What Are The Best Playground Materials For Ground Cover? Take Your Pick!

Are you looking to spruce up your playground safety and appearance with a specific ground cover?

Would you like to give your kids something soft to play on when they go outside?

What are the best playground materials for ground cover on the market, anyway?

In this article, we’ll help you find the best material for your specific playground. We’ll give you several product recommendations so you can compare all your options and choose the best one for your little one’s needs—and for your backyard space, too.

By the time you’re finished, you should be ready to put together the perfect safe playground for your child to enjoy for years to come. So let’s get started!

Don't have the time to check out the whole list?
Here are our TOP FAVORITE PICKS:

LITA Realistic Deluxe Artificial Grass Synthetic Thick Lawn Turf Carpet 7 FT x13 FT(91 Square FT) -Perfect for indoor/outdoor Landscape
Rubber Cal Eco-Sport Floor Tile-Pack of 3, Coal, 1 x 20 x 20-Inch
Sakrete 40100374 Natural Play Sand, 60 Pound
$169.99
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$41.29
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107 Reviews
9 Reviews
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LITA Realistic Deluxe Artificial Grass Synthetic Thick Lawn Turf Carpet 7 FT x13 FT(91 Square FT) -Perfect for indoor/outdoor Landscape
$169.99
107 Reviews
Rubber Cal Eco-Sport Floor Tile-Pack of 3, Coal, 1 x 20 x 20-Inch
$52.79
9 Reviews
Sakrete 40100374 Natural Play Sand, 60 Pound
$41.29
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4 Reviews

Last update on 2018-02-21 at 22:19 Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

3 Best Playground Materials for Ground Cover

1. Rubber Mats​

These pieces of rubber tile or sheeting can be laid as needed to cover the playground.

playground ground cover mats

https://pixabay.com/en/floor-mat-grid-rubber-regularly-787218/

Pro​​​​s:

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    Rubber mats are ADA compliant and great for accessibility for parents and kids both.
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    It’s easy to keep these mats clean.

Cons:

  • This is one of the most expensive type of ground covers for playgrounds available.
  • It can be difficult to lay rubber mats yourself if you don’t have experience with them.

2. Playground Sand​

You will need a playground border to hold sand in place if you choose to use it for your ground cover.

outdoor playground flooring options

https://pixabay.com/en/sand-shovel-the-playground-shovel-1532070/

Pros:

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    This is a very affordable playground cover option.
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    You can find sand almost anywhere.

Cons:

  • When wet, sand will pack together and become very messy.
  • Sand can be easily tracked everywhere in your yard and home.

3. Artificial Turf

Keep things looking natural by incorporating artificial turf into your playground.

cheap outdoor playground flooring

https://pixabay.com/en/abstract-artificial-astro-astroturf-314364/

Pros:

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    It’s easy to keep artificial turf clean.
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    This is a soft alternative that’s great for kids of all ages.

Cons:

  • This can look very fake if not done well.
  • Artificial turf may get very hot in direct sunlight.

Rubber Mats

Rubber mats are one of the most popular playground material choices, although they may also be the most expensive depending on the space you have to work with.

1. Rubber Cal Eco-Sport Floor Tile

Rubber Cal Eco-Sport Floor Tile-Pack of 3, Coal, 1 x 20 x 20-Inch

This Rubber Cal Eco-Sport Floor Tile is a great way to give your kids a safe place to play indoors, outdoors, or both. All you have to do to place it is to match it up with the included connecting pins and you’ll be on your way to a safe playground experience in no time.

Pros

Cons

  • You can choose between five different colors for this great product.
  • This rubber mat comes in a pack of 3 to make it easier for you to fit any space you’re working with.

  • In some cases, the product may arrive with the connecting pins missing.

  • This is an expensive mat that may be well over budget for some customers, especially with larger playgrounds.

