When designing or maintaining a playground it is very important to ensure the ground (also known as the safety surface) is the best it can be. Patterns and designs within the play area can stimulate a child’s mind, and if aesthetics is a top priority for you, your surfacing selection needs to be a key consideration.
Regardless of this though, choosing the right surface for your play area can ensure the children get the most of it for years to come. The main factors to consider for your surfacing selection are;
- exposure to sun or water
- any equipment/kit installed
- aesthetic requirements
There are a wide range of surface options to suit any application, and we here at PlaySmart are more than happy to give you advice on what may best suit your requirements and playground design.
In this article we go into the best surface for a playground, and the key benefits of each. If you have specific requirements, it may be of use to take our interactive quiz to see which of our products might be best for your project.
4. Bonded rubber mulch
Bonded rubber mulch is a great surface for a playground due to it’s cushioning properties and slip resistant surface. Rubber mulch is made from shredded recycled tires and our brand, JungleMulch, is water permeable and has the look of natural bark due to larger pieces of rubber granules. We use a unique organic colouring process which ensures a vibrant colour that stays bright for a long time.
Bonded rubber mulch provides excellent slip resistance whilst being fully wheelchair and buggy accessible. We can install JungleMulch at a range of fully certified depths to provide fall protection to suit your requirements.
On top of all this, it’s also got a lower price tag than many other surfacing options.
3. Artificial Grass
Artificial Grass is a fantastic choice for Primary Schools and nursery playgrounds alike. Not only is the maintenance incredibly easy, but the grass is child friendly and there will be no muddy mess. If you choose a high-quality brand, such as Green Frog, artificial grass can be soft to the touch, creating another layer of sensory stimulation for the children. Artificial grass as a surface for a playground can be very cost effective.
If you’re wanting all the benefits of artificial grass, but also want to incorporate other patterns and designs, we at PlaySmart are more than happy to do both! One option is to go for a velour grass carpet, as different colours can be used to create patterns, shapes or designs.
The other option would be to go for a combination of wet pour and artificial grass. By doing this, you can create a wide range of designs, though it will cost a bit more than just artificial grass by itself.
2. Grass Mats
If the playground is in a natural area, the best surface will be one that keeps that natural look. By installing grass mats, such as EcoSmart, the grass will grow through the safety surface. They are an environmentally friendly choice, being made out of recycled rubber, plus provide a softer landing than hard plastic tiles.
Grass mats are very durable, our EcoSmart comes with a 10 year product guarantee – meaning it is also a very cost effective solution for your playground surfacing. If you have playground equipment with a fall height more than 2m, our EcoSmart grass mats can be comined with European patented shockpad, SmartPlay. The SmartPlay and EcoSmart system meets a certified 3m Critical Fall Height when installed on a good grass base.
On top of all of this, grass mats can be installed all year round in most weather conditions, on existing grass surfaces, seeded topsoil or new turf.
1. Solid rubber surface (aka wet pour)
The best surface for a playground is a solid rubber surface, also known as wet pour. Wet pour is a rubber surface that provides a high quality, hard wearing, slip resistant surface that requires little to no maintenance. The key benefit of wet pour is that it’s very easy to create complex designs, patterns and shapes, helping spark the imagination of any children using the play area. In the event that the playground surface suffers damage through vandalism, rips or perimeter shrinkage, it can be easily fixed with the help of a professional team.
Our brand of wet pour, known as RubbaSmart, has a range of 20 different colours and can be installed in various different thicknesses. This means that no matter what play equipment is in the playground, this solid rubber surface can be installed to be suitable.
The only downside to solid rubber wet pour is that it’s one of the more expensive options of playground safety surfacing. However, the cost is definitely worth it when it comes to protecting children using the playground and any playground equipment.