Site Prep photo

Site Preparation

General Site Selection Checklist

  • Choose an open space free from elevation changes, exposed rocks, roots and stumps
  • Consider overhead obstructions such as tree limbs and powerlines
  • Avoid sites near, around, or in conjunction with swimming pools, ponds, lakes or any other bodies of water
  • Avoid sites close to busy roads unless a fence will enclose the play space
  • Consider drainage for the site and avoid sites where possible ponding may occur
  • Consider access routes to site for equipment delivery and parking

Once an appropriate site has been chosen, a number of play space-related decisions must be made prior to the installation of your new playground. These include:

Leveling the site: Prior to installation, you will want to make sure that the ground located directly beneath and around where you intend to position the play structure is absolutely level. This is very important! If the ground is uneven or has the slightest undulations, it is highly recommended that you have the area professionally graded. For maximum safety and usability, all inclines greater than 1-2% grade should be leveled.

Check for underground utilities before digging or spiking: Your local gas, water, and power companies will typically perform this service for you. Mark all underground utilities with spray paint or by staking with string.

Consider items like permits, sidewalk installation and lighting: Some areas require permits before installation of commercial play equipment. Research and know your local and state codes and requirements. If sidewalks and lighting are also being installed at the site, be sure to mark these areas leaving appropriate distances from the play space.

Choose your ground attachment method: UPlayToday™ play systems feature a unique ground attachment footer system that allows the structure to be installed using three different methods. Two surface mount methods are possible and include Ground Spiking and Concrete Anchor Bolts. Traditional In-ground mounting into poured concrete footers is also possible. 

Measuring and Marking the Play Space & Use Zones Refer to the Footing Diagram in the installation instructions to ensure the structure will fit into your actual site area. A minimum of 6’ clearance is required between any obstacles and your structure. EXCEPT for slide exits, which require a distance X equal to the highest point of sliding surface with a minimum of 6’ and a maximum of 8’ from the edge of the slide (example: A Wave Slide from a 6’ high deck requires 6’ of clear space with resilient surfacing in front of its exit).

Refer to the Footing Diagram and note the Minimum Area Required shown for this structure. This area must be filled with adequate resilient play surface material, and must be clear of all obstacles, including but not limited to trees, curbing, sidewalk, fence, other play equipment, rocks and landscaping, etc.

The site layout should include accurate measurement and marking of all footings prior to any installation. If installing in-ground footings, use the dimensions shown between each footing found on the Footing Diagram to plot out the actual footprint of the play structure before doing any digging. Also locate any freestanding play equipment in the same manner, providing the necessary clearance between the equipment as well as any fences, trees, etc. At this time, ensure that you have enough total space for the equipment to be installed.

Stake use zones, the amount of space required around and between equipment.

Vertical Clearance of power lines, trees, roofline etc. Overhead obstructions within the use zones of playground equipment that are not part of the play structure (for example, tree limbs) shall be at least 84 inches (2130 mm) above each designated play surface or 84 inches (2130 mm) above the pivot point of swings. 

Choose your Safety Surfacing Commercial play equipment such as UPlayToday™ structures cannot be installed over hard, non-resilient surfaces such as asphalt, concrete or compacted earth without the use of a safety surface. It is the playground owner’s responsibility to ensure that the area immediately underneath and around any and all play equipment contains an appropriate amount of resilient material to cushion accidental falls.

Three types of safety surfacing are recommended for use with UPlayToday™ equipment and work most effectively with the system’s adjustable footers. These include Engineered Wood Fiber, Rubber Tiles or Poured-in-Place rubber.