Maximizing use of empty space - playgrounds, picnic areas, and more


I have two parks with significant empty spaces. One of them has a swing set already that my manager says gets a bunch of use, and says any additional playground equipment would be very popular.

The amount of playground equipment available from online retailers is somewhat overwhelming, and I’m not sure how to sort through what would be most ‘desirable’. Has anyone installed a playground and have any suggestions?

Another, possibly even cheaper option that I was considering was getting ~2 picnic tables installed, (possibly also an overhead shade structure?), and perhaps 1-2 grills powered by propane. Has anyone done something like this before?

Does anyone have any suggestions or insights on how they’ve made use of dead spaces in their parks and turned it into a reasonably affordable amenity?


We looked at a playground for one of our parks and our insurance agent just about gave birth to a baby goat over the liability. We decided against it and just left it green belt…


You will definatly be facing liability issues if you put in anything to do with a play ground. If you put in picnic equipment it will get stolen.
If you can not think of something to put there that will increase your income the only thing you should put in empty spaces is grass.


Haven’t done it nor checked what it does for liability but soccer area (goals on an open area)


We just put in a swingset, and we are about to put in an arbor/trellis for shade and a playhouse. Note that this is a lower-end affordable-housing type park. We also built in picnic tables (the benches are connected to the legs and it is all embedded in the ground). The cost was minimal. The benefit to the community cannot be measured but making it a nicer place to live will pay off in the long run in decreased turnover, lower cap rate, and general goodwill.

I would like to point out that as a landlord, you have a social obligation to do more than squeeze every possible dollar out of the tenants into your own pocket.

You should discuss with your insurance agent but the additional liability cost is minimal.


Thanks Brandon!

Who did you order all of the equipment from? Did the company who sold it to you handle setup and install, or did it deliver a package that you had a contractor put together?

Did you install a soft base for the swingset and playhouse? If so what material did you chose?

I think it’s reasonable if a park owner chooses to be focused on profit maximization. I think providing a good product and cost conscious upgrades is likely good and profitable business though, even if the benefits from upgrades can’t be easily measured or quantified.


The stuff came from Walmart and Costco. It was shipped in parts and we had our staff put it together. There is nothing special on the ground but it’s grass.


I’m actually running into that right now on a new park we contracted on. My first sense was to get rid of it. However, insurance didn’t seem to be a big deal, I do have some children in the park, in addition, I need to raise rents and also charge back all the utilities. So I didn’t think it was cool that I was raising their rents and then begin to take things away from them. I have a small laundromat in there as well that is pretty much a wash but I will also keep that for now.


If you can not think of something to put there that will increase your income the only thing you should put in empty spaces is grass.