11 answers

Need Advise on Best Thing to Use Under Childrens Playset

We've recently installed the Costco Playset for our grandkids & we want to
put something under it in case of falls. I've researched this but still am not sure what
is best. I know the rubber mulch is expensive, but at the same time I've read that the
other mulches have splinters. It seems like the wood chips would be too hard & sharp.
We want it to look nice too since the area is about 25 X 25 that we'll be covering.
What have some of you used that you like? Thank you in advance for your help.
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We dug out a 8 inch deep area, bordered it with the large pvc pipe painted brown and filled it with pea gravel. In one corner we made it a bit deeper for digging toys. The boys spend WAY more time with the pea gravel then on the playset. We should have just forgotten the playset expense!

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I would avoid the rubber mulch in Texas. We play on a rubber mulch playground when we go to Florida and it is VERY hot and burns little feet and hands in the heat of the day. Also, my daughter currently plays on pea gravel at school. Her socks are totally destroyed from all the dirt it holds and it is very slippery. I would go for the wood mulch.

We just bought 11 yards of playground material from Alpine in Southlake: www.alpinematerials.com
This covered a 20 x 30 area about 5 inches deep. We have some leftover that we are using as mulch in our flower beds too. These wood chips are not too sharp and splinters are not an issue. It's IPEMA certified so it can't catch fire. The other plus is if it gets in the grass the lawnmower blade won't get damaged by it.

We had pea gravel at home, and at the private school I worked at. The children loved to use dumptrucks, scoops, pails and shovels in the gravel. HINT: get pre-washed pea gravel, a bit more expensive, but worth it! You won't have to pre-treat clothes and have dirty handprints ALL over your house.

We dug out a 8 inch deep area, bordered it with the large pvc pipe painted brown and filled it with pea gravel. In one corner we made it a bit deeper for digging toys. The boys spend WAY more time with the pea gravel then on the playset. We should have just forgotten the playset expense!

When we put in a play area years ago, we bought a load of pea gravel from the hardware store. They delivered it and we spread it out. The initial cost wasn't cheap, but it worked great and you only have to do it once.
Call Lowe's and Home Depot and get prices.
B. G.
(Mother of 8, grandmother of 4)

Hi, D.! We JUST finished our bakcyard play area and I was toiling over the very same thing! We ended up going with pea gravel to fill the area, and so far we love it. We had our "grand opening" the other day when we invited a bunch of the neighborhood kids over to play and they all LOVED the little rocks. We paid $300 for a dump truck full, which is equivalent to 10 tons and it worked out perfectly (It would have cost around $1200 to fill with rubber mulch). It was a little messy at first (the gravel had a sandy/muddy film on it), but I went out there with a spray nozzle on our hose and a rake and washed a good party of it down before it started raining. The heavy rains also did a good job of cleaning up the half that I didn't get to, but since there wasn't any raking, the layer underneath was still dirty and the kids were a little dirty afterwards, but not bad. With the second wave of rain we just got over the weekend, I think it will be pretty clean. If you want to send me your email address, I can email you some pictures if you want.

Home Depot for $8/bag...it's this stuff made of rubber guaranteed to last 12 yrs! The brand I can't think of right now, but it begins with a "V"....hope this helps!

Rubber mulch should be avoided! When it heats up around here the rubber gives off a toxic fume. That is why you don't see it in playgrounds. Wood mulch is great as is pea gravel. We've only used wood mulch so I do know you have to add to it occasionally when it gets low...

rubber mulch! it is cost effective in the long haul, and it is very eco-friendly. I just read about the fumes, you need to make sure it is playground grade, that has been treated to not heat up and give off fumes

Pea gravel is another option. Honestly, I looked into all of this when we had kids and put in a playset and it was all out of our pice range, so they just had to fall on grass!!! That being said, here are some observations. The rubber mulch will stick to their socks/clothes and you can't get it out when you wash it. You may think "they won't be outside in just their socks" but it happens!

The play fort at my parents' house has the wood mulch bark stuff under & around it, and let me tell you, it WORKS. I was pushing my then two year old on the swing; as I pushed & she went up, she let go and did a COMPLETE backflip in the air, then landed belly-slop style on the ground. It was like slow motion, seeing her body flip & fly through the air & crash down. The only things that showed this astounding thing had just happened were a couple of small scratches on her face and the perfect imprint of her body in the bark where she landed. She was unhurt & unfazed & I had to take a picture of her body print so people would believe me. :)

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