detailed items for the Smithsonian, will be on-site to talk about how we use design sessions to uncover customers’ needs in order to create a personalized playground design. Visitors can also put their artistic and design abilities to use to create their own personalized takeaway. Stop in and say hi; we’ll have coffee, chocolate and apples to celebrate the Green Apple Day of Service.

In addition to our exhibit space, we’re proud to support the landscape architecture profession by sponsoring the opening general session on Saturday morning. The session will feature Charles Fishman, an award-winning investigative journalist, who will speak about the history and future of water. He’ll also discuss his travels around the globe—from Las Vegas to New Delhi—to uncover how the world of water is changing and how it will affect society.

That same night, the ASLA/Landscape Structures Gala: Boots, Bandanas and Bolos will close-out the annual meeting. The event is at Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds, and is sure to be a great time. Our employees and playground consultants that are attending have their cowboy boots ready, and are looking forward to the Mariachi band, fajita buffet dinner, carnival games, and music and dancing.