Bringing an outdoor space to life with the right furnishings and playground equipment
Enjoying the outdoors, whether sitting on a bench to watch the sunset or eating a picnic lunch at the park, requires furnishings built for endurance. This durability stems from material designed to withstand the elements and heavy use. Steel, plastic, aluminum and wood all possess this staying power and are commonly used in the construction of outdoor furniture and playground equipment. When selecting furnishings and outdoor playsets it is helpful to determine which material is best suited for the space.
Steel is vulnerable to rust with exposure to moisture. To prevent this deterioration, a dry powder is applied to its surface and then cured with high heat. The result is a powder coat finish: a smooth, solid coat that’s available in an array of color options. Outdoor furniture made of aluminum and plastic is virtually maintenance free. Aluminum is not susceptible to rust as it contains no iron. Plastic can be environmentally friendly if the plastic is recycled. Outdoor furniture made of wood is often pressure treated, allowing it to maintain its natural beauty while resisting decay.
Many times, outside use requires furniture and playground equipment that remains secure year-round. To accommodate this need, items like benches, trash receptacles, bike racks and picnic tables have two installation options – surface mount and in-ground mount. Opting for surface mount blends stability with flexibility. Furnishings come equipped with pre-drilled holes that mount directly to a ground surface like asphalt or concrete. Surface mount items can be relocated simply by removing the hardware and reinstalling elsewhere. The in-ground mount option provides the most security as the legs of a bench, swing set, slide or picnic table are buried in dirt with the addition of concrete. However, ease of mobility may be preferable if furnishings will be used in other areas outdoors like amphitheaters and picnic shelters. For that reason, it is common to find benches, picnic tables and outdoor trash cans available in portable styles, too.
Depending on the outdoor space, there is other equipment worth considering. This includes message centers for sharing events and important information, portable sinks for convenient handwashing and storage to house supplies. Outdoor message centers run the gamut in style from simple enclosed corkboards to illuminated, double-sided reader boards. Portable sinks can be a great addition to a school’s outdoor eating area or playground for quick and easy hand washing. These can be self-contained sinks or sinks that are temporarily connected to a water source. They can also be in the form of hand sanitizer stations with multiple dispensers, too.
The vision, layout and landscape of your outdoor space will help determine the best choice of outdoor furniture and playground equipment. Should you need any guidance, rely on the industry experts at School Outfitters to bring your outdoor space to life.