Learning Landscapes - Denver Public Schools

Our Projects:

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, distinct among all schools in the state, renovate elementary playgrounds into innovative play and learning spaces. Existing play areas that once featured pea gravel fields and outdated play equipment, now feature dynamic designs where students can learn through play.  

Each playground has its own unique learning theme around which the design and layout of the playground is based.  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 strive to communicate educational ideas relating to the playground’s overall theme.

Volunteers from the community plant trees at a learning landscape for denver public schools

Broader Impact

The Learning Landscape projects continue to include a volunteer build day in which students, teachers, parents, DPS staff and the Landscape Architects gather to lay sod and plant trees. It’s a day that transforms the look of the site for the better in just a few hours and everyone gains appreciation for the investment being made into the school and the community.

These areas not only become valuable to the school and the students that use them, but have proven to be 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.

The projects are designed 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 both local artists and the students.

Scope Of Services

Typical Services

Design Concepts welcomes the opportunity to discuss and provide further information for the following design services provided by our firm:

  • Theme Development
  • Master Plan Design
  • Design Development
  • Construction Documents 
  • Construction Observation & Administration

Expanded Services

In addition our standard design services, we offer a variety of other services which may enhance the design process:

  • Public Meeting Facilitation
  • Development of Complimentary Lesson Plan
  • Graphic Renderings of Design Plan
  • Illustrative Sketches
  • Fundraising Material such as brochures
  • 3D Modeling

Learning Landscapes www.learninglandscapes.org Ninety-three schoolyards and counting! Through the generous support of Denver voters, foundation grants, and grassroots efforts, Denver's children have great places to play. Our mission is to build public places that support the wellness of children - through increased exercise, open space, community gathering places, gardens, and more.