1969: King Associates formed
Steve and his wife Barb take a chance of their own, starting a site-planning firm. They manage to sneak in a playground here and there.
1971: Landscape Structures incorporated
The Kings move the business from their garage to a warehouse, focus exclusively on playstructures, and rebrand.
1974: First Sales Representative
Jack Gleason of NuToys Leisure Products, Inc. becomes the first and one of the best. Three cheers for Jack!
1977: VitaCourse created
The first outdoor fitness trail system is born. Muscle shirts suddenly become more popular. Interesting.
1981: TenderTuff™ coating introduced
Hear that? That’s the sound of ten thousand tiny hands applauding a playground industry first: our new temperature-resistant protective coating for decks and handholds.
1984: PlayBooster® system boosts play
Mexico Forge is acquired, and with it comes PlayBooster®, the first post-and-clamp-based play system for unlimited configuration. That’s a lot of configuration.
1985: Permalene® panels introduced
An airport bathroom partition sparks an idea: the same material compression-molded polyethylene could be used for activity panels. And Permalene is born. In 2010, we’d become the first to offer recycled Permalene panels.
1992: Barb and Steve King named Minnesota’s Entrepreneur of the Year
The couple receive the honor from Ernst and Young, Inc. Magazine and the law firm of Gray Plant Mooty. Hear, hear.
1992: The Kings inducted into the National Institute of Entrepreneurs.
Steve and Barb become officially official.
1993: First wheelchair transfer system introduced
This innovation provides access for all children to playstructures, and unique access to high-fives.
1993: Steve King appointed to Federal Access Board’s Recreation Access Advisory Committee
He’s the sole playground equipment manufacturer to be named to the committee. And may or may not be the sole appointee named Steve.
1994: Sliding footers on slides introduced
We’re the first to use these footers to prevent warping and cracking. Because warping and cracking make slides less fun.
1995: IPEMA established
Steve King serves as founding member of the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association, a third-party organization for playground safety, and a mouthful without the acronym.
1996: ISO 9001 Certification
We become the first U.S. playground equipment manufacturer to achieve ISO 9001 Certification customer-focused commitment to quality products and processes, 1996. Smiles all around.
1998: ISO 14001 Certification
We become the first U.S. playground equipment manufacturer and seventh company in Minnesota to achieve the highest standard for environmental commitment, ISO 14001 Certification for conservation and recycling process, 1998, and the updated 14001:2004 standard, 2005. Even bigger smiles all around.
1999: Continuous improvement initiated
We commit to our focus on lean manufacturing, ensuring efficient processes, products, on-time deliveries and one kit flow. We may or may not have single-handedly stopped Y2K.
2001: Skatewave® introduced
We develop modular steel/PVC community skatepark equipment. Kids develop new, safe places to shred.
2001: Integrated Shade System introduced
We give the sun something to think about by creating the first shade system that integrates into a playstructure.
2001: Playstructure climbing cables debut
We defy gravity to create the first innovative climbing cable integrated into a modular playstructure.
2002: Sway Fun® Glider appears
We create the first multi-rider accessible glider for kids and families of all abilities. Yahoo!
2004: Landscape Structures ESOP launches
Our company stays in the family by becoming employee-owned. And instantly, our bosses become even more likeable and good-looking.
2004: Steve King named Fellow, ASLA
The American Society of Landscape Architects couldn’t have chosen a finer fellow.
2004: Natural Climber introduced
It’s the first natural climber to integrate with a playstructure. And the first of many invitations to young climbers everywhere.
2005: Mobius® Climber debuts
The first playground climber integrating art and play comes to life as art appreciation becomes a little more hands-on.
2005: Barb and Steve King win Christian Peterson Award
The couple receive the award from Iowa State University’s College of Design for safe and innovative designs for children. Smart couple.
2005: Barb King inducted as an Honorary Member of ASLA
The American Society of Landscape Architects couldn’t have found a better person to honor.
