Green vs Grey Playgrounds: Advice on Greening

Hi All, A colleague is currently working on the design of natural play spaces for children throughout their district. Many areas are vulnerable to vandalism and as a result they tend not to plant much – its doesn’t last – trees get snapped, flowers and grasses trampled on. Does anyone have any ideas or examples to overcoming this as one of the principles of the playgrounds is to allow contact with nature which is difficult without planting. Trees blocking passive surveillance is also an issue in deprived areas, prone to vandalism which we need to consider. Thanks Tadhg GOGREENEX


Hi, this is indeed a known problem and not easy to resolve. It very much depend on individual cases. From my limited experience with increasing biodiversity in public spaces I'd recommend temporary fencing or natural dead features (trunks, piles of branches) around planted materials until they've grown big enough. Planting thorny shrubs is less attractive to vanalists (but also to children ...). Positioning nature elements on the most visible but least accessible spots of a site may help too. I have no experience with it, but how about social control or engaging likely vandalists? Good luck with the initiative! Ben

Posted on: 29 Oct 2018 - 10:30