PD Play began as Progressive Design Playgrounds, founded in 1990 by Ali and Elizabeth Bemanian. With Ali's degree in design from University of Florida and his master's degree in architecture from Cal Poly, they entered the playground industry as parents designing a unique play structure for their two young boys.1 As a project architect, Ali researched the industry and designed the play structure, which they built for the boys' Christmas present.
After sharing a photo of the play structure with the boys' preschool director, they were requested to design and build play structures for the school. Thus Progressive Design Playgrounds was formed and grew over the next 14 years with Elizabeth overseeing the sales and marketing.2
Based in Oceanside, California, Progressive Design Playgrounds designed, manufactured and installed commercial playground structures and recreation site furnishings.3 From the beginning, their play structures were crafted out of recycled plastic lumber (RPL) manufactured from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) formed from recycled milk containers.4
By the time the Bemanians sold Progressive Design Playgrounds in 2004, they had a network of over 50 dealers throughout the United States and overseas.5 They had also been awarded the San Diego Earthworks' San Diego Earth Award in 1997 for being an environmentally responsible company.6
In 2004, Progressive Design Playgrounds was bought by another family, John Ogden and his wife Margaret Ryan. With backgrounds in sales, marketing, business development, and public relations, John and Margaret joined the playground industry with the goal of taking a successful, environmentally conscious company and expanding it beyond the local San Diego market which had been its core.7 Their mission was to make “safe, fun and durable playgrounds for children today with consideration for the environment they will inherit tomorrow.”8
Environmental recognition continued in 2005 when Progressive Design Playgrounds was again awarded San Diego Earthworks' San Diego Earth Award. That year they were also recognized for meeting the environmental standards set by the California Collaborative for High Performance (CHPS), a nonprofit organization for sustainable energy efficiency in school facilities.9 Additionally, Progressive Design Playgrounds' products qualify toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification due to their recycled content.
Recognizing the trend towards natural playgrounds, in 2008, Progressive Design Playgrounds introduced Outdoor Learning Environments, a new line of play spaces.10 Believing that nature with its “patterns, textures, loose parts, physical and imaginative play opportunities and continuous change” provides the perfect playground, Progressive Design Playgrounds began offering “outdoor classrooms.” These classrooms incorporated sand, water, living plants, grassy hills, play walkways, ponds, foliage mazes, dirt trails, gardens, play acting stages, and reading amphitheaters into their designs.11
KaBOOM! chose Progressive Design Playgrounds' Interactive Grass Slide for inclusion in their first natural playground, which was built at the YMCA Camp H.R. Erdman in Waialua, Hawaii in 2009.12 The Interactive Grass Slide is a custom slide built into a steep inclined grassy hill, which includes underground tube tunnels to race balls down. Progressive Design Playgrounds continues to work with KaBOOM! as well as having General Services Administration (GSA) and California Multiple Award Schedule (CMAS) approval.13
To accommodate their growing company, John and Margaret moved Progressive Design Playgrounds' headquarters to nearby Vista, California in 2009.14 Besides their new natural play spaces, they continued to design, manufacture, and install playground equipment for preschool aged children (2-5 years) and for elementary aged children (5-12 years). They also offered free-standing structures, such as swings, slides, dramatic play elements, and site furnishings.15
Progressive Design Playgrounds, now known as PD Play, includes the PD Play Pad division where they utilize recycled tires to offer poured-in-place safety surfaces and other rubber surface options for indoor and outdoor recreation spaces.16
- 1. “San Diego Playground Equipment Company Offers Free Evaluation of Existing Site.” PRWeb, Online Visibility from Vocus. < www.prweb.com/releases/san-diego/playground-equipment/prweb8590904.htm > 7 Aug. 2011.
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. Harbin, Julie Poucher. “Small Business Spotlight: Progressive Design Playgrounds.” San Diego Business Journal. May 3-9, 2004: 31. < http://pdplay.com/docs/sdbj.pdf > 2 Aug. 2011.
- 4. Progressive Design Playgrounds. < http://www.pdplay.com/ > 22 June 2011.
- 5. Op.cit., “San Diego Playground Equipment Company.”
- 6. “Safety Standards and Affiliations.” PD Play. < http://www.pdplay.com/index.php/PD-Play-Pad/safety-standards-and-affiliations.html > 2 Aug. 2011.
- 7. Reino, Nicole. “In Full Swing, Oceanside company uses recycled plastic to build playgrounds.” The San Diego Union-Tribune. July 4, 2004: North County Business. < http://pdplay.com/docs/sdut.pdf > 2 Aug. 2011.
- 8. “Sustainable Earth: Playgrounds for this Planet.” PD Play. < http://www.pdplay.com/index.php/PD-Play-Pad/sustainable-earthplaygrounds-for-this-planet.html > 2 Aug. 2011.
- 9. Ibid.
- 10. “Natural Play: Engaging Body and Mind.” PD Play. < http://www.pdplay.com/index.php/PD-Play-Pad/natural-play-engaging-body-and-mind.html > 2 Aug. 2011.
- 11. “Commerical Playground Company Progressive Design Playgrounds Expands Product Line Into Natural Playgrounds; Moves Corporate Headquarters.” Progressive Design Playgrounds. < http://pdplay.com/docs/PDP_Move_Press_Release_Final_2-23-09.pdf > 2 Aug. 2011.
- 12. “KaBOOM! Selects Progressive Design Playgrounds' Outdoor Learning Environments Slide for First Natural Playground Project.” Progressive Design Playgrounds. < http://pdplay.com/docs/kaboom_selects_PDP-OLE_Hillside_Press_Release_on_letterhead.pdf > 2 Aug. 2011.
- 13. Op.cit., “Safety Standards and Affiliations.”
- 14. Op.cit., “Commercial Playground Company Progressive Design Playgrounds.”
- 15. “Product Lines.” Progressive Design Playgrounds. < http://pdplay.com/index.php?main_page=product_lines > 22 June 2011.
- 16. Op.cit., “Sustainable Earth.”