Promote Community Care

Ensuring your community stays clean and beautiful is easier than you think. Keeping trash out of parks and off roads is just the beginning. Graffiti, cigarette litter and overflowing landfills are also menacing problems.

There are simple steps you and your community can take to clean and maintain the beauty of your community, park, school or apartment complex.

If your community has fallen into a trash mess, organize a group of volunteers and have a community clean-up event. Make a day of it to promote community care! Find local sponsors and educational partners.

There are numerous organizations that your community can pair with to help clean-up a neighborhood or park. Keep America Beautiful is a networking organization that has over 1,200 local affiliates in communities across America. “believes that each of us hold an obligation to preserve and protect our environment…through our everyday choices and actions.” They bring business, citizens and governments together to find solutions to reducing waste and litter as well as beautifying communities.

Helpful Tips for Organizing a Clean-Up:

  • Partner with local partners or a national organization.
  • Spread the word with local media – email campaigns, social media, radio, print advertisements, etc.
  • Make the event fun – have games, provide snacks and giveaways.

A great way to prevent your community from being trashed is to provide the appropriate trash receptacles in and around buildings, parks, apartment homes and pedestrian streets. This will prevent unwanted litter and debris from being scattered around. The closer together receptacles are to each other, the higher the chance of people throwing away their garbage.

1,609lbs of trash is produced by EACH American EVERY year!

Providing dog owners with pet waste disposal stations dramatically decreases the amount of unwanted feces in communities. Pet stations scattered throughout communities and parks places the responsibility on pet owners to clean up after their pets.

About 4,000 tons of pet waste is produced EACH DAY!

There are a few preventative measures you can take if graffiti is a menacing issue of your neighborhood, apartment community or park area. Unless you have a security system in place, it is hard to catch the culprit in the act. Choosing furniture from which spray paint can be easily removed – such as recycled plastic, plastisol or thermoplastic coated – is one of the best measures to take. it won’t stop the taggers from attacking, however it will save money on replacement furniture.

Minimizing the carbon footprint left behind goes far beyond recycling. Reducing unnecessary waste, recycling, energy conservation, and carpooling are effective ways to minimize what is left behind. Here are a few things that reduce the carbon footprint:

  • Ditch bottle water: Encourage citizens to fill reusable water bottles from water stations or fountains.
  • Promote recycled: Set up curbside pick-up recycling cartons for your community and place recycling bins around parks, housing communities, schools and other public areas.
  • Unplug it: Promote citizens to unplug appliances, cell phones and laptop chargers or any other electronic item when not in use.
  • Carpool or use bikes: Placing bike racks in and around communities increases bike use. Create a message board where community members can post ride share information.

The national recycling rate is only 34% annually. Recycling reduces what ends up in landfills, reduces water pollution, creates jobs in communities, saves trees and protects wildlife habitats. Simple steps can be taken to promote recycling within a community that will have a lasting effect on everyone. Whenever possibly, buy products manufactured with recycled materials. Even picnic tables, park benches, recycling receptacles and message centers can be manufactured from recycled materials. It takes 3,400 milk jugs to make a 6′ park bench and 6,300 milk jugs to make a 6′ picnic table.

The greenhouse gas emissions avoided by recycling is equivalent to taking 36 million cars off the road each year!

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a TV for 3 hours!

Recycling one glass bottle or jar saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours!

Americans use 20,000,000 aluminum cans EVERY DAY!

Planting flowers and trees do a lot more than just make a space beautiful and full of vibrant colors. Having plants regulates air quality, protects water quality, reduces erosion, lightens people’s mood and provides natural habitats air quality, protects water quality, reduces erosion, lightens people’s mood and provides natural habitats for local wildlife. Gardens have been proven to relieve stress and generally make people feel better.

In a study done by Kathleen Wolf at the University of Washington’s College of Forest Resources, areas with a well maintained street scape or garden attract more visitors because it gives the space a sense of purpose. Consumers spent 9-12% more in landscaped areas versus areas with no landscaping.

Integrating difference size planters around your space is a great way to bring color and natural beauty to your area. Bring the outdoors inside and plant oversize plants indoors!

