Bespoke features offer the opportunities to integrate features properly into the existing landscape or to build onto them (such as with tree houses),to provide opportunities for greater challenge and discovery and to use beautiful materials.
As importantly, bespoke features can be designed in such a way as to allow many different interpretations of what they are and what they’re for, encouraging children to take charge of their own play.
Where there is confusion about what is “allowed” and how it should be delivered, many play providers opt for the quick fix of catalogue ordering of endless versions of the same thing. However, we put faith in architects, landscape architects, engineers, joiners, artists and contractors to design and build all the elements in the built environment. All of which are used by children. So once you have decided what kinds of challenge to provide and thought through the management appropriately there are no limits to what can be created.
There is often resistance to bespoke features on the grounds that they will not necessarily conform to the EN standards for play equipment on which inspection regimes often (over)rely. However, we have a growing body of knowledge and experience to draw on and to share with others.