Playground Maintenance Basics

354K after_Mp (25)THE BASICS

Keep it Clean

Though your custodial staff will clean your playground regularly, they can’t be there all the time. Cleaning is a team sport! Plan regular community clean-ups to keep your playground in peak play condition. Sometime a few additional recycling bags tied on the fence can be a huge help, especially during an event.

Post Playground Rules

If playground rules are clearly marked, most people will follow them. It’s a lot easier to ask people to stop doing something if you can point to an official sign that prohibits their actions. Make sure the signs are posted in a prominent place near an entrance and kept free from graffiti. Making engaging sign that highlight playground No-Nos specific to your site can be a great student Green Team activity!

Tell People Whom to Call About a Problem

Create a leaflet listing the action numbers that people should call when they notice a problem: the precinct’s community affairs office, the precinct community council, the community board, school administration, city council members, and other elected officials. Distribute the leaflet far and wide. One group created a civilian observation patrol and gave leaflets to everyone their patrol met in the park — more than 1,000 people.

Paint Over Graffiti

Try to clean or paint over graffiti within 24 hours. Whenever you see graffiti, report it to 311 or contact your custodian. Your group can also apply to the mayor’s Anti-Graffiti Task Force for painting supplies to use to cover up graffiti you see on weekends and evenings. Call 311 for more information.

Address Broken/Vandalized Equipment

Just like litter and graffiti, broken equipment sends a negative message about your playground. Make sure you talk to your custodian to get vandalized equipment repaired. The custodial engineers holds warranties for the trees, turf, and play equipment at each site.

Remove Overgrown Shrubs

Overgrown plants can provide a haven for problem behaviors in your playground. It’s important to keep sight lines clear so that community members can see what everyone’s up to in their public space.


One of the most common issues we deal with is a broken water fountain. This can be solved if the water fountain is prepped before the first freeze. Help your custodian remember to take this action before your water fountain breaks!

Please print a share this handout with your beloved and helpful custodial engineer:

Taking Care of the Playground

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