Buying recycled plastic benches, picnic tables, receptacles and other environmentally friendly products has never been easier! Simply visit our website or, if you prefer, give us a call at 877.777.3700 and talk to one our account managers. We take pride in being able to offer so many great products that can make a difference to our planet’s well-being. If you are interested in seeing more of what we have to offer, give us a call or visit us online today!

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Dog Parks are on the Rise

With dog parks on the rise, park and recreation departments now have a variety of equipment, pet waste solutions and other products at their fingertips.

According to a recent study from the Humane Society, at least one dog can be found in approximately 39% of American households. As a result of this, American’s largest cities have seen a comparable 34% increase in the number of dog parks within the last 10 years.

The Basics:

Though not always possible, successful dog parks are often launched in spaces that are not currently being used. To determine the right location, look for areas that:

  • Currently see high dog usage
  • Are outside the parameters of main parks
  • Will not affect wildlife or water quality
  • Are evenly distributed throughout the city
  • Are close to parking
  • Are away from existing playgrounds, residential areas and heavy traffic
  • Are dry and irrigated
  • Are at least 5,000 square feet

*It can also be helpful to place your dog park along a trail system to give dog owners greater opportunity to walk their four-legged companions.

While grass is currently the most common surfacing option for larger dog parks, bark chips (pun intended), san, gravel, granite or synthetic turf can also be used. Budget, climate, park size, usage and the surrounding park amenities should be considered when determined what surfacing should be used. Splitting a dog park in half, eliminating which side is open, can help preserve the surfacing material of larger dog parks while letting a smaller dog park go to dirt may be a better option. 

Fencing First:

Depending on the dog-breed demographics and the needs of the pet owners in your area, fencing is typically pretty standard in smaller off-leash areas while larger ones are often left without a fence. To create a smoother dog park operation, park and recreation departments are becoming a little more strategic in their fence placement while many parks are simply using a typical setup. This setup includes two sets of gates at the entry areas to allow pet owners to close the outside gate and unleash their dog before opening the inner gate and heading into the main area. Others, however, use a separate entry and exit area. If your potential dog park area contains a pond or other water feature, it is a good idea to place an additional fence around the body of water to prevent dogs from taking an unnecessary bath.

Park Features:

Today’s dog parks can range from basic parcels of land to elaborate pet playgrounds with ponds, spray features, agility equipment and other park amenities. The basics are now becoming standard especially when it comes to staying cool and refreshed. Though a little less important in more moderate climates, whether it’s a shade structure or trees, providing shade from the heat is especially important for both pets and their owners.

Ranging from a simple pet water fountain to a more elaborate spraying fire hydrant, water is a welcome amenity for all dogs. Since dogs often use anything upright as a marking post, water fountain placement is important. It may be in everyone’s best interest to place the water features in areas where owners still have control over their pets via a leash.

Though the equipment in public spaces should not be of a professional grade, more recent dog parks also feature play amenities such as agility equipment. This adds a little extra fun and gives people the opportunity to do more than simply sit on a park bench. When selecting your agility equipment:

  • Look for equipment covered by a comprehensive warranty
  • choose various pieces that will challenge and accommodate dogs of varying sizes and ability levels
  • Use rust/rot proof materials
  • Select equipment with slip-resistant surfaces
  • Avoid equipment that is more than 3 feet high to prevent dog and child injuries

Whether your dog park is a basic plot of dirt or completely packed with high end amenities, it should be a place that your community pet owners appreciate. The knowledge and products now available give park and recreation departments the ability to create a dog park that fits their specific location, needs and budget. To find out more call 877.777.700.

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Designing a Camping or Picnic Area

Common recreation site furnishings found in a camping or picnic area include picnic tables, fire rings and grills.

The best of these furnishings require little-to-no maintenance, have a long lifespan, are easy to clean, and are difficult for vandals to damage. These furnishings also must be convenient, easy to use and safe. It is best to avoid items with protruding objects or sharp corners that could injure users.

Picnic Tables: While many travelers and campers bring their own grill or stove, few actually carry a picnic table. Because of this, it is a good idea to provide picnic tables in campgrounds and on trails where day use is encouraged. Tables are available commercially in wood, metal, concrete, recycled plastic and plastic coated expanded metal. Select table material based on your area’s level of development, climate and amount of vandalism expected.

