Learning Landscapes | Denver Public Schools

What Are Learning Landscapes?

Since 2002, Design Concepts has been involved with the planning, design, and construction of numerous Denver Public Schools Learning Landscape playgrounds. These projects renovate elementary playgrounds into innovative play and learning spaces; they are unique among all schools in Colorado.

Play areas that once featured pea gravel fields and outdated play equipment, now feature dynamic designs and equipment that encourages activity. Learning Landscape playgrounds help students learn through play.  

Each playground has design and layout based around a unique learning theme. Important elements include painted games, accessible playgrounds, custom shelters, outdoor classrooms, community gateways, art elements, gardens, and green space.  The details of all these components ommunicate educational ideas relating to the playground’s overall theme.

Volunteer tree planting, strengthening communities

Volunteer tree planting, strengthening communities

Broader Impact

Learning Landscape projects influence communities in important ways. These projects all include a volunteer build day in which students, teachers, parents, DPS staff, and the landscape architects work together to lay sod and plant trees. These high-energy days transform the sites into beautiful spaces in just a few hours and everyone involved feels great about the investment they are making for their school and community.

These areas are valuable to the school and the students that use them, they also create a bridge between the school and the surrounding neighborhood community.  The Learning Landscapes we have designed and built have become valuable public spaces and an integral part of the fabric of neighborhood and community life.

Community Involvement

An important part of the Learning Landscape design process is working with students, parents, teachers and school administrators, as well as the broader community to design and construct each project. From initial design brain-storming sessions, to presentation of conceptual designs and master plans, to volunteer work days during construction, each Learning Landscape is a reflection of the community spirit in which it resides.

We design these projects in collaboration with University of Colorado-Denver graduate landscape architecture students. Closely involved school staff and neighborhood groups create a unique aesthetic theme for each playground reflective of their curriculum and community. The sites have one-of-a-kind features and include art by local artists and students.

Scope Of Services

Typical Services

We welcome the opportunity to provide more information about our design services:

  • Theme development

  • Master plan design

  • Design development

  • Construction documents

  • Construction observation and administration

Expanded Services

Other services we offer that enhance the design process:

  • Public meeting facilitation

  • Development of complimentary lesson plan

  • Graphic renderings of design plan

  • Illustrative sketches

  • Fundraising materials

  • 3D modeling

Learning Landscapes www.learninglandscapes.org Ninety-three schoolyards and counting! Watch this video to learn more.

Our Learning Landscape Projects



Design Merit Award

American Society of
Landscape Architects, Colorado