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Potter’s Park Playground

Mount Eden, Auckland

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Potter’s Park had become run-down in recent years and needed a major revamp. The Albert Eden Local Board developed a concept plan to introduce a range of improvements aimed at attracting people back to the park and providing much needed recreational opportunities for the local community.
The first step in the plan was the construction of a splash pad which was opened in 2013. Step two involved building a large playground, basketball court, and picnic area, as well as additional plantings and the incorporation of a barrier along the road frontage to prevent children from running onto the busy Balmoral Road.

Senior Landscape Architect, Nina Rattray, oversaw the design of the stage two development and wanted to create a vibrant space with something for all.

“The overall aim of the park upgrade was to maximise the use of the park by creating a vibrant and eye-catching public space, full of a range of play activities and challenges catering to users of all ages and abilities,” she says.

"The colours talk to and integrate the playspace into adjacent activities and structures, as well as strengthen the ‘pick up sticks’ theme used in the playground and tower structure."
Nina Rattray
Senior Landscape Architect, Auckland City Council

With the splash pad and change rooms already on site, it was important that the additional play area be congruous through its forms and colour selection. “The location of the play space itself sits within an area of vibrant colour with bold oranges, yellows, and blues used in both the splash pad and the changing room mural. It was important that the design of the play space felt integrated with these existing elements; almost as if they had been designed by the same hand,” says Nina.

A ‘pick up sticks’ theme was selected for the play space. The traditional childhood game is recognised for crossing cultural boundaries which is fitting considering the myriad of cultures that use the park together.

In developing the concept, the colours and forms inspired by this theme drove the character of the space and were woven throughout the fort structure, balancing and climbing elements.

Because the playground was so close to the existing splash pad, it was important that the playground surfacing be whole. This meant bark was out of the question. After discussing the project with Numat, Nina and her team settled on using five different surface solutions.

Pour’n’Play and artificial turf were selected for the main playground surfaces. Rubber balance balls were added to provide a ‘3D element’ to the playground.

Nina says it was Numat’s ability to provide a complete range of surface treatments that she liked most about working with them. Another thing she particularly liked about working with Numat was the range of benefits afforded by Pour’n’Play. Aside from the main benefits – accessibility, high performance, its ability to seamlessly transition between spaces – there was the aesthetic opportunities it provided, and the ability to customise colour mixes.

“The colours talk to and integrate the playspace into adjacent activities and structures, as well as strengthen the ‘pick up sticks’ theme used in the playground and tower structure. The dominant use of green on the ground plane anchors the playspace into the landscape, with the turf mound almost reading as real grass when viewed from a distance. The brighter colours were used as accents, with the orange path and the yellow circles creating informal paths through the playspace. Large blue circles were also used to define the play zones around key pieces of play equipment.”

“We are very happy with the final result. The of bold colour on the courts and backboards ties into the other coloured elements within the park,” says Nina.balan

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