Grills and Fire Rings: Fire rings are essential at camp sites because they reduce fire hazards and make maintenance easier. Since, in most areas, evening use is not encouraged at picnic arears, fire rings are generally not necessary there. Fire rings with a hinged base so the cooking grate can be tilted back to clean out the ashes are the most preferred type. In addition, many accessible fire rings have an expanded metal barrier around the perimeter to keep campers from leaning against the hot surface. Grills are needed in campgrounds and may be installed at day-use trails. Pedestal styles are designed at a level comfortable for most users, and are also the most common. The best models have a cooking grate that is hinged and can be raised and lowered. Some models include lids to reduce cooking time and to keep food warm. Rotating grills and shelves for utensils are also available.

The most common campsite is the single-party camp site, other options include double-party camp sites, several-party camp sites and group camps. For more information on designing a campsite or picnic area call ParknPool at 877.777.3700 to speak with one of our sales managers.

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Things You Can See From a Park Bench

We all know that park benches are a common thing to see at parks, lakes, amusement parks, playgrounds and airports but have you really ever thought about some of the things you can see while sitting on a park bench?

From a recycled plastic bench in a park you could land your eyes on an old man taking a stroll with his best friend.

The Story: After reading the morning paper, Old Man Thomas always takes “Roscoe” for a walk. They’ve been doing this since Mr. Thomas retired almost 10 years ago. The fall is their favorite time of the year to walk, the old man finds the leaves beautiful and it’s a little bit easier for “Roscoe” to stand the weather. You see, “Roscoe” has developed arthritis in his hind quarters do to his old age. Cold weather causes it to flare up and the heat is just too much for an old dog to handle. Mr. Thomas’ favorite poet is Edgar Allen Poe and on their morning strolls he may quote a little from one of his favorite poems while “Roscoe” listens in closely: “In visions of the dark night I have dreamed of joy departed but a waking dream of life and light hath left me broken-hearted.”

From a wood slatted bench near the lake you could spot two men fishing from an old john boat.

The Story: Jerry and his daughter’s boyfriend, Kirk, have decided to spend a weekend together fishing on the lake. They’ve done it before and each trip is a memorable one but this particular weekend is going to be especially memorable. Kirk is about to pop the question to his girlfriend of 5 years and the purpose of this trip is to ask her father for his blessing.

From a concrete bench at an amusement park you could relive your childhood through the eyes of a little girl meeting a princess for the first time.

The Story: Since Kirsten was a year old she has watched “Snow White” 115 times, she just turned 3. She knows every word and can recite all 7 dwarfs with ease. She has wanted nothing more than to meet the princess that is plastered all over her bedroom walls. Her parents, who both work full-time jobs, had to save up the money to take little Kirsten to Disney World and they finally got the chance to make the trip. When Kirsten spotted Snow White with one of her dwarfs, she broke loose from her mother’s tight grip to be sure not to miss her chance. After this meeting, Kirsten was chosen to be princess for the day. She rode in the parade and waved at the other park visitors. This was the day she realized that no dream is too big.

From a plastic coated bench at your local playground you will more than likely see a young child sliding into the arms of their mother or father.

The Story: Sue has taken her daughter to this same playground for 4 years but could never get Carrie to slide down the slide. Carrie has always been afraid of what awaits at the bottom, even if her mother’s arms were always waiting to catch her. This is the first time little Carrie has gotten up the nerve to climb up the ladder and take the plunge to the bottom. She never knew it could be so fun! Now Sue can’t keep her off the slide, everyday when she is picked up from Kindergarten she HAS to stop by the playground to take a few turns sliding down the slide into her mother’s waiting arms.

From a strap steel bench outside of an airport, through tears, you could get the privilege of enjoying a moment when a soldier comes home.

The Story: Who knows…all we care about is that it has a happy ending!

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Safety Tips for Playing Outside in the Winter Months

Winter weather provides a frosty world of endless possibilities for kids. They can construct forts, sled over ice ramps, skate on a frozen patch of water in the backyard and pretend they are Eskimos foraging for their food. The melted snow freezes on their pants while their faces, legs and hands turn an uncomfortable shade of pink. Nonetheless, they still want to play outside despite the weather conditions. So what can we do to protect them when playing in bad weather?

