Q: What To Put Under Playset To Keep Kids Safe? (7 Top Solutions)

  • It’s really important to install ground cover under a playset We review 
  • 7 different ground cover options that you can use 
  • Pros and cons can help you decide which type is ideal for you 
  • Bonus video: DIY Border with Mulch for Playground Area

Have you ever wondered what type of playground material is best for your backyard?

Have you been to public playgrounds and tried to figure out what they use to protect kids from bad falls?

Do you know what to put under playset options you may be considering for your home?

While it’s true you can leave your yard as-is and just place your playset on top of the lawn, this may not be the best option for you depending on your situation. For example, if your playset would make it very difficult to mow or weed-whack your backyard, it may be better to put down some type of covering first. And of course, anything you put over your grass will eventually kill the grass completely, so this is something to keep in mind too.

Before you ever pick out your playset, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the types of ground cover available to you depending on your needs. Check out the list below to learn more about the options you need to consider when choosing your backyard playground setup.

1. Artificial Turf

Artificial turf is usually the same type you might find on lawns without playgrounds, too. It’s a synthetic type of grass that looks great year-round and can provide some cushion to kids who take a tumble on it, too.

Pros

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    Artificial turf looks great and doesn’t take a lot of maintenance.
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    It’s easy to rinse it off with a garden hose.

Cons

  • It isn’t very significantly cushioned for kids to fall on.
  • Artificial turf may be a little challenging to put down by yourself, especially if you don’t have experience with it.

2. Rubber Flooring

Rubber flooring is a type of playground rubber that is available in large tiles that can be interlocked together to hold them in place. These tiles are usually very heavy and should be unable to be moved when children run over them or play on them, even over a long period of time.

Pros

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    This is a very durable and long-lasting type of playground cover that will be in your yard for years.
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    Kids won’t be injured by taking a fall on this very cushioned ground cover.

Cons

  • Rubber flooring is very pricey and is one of the most expensive options out there.
  • Laying this flooring is a two-person job at least.

3. Pea Gravel

One of the oldest and most popular forms of playground cover, pea gravel is a great solution for anyone on a budget or looking for a more authentic old-fashioned playground experience. It looks great in just about any backyard play area and is sure to become a long-lasting part of your yard, too.

Pros

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    Pea gravel is readily available at any local hardware or home repair store.
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    This is one of the more affordable options on this list.

Cons

  • Pea gravel is rough and can cause scrapes, bumps, and bruises more commonly than other types of ground cover might.
  • Pea gravel may start to look dirty and be tough to keep clean.

4. Playground Sand

Choose playground sand when you want to cover your play area on a tighter budget. This is a nice, soft way to give your kids a place to play outside without having to worry about it costing too much. It’s a classic favorite that your kids are sure to love playing in, too!

Pros

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    Playground sound is very affordable and readily available at most home repair stores.
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    You can easily spread playground sound by yourself without help.

Cons

  • Playground sand is very messy and is sure to get tracked into your house.
  • This type of ground cover is tough to keep clean when you use it outside for years.

5. Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is similar to the rubber flooring listed above, but instead of being available in several large tile pieces, it’s a smaller and more lightweight type of covering. It’s very soft and easy to spread, and it’s sure to keep your kids safe no matter how much of a tumble they might take from the playset.

Pros

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    You can easily spread rubber mulch by yourself.
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    Kids will be safe and well-cushioned when you use this type of covering.

Cons

  • Some people believe rubber mulch has a strong and unpleasant odor, especially when kept in direct sunlight.
  • Rubber mulch can be hard to find.

6. Engineered Wood Chips

Many public playgrounds, especially those from a few decades ago, feature engineered wood chips as their playground cover. Wood chips can offer some cushion for your kids when they play outside and are generally an affordable alternative to many of the other more expensive options out there.

Pros

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    Engineered wood chips are easy to come by in most hardware and home repair stores.
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    This is a lightweight ground cover that will be easy for you to spread by yourself.

Cons

  • Wood chips can cause splinters.
  • Wood chips may not be thick enough to provide adequate cushioning for your kids.

7. Recycled Rubber Tires

If you want to use rubber but also want to do your part to help cut back on the damage rubber does to the environment, recycled rubber tires may be right for you. This type of playground cover is available in many different forms, but usually comes in large sheets.

Pros

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    Recycled rubber tires help the environment as well as you and your family.
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    This is a soft and cushioned type of playground cover that’s very good for kids.

Cons

  • Recycled rubber tires can actually be a very expensive type of playground cover, although they don’t sound like they would be,
  • This is a very expensive type of playground cover.

Conclusion

Did you pick the playground material that’s right for you? There are a lot of options to choose from, so don’t worry if you need to take your time and think it over. It may take some consideration to choose the right one, but once you have it in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating an incredible backyard experience your kids will never forget!

playground tiles

But with all this talk about the products that are best for covering the ground under your playset, you may be wondering which one is the worst. There is one material you should never use when you’re trying to figure out what to put under your playset: asphalt. Asphalt is very dangerous for children to fall onto, especially from the height of a playset. And if one of your kids trips and falls, he or she is sure to have a skinned knee if that happens on asphalt. Concrete is no different, so be sure you stay away from concrete as well as asphalt for your backyard playground cover.

Other than these, however, the remaining options are all equally good choices. You’ll want to make your pick depending on the specific needs of your kids as well as the type of backyard you have to work with. And of course, if you live in an HOA community, you’ll want to double check with the HOA guidelines to determine what’s allowed in your neighborhood and what might not be.

Once you have your ground cover figured out, you’ll be ready to pick a great playset for your kids to enjoy for years to come!

BONUS VIDEO

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