To build better playgrounds, and to encourage more of them, Landscape Structures® wanted to understand how play leads to the development of successful adults. So, they commissioned a meta-study, “Shaped by Play: The Formative Role of Play and Playgrounds” in partnership with the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development. This study aggregates and analyzes key findings from some of the most influential studies on children and play. Our purpose is to recognize the importance and power of play and encourage you to think about and create positive play experiences for children in your community.

If you know kids, you know the importance of play. Most people know play is important for physical and mental development. And you intuitively understand its power to shape our children’s futures. But, we believe play has the potential to begin building a foundation of life-long leadership skills such as persistence, empathy and leadership.

This study will confirm your instincts, hopefully reveal some new insights, and lay the ground work for deeper understanding of how play impacts leadership skill development.

Contact us to request this whitepaper. To learn more about the formative role of play, visit

Legacy of Play H2O Contest Now Accepting Applications

We, along with Aquatix® by Landscape Structures, are excited to launch the Legacy of Play H2O Contest in partnership with Kiwanis International. This new contest will award one Kiwanis club an AquaSmart™ Package from Aquatix valued at up to US$50,000.

Landscape Structures and Aquatix partnered with Kiwanis to create the Legacy of Play H2O Contest as a way to help Kiwanis clubs achieve their goal of bringing play to all children. See the timeline of the contest below, review the questions, read the official contest rules and submit entries at

Entry Period. Connect with your local Kiwanis club and have them submit an entry between Feb. 1-28.

Voting Period. All eligible entries will be open to public vote beginning March 3. Encourage your community to vote!

Selection Period. The top 10 finalists from the public vote will be reviewed by a panel of judges from Kiwanis International, Aquatix and more.

Winner Announcement. The winner of the Legacy of Play H2O Contest will be announced on or around March 26.

Have questions about how you can become eligible for the Legacy of Play H2O Contest? Contact us today and we’ll help you make a connection to your local Kiwanis club.

2021 Play Tour

2021 Play Tour at Landscape Structures in Delano, MN was well attended! We were thrilled to have the folks from Coleman and Associates, City of Mineral Wells, and the City of Allen join us for tour of the plant where the best playgrounds are made!

“Our lean manufacturing practices and kaizen techniques combined with a creative, empowered work force drives significant operational improvements, reduces waste, increases efficiencies and ensures product quality.”

#shapedbyplay #wecomebacktoplay

This educational session included a tour of the Landscape Structures manufacturing facilities during which they saw processes in action and learned how manufacturing improvements have created more environmentally preferable products. 

And the best part…the Landscape Structures Play Tour qualifies for Continuing Education Credits! We are authorized to provide a range of 2.50 to 4.0 CEUs, which meets Health, Safety and Welfare credits. After spending time at the company headquarters, attendees have an understanding of the following learning objectives:

  • An employee-owned company, operating lean manufacturing and continuous improvement practices, impacts the quality of a manufactured product.
  • Various manufacturing processes and mistake-proof techniques can ensure repeatable quality.
  • The advantages of using various coating methods and finishing systems for different material types.
  • Changes to manufacturing practices can greatly reduce the usage of materials, water and energy, resulting in products that are environmentally responsible.
  • Equipment inspections in the field, through site tours, show first-hand how the product performs in real world conditions.

If you would like to be part of a future tour please contact us.

Whirlix Design’s Playgrounds Make the Ultimate Playground List for Collin County, TX!

Collin County’s Local Profile just posted their “Ultimate guide to the best playgrounds in and around Collin County, TX.”

Whirlix Design is pleased to see four of it’s playgrounds make this list: Frank Kent’s Dream Park in Fort Worth, Space Station Playground at McCord Park in Little Elm, Dragon Playground at Bicentennial Park in Southlake and Liberty Playground at Windhaven Meadows Park in Plano.

These destination parks draw crowds from surrounding areas for their unique themes and equipment designed for kids of all ages and abilities. Playgrounds like these capture the imagination and inspire play engagement for hours on end. The custom innovative designs provide physical and mental challenges appealing to younger and older kids alike. Without compromising safety, kids are challenged to take risks in their play and grow their abilities as they conquer new challenges.

Even better, kids of all abilities can play side-by-side in the inclusive playgrounds. Our inclusive playgrounds go beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and strive to make every aspect of play available for every child.

A well-designed destination playground creates an experience in itself with lifelong memories. It brings people together and provides a gathering place with the opportunity to use their imaginations, explore, exercise and spend time outdoors.

To see more of our Texas destination playgrounds click here.


Going Beyond ADA Compliance to Inclusivity

In July, Jill Moore, an Inclusive Play Specialist from Landscape Structures® spoke at the American Society of Landscape Architects Conference on the subject of inclusive play design.  Moore, a former Paralympian athlete, is deeply passionate about her mission: To make sure every child on every playground gets to have fun. Moore has a deep understanding of the need for variety of options and thoughtful designs to give all children an opportunity to play.

In a recent study, 57 percent of parents mistakenly believed that playgrounds are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to include elements designed for children with Down syndrome, sensory disorders, and visual and hearing impairments. Current ADA standards primarily require that playgrounds be accessible for those who use a wheelchair or other mobility aid.  “ADA doesn’t really mean a playground is inclusive”, Moore said, “The Americans with Disabilities Act is a set of laws created in 1990 to make communities more livable and provide equal rights for those with disabilities.” She continued, “ADA compliance regulations are just a bare minimum set of compliance laws. Most playgrounds have been ADA compliant since 2010.”       

As an example, Moore explained how “engineered wood fiber is considered ADA compliant,” however, it is the one of the worst obstacles for those in a wheelchair to have to push through to get to the playground equipment. “The loose-fill material causes challenges in traversing a space because front wheels get stuck,” she explains. Moore further explained that wood fiber can be a challenge for kids with ambulatory impairments (struggle with balance), “It’s harder to maintain stable footing, it’s just outright tough to move through at the base level. Users can’t even maintain a basic conversation when trying to maneuver wood fiber and stay with their peers.” To be truly inclusive, surfacing like PIP (Poured in Place) or turf is better and more inclusive.

In addition, inclusive play design needs to enable all children to develop physically, socially, and emotionally. An inclusive playground provides just the right level of challenge, addresses all levels of ability, and goes beyond minimum accessibility to create play experiences that meet a variety of needs and interests. For example, Moore stated, “a steering wheel on a post which adds a ground level accessible component checks the box for ADA standards, but how fun is that in reality?”  It’s a minimal standard with a focus on physical access, not necessarily the play experience. Does it facilitate togetherness and social development? Is it any fun? At an inclusive playground, children of all abilities can interact with each other and do what all kids want to do: play.    

The challenge for playground designers, municipalities, or landscape architects is to provide an exciting experience for all end users. Moore says that “ADA is only the minimum standard. We should be aiming to go beyond those basic ADA standards and redefine the status quo.” Creating an inclusive play space in your community will deliver numerous benefits. Playgrounds that truly welcome everyone will become destination gathering places for visitors near and far. Most importantly, inclusive playgrounds help eliminate bias for children with disabilities.

Fun Fact: The founder of Landscape Structures®, Steve King was on the board that wrote the ADA laws for playgrounds. His work with the ADA set the precedent which resonates through the company today.