Snow, believe it or not, can cause problems on the playground. Although we think of snow as being soft and fluffy, it can pack down to resemble concrete. Snow cover quickly becomes a hard packed surface and at times can be icy.

  • Snowfall may lessen the distance between the bottom of the swing and the ground so that legs swinging back may become caught on the ground instead of swinging clear.
  • Checking the playground surfacing in the winter is just as important as checking it other times of the year. Ice and snow can make the surface very hard.

It isn’t only the snow on the ground that causes concern. Wooden pathways and steps to slides may be slippery. Since it may be impossible to remove all the snow, adult supervision on playgrounds during the winter may need to be increased to help children avoid snow-related accidents.

The material a playground is constructed of can also present problems. Many pieces of equipment are made of metal. Cold is transmitted more easily through metal and increases the risk of a cold injury, such as frostbite. Children should be made aware to not lick or touch the metal objects with their bare hands in cold weather. It is important to dress appropriately for the cold and to limit their time outside when temperatures drop.

Fun Fact: Eating plenty of food before going out can help to sustain body warmth.

It is important to check the playground for any damage it might have sustained during the change of seasons as well as after any occurrence of inclement weather. Following a simple checklist can help you detect problems so injuries can be avoided:

  1. Check for obvious signs of damage or decay, such as loose or broken nuts and bolts or rotting wood in equipment, gates and fences. Check painted surfaces for chipping paint that would need a coat of primer. Check for holes in fences.
  2. Check the swings for proper height and stability; make sure the ropes are properly attached and not frayed. Check the slides to make sure the protective surfaces around them have enough sand or mulch. Be sure to clean off bird droppings.
  3. Check for natural hazards: Fallen tree limbs and branches are obvious, but also make sure there aren’t any damaged limbs that could fall into the playground. Water erosion can expose rocks and other objects that may be hazardous for children, and burrowing animals can leave behind dangerous holes.
  4. Check for human pollution: bottles, cans, and pieces of glass.
  5. Check the sandbox: Make sure it’s clean and free of debris, such as twigs and glass, also make sure it hasn’t been used by cats as a litter box.

We can’t control the weather, but we can take safety precautions to ensure children are safe when playing in the winter months.

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Staying Warm in Bleachers

ParknPool wants to help you be a little more comfortable and have a little more fun when outside enjoying a sporting event. In combination with the following tips, it is also important to understand the fact that anything warmer than you will add heat to your body. If being cold is going to be a problem and you have the opportunity, don’t pass up a chance to sit in the sun, go inside, sit by a hot fire, or drink some hot chocolate.

Your body is designed to burn food for energy and produces heat from within. So, don’t forget to eat! If your body is getting cold, it will sacrifice your feet and hands to save its life. Ever wonder why your feet and hands are the first to get cold?! Your body loses heat in 5 ways – radiation, convection, conduction, respiration, and evaporation.

  1. Radiation. Just as a wood stove radiates heat into a room, your body radiates heat into the air. The more insulation you put around it, the loss of heat is decreased.
  2. Convection is moving air. Wind blowing through your sweater or around your jacket is heat lost through convection. Windproof outer layers will help prevent heat loss.
  3. Sitting on some cold bleachers at a football game, grabbing a ski pole, or just catching a cold zipper on your neck, are all heat loss by conduction.
  4. Respiration. Every time you breathe, you breathe out warm air. Don’t stop breathing! There’s not a lot you can do to prevent this, just be aware that you are going to lose some heat just by breathing.
  5. Evaporation is a very efficient cooling process.

6 Tips for Staying Warm at a Sporting Event

Check weather conditions before heading outside. Watch your local weekly weather forecast to make it easy to prepare in advance.

Dress appropriately. If you are going to be in the extreme cold, wear as many layers of warm clothing as possible. If it’s mildly cold, try to dress in just a few layers and pack an extra coat or sweater in case the temperature drops.

Be prepared for all conditions. Keep an umbrella, poncho, or warm jacket with you. Have an indoor, heated place to go…you don’t want to be stuck outside if the weather conditions become extreme.

Wear waterproof shoes or boots with a good grip. If your feet are cold and wet, it won’t matter how well the rest of your body is bundled up. You will be miserable!