2. Playground Mat

Playground Mat - cost effective , safety tested mat

Choose this rubber Playground Mat to give your kids a great safe experience playing in the backyard. This is a heavy-duty product that’s sure to help prevent any safety concerns and reduce the impact of falls, scrapes, bumps and bruises your kids may get from playing outside.

Pros

Cons

  • If you want to keep your yard looking natural, you can encourage grass to grow through the holes of this mat.
  • It’s very easy to clean this mat by just rinsing it off with the garden hose.

  • In some cases, this product may become brittle and damaged after use in the direct sunlight for a long time.

  • It can be tough to cut this product to fit unique yard shapes and sizes.

Playground Sand

Playground sand is a great alternative to some other types of playground cover material that can help you save money and keep your kids safe at the same time.

1. Sakrete Natural Play Sand

Sakrete 40100374 Natural Play Sand, 60 Pound

With this 60-pound bag of Sakrete Natural Play Sand, you can fill your child’s sandbox or be well on your way to filling your whole playground depending on your needs. This is a very clean sand that’s great for use in all sorts of applications in and around your home.

Pros

Cons

  • This is a very affordable bag of sand that won’t break the bank.
  • If you need to stock up, you can purchase multiple bags of this sand and keep them safely stored til ready for use.

  • This sand may arrive torn or wet upon arrival in some instances.

  • Some customers believe this sand is lower-quality play sand than other options.

2. Michigan Peat 2750 Leisure Time Play Sand

Michigan Peat 2750 Leisure Time Play Sand, 1/2 Cubic Feet

Michigan Peat 2750 Leisure Time Play Sand is a great option that’s safe for use in sandboxes as well as in your whole backyard playground. It’s been cleaned and is ready for use right out of the bag.

Pros

Cons

  • Many customers feel that this is a higher-quality play sand than some of the others on the market.
  • The sand isn’t too fine to stay in a sandbox but is still fine enough that it won’t stick all over your child’s skin either.

  • Some customers have reported the sand being wet upon arrival.

  • Many customers feel that this sand is overpriced for the amount that comes in the bag.

Synthetic Turf

Below are a couple of the best synthetic turf options you can consider depending on the space you have to work with as well as your budget.

1. Artificial Grass Area Rug

Artificial Grass Area Rug – Grass Height: 0.4' - Size: 4-feet x 6-feet - Perfect Color/Sizing for any Indoor/Outdoor Uses and Decorations!

When you have a small space you need to cover in a rug that resembles grass, this Artificial Grass Area Rug may be perfect for your needs. Use it indoors or outdoors and cut it to size if you’re having trouble making it fit in the space you need to cover.

Pros

Cons

  • The color matches real fresh grass growth very accurately and the rug doesn’t look too shiny.
  • This rug feels great and matches the texture of healthy grass pretty well.

  • In some cases, the product may arrive too wrinkled to flatten out completely.

  • Some customers report getting products that have no backing.

2. LITA Realistic Indoor/Outdoor Artificial Grass

LITA Realistic Deluxe Artificial Grass Synthetic Thick Lawn Turf Carpet 7 FT x13 FT(91 Square FT) -Perfect for indoor/outdoor Landscape

This LITA Realistic Indoor/Outdoor Artificial Grass comes in a variety of different size options to suit all your needs. The backing includes drain holes and the whole sheet can be easily washed to keep it looking clean and great.

Pros

Cons

  • This turf feels like real grass even if you go out on it barefooted.
  • You can use this turf with or without rocks underneath depending on your needs.

  • This synthetic turf doesn’t come with any stakes, so you’ll have to buy them separately to hold it down.

  • Some customers feel that this turf is too shiny to look even remotely realistic.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve figured out which products you may want to use to cover your playground, you may be wondering which ones you should avoid. Although you might remember packed dirt or wood chip playgrounds when you were a child, these are both not recommended for kids today because of safety concerns. And of course, you want to stay away from anything like concrete or asphalt.

Pick one of the products listed above and your kids will be sure to enjoy a safe and exciting playground experience every time they play outdoors!

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