View Full Version : If you have a playset, do you have surfacing material under it?

03-08-2011, 12:10 PM
The pea gravel thread made me wonder about this. We are planning on getting a playset and I can't decide what to do under it. Around here, people tend to just do grass.

03-08-2011, 12:15 PM
There are recommendations available depending on the height of your set, etc. Grass doesn't offer enough protection from a head injury, etc. in the event of a fall.

At our last house we had pea gravel. We had a big fort that was 6 feet off the ground, which requires deeper surfacing. A lot of the neighborhood kids came over to play and I felt more comfortable having the appropriate surfacing in place for my own kids and the neighbor kids/friends. We just moved to a house that has a small playset with grass (no protective surface) but we will be adding some surfacing soon (mulch or gravel). The fort portion of the slide is only about 4 feet high and the set is much smaller so we'll need less material underneath this time.

03-08-2011, 02:11 PM
we just did grass. that's what we grew up with and just felt it was fine for us. plus we didn't have a choice given the elevation/drainage of our yard. we had to keep the existing terrain in tact.

03-08-2011, 02:13 PM
We have mulch.

03-08-2011, 02:24 PM
If you are interested in the recommended surfacing depths/guidelines, if you google playground surfacing recommendations there is a cpsc pdf with info on how many inches are needed for different height forts/sets, and other guidelines.

03-08-2011, 02:40 PM
I think so many people have just grass but that doesn't really offer any protection. We went with mulch and I found the surface depth guidelines somewhere online. My kids actually like to play in the mulch too with shovels, trucks, and rakes.

03-08-2011, 03:38 PM
Thank you. We are a military family and have to worry about resale if we over-personalize our house/yard. We will be living here another 2 years and I want the kids to have a playset, but also for it to be safe. It may be cost prohibitive to do so and we'd have to find someone who wanted that in the yard. SO, we may just not do the playset for now. Blah, this lifestyle stinks sometimes.

03-08-2011, 03:47 PM
To answer your original question, we have pine chips under ours. We had trees cut down the same year we installed the playset, so it was easy and "free" (since the trees had to be cut anyways).

I'll throw this out there since this might be another alternative - while we've used our playset a LOT, I'd have to say if I compared the number hours played with versus the dollars spent our extra large sandbox was a better value. My husband built it himself. I can't remember the dimensions, possibly 10 x 12 feet. It cost a few hundred to build and fill versus $1500 for our playset.

It might be easier to dismantle or convert sandbox into raised garden bed for the next homeowners?

03-08-2011, 03:56 PM
we just have grass

03-08-2011, 04:50 PM
We bought mulch that was recommended for playsets (some type of tree that won't give you splinters - sorry can't remember the name). We had our mulch delivered from a local place. It cost a few hundred dollars, but we factored this in when purchasing our playset (from Sam's Club). All in all, money well spent IMO.

03-08-2011, 04:54 PM
We have grass.

03-08-2011, 06:28 PM
I'll throw this out there since this might be another alternative - while we've used our playset a LOT, I'd have to say if I compared the number hours played with versus the dollars spent our extra large sandbox was a better value.

I think this is a great idea. Our nephews had a huge sandbox, I believe it was just a large swimming pool that they used as a sandbox, my memory is fuzzy, but it was really cool and they LOVED it.

We have grass under our swingset. :) As do all our neighbors. The most "popular" swingset with all the nearby kids (who roam fairly freely in a 6-7 house line up and down the block during the summer evenings) is the plain jane one with just two swings that the dad built for like $50. Inexplicable given some of the options, but there you go. The cheapy one that is on it's fourth owners (keeps getting sold when people move) is next because it has a low set of monkey bars that the 5-6 year olds love.

03-08-2011, 09:41 PM
See, I like the sand idea, but our neighborhood has tons of feral cats (our neighbor feeds them- ugh- don't get me started) it would be like a huge litterbox.

03-08-2011, 09:43 PM
Pea Gravel. My daughter fell from 5-6' a year ago (and I was RIGHT THERE and couldn't catch her)...she had scrapes.

If we had only had grass, SOMETHING would have broken.

03-08-2011, 09:49 PM
rubber mulch. They love to dig in it, and it comes off the socks/shoes easily.

03-08-2011, 09:52 PM
We have playground mulch under our swing set....however many inches is recommended. And then DH edged around it to help keep it out of the grass.

03-09-2011, 12:16 AM
rubber mulch for us. regular mulch and sand were not an option due to the free to roam the neighborhood cats out there