Wear gloves and/or mittens and long thick socks. These protect your hands and your feet, which are the hardest places to keep warm blood flowing. Try wearing thinner gloves underneath heavier winter gloves for extra warmth.

Pack warm food. Sometimes all you need in chilly conditions is hot food or drink. Carry a thermos with hot drinks, soup or noodles. Warm food and drink will warm you from the inside out and keep your strength up.

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Preparing Your Outdoor Furniture for Hurricane Season

While we can’t prevent hurricanes, we can prepare for them. That means doing everything you can to keep you, your family and your belongings safe, far ahead of any natural disaster. No matter the size of the storm, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood of your stuff becoming storm debris. It is difficult to prevent buildings from becoming debris, especially during a large storm, but smaller items can be safely stored or secured. After all, no one wants their patio furniture to knock out a neighbor’s window before it ends up swimming with the fish.

As part of your outdoor living area, patio and pool furniture are most susceptible to gusting winds and drenching rains. Large outdoor items such as patio furniture, umbrellas, and trash cans need to be properly stored or secured. All too often, we’ve seen lightweight outdoor furniture become flying projectiles during a hurricane through windows or screen enclosures.

Beyond the common preparation tips here are easy methods to secure your outdoor furniture and accessories, and protect others from flying debris:

  • Outdoor Furniture and heavy items that cannot be brought inside should be secured. Items such as picnic tables and benches, may be turned on their sides or upside down to help prevent it from being caught by the wind. Bungee cords are excellent for holding down heavy items, such as grills and playground sets, and for tying objects together. These objects should be placed close to walls or ideally in an inner corner, to lessen the effects of the wind.
  • Patio Umbrellas and Shade Structures should be closed and removed from the stands and/or patio tables. You don’t want them to become projectiles in high wind conditions.
  • Trash Receptacles can also be secured with bungee cords or chains attached to ground anchors or to wood posts firmly embedded in the ground.
  • Pool Furniture should not be thrown into the pool unless it is a last resort. More common for large hotels, with dozens of chairs and tables, placing the furniture into the pool keeps it from being tossed about in a hurricane. It can cause damage to the furniture or to the pool, so it’s best to be avoided when possible.

Always remember that items can not only get damaged, they can be very destructive to people and property if caught in high winds!

Advanced preparation can protect your property as well as your neighbors, preserve your belongings and lessen the damage caused by storms. Follow the guidelines from your local municipality regarding hurricane preparation and above all be safe.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to your family, friends, home and business during this uncertain time as Hurricane Nicole marches on. May God help you and please know that you have our support.

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Your Complete Guide to Bleacher Safety

Basic Safety Guidelines

Over 20,000 people are hurt annually in accidents involving bleachers! Many of these injuries involve children. A large percentage are a result of a person falling from, or through, bleachers to the ground.

Falls from bleachers typically occur when guardrails are missing from the back or sides of bleachers but can also ensue when there are openings between seating and footboards that are big enough to allow a person through. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has developed guidelines to prevent these falls.

Many bleachers in facilities today pose a fall hazard, especially to children, due to the fact that these bleachers may have been build and installed when building codes did not require guardrails and allowed openings that were big enough for a child to fit through. To prevent falls, it is recommended that guardrails and openings meet the following recommendations:

  • A bleacher should have a guardrail along the back, and surrounding the open ends, where the drop is more than 30″ to the ground below.
  • The guardrail should be at least 42″ high and, if using a vertical picket guardrail, all openings should be small enough that a 4″ sphere cannot fit through.
  • If chain link fencing is used, it is recommended using chain link that has a 1.25″ (or less) mesh to discourage kids from climbing.
  • Where visibility would not be significantly impaired, use solid materials to block openings.

Types of Bleachers

Bleachers are used by spectators to comfortably view sporting events, graduations, races, parades and many other activities. They are structures that provide tiered seating and come in a variety of configurations and sizes.

ParknPool offers numerous bleacher options that fall into three categories (pictured respectively): permanent/stationary, portable/towable, and temporary (generally known as Tip N’ Roll). Permanent bleachers are attached to the ground with anchors while portable bleachers are able to be used at multiple locations. Temporary bleachers are usually smaller units that are only used for specific events and can be stored while not in use. The guidelines in this guide, and the ones by the CPSC, apply to these three categories of bleachers.

