Choosing Playground Surfacing

Choosing Playground Surfacing

Playgrounds are wonderful for children’s social development. 

But sometimes while playing an intense game of grounders or climbing up to heights they’ve never experienced before, falls will be inevitable.  Traditionally parks have used hard grass or even concrete as the surfacing beneath a playground.  But these surfaces increased the risk of serious injuries from falls.

For the safety of all our children, everything in our designs meets CSA standards on safety.  From fall heights to encroachment zones, your children will be protected while they play.

There are a few things to consider when choosing your playground surfacing.

Accessibility

Not all surfacing options are considered accessible.  Sand and pea stone are not accessible surfacing choices.

Wood chips are considered accessible, however, they are not the best choice for functionality, as they are loose fill.  Sometimes this makes it tough for wheelchairs or strollers to navigate.  Wood chips also need to be packed in order for them to be an accessible surfacing, so they will need to be topped up every couple of years.

Another option for an accessibility is artificial turf.  There is a wide range of colours, but it is difficult to install and has a hefty price tag attached to it.

The best option for accessible surfacing is poured rubber.  Poured rubber is much easier to navigate for wheelchairs and strollers.  The one big drawback with rubber is that it also has a much higher price tag.

Environmental factors and maintenance

Rain can affect the surfacing in different ways.  It will wash away unwanted dirt and spills from poured rubber without making it slippery.  Poured rubber is a maintenance free surfacing.  Rain on sand and woodchips will likely make your children messier and have them tracking unwanted sand or pieces of wood into your clean entrance!  Another factor to consider is how nearby animals (I’m talking to you cats!) may compromise the quality of sand (can you say giant litter box!?).  Sand would have to be raked regularly in order to maintain its cleanliness and remove unwanted food wrappers and debris.  Pea stone and woodchips are less messy as they don’t seem to attract as many animals, but they will still be a catch all when it comes to food wrappers and other garbage.  A garbage bin or two placed nearby seems to help curb littering, but a certain degree is still an inevitability.

Quality fun

Obviously, it would be difficult (impossible?!) to build a sandcastle out of poured rubber, turf, woodchips or even pea stone.  So that is one huge plus for sand!  Children love to play in sand!

When it comes to Rubber, the options are endless!  We can incorporate several different colours, making custom designs for some fun play.  We can integrate logos, 3D animals, shapes, numbers or anything you’d like!  Generally, the price rises with the more colours that are chosen.  One of my favorite designs to include in rubber is hopscotch.  That gives another play area that the kids are sure to love!

Pea stone can give kids something to dig in with dump trucks, but remember, kids also like to throw things that they can pick up!  Wood chips don’t offer a whole bunch when it comes to play value and artificial turf doesn’t really add much at all.

Seasonal functionality

Woodchips win out in this category when you live in Saskatchewan like we do!  Wood chips preform at a higher level than other surfaces when our temperatures plunge for several months as they tend to here!

As you can see, there are lots of things to think about when choosing the surfacing that best suits your playground.  Everyone’s budget and environment are unique, and require unique consideration.