The benefits of commercial shade sails

Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma

We all know the physical and emotional benefits to getting outdoors. Adding shade structures to outdoor spaces can increase visitors to your community parks, playgrounds, sports and recreation complexes, and more. With the added protection of shade, play sessions can be extended making the benefits of play and outdoor activity even greater. We can help you add commercial shade sails to your outdoor areas with SkyWays® shade structures, which offers flexible and stylish options to make everywhere that people gather outside more comfortable.

To appreciate the benefits of shade, it’s important to understand the risks and long-term effects of UV radiation and sun exposure. Evidence from the Skin Cancer Foundation shows that sun exposure and sunburns during childhood multiply the risk of developing skin cancer. And according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes—even when days are cool and cloudy. SkyWays commercial shade sails provide critical protection, blocking up to 97 percent of the sun’s UV rays while making temperatures underneath up to 30-degrees cooler.

When adequate shade is added to playgrounds and surrounding areas, kids are protected from UV exposure, and parents and caregivers are more likely to extend play sessions. Families may be more likely to extend their picnic or family outing if they’re keeping cool and protected under a shade. Additionally, schools are utilizing shade sails and structures to extend their classroom space to the great outdoors. By adding SkyWays shade sails to existing courtyards or a new outdoor classroom space, schools can embrace the benefits of nature for outdoor learning and not worry about sun exposure or inclement weather.

Outdoor classroom concepts

Even more, commercial shade sails can help protect your investment. Integrating SkyWays shade into your playground design or adding it after your outdoor space has been completed will shield it from the intense rays of the sun and protect it from harsh winter weather. Shade structures help to prevent premature fading and deterioration by keeping the color of equipment vibrant and preventing cracking that happens over time from sun exposure.

Learn more about SkyWays commercial shade structures, and contact your local Landscape Structures consultant to get started on a shade project for your park, playground, outdoor classroom, sports and recreation complex, or wherever you need shade today.

50 Years at Play

Many people remember the days of freestanding slides, swings and monkey bars. But in 1967, that idea of playground design advanced to interconnected play components. The revolutionary idea of combining playground activities is known as the continuous play concept, which was created by our Cofounder Steve King. As his final thesis project at Iowa State University, Steve developed a system that linked play activities together to provide a continuous challenge for children. His premise was that if kids are together on one structure, they’ll learn things that they will use in real life like social and conflict-resolution skills.

While his thesis only scored him a C+ grade, Steve took his continuous play concept to his first job as a landscape architect specializing in park planning. In 1969, he was assigned a playground design project for the City of Minneapolis where he was able to put his approach in action. His first playground was a success, which lead to more interest. And in April 1971, Steve and Barb obtained a $1,000 loan and incorporated Landscape Structures to design and build playstructures. See our company timeline here.

In an effort to provide great play experiences for kids, Landscape Structures has always been committed to innovation. Hedra®, one of our more recent inventions, allows kids to safely navigate via their own intuition and curiosity, and invent routes, games and imaginary environments. Our long-standing commitment to inclusive play is breaking barriers with the new We-Go-Swing™, the first no-transfer inclusive swing that can be integrated directly into the playground setting. Even more, the use of innovative materials and the development of colors that are truly inspired by nature is changing the world of playgrounds.

As Landscape Structures moves into its 50th year of business, we’re taking time to reflect on the power of play. We know that play and recreation has far more value than just being fun; it is essential for the health and wellbeing of communities. And that’s why our team—nearly 500 employees and the network of more than 200 playground consultants worldwide—is proud to provide unique play opportunities for all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Because no matter what’s happening in the world, we will always come back to play.

Good things start on the playground

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Good things start on the playground. That chance moment when kids from anywhere get together just to be kids. To free their spirits, their bodies, their minds.

To play.

And through play, kids show persistence, leadership, competition, bravery, support, empathy. They show us who they will become as adults. They show us, as adults, who we should be now. Yes, good things start on the playground. And last a lifetime.

Browse or request your 2017 Playground Equipment Catalog and find inspiration for your next playground design. And we encourage you to share how you were #shapedbyplay in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Case Study: Creating an inclusive recreation destination

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Client: City of Ankeny Parks and Recreation department, Ankeny, Iowa

Designers: Outdoor Recreation Products and Gabriel Cotten, Landscape Structures playground designer

Goal: Create an inclusive destination to welcome children and families of all abilities

Solution: To create an inclusive play environment, a PlayBooster® playstructure with an extensive ramping system was installed. The ramps allow kids using wheelchairs or other mobility devices to get to the highest levels on the playground, and there are playground activities like the Rollerslide and Sway Fun® glider along the way. Set apart from the main playstructures are even more opportunities for inclusive play. And to tie in with the nearby Miracle League baseball field, custom baseball roofs were included.

