Bienenstock on ShadeBienenstock believes that the only way to truly create a successful natural environment for children is to copy as closely as possible the vegetation of an established forest. This means that all trees and shrubs in the Natural Playground are more mature, native specimens. By using mature, native plants it is less likely that children will be able to trample or hurt these plants, giving the plants a chance to thrive in their new surroundings.
By using larger trees not only does it create an immediate impact on the space they act as shade canopies to protect children and parents from the harmful effects of UV rays. It is very important to have lots of shade in playgrounds since 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18 (Boe K, Tillotson EA, 2006).
We follow "The Shadow Rule". This rule is based on the height of the sun and was developed by two Danish Professors, Lorentzen and Weismann (2002). They descrip the shadow rule as:
"A rule of thumb is: when shadows are shorter than objects throwing them, avoid direct sunlight, when the shadow and object are of equal length restrict sun exposure to half an hour, and when shadows are twice the length of objects, an hour in the sun is permissible."
By planting larger more mature trees, Bienenstock attempts to create a shadow that is at least twice the length of the tree itself or a canopy that blocks sun entirely. Planting this way allows children and parents to spend more time in Natural Playgrounds because they are more protected from UV rays then in traditional playgrounds that are open and barren.