Retrofitting Existing Bleachers

If retrofitting rather than replacing your existing set of bleachers is more feasible for your budget, the current condition and structure of your bleachers will determine the materials and methods needed to retrofit. It is imperative to ensure that the methods and materials used do not introduce the possibility of new hazards such as bleacher tip-over, bleacher collapse, guardrail collapse, and contact or tripping hazards.

Where practical, features such as aisles, handrails and non-slip surfacing should be incorporated into any retrofit project. Consult with a licensed professional or qualified bleacher firm to learn more about what is important in aiding people to move safely about on bleachers.

Rigid material, such as aluminum, should be used to close any openings between the seating and footboards. Chain link or fencing material can introduce potential trip hazards, allow debris to collect under the seats that is not easy to remove, and encourage children to play or hang on it.

ParknPool and the CPSC recommend that you consult with your local building officials to determine whether a permit is required to make any retrofit changes to your existing bleachers. It is also advisable to check local requirements for such things as aisles and guardrails, ADA, or other conditions. Building codes vary by state, year written and by the group that issues them – International Building Code (IBC), Uniform Building Code (UBC), Standard Building Code (SBC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), etc. – so be sure to check with your local building codes.

Guardrails, Handrails & Aisles

Having the appropriate components to aid in the access and egress on, of and around bleacher units is imperative for user safety. Guardrails missing from the backs of bleachers, or open sides can cause injury from falls. Gaps in the guardrail, between the footboard and seat, or at the bottom of the guardrail that are large enough for a person to pass through can also cause injury.

Guardrails should not encourage children to climb on or over them. The easiest way to do this is by choosing bleachers with vertical picket guardrails or make sure the chainlink is less than 1.25″ wide. All the bleachers ParknPool offers are available with vertical picket guardrails. In most cases the fourth row of a set of non-elevated bleachers is taller than 30″ which means that there is a riser plank (pictured below) to stop small children from falling through. This closes the gap between the seat and foot boards.

Aisles, handrails and non-skid surfacing are key factors in allowing people to safely move around on bleachers. Many older bleachers do not have these features but can be retrofitted to make existing bleachers safe.

Maintenance & Inspections

Whether you choose to retrofit your current bleachers or order replacement ones, they should be carefully inspected at least once a quarter to identify any damage to the structure or disrepair that could result in injury or death. Problems identified should be corrected immediately. Any inspections or maintenance should be completed by a trained individual, and any action taken should be documented. In addition to the quarterly inspections, the CSPC recommends that a licensed professional engineer or person qualified to provide bleacher products and services should inspect the bleachers at least once every two years. At that time, a written certification will be issued that the bleachers are fit for use.

It is crucial to follow the CPSC’s guidelines to ensure the highest safety. It is imperative that you deal with an individual who is knowledgeable and equipped to answer any questions, as well as provide bleacher seating that meets all of the CPSC’s guidelines.

No one’s safety is worth taking a risk by leaving outdated bleachers in place!

Call ParknPool at 877.777.3700 today and speak to one of our knowledgeable account managers who are waiting to answer all of your questions!

Spring Cleaning Your Pool Furniture for Summer

Setting up a routine cleaning schedule is important for keeping your pool furniture looking good, but a good wipe down is never more necessary than after they’ve sat through the elements of a harsh winter. That climate can leave your furniture looking worn out! Below are some helpful tips for cleaning pool furniture of all types.

Removing Debris

Dust, leaves, and other debris is likely to gather on any furniture that has been left uncovered without use. Begin your cleaning by using a brush or cloth to wipe this away. Most all of ParknPool’s commercial grade pool furniture pieces can be sprayed down with a water hose to dislodge any additional debris.

Mold and Mildew

When your pool furniture is left out to succumb to rain and humidity, it can become damp making it prone to mold and mildew. This can be managed by making sure the furniture is dry then scrubbed with a brush and sprayed with a hose to rinse. If stubborn mold and mildew still lingers, you can wipe furniture down with full-strength vinegar and a hard-bristled brush.

