Riverside Park Water-Strider

Water Strider Guelph

Location: Guelph, Ontario
Completion Date: 2018
Special Interest Construction : Landscape Ontario Awards Of Excellence  |  2019

Carver Kings create the Riverside Park Water-Strider for Earthscape who Describes the project as :Riverside Park is a landmark urban space in the City of Guelph, hosting large city-wide events throughout the year.  Inspiration for this themed destination playground was taken from the adjacent Speed River.  The playground has a unique personality and show-stopping playable sculptures that have quickly become iconic play features for Guelph children.

A large water-strider attracts older children who are drawn to climb through and along ropes, logs, and nets to reach the top of the strider body that was hand carved by local artists.  A quick escape route is possible from the water strider’s head down the sliding metal rails which resemble antennae.

Nearby, a large mouth bass sculpture appears to swim through the river that is demarcated by blue rubber surfacing.  The fish is a whimsical sculpture that offers a lower challenge climbing option to younger children.  The irregularity of the hand holds and the curved surface require younger children to be thoughtful and intentional while navigating the bass.  Inside the fish, children have a great hiding spot for hide-and-seek or a fun place to hang out with friends.  The structure was designed to give site lines to caregivers while still offering the sensation of privacy and enclosed space to children.

For the youngest children, a small embankment slide provides a space for little ones to develop their gross motor skills while experiencing topographical changes running up and down the gentle slope and navigating among the log reeds.

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What it was like carving the strider:

For this project we carved the body and head of the strider all out of one log and earthscape attached the legs. It was great to work with such a huge beautiful piece of Oak, I think the wings really bring the piece to life and it was great to work on such a cool project.


View Full Gallery and Video on Earthscape Here

Bridgeland Dragonfly Park

dragon fly bridgeland park

Location: Cypress, Texas
Completion Date: Spring 2019

Earthscape Describes the project as : The master-planned community of Bridgeland on the north-west side of Houston is peacefully situated among lakes, rivers and trails.  That natural beauty informed the creation the wetland-themed play space of Dragonfly Park at the development’s amenities center, designed collaboratively by Clark Condon and Earthscape.

The completely custom and unique central feature of the playground is an enormous dragonfly sculpture that stretches 10.5 metres (34 feet) across its wing span.  The dragonfly’s body is a combination of chainsaw carved oak and sculptural form and cladding.  The four wings each offer different play and climbing opportunities.  The dragonfly sits among additional playable elements that reflect the ecosystem of a dragonfly, including tall grasses and plants.

Social Media Posts

Together Jacob and Paul Frenette father son team used their chainsaw skills to bring the dragonfly to life out of the old oak. below we have a collection of our live video and posts we published on our social media during the making of the project.

What Making the Project was Like

This project was rather complicated given we had to make the dragon fly tail over a curved surface and as you know logs dont generally grow that big in that way. So we had to shape each log to match the curve. We used cutting techniques to get the right angles matching across the rising concave curve then slotted each piece to hide the joinery and add to the scale effect of the tail. Overall it was a very fun project that tested certain skills like proportion, joinery, angled precision cuts, texture etc and artistic flow needed to have the head of the dragon fly look good, be fun to play on and not be too scary for the kids.


View Full Gallery and Video on Earthscape Here

Story Mill Community Park

bozeman montana playground

Award of Excellence: Boldly Bozeman

Bozeman Beautification Advisory Board  |  2019

Location: Bozeman, Montana
Completion Date: Spring 2019

Located in the heart of Bozeman, Montana, the Story Mill Community Park agrarian themed playground has been designed to reflect the unique flavour and culture of Bozeman.  Earthscape working with The Trust for Public Land and Design Workshop, the design process focused on story telling by infusing local context into the structures. The resulting design is a journey through the landscapes of Montana, from farms and agriculture to rocky terrain and forested wilderness.

For younger children, the junior grain elevator tower is an iconic structure with historic relevance to Bozeman; there are several old grain elevators adjacent to the park. This feature represents the town and valley’s agrarian industry and culture. A bison skull and osprey sculptures both represent native species and their inclusion in the playground creates a connection to the more remote and wild spaces in Montana. The fire tower in the senior play area is a two-level structure that looks like it belongs in the mountains. An accessible bridge connects the first level to the adjacent bank.

The playground is nestled along a bank of existing willow trees that overhang the playground; the 2nd level of the fire tower brings kids up to this canopy and gives them a bird’s eye view of the park. The site has been arranged so the structures get progressively more challenging. At the same time, there is a thematic parallel that plays on the idea of moving from the agrarian valley (the junior play area) into the foothills and up toward the surrounding mountainous wilderness (the senior play area).

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What Making the Project was Like

Coming soon


View Full Gallery and Video on Earthscape Here