CHAPTER 6: SITE DESIGN
The fence bottom should be a maximum of 76 mm above the ground.
integrated pest management to control pests using the least toxic methods
Exposed fence bottoms should have a smooth finish for child safety.
feasible. Use alternate, less toxic termite prevention systems, rather than
Wood fences are not to be specified for new construction, existing ones
the application of chemical soil treatment, for wood-framed buildings. Only
should be smooth finished and splinter-free and if treated for exterior
where soil poisoning is determined to be necessary, use less toxic chemicals
use should be guaranteed to be non-toxic. Avoid the use of wood pres-
than chlorpyrifos ("Dursban"), which is currently being phased out by EPA.
sure-treated with CCA (chromated copper arsenate). Instead of wood,
Plant materials should be used to bring natural elements to the play
maximize the use of products made from recycled plastic or recycled
plastic/wood composite materials, which are inherently durable and
The atmosphere of the center can be enlivened by the color, texture,
weather-resistant. Following EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guide-
sound, and motion of plant materials.
lines (CPG), plastic fencing should be made from 90-100% total re-
Children's ability to observe plant growth is programmatically beneficial.
cycled content, including 60-100% post-consumer plastic.
Plant materials that display seasonal changes are desirable. Visual
Gates must be self-closing and latching. Children's fingers must be
barriers, screens, and shade and wind protection can be created using
protected from pinching or crushing on gate hinge spaces. Each play
plant materials in preference to, or in conjunction with, man-made struc-
yard will have a vehicle gate to allow service.
Fences may be used for protection from the elements and to control
Plant materials should be used to define interesting play areas.
sunlight and wind exposure.
Avoid trees with low hanging limbs if children can use them to climb to
Fences must be safe, with smooth caps and no finials or sharp picket
unsafe heights or to scale fences.
tops on which children might be injured.
Fences should be designed to discourage climbing, however, as per
6.7.3 Dimensions and Clearances:
codes, they must be capable of withstanding code specific force applied
For accessibility, please reference ADA 36 CFR 1191 Final rule: play
areas 15.6. Main entrance pathways should be 1830 mm to 2440 mm
All openings in the fences must be no more than 88 mm wide. To pre-
wide. All pathways must provide adequate clearances as prescribed by
vent finger entrapment, there must be no openings in the fence be-
the UFAS and ADA standards. Pathway slopes should be no greater
tween 9 mm and 25 mm wide.
than 1:20 unless they are provided with a handrail. (More than 1:20 is
Fence construction should not use horizontal rails except for the cap
considered a ramp.) Cross slopes will be limited to 1:50.
and base to prevent climbing.
Platforms, stairs, handrails on stairs, guardrails, and protective barriers
All fastening devices used for fence construction should not project out-
on platforms must be designed in compliance with requirements con-
tained in the latest edition of the Handbook for Public Playground Safety,
ward where they can injure children.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The height of plat-
forms and the age group using the platform will determine when a guard-
6.7.2 Plant Materials:
rail or protective barrier is required. Guardrails may be used in platforms
All plant materials must be non-toxic. See Appendix B for listing of common
at lower heights, while protective barriers must be provided on higher
toxic and non-toxic plant material. In addition, contact local USDA
Agricultural Extension Services for information on toxic or poisonous plants
Handrails must be provided to accommodate the intended age group
in the local area. Categories of plant hazards include berries, thorns, and
on all stairs (including adults). For children, heights will range between
plants with toxic leaves, stems, roots, or flowers.
510 mm above the leading edge of the tread and 915 mm. In certain
instances, it may be necessary to have two railings mounted at differing
Design planting and irrigation systems to minimize, down to zero, potable
water for landscape irrigation. Maximize the use of native vegetation, which
Guardrails must be provided for infants and toddlers on all platforms
has inherently lower maintenance requirements than introduced species,
greater than 300 mm above adjacent surfaces. Guardrails must be
and minimize, down to zero, the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
provided for pre-school-age children on all platforms greater than
Use locally acquired composted materials for fertilization, and practice
PBS-140 - July 2003