2006: Minnesota Waste Wise Leader award
Landscape Structures is recognized for our outstanding waste reduction and recycling efforts. Recycled office jokes were not recognized.
2007: Evos® play system introduced
The first gyroscopic play system for ages 5 to 12 changes the shape of play. Looks cool, too.
2008: HealthBeat® Outdoor Fitness System launched
Our commitment to healthy living and multi-generational play continues. And it would appear that muscle shirts come in all shapes and sizes.
2008: Awarded Minnesota Work-Life Champion
We take the honors two years in a row for promoting a healthy work-life balance. Two cheers for us.
2008: Chosen for 2008 Tekne Green Award
We’re recognized for environmental awareness/responsibility and incorporating sustainability into our business model. Fist bumps “coincidentally” go mainstream.
2010: Sensory Play for all abilities
We’re the first playground equipment manufacturer to go beyond accessibility to include age and developmentally appropriate products for those with sensory processing disorders and children on the autism spectrum.
2010: The King Pavilion at Iowa State awarded LEED Platinum certification
Iowa’s first “green” facility honored by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and becomes the first higher-education building in Iowa to achieve LEED Platinum status. It’s not easy being green, but it’s nice to be noticed.
2011: Design for All award
We’re recipients in the company category for our work with inclusive playgrounds. Inclusive fist bumps all-around.
2011: Oodle® Swing and OmniSpin® Spinner
Two new play events are introduced to encourage interactive play with group activities for children of all abilities. And two new synonyms for “fun” enter the English lexicon.
2011: Chosen for 2011 Disability Matters Marketplace Award
We’re honored again for our commitment to providing inclusive playgrounds. Nice job, everybody.
2012: PebbleFlex® Introduced
Pebblesoft Technologies is acquired, and we’re soon able to bring design, technology and safety into one high-performance surfacing solution: bubble gum. Okay, just making sure you’re still reading—it’s PebbleFlex.
2012: Steve King receives Visionary Leadership Award
Steve is honored by Shane’s Inspiration for his commitment to providing inclusive playground equipment for children of all abilities. We’d have done the same.
2012: Landscape Structures becomes 100% employee-owned
Landscape Structures becomes 100% employee-owned.
2013: Barb King posthumously inducted into NAWBO
This first ever honor came from NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) - Minnesota. Smart folks, there.
2013: Named Star Tribune’s Top Workplaces 2013
This is our fourth consecutive year achieving this honor. And a strong case for the high-four to replace the high-five.
2013: A Legacy of Play® published
Steve King chronicles the history and vision of Landscape Structures in a new book.
2014: ZipKrooz® introduced
The first truly inclusive zip line for a playground makes its debut. And a thousand new superheroes simultaneously make their debut as well.
2014: Playground Inspirations App launched
Clients find a new way to dream about projects on both Android and iPad tablets. Happy scrolling!
2015: Entering the water & splash play market
In 2015, we acquired Aquatic Recreation Company, LLC (ARC) and Commercial Aquatic Engineering (CAE). We decided to add water to our sandbox and play together!
2015: Landscape Structures receives LAMMY
We won a Landscape Architecture Magazine Advertising Award (LAMMY) for Most Persuasive in 2015 for our Color Inspirations ad. Even more, we were inducted into the Landscape Architecture Magazine Advertising Hall of Fame!
2015: Pat Faust, Honorary ASLA
In Nov. our president, Pat Faust, was presented with an Honorary ASLA Membership which is given to non-landscape architects for their commitment to the profession. We already knew Pat was great, now so do they!
2016: Rhapsody® Outdoor Musical Instruments
Giggles and hoot-and-hollering are not the only sounds being heard on the playground!
2016: SkyWays® Shade Division
Things just got a lot cooler around here! We launched a new division to manufacture shade products in Dallas, Texas.
2017: EPCOT® International Flower & Garden Festival
Since 2001, Landscape Structures has partnered with Epcot® and its landscape architects to create magical play environments for children of all ages during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Lucky us.