Playgrounds on private grounds

Playgrounds that offer enough space for climbing, romping, sliding or swinging are an essential building block for the physical and mental development of children. When playing, children train motor skills, balance, coordination and social behavior. A children’s play area, integrated in an appropriately designed open space, offers quality of stay for all residents. This enables a cross-generational meeting point to be created. We have put together the most important building law basics and some design information that is important when planning children’s playgrounds on private grounds.

When must a playground be built??

The Bavarian Building Code (BayBO) stipulates that in residential buildings with more than three apartments, a children’s playground with play equipment must be built on the property or in the immediate vicinity. In the case of existing buildings, the building inspectorate can also request the creation of a children’s playground. The local building commission, as the responsible building control authority for the city of Munich, usually requests this if, for example, additional apartments are created by retrofitting the attic. If each apartment has its own part of the garden, as in a row of houses, there is no need for a common children’s playground.
No families currently live in House, is still to create and maintain a children’s playground. Only if a playground is already available is a house attractive for families looking for a home and couples who want to start a family.

How big must a children’s playground be??

The minimum size of a children’s playground depends on the total living space. At least 1.5 m² of playground space must be created per 25 m² of living space. The minimum size must not be less than 60 m².

What minimum equipment must a children’s playground have??

A playground with 60 m² includes at least one play sand area
4 m², a permanently installed play equipment and a bench. The larger the playground, the more need there is for sand, play equipment and benches.

What should be considered when planning a children’s playground?
Location of the playground

The children’s playground must be safe and, if possible, accessible. The route between the apartments and the playground must not be via public traffic routes. It should be in a quiet central area away from traffic, preferably not in the front yard. It is recommended to keep a distance of at least 4 m from garbage cans, exhaust air openings and other shafts in an underground car park. The playground should be visible from as many apartments as possible so that older children can play alone but in the parents’ field of vision.

Criteria for play equipment:

they are suitable for children up to five years, as many different play equipment as possible are offered: for swinging, swinging, seesawing or climbing, in the safety area of ​​play equipment, e.g. under swings there is sufficient fall protection, the play equipment is made of durable materials,
Steel contact surfaces are only suitable to a limited extent because they heat up considerably in summer and cool down considerably in winter. Slides of metal slides must therefore not face south.
Wooden decks should be avoided due to the risk of splintering, TÜV test seals or the CS mark guarantee quality.

Good planning of the outdoor facilities also takes the following into account:

the playground is spatially integrated into the overall outdoor area, trees and bushes provide shade, hedges in the form of a labyrinth invite you to play, poisonous plants such as pomegranates, daphne, holly or laburnum are not in the area of ​​the playground, there are hills, niches and a lawn for free game, Sun and shade areas are offered, sufficient seating and waste bins are available, fences around a protected area have no peaks or other risk of injury.

Maintenance and care

Children’s playgrounds must be maintained so that they can be used permanently and without danger. The devices must be checked and serviced regularly. Play sand must be cleaned or replaced again and again. We recommend the cycle that is used in public playgrounds:

  • Cleaning / exchanging sand:
    annual exchange of the play sand,
  • Exchange of fall protection sand
    among play equipment every five years,
  • superficial cleaning of the sand with a rake
    depending on the degree of pollution daily to several times a week.
  • Security controls on the play equipment:
    weekly visual and functional checks,
    monthly wear control
    a main inspection every year.

Legal Basis

Art. 3 Para. 1 BayBO
Art. 7 para. 2 BayBO
§ 5 of the design and greening statutes in connection with the
DIN 18034 "Playgrounds and open spaces for playing"

Arranging individual play equipment and thus a variety of shapes and colors to form a play area is the design achievement of garden and landscape architects. Even if the play value is in the foreground, good playgrounds convey a creative unexcitement and make them a part of the open space design of the entire property. Play areas are vulnerable open spaces that must be shielded from the public street space. This creates quality of stay for all generations. Direct visual relationships from living rooms or balconies both facilitate supervision by the parents and also enable a kind of social control by the neighborhood.
Game areas are perceived as natural and are gladly used if they are integrated into the overall concept of all open spaces. Varied floor coverings and plantings that show a seasonally changing play of colors are suitable for this. A shady deciduous tree is always part of the play area.
The mere distribution of individual game elements in a lawn does not invite you to play.
A playground is so interesting that children like to go there and play with joy.
Some futuristic-looking play equipment in stainless steel give the impression of an art collection rather than a well thought-out and varied range of games. Without shadows, stainless steel play equipment often heats up in summer so that it cannot be used.
The quality of a playground can also be seen in the fact that the needs of parents or persons who supervise the children while playing are also taken into account.
Weaknesses in the choice of materials and in the design of seating options are particularly clearly perceived by adults. Such areas also quickly look neglected. It should be an inviting place for all generations.


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Christina Cherry
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