Music Meets Nature in Frisco Lake Park, City of Olathe, Kansas

The January 2019 issue of Landscape Architect and Specifier News Magazine (The Industry Trade Magazine for Commercial Landscape Specifiers) features the small but unique playground renovation featuring outdoor musical instruments at Frisco Lake Park – a 38-acre community park in the city of Olathe, Kansas.

The playground renovation tool place back in the spring of 2018 and saw the removal of the existing post and platform playground and replaced with a nature-based playground, designed to complement the mature trees surrounding the play area and utilise the shade they provide.

Lisa Donnelly, the city's landscape architect has created a thoughtful playground, aimed to help children reconnect with nature and encourage an understanding of the natural world around them. The open design of the playground encourages creativity and builds cognitive skills by allowing children to think about what they want to do and what they can do to make it happen. To help children learn and grow through play, the playground features an accessible swing meant for several children at one time, a hillside slide with natural stone steps, a natural sand pit, and nature-based rock and tree climbing features on an artificial turf safety surfacing - blending the playground into the surrounding environment. The musical instruments and play equipment are designed to encourage interaction among the children and allow them to use their imagination, improvise and play with no limitations and no expected outcome.

Lisa and the city of Olathe worked with local playground representative ABCreative to select the playground equipment and surfacing. A combination of play equipment, sculptures and seating along with a Rainbow Cavatina Xylophone and pair of Conga Drums from Percussion Play ensured he park offered a variety of play options for park users.

The playground has been very well used and well-received by residents of Olathe and surrounding communities, drawing families into the outdoors to play, make music together and appreciate the natural environment surrounding them.