Playground Safety and Design/fence/visibility

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Question
QUESTION: Hello,
I do handyman work and a church has asked me to do some work on a playground area to keep the sand from blowing out. Specifically, they've asked me to refurbish what is sort of a wood frame at ground level, and install something in or on the four-foot cyclone fencing surrounding the play area to also keep sand blowing out. I'm thinking of some kind of fabric barrier mounted on the fence, but I'm concerned about visibility, which I've seen mentioned in some of the articles about playground safety I've read. Your thoughts on this, please.
Thank you
Paul

ANSWER: Paul, personally and professionally I would not worry about visibility, it is not an issue or concern for the application you are considering. Anyway the question of continues site lines is only professed by a group of over protective and paranoid individuals who do not know what they are talking about, again this does not apply for what you are wanting to do. You most have constantly very high winds where you are? People have asked me how to contain sand in certain areas, about hard panning and drainage, cats, fall height concerns and where does the sand go, it seems to just evaporate. This is the first time I have heard about sand blowing away being a real problem. One other solution would be to build up the containment boarder  higher so that it is above the top of the sand, if the added height is an issue you can leave several areas at there lower height for easier access. The fabric on the fencing will only help if the fabric is in the correct location to act as a wind break before it gets to the sand area. However, consider if blocking the wind to this area might not cause a heat issue for the children. There are fabrics that are semi transparent and wind resistant that might work, good luck, Bob  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your response, Bob.
To answer your question about location, I'm about an hour north of Denver in a small town called Loveland. It's fairly windy fairly often and at this particular playground, there's an open field nearby with nothing to slow the wind. The woman in charge of maintenance at the church told me that the sand makes its way into a nearby building through double doors about 15 feet or so from the edge of this playground.

Answer
Paul I know exactly where you live and how windy it an get in your location. Again, probably the best solution would be to build up the frame so the sand was not so exposed. Also, a lot of the sand that is blowing into the school might be from the sand that the children inevitably carry out off the sand box either thru play or in their shoes. Your could also investigate the availability of a mesh cover for the sand area for when it is not in use, you want a cover that will let water pass thru. Bob

Playground Safety and Design

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Bob Meihaus

Expertise

I can provide experienced answers, options, solutions and personal opinion on almost any topic concerning children`s playgrounds residential or commercial. Including questions on design, construction, maintenance, groundcover, accesiblity and most importantly safety.

Experience

For 23 years owner of custom design and build playground company. Over that time designed and built thousands of residential and commercial play structures.

Organizations
Certified Safety Inspector and member ASTM committees on playground safety for commercial and residential play areas.

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