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Visit playlsi.com to read more about how the City of Ankeny Parks and Recreation department partnered with community organizations to bring a unique recreation experience to the kid of Ankeny as well as surrounding communities.

Get ready to ROCK Las Vegas!

Join us in Las Vegas for the NRPA Annual Conference.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone next week at the NRPA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. If you’re attending, join us for the following events:

  1. Exhibit Hall. Do you wanna ROCK? Then visit us in booth #847 on Tuesday and Wednesday as we rock the playground!
  2. Exhibit Hall Reception. Join us Tuesday, Sept. 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in booth #847 for a specialty cocktail. We’ll be rockin’ and rollin’ all night!
  3. Education Sessions. Join John McConkey, Ingrid M. Kanics, and our past clients to learn about the following:
    • The Power of Green Infrastructure Playgrounds: Engagement, Education and Stewardship – Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 4:30 p.m. in Breakers I.
    • All Ages, All Abilities: Are Your Parks Socially Sustainable? – Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 9:45 a.m. in Breakers E.
    • Evidence-Based Landscape Design: Pilot Study of Children with Developmental Disorders – Thursday, Sept. 17, at 10:45 a.m. in Breakers K.

Celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 16

In just over a week, children and families will descend upon local, state and national parks to celebrate Kids to Parks Day. The event, being held on May 16, 2015, marks the fifth year that the National Park Trust has encouraged children and families to get outside for play, exploration and adventure.

Make the pledge to visit a local park on Kids to Parks Day, May 16.

Visit kidstoparks.org to make the pledge to plan a trip to the park on Saturday, May 16. Just by making the pledge, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a Nikon COOLPIX L830 camera. And while your there, you can browse a listing of park events by state and city to find one near you. Or find a nearby playground on playlsi.com that you can go explore.

Tom Sawyer Island at Amelia Earhart Park, Hialeah, Fla.

According to the National Park Trust, Kids to Parks Day is becoming America’s unofficial kick off to summer. So mark your calendar and plan to get out and play on May 16!

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.

Supporting the children and nature movement

We know that improved concentration and school achievement, reduced stress levels and a foundation of environmental stewardship are just a few of the benefits that kids receive from playing outdoors. That’s why we’re committed to designing nature-inspired commercial playground equipment that gets kids outside for play and reconnecting with the natural world around them.

Children & Nature Network 2015 Conference

Our commitment to outdoor play is also why we’re proud to support the Children & Nature Network’s 2015 Conference April 7-9, in Austin, Texas. We’re looking forward to connecting with leaders from around the world to hear what others are doing to create nature-rich communities that are so critical to the health and wellbeing of children and families.

Learn more about how we help communities create natural play environments, and check out the Children & Nature Network for the latest in research and policies.

Take flight with ZipKrooz™

Zip lines have become the fastest growing recreational sport in the world, and now one of our newest innovations brings that adventure to the playground! ZipKrooz™ is our inclusive zip line for playgrounds, and when paired with its accessible companion, ZipKrooz Assisted, it provides a truly inclusive play experience.

ZipKrooz

ZipKrooz lets kids zip from one end to the other, and back again for nonstop fun. With three lengths of track available, ZipKrooz and ZipKrooz Assisted can accommodate any playground or all three can be installed to offer users a graduated experience. Even better, when installed together ZipKrooz and ZipKrooz Assisted provide children of all abilities the feeling of flying side-by-side.

Double ZipKrooz

Learn more about ZipKrooz and ZipKrooz Assisted and see it in action below.

Dreams becoming reality

Region 3 Winner: The Princess Alexa Foundation, Keller, Texas

The plans for Alexa’s Playground are coming along nicely. The playground designs are complete, and we are waiting to see the final layout with the colors. The grounds of Keller Sports Park have been leveled, and soon the space will be surveyed to determine accurate placement of the inclusive playground equipment. As we get closer to completion, we’re getting even more excited to see this dream of Alexa’s become a reality.

In addition to finalizing the playground designs and site plans, the Princess Alexa Foundation is working to secure funding. Recently, we were chosen as one of the beneficiaries of a local charity golf tournament. We are also working on a couple of grant proposals, and hope to connect with a local businessman who is influential within the community.