PLAY: Naturally…

It’s been a while since Curt watched Calvin scramble up a climber at the park. Nowadays it’s trees he shinnies up, but he knows that the local park played a role in his son Calvin’s development. So when Jeff Crosby contacted him last fall for assistance in a little project he was undertaking, Curt was all ears. Crosby Landscape and Design had won a tender to rebuild a playground for the Thames Valley School District (TVDSB).

Playground Installations
Where did CLC Tree Services come into the picture? Jeff wanted to know if Curt had any wood.

Wooden Stoves

Wooden Stoves expand play at several of the playgrounds built by Crosby Landscape

“Of course!” was Curt’s enthusiastic response.

Several truckloads of logs have been delivered since then. Jeff needs a lot of wood for the playgrounds he constructs. They aren’t your typical metal and plastic climbers. In fact, while these designs still hold some traditional elements, like slides and climbing structures, they are a far cry from the metal climbers which burned the hands and bums of youth a few years ago. The vision created by the architect and TVDSB was of playspaces filled with natural elements, open-ended items which children could use their imagination to expand their play with, and a softer space for safer fun to be had.


Different musical elements are included in playgrounds, like this Xylophone at Victoria PS

Crosby Landscape has fulfilled that mandate and taken it further. For every truckload of logs that CLC Tree Services has dropped off, Crosby’s team has built musical instruments, custom art walls, sandboxes, tables and chairs, stages complete with audience seating, climbers made from different heights of stumps, retaining walls, stepping-stones, and so much more.

Before any cuts are taken, the crew measures every log that will be put in place on the structures created

Before any cuts are taken, the crew measures every log to be put in place on the structures created

Gone is the pea gravel, as thick layers of mulch now coat the ground around balance beams. Sand boxes are framed in by thick logs or natural stone slabs. Wooden stages encourage children to embrace their creative side. Or to just enjoy the show from stump seating installed in front. It is all designed to spark play and so far it’s working. Crosby Landscape has built upwards of nine playgrounds already, with another four more in the works before the summer is done. And Jeff is hoping to see a few more tenders sent his way this fall as well.



No trolls live under the bridge at Byron Somerset CC

Byron Somerset Children’s Centre was the recipient of one of those playgrounds this past June. So far it’s a hit with staff and children alike. They love their new play space. It incorporates gardens and planters for the children to plant flowers and edible plants, complete with wooden slab stepping-stones. A quaint wooden bridge is flanked by soft mulch; much easier on tender toddler knees still prone to topple. The art wall is used regularly, as are the play tables, which are perfect for plenty of sensory play.

Crosby Bear

A signature item, the Crosby Bear is found somewhere on every playground installation

While one of the favourite places for the children is the sandbox, Jeff has another feature which he is proud of—the Crosby Bear. Every playground he builds has one and they are all unique. At Byron Somerset, it hides in a log planter. At Victoria Public School, where they are working this week, the Crosby Bear will be installed in a totem pole of sorts, complete with a Viking—the school’s mascot. The bears are created by local chainsaw carver Mike Winia and donated by Crosby Landscape. They add another personalized and playful element to a space kids can’t help but love.

The success of the playgrounds has been noticed. Crosby Landscape has been part of playground installations for the Catholic School Board and playgrounds as far away as Sarnia and Corunna. It certainly keeps Jeff’s dedicated crew of 12 busy on top of his other landscape and design projects. And for that he is grateful.

So if the phone rings again at CLC Tree Services with a request for a few more logs for Crosby Landscape, the answer will be yes. Outdoor play helps to build healthy minds and bodies. And if CLC Tree Services can be even a small part of helping make that happen, we are proud to lend a hand. Bring on the Play!


The new playground at Byron Somerset CC is a hit with both children and caregivers alike thanks to Crosby Landscape

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Published by
August 13, 2015 12:04 pm