County Farm Park Playground

Ann Arbor, Michigan

County Farm Park provides a unique play and learning area for children, encouraging active play and education, as well as passive recreation opportunities for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

The Johnson Hill Land Ethics Studio was asked to design a unique play area in County Farm Park for Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation. The design process began with a public workshop where JHLE identified priorities and ideas of park users. First and foremost, participants wanted the play area to be safe and easily supervised.

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They asked that natural play elements be incorporated into the design to complement the existing character of the park and to create a inspiring space for children. Connections to restrooms, parking, gardens, and existing circulation paths were also identified as priorities at the workshop. The final design included garden plots with raised beds, themed discovery gardens, and sensory gardens to stimulate and educate young gardeners. Farm-inspired play structures and toys provide active play opportunities that fit in with character of the site. Gathering spaces were designed to facilitate supervision and accomodate groups of different sizes to easily gather. The playground was completed in 2006 and has proven to be a successful intergenerational space, providing a unique and enjoyable experience for all users.