Playground, Discovery Play Garden & Nature Center Design Experience

The White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group has an experienced child- and family-oriented, multi-disciplinary group of professionals, overseen by our Education & Child Development Director, who work as a team to design and oversee the development of high quality, children's playgrounds and children's outdoor play and learning environments. Our design work includes outdoor playgrounds for childcare and early childhood facilities, schools and parks and facilities designed for educational purposes such as nature centers, children's gardens and children's discovery gardens in botanical centers and other institutions. We understand the developmental needs and learning styles of children of all ages and why children need and how they interact with nature. We design developmentally appropriate outdoor environments that will work for children from infants and toddlers to teenagers. Our company is recognized in both the leisure and educational professions for our pioneering work in returning nature to children's outdoor play environments in the design of natural playgrounds, or what we call discovery play gardens.

Designing a quality, developmentally and culturally appropriate environment for children, whether for learning or for play, is a highly complex, specialized and unique skill. The outdoor environment, including its layout, plantings, appearance, equipment and props has a profound impact on children's learning and behavior. We understand the importance of having the design of the entire environment assist and support, rather than impede, both children's play and learning and parents' and staff's needs. We also understand how design the outdoor space to support the curriculum and to integrate with indoor classrooms and spaces.

Our experienced, multi-disciplinary group of professions are experienced in how to create the best outdoor environments at the most economical construction and operational costs. Our holistic, child-centered design approach includes more than just a landscape architect, who alone does not have the broad experience in all aspects of designing children's outdoor environments. Our design team is uniquely structured and includes members with specialized expertise in:

  • infant/toddler design
  • cultural competency
  • early childhood educatio
  • children's play equipment design
  • economic feasibility and funding
  • child care
  • landscape architecture
  • management
  • gardening and horticulture
  • market research
  • civil engineering
  • architecture
  • ADA, safety and licensing standards
  • universal design for accessibility
  • Head Start and Early Head Start
  • curriculum and field trip development
  • nature-based outdoor play environments and playgrounds
    (natural playgrounds or play gardens)
  • equipment design and integration into the environment

We can help you with the design and operational considerations of developing a high quality outdoor play or learning environment for children.