Cleaning Methods by Material

  • Resin: ParknPool’s resin furniture is an economical option and is available in a variety of styles. In addition, it’s the easiest to maintain as it has a glossy finish that’s naturally stain resistant. All you’ll need is a spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner and a damp cloth. Steer clear of abrasives and hard scrubbing pads. These can scuff and scratch the resin surface.
  • Aluminum: This is also a common option for pool furniture. An aluminum frame is most commonly paired with either vinyl straps or fabric slings. Improper care and maintenance can greatly reduce the life of your pool furniture and can even void any warranty. Follow these easy tips to ensure the longest possible use from your furniture. (1) Wash your aluminum frame furniture with soapy water every three weeks or more often if needed. Use a mild detergent and soft rag or brush to clean the vinyl straps and aluminum frame. Be sure to get the pollutants, such as sunscreen or chlorine, off immediately. (2) Wax the aluminum frame with a light, non-compound car wax. Buff out scratches on the frame with Soft Scrub and a soft rag.
  • Fabric: ParknPool’s sling furniture and fabric umbrella options all look great but after a few seasons of use, they can begin to show evidence of wear. The safest method for cleaning is to use a solution of dish soap and water. Once clean you may want to apply a water-repellant fabric protector to minimize future stains.

Though the above methods, if done regularly, can prolong the life of your furniture, you may still reach a point when your furniture develops stains that are impervious to cleaning. If these cleaning methods aren’t effective, it may be time to purchase replacements. Whether needing clarification on maintenance and care or needing to order new pool furniture, give us a call!

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700

Best Practices for Playground Design

The places children are pulled to for play are available in many shapes, forms, and colors. So, what are the key points to creating a great playground design? With so many variables, the design process can sometimes seem a daunting task. For starters, keep these basic guidelines in mind when choosing the play components that will work best:

  • Age groups of those that will be using the playground
  • Size or square footage of the proposed playground area
  • Child capacity you are wanting to accommodate
  • Types of activities preferred

Initial Steps to Designing a Playground:

1. Define your goals: Make a list of 5 questions pertaining to your end goal. Each question you can answer will guide you one step closer to obtaining that goal.
2. Choose your playground surfacing: There are a few different options when it comes to playground surfacing. Each has their own unique benefits, installation costs and long-term maintenance requirements. The most crucial factor is to ensure the depth of your surfacing can protect children from the highest fall height of your playground components.
3. Choose your playground equipment: Finally! The playground equipment is why kids come to play! We suggest choosing pieces that will suit both age groups of 0-5 and 5-12. We also recommend that the equipment be separated by age to ensure the safety of everyone.

5 Best Practices for Playground Design:

1. Include diverse types of play. Children require distinct types of play to understand the world around them and to master common life skills. A good playground will challenge and promote growth. During the design process, consider how you might be able to include as many of these distinct types of play as possible:
> Active Play (Running, Jumping, Climbing, etc.)
> Sensory Play (Sandboxes or Musical Play Panels)
> Creative Play (Drawing, Coloring, Drumming)
> Imaginative Play (Pretend Play)
> Social Play (Tic-Tac-Toe Play Panels)
> Reflective Play (Resting or Thinking)
2. Create a sense of place.  A playground without a sense of place looks generic, like it could be located anywhere in the world. However, when a playground has a powerful sense of place it speaks to the culture and location of the community. Incorporate a sense of community into the project with pretend areas like playhouses or shops. Your goal should be for the playground to become a special place or symbol of your community.
3. Trust children’s creativity.  Adults tend to see a playground structure for just what it is. Slides for sliding, swings for swinging, and monkey bars for climbing. But children are immensely creative. They see the same structure as being a princess castle with a moat, a rocket ship to the moon, or a fort for fending off dragons. Providing them with a space to tap into their creativity is key.
4. Make room for secrets and surprises. Children are more attuned to the smaller sites in the world. Taking them for a walk will tell you this. For most kids, the fun of a playground is found in the tiny details rather than the large elements. Throughout your playground design, include little surprises that can only be found while playing.
5. Consider the “flow.” When in a natural state of play, children do not move in a straight line. Having a playground with a natural flow keeps all components well connected. A good “flow” will give kids different directions to explore and avoid traffic jams.

And most importantly, be sure to include the basics! These can include all or any of the following: shade, drinking fountains, picnic tables, benches, and trash receptacles.

Contact us today for more information on budgeting, designing, and installing your new playground equipment!

ParknPool | Lexington, VA | | 877.777.3700