Looking for Material to Put Under Playscape and Picnic Table

Updated on April 06, 2009
D.F. asks from West Bloomfield, MI
8 answers

'Tis the season to get outside! Any suggestions for a material to put under/around our playscape, picnic table and other big outside toys? Trying to avoid cutting the grass, mud and mulch. Maybe some durable rubber/tire material like at the playgrounds?

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answers from Grand Rapids on

My husband and I were thinking about the rubber mulch for our yard until my FIL mentioned something interesting. Rubber tires are a petroleum based product that leach chemicals over time. I'm not sure I'm comfortable having my children exposed to potential hazards over a long period of time. I don't know the specifics, but it is enough that we are now considering other options.



answers from Detroit on

I was looking into the same thing, we were thinking of just getting woodchips from the city since they are free, but I wasn't sure how well it would work.


answers from Benton Harbor on

My husband and I were just talking about this last night for our play area. He cleaned the whole area out yesterday and doesn't want to put mulch again. He suggested sand but we would just get TONS of aunts so I'm refusing. So we are thinking about the rubber tire pieces. He thinks it would be very expensive though. Could you let me know what you find out? And I'll let you know if I find anything out. I just recently met the gal in our area that runs the recycling drives around here and I'll get info from her because I know they collect old tires and make the tire mulch.



answers from Detroit on

They do have rubber "mulch" like they use at playgrounds. I have seen it at Sam's Club



answers from Detroit on

We have the black shredded rubber - it's been down now for 9 years already. I htink we've only added maybe three bags over the years. It doesn't float when the water pools from a rain into the yard, if I hit it with the lawn mower, it doesn't damage the blade as wood mulch would, and it has kept it's black color nicely. We did excavate down about 4", then laid landscaping fabric first. We bought it from Rainbow Playscapes - we picked it up prebagged packages at their center off of Haggerty Road between Warren and Joy (I think that's where it was- it's been a while). I think you can get it about anywhere now.
Here's what it looks like:



answers from Detroit on

Our neighbors used the rubber but didn't like it for some reason, think it got too many weeds even with preventer. Anyway, our landscaping company has playground grade mulch which really wasn't any more expensive than regular mulch. It's what the parks use on their playgrounds. The difference between it and regular is that it is tumbled longer so it smoothes out rough edges. It really is quite soft for wood (soft enough to walk on without shoes)! In my opinion it is very durable. It lasted all summer and now that the snow has gone it still looks decent. I will get a refresher for the spring.


answers from Detroit on

The rubber mulch is VERY expensive.. We looked into it and for the play area we have it was going to be almost $2000 for it! So we just went with "playground mulch".. Most landscaping places have it and will deliver it by the yard(s). It was only around $300 for ours. We put a wood border around the play area to help keep the mulch in that area.. So far so good :)
Here's a pic of ours



answers from Detroit on


They now have the rubber material mulch at Walmart if you're interested.

Good luck and have a wonderful summer!


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