Elements of a Successful Public Park

Elements of a Successful Public Park

Nov 5th 2019

Elements of a Successful Public Park

From urban to national to school playgrounds, there are numerous parks in the world right now, but that doesn’t necessarily make them all good. In fact, quite a bit goes into creating and maintaining a park worthy of a five-star rating or a place on the ParkScore Index. What makes one park better than the next, though? In this post, we delve into the different elements of a successful public park, from its placement to the architecture. Add these to your park, and you may find your neighborhood will have one of the best parks in the area.

Market and Location

To design a successful park, two of the most impactful elements to consider are the market and location. When working on a park design, designers have to pay attention and understand the market. If you want a successful park, then you need to put the community’s needs at the front of your mind. It’s simple; if you don’t know your market and the needs of your community, then it becomes quite difficult to design a successful park. Once you understand the general location’s market, then you need to determine the specific location you want to place your park.

To create a successful park, you’ll want to make it centrally located—one of a few considerations for a location—which means that it shouldn’t be on the furthest edge of town or too far away from one group of people. A true public park should only take a 10–30-minute walk to get there. In fact, the top parks in the ParkScore Index have a high percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of the park. The more you pay attention to the community you put your park in, the more successful your park will become.

Lots of Nature

You may think this is an obvious element, but a lot of people forget about it during planning. Your park shouldn’t just be centrally located; you should also make sure it’s transfixed around nature, or at least has the opportunity for growth. To put it simply, you’ll need put a lot of nature in your park— you should have a myriad of trees, at least a pond or two, and a ton of fresh grass. If you can’t get the ponds, make up for it in more green grass. People love to lay around in the grass, especially in urban areas. Make sure that whatever nature you have, you take care of it. Nobody likes to see yellowed, patchy grass, dead flowers, or an icky colored pond.


Just because you have a wide expanse of grass, that doesn’t mean you should only have those seating options. Whether you choose aluminum sports bleachers or park benches, you need to make sure that you give visitors a lot of seating choices. People choose parks as places to reconnect with friends, families, and even strangers. Providing seating options helps create a welcoming atmosphere throughout your park.

Play Equipment

Another pretty obvious element of a successful public park is play equipment. Every prosperous park offers various equipment for play. The top parks, however, have play equipment that surpass basketball hoops and general playground equipment. They usually include dog parks, water play structures and splashpads, sensory playgrounds, and recreation centers. Even a daycare play area can be a nice addition. One of the most important things you can do for your public park is ensure there’s plenty of play equipment, and the equipment is in good condition. From different sport items to swing sets and splashpads, the more you include, the wider audience you’ll draw in—just make sure you don’t try to squeeze too much in.

Park Security

A necessary component you don’t want to forget is park security. If people don’t feel safe at your park, they won’t come to it. Of course, having a bunch of security officers strolling the park doesn’t make people feel very comfortable either; you need to do your best to find the happy medium. A park should act as a sanctuary for people, so have park security present, but make sure it’s not overwhelming. If possible, place some security call booths around the park so that if something does arise, visitors will have quick access to help.

Walking Paths

Every good park has a few walking paths, so make your park great with variety of path options for those who want to walk around. This can be difficult to implement depending on the size of your park, but even a well-maintained wide path around the perimeter offers a fantastic start. If you have more space, use paths that lead to and through forests, around ponds, and near any attractions you have. However, you must keep in mind that the more paths you have, the more you have to take care of. Don’t let your paths get overrun or broken—the more care you put into it, the better.


Similar to the statement above, the more time you put into taking care of your park, the better. This goes for the general cleanliness and maintenance of the park, as well. You’ll want to maintain your restrooms most of all. We’ve all been to a park where the bathrooms are a stinky mess. If you want individuals and families to enjoy your park and keep coming back, then the bathrooms especially need to stay clean. The park’s cleanliness is more than just the restrooms and trash cans, though. It’s also about diligent park goers who clean up after themselves. Put up nice signs reminding people to clean up, and once a month, you could hold a trash pick-up event!

Cultural Events and Entertainment

Our last tip is one that delves into what else you should include in your park. If you want people to think about your park as a welcoming place, then you need to hold different events that bring people in and show how you wantvisitors. For urban parks, various cultural events and entertainment will bring in a bigger crowd of people and show all are welcome. These events can range from local musicians to plays, readings, yoga sessions, and festivals. In the smallest sense, you should always try to show how your park is open and inclusive to all people—displaying public art from different cultures is an excellent way to do that.

If you want to update your local public park, turn to Discount Playground Supply for your park needs. From seating options to play equipment, we have what you need to get your park known as one of the best!

Elements of a Successful Public Park infographic