If you are planning to open a preschool in a commercial location, the design inside and outside the building will be crucial for the children's safety and for your business image. Here are some landscaping ideas that can really help draw in clients and remain practical for children.
Fencing should be friendly.
Parents like to see fenced play areas at preschool, but the type of fence you choose can also be a motivator. To keep costs low, many business opt to use chain link fencing, but this is not the best option for a preschool. Chain link is easier for ambitious children to climb, and it lets outside people easily see into the play area. Instead, opt for vinyl or composite fencing panels that feature sturdy posts and pickets close together. The fence is safer than wood (which can cause slivers), less costly to install than cinderblock or cement barriers, and it seems friendly to parents.
Choose the right mulch for play areas.
Sand and pea gravel are both contenders for typical play structure ground cover, but neither are as suitable as rubber mulch. Rubber mulch provides shock absorption, uses recycled material, does not hurt when thrown at others, and is easily washed with a hose. If you're not comfortable with mulch, consider talking to your landscaper about installing flat rubber panels instead of a mulch bed for play equipment.
Opt for sensible landscape features.
Every aspect of your landscaping should be designed with kids in mind. Rubber sidewalks instead of concrete minimize fall injuries for less-coordinated pre-schoolers. You can avoid using rocks for landscape purposes in the front or back of the facility, as young children are often fascinated by rocks and will try to pocket them or eat them. It's best to use organic mulch for shrubs beds in the front yard and to stick with the rubber mulch theme if you have flower plots in the back. When choosing shrubs, avoid anything with edible fruits, spines, nuts, or flowers that act as allergens. Dogwoods are a sensible shrub that still looks nice -- they have smooth bark, bright green leaves, and the red bark color is pretty during the winter months. Talk to your landscaper about the possibility of leaves or flowers being poisonous before deciding on your plants.
Add areas for creative play.
Along with safety, you want to add elements of fun to the landscape. Consider installing some of the following exterior features to help your preschool stand out:
- a water table with a built in source. Children love to learn and play with water, and having a table built into the landscape can help with common issues like the hose being left out or children breaking plastic tables with energetic use.
- raised garden beds. Growing things together as a class can be an enriching experience. Fill a raised bed with topsoil and provide small shovels and flowers that children can really "plant." Reserve a bed to grow real plants, and take the opportunity to explain how plants grow and how to care for them.
- a playhouse. A wooden playhouse with shingles, working door, window, and floor provides hours of stimulation for preschoolers.
- a circle of stepping stones to serve as seats for the children for outdoor signing and circle time.
- a small concrete patio where kids can use foam or plastic blocks to build towers, play houses, or draw with chalk.
Commercial landscaping companies do their best to help make landscapes attractive and functional for your consumer base. Talk to a local company about your needs for your business, and be sure to address the need for safe designs, plants, and play features.