Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JAN 2019

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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Continued on page 18 16 Landscape Architect and Specifier News In Spring 2018, the City of Olathe, Kansas completed a small but unique playground renovation at Frisco Lake Park. Established in 1974, the 38-acre community park features a peaceful, natural setting and is located just south of downtown Olathe. When the existing traditional post and platform playground needed replacement, Lisa Donnelly, the city's landscape architect, worked on designing a thoughtful nature- based playground with excellent play value for children to complement and draw attention to the natural scenery. Research shows that nature- based play helps boost children's mental and physical health, creativity and cooperation, and decreases anxiety and depression. By helping children connect with nature at the playground, the city of Olathe hopes to inspire the next generation with a genuine appreciation of the outdoors and encourage an understanding of the natural world. To help children learn and grow through play, this playground features an accessible swing meant for several children at one time, a hillside slide with natural stone steps that were re-used from another park site, musical instruments, a natural sand pit, and nature-based rock and tree climbing features on an artificial turf safety surfacing that blends the playground into the surrounding environment. When children have opportunities for free and unstructured play in the outdoors, they are smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier. The open design of the playground at Frisco Lake Park encourages creativity and builds cognitive skills by allowing children to think about what they want to do and what they can do to make it happen. The Nature Playground at Frisco Lake Park p l a y g ro u n d by Lisa Donnelly, PLA, Parks Project Planner, City of Olathe Above: Surrounded by trees, the playground at Frisco Lake Park in Olathe, Kan., utilizes natural elements to blend in with the adjacent environment.

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