Design and surfacing

Obtaining assistance with playground design and surfacing

This information is provided for information purposes only. Parachute recommends consulting with an expert when considering playground design and surfacing specifications and materials.

Public playgrounds

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has developed the only nationally recognized standard on children's playspaces and equipment.

The CSA Standard is called CAN/CSA-Z614-07 Children's Playspaces and Equipment. Its purpose is "to promote and encourage the provision and use of playspaces that are well-designed, well-maintained, innovative, and challenging, and, in so doing, contribute to the development of healthy children in the broadest sense of the word."

The CSA Standard provides detailed information about: materials, installation, strength of the equipment, surfacing, inspection, maintenance, performance requirements, access onto and off of equipment, playspace layout and specifications for each type of equipment.

To learn about all aspects of the CSA Standard, it is important to get a copy of the Standard. Contact CSA or phone 1-800-463-6727.

The Standard is complex and communities may need assistance in evaluating their playgrounds in accordance with the Standard. 

Playground inspectors can provide expert advice about safe playground design and surfacing.  

Another source of information on playspace design is Evergreen, a national non-profit environmental organization dedicated to bringing nature to Canadian cities through naturalization projects in school grounds, community spaces and on private property. Their resources emphasize the use of natural elements for physical activity.

In addition, The National Program for Playground Safety in the United States, has information on playground design and surfacing.

Home playgrounds

The CSA standard does not apply to home playgrounds. However, similar rules can be applied to designing safer playspaces for children at home. Tips on home playground safety  provides additional information.