Whether you’re about to create a playground from scratch, or you’re looking for an upgrade to your existing playground, we know surfacing will be on your mind. PlaySmart have created a comprehensive guide of our top 5 reasons why you should invest in a modern playground surface.
It’s easy to be put off by the upfront cost of new surfacing, but this article will hopefully shine some light into why this is a necessary cost and how it will actually save you money over the lifespan of your playground.
1: Aesthetic Appeal
Research proves that children prefer playing in environments that stimulate their creativity, with lots of bright colours and imaginative designs. Over the years, your playground surfaces and equipment will naturally fade with weather, repetitive use and so on. If your playground is due an update, taking this into consideration is important. PlaySmart have a wide range of safety surfacing options, some of which can be customised or come in different colours and designs, created with the intention of sparking the imagination of young minds.
Older surfacing options often come with more maintenance needs than modern solutions. For example, traditional playground bark can be very expensive and time-consuming to look after, and users can spend a lot of time looking through it to identify dangerous foreign objects – for example, glass – that can cause harm to children if not found and removed.
Likewise, cheap rubber tile matting can cause a safety concern, as it almost always sinks over time with repeated use. Not only does it look unappealing, but it can cause a safety issue by sinking so far that critical fall height measurements are affected.
Newer options can save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to maintenance. Our PlaySmart JungleMulch and wet pour rubber options are resin bound, meaning that there are never any loose parts to replace or clean up – usually not found in older options.
With modern surfaces comes modern technology as well. PlaySmart have developed a patented safety surface feature, SmartPlay, which is a shock absorption pad installed under grass mats to add an extra layer of protection and prevention against sinking.
It may come as no surprise to learn that the older or more frequently used your playground is, the higher the likelihood of damage and safety risks.
As mentioned previously, rubber tile matting is not an ideal surface, and this is shown in how it ages too. As rubber tile matting ages, it will become hard and brittle, may chip or break, and will lose most of its shock absorbency. It also has a tendency to separate
and curl up at the edges, which is a trip hazard and poses a risk concern for children playing on it.
Likewise, wet pour rubber can become a safety issue over time if not installed to a high enough standard. High usage areas – for example, underneath swing sets – can wear away with time. Also, poor set up can mean wet pour gradually pulls away at the edges, creating gaps that debris and water can get into, and could result in flooding.
There is also the risk of low-quality or badly installed grass mats declining with age and heavy usage. If you don’t invest in quality materials, the life span of the product decreases drastically, and your return on investment will be a shortfall. PlaySmart’s resident team of experts with years of experience ensure a professional and thorough installation job, so you can rest assured your PlaySmart surface will stand the test of time.
4: Muddy Mess
You may find that older surfacing options don’t always have the drainage facilities that newer surfacing has. In a climate as wet and rainy as the UK, this is obviously less than ideal! Having seen other surfaces that clearly require some intervention when it comes to drainage, PlaySmart have devised our own EcoSmart safety surface mats, which ensures very little dirt or debris will settle and no water will pool or flood the grass mats.
A more traditional surface for a playground often comes in the form of loose bark chippings, especially in outdoor activity areas. This surface is not ideally equipped for the famous British weather, as it can collect a lot of dirt and water when it rains, potentially causing flooding. PlaySmart’s solution is our JungleMulch – with resin bonding and excellent drainage, we ensure there will be no breakaway materials or surface pooling.
5: An Opportunity to Upgrade
After a few years, it might be fair to say you’re looking to revamp your playground with something new and exciting. If you’re looking to swap out or upgrade the equipment on your playground, it makes sense to consider the surface you’re installing the equipment on – some surfaces might be sorted to certain pieces of equipment than others, for example. Or, you might want to have a design overhaul and have a themed playground – for example, a castle or a shipwreck theme!
Given how diverse surfacing can be, and how many colours and designs it can be used for, exploring your safety surface options is the first step towards creative and imaginative play.