Playground – Top 5 Surface Materials to Use

Children cherish fun and play. And to fulfill that purpose, they need a soft place to jump and land where their fall will not turn into a major injury. Having playground surfaces which ensure safety is indeed a great idea to ensure children’s wellbeing.

While developing a playground space, there are several aspects which are worth considering. Hygiene, cleanliness, maintenance, environment friendly, cost of maintenance, choice of playground surface materials, safety are some of them.

Let’s have a look at the top 5 best playground safety surface materials which will help you take the right decision with ease.


Artificial Grass or Turf

Artificial Grass is one of the less expensive alternatives amongst playground surface materials. Its rising popularity also comes from its reputation of beingeco-friendly as it doesnot require water, fertilizers or mowing. It is a low-maintenance and a wheelchair accessible surface. It is easy to clean with an occasional rinse-off and water drains easily from this surface.

The new manufacturing techniques offer better quality and more realistic grass texture to the product making it a preference. This fits into landscapes where you already have green pastures around it. It’s worth being bare feet on the soft velvety green grass carpet.

Play Sand and Pea Gravel

Playground sand and pea gravel is very economical and in turn popular in making playground surfaces. It isone of the cheapest options for the playgrounds. It can be accommodated in all varieties of garden décor and is environment friendly. However, it requires a barrier or boundary to keep everything in order.

best playground safety surface materials

Some precautions need to be observed to make it safe for kids’ play and provide fall protection. The sandor pea gravel should be used in large quantity so that it remains loose. Else, it could harm the children if they fall during play. They should have a minimum depth of twelve inches at all times.

It should be checked for absence of harmful materials. You can even purchase sand and pea gravelespecially made for playgrounds.

Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is made from recycled rubberand is used in gardens for sustainable landscaping. It offers extremely high shock absorbency which makes it a great playground protection surface. Thus it minimizes the occurrence of playground injuries.

best playground safety surface materials

It requires little maintenance, dries off quickly after rain and does not tend to decompose. It has long life which lasts for more than 20 years. It is hygienic as it doesn’t provide surface for the insectsand weeds to breed and creep in. It offers the flexibility of the rubber with a cushioned surface.

Considering the cost of rubber mulch, it becomes cost effective over time as it does not degrade quickly as compared to wood mulch or other natural alternatives.

Engineered Wood Fiber

Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF) is another popular, economical and durable alternative for playground surface materials. It is a natural, beautiful and safe way to cover the ground made from virgin wood and removing the saw dust.

best playground safety surface materials

These EWF surfaces are environment friendly and non-toxic as it does not contain any paints or chemicals. They are easy to install which keeps the overall cost of installation fairly low.It offers acceptable level of cushioning and protection for children. It is firm offering anti-slip surface for the walkers and wheelchairs.

Solid Rubber Surface

Solid Rubber Surface is one of the safest playground surfaces which is adaptable to all sorts of surroundings. It can accommodate puzzles and patterns and logos to add to the glory of the premises.

Another reason for its use is that it requires least maintenance. It may be either in the form of rubber tiles or Pour in Place rubber surface. Pour in Place rubber is formed over a sub-base creating a cushioned, slip resistant surface easily accessible for wheelchairs, strollers andskaters.

best playground safety surface materials

Solid rubber surface material may be one of the most expensive options for creating safe playground surfaces. Hence use of recycled tires has made this alternative cost effective and environment friendly. One important aspect to be taken care of is the binder that is used with rubber.

A good quality binder is the most important consideration to make a high quality poured in place rubber surface.The protection of a kid during fall depends not only on the material used but the depth of it. Hence, it is recommended to keep it 12-20 inches deep and have a testing scheduled on a regular basis.


Every surface has its pros and cons. Yet one can choose the best playground surface materials by keeping the level of safety, visual appeal, accessibility, cost of maintenance, budget, durability etc. in mind.

Abigail Jones

Hi, I'm Abigail. I like spending time tearing my house apart and putting it together back again. Join me on home improvement tutorials, tips on my blog.

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