Upgrading your playgrounds

Play is important for children’s physical, cognitive, social, emotional and sensory development. Through play, important life skills are learnt using interaction, risk-taking, imagination, socialising and self-expression. Playing allows children to learn about themselves and others.

The Monash Playground and Playspace Strategy 2025-2035 outlines the playground priorities for the redevelopment of our 139 playgrounds to meet the needs, and where possible, the expectations of families in Monash.

The prioritisation of upgrades is based on advice from the most recent independent safety and condition audit for all Monash playgrounds.

Council’s playground upgrade process is staged over two years, with a comprehensive community consultation and design phase to occur throughout 2024-25, and construction to be undertaken in 2025-26.

How playgrounds are classified

Part of our strategy is to classify playgrounds to help us plan for our parks and reserves, including playground design and budget.

District playspace (Valley Reserve)

District and regional playgrounds are large and individually designed playgrounds. District playgrounds service an area around 2.5 kms away, and regional playgrounds are for the whole municipality. Both have a full range of supporting amenities, catering for all abilities; i.e. toilets, drinking fountains, shelter, seating, barbecues, bins, off street parking, tables, seats, etc. The expectation is that users are prepared to drive up 10kms to these parks and/or playspaces and would spend at least 2 hours per visit.

Top image: Galbally Reserve, Hughesdale (Regional playspace)

Bottom image: Valley Conservation Reserve, Mount Waverley (District playspace)

Medium sized playgrounds with 8-12 play pieces, catering for a range of age groups and abilities. They serve neighbourhoods up to 1 kilometre away with the expectation that users could spend up to two hours per visit. They would have a picnic table, water fountain and a bin, but do not normally have toilets, shelters or barbecues.

Image: Bayview (Madison Court) Reserve, Mount Waverley

Small playgrounds designed to cater for residents living within 500 metres. These playgrounds include 5 to 8 items of play equipment for younger age groups up to primary school age. Local playgrounds are usually only used by residents from nearby streets who would spend up to an hour per visit. Amenities are limited to bench seating and accessibility features.

Image: Greville Street Reserve, Huntingdale

Very small playgrounds with three to five pieces of play equipment. Usually used by toddlers and pre-schoolers in the immediate vicinity and accessed by foot.

Image: Rivett Crescent Reserve, Mulgrave

Projects to be constructed in 2025/26

Open for consultation

Playspace design

A successful playground is defined by the amount of usage it gets. Children come back time after time to a playground that can sustain their interest – and this means designing playspaces to delight, entertain and engage them.

Similar sized equipment or a limited choice of activities will not meet all their developmental needs and not result in frequent return visits. Hence it is important to deliver a diversity of opportunities across a range of playspaces as no one site can realistically deliver on all of these developmental needs for all stages of a child’s growth.

Why playgrounds matter

Through play children develop qualities necessary in adulthood, such as:

  • problem solving
  • independence
  • self-awareness
  • creativity
  • resilience
  • spatial knowledge
  • flexibility
  • and ability to deal with change

Play provides the opportunity for children to engage with other children, be active and learn, extend and adapt their skills. It is an essential tool for physical, social, cognitive and emotional development in children and is critical to children being able to reach their full potential.

What we've heard

In 2019 we consulted the community on the Playground Strategy 2020. This is what we heard:

Play Equipment

The top 4 most important playground pieces were

  • Swings & slides
  • Youth play opportunities
  • Climbing Structures
  • Space & equipment for ball games

Supporting Infrastructure

The top 4 most important playground infrastructure requirements were

  • Public Toilets
  • Shelters e.g. shade sails over play areas
  • Water fountains
  • Rubbish bins

Playground Themes

The top 4 play features or themes were:

  • Adventure Play
  • Water play & features
  • Nature play and education
  • Play opportunities for all ages

Future Needs

The top 4 things to see changed or improved

  • Improve play equipment and maintenance
  • Better play opportunities for all ages and families
  • Exercise and fitness equipment
  • Improve Toilets

We are currently asking for community feedback again for the Playground Strategy Refresh


Monash Council is committed to inclusion of all abilities in the design of all spaces. Council’s commitment to accessible playspaces have been recognised when our Westerfield Drive Sensory Playspace (2023) and the upgraded Wellesley Sensory Playspace (2021) won state-level Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) Awards of Excellence for their innovative design and inclusive play elements. Council’s Progress Park and Cameron Avenue Playspace (>$500k) projects were also finalists in the 2023 Parks and Leisure Australia playspace award categories for Victoria and Tasmania.

The playground design principles guide the accessibility standards:

  • Designs should support a range of inclusive and social play opportunities that enable children of all abilities to play alongside one another.
  • Designs should consider the physical and social needs of adult carers supervising play, including aged carers of grandchildren.
  • A wheelchair accessible path system of minimum 1.5m width (with a preference of up to 1.8m) is required at all playspaces linking car parking, shaded seating, social areas, key play areas and all abilities play items.
  • Accessible paths and surfaces shall meet Australian Standards for access and mobility and shall have a maximum longitudinal gradient of 1:20 and 1:40 crossfall.
  • Consideration should be given to children with poor co-ordination and muscle control, as to safety and support rails as well as items of play equipment they may wish to manipulate.
  • Accessible parking spots should be available as close as possible to the main entrance with provision of a wide continuous pathway system providing links from the accessible parking area to all facilities.
  • Minimum pathway requirement is 1500mm wide – with a preferred option of 1800mm. If the path is narrower than the recommended it is a requirement to provide a section that is 1800mm every 6m for ‘overtaking’.
  • Avoid the use of bollard in the playground area as it serves no function within the safe environment. However the use of removable bollard (with secure padlock) can be considered where there are no alternatives to deter unauthorised access especially on the maintenance access entry point.
  • Asphalt, concrete or bitumen and/or compacted gravel, is recommended for pathways. Compacted gravel is considered an acceptable accessible path surface and offers a lower cost path options particularly as secondary routes.
  • Rubber matting and synthetic tiles (or similar) can be used for playground areas and under play equipment. Bark chips and grass reduces the ability of people in wheelchairs to move around with ease.
  • All furniture and fixtures should be easily accessible via pathways. Tables should have 1500mm space around them for wheelchair traffic, and similarly allow 900mm at either side of any benches. Height of clearance beneath the table to the ground should be at least 640- 650mm and a minimum clearance of 620mm from table edge to table leg to provide an accessibility for wheelchair users as per AS1428.2