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What is the best thing to put under a playset?


The best thing to put under a playset is appropriate safety surfacing like rubber mulch, engineered wood fiber or poured-in-place rubber. Every play structure should have some sort of safety surfacing beneath it. About 79% of all playground injuries involve falls, and falls account for 90% of the most severe playground injuries. This is why safety surfacing is crucial for public play spaces. Learn more about surfacing options below:



Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is made from either nuggets of recycled tire chunks or shredded synthetic rubber. It is one of the most popular options for safety surfacing, as it is very cost effective and environmentally friendly. Additionally it reduces weed growth and doesn’t attract insects or fungal growth. This low-maintenance option can be ordered in bulk or smaller amounts for residential use. It can hold its color for up to 10 years and can last a long time with proper maintenance and borders. It does not look or feel as natural as wood mulches, but it offers great cushioning.


Engineered Wood Fiber

Engineered Wood Fiber is another popular choice for playground surfacing. It is the lowest cost option with proper cushioning for many different fall heights. It offers a nice organic appearance and is simple to install. With the proper borders, raking and maintenance, the life of engineered wood fiber can be extended.



Poured-in-Place rubber is one of the most low-maintenance and safest surfacing options on the market. The rubber pieces are mixed with a binder and spread over the surface in a variety of colors and patterns. After an adequate amount of time for curing, the equipment can be installed on top. This surfacing is IPEMA certified and is the best option for wheelchair access. It does carry one of the highest price tags for safety surfacing, but it’s longevity will make it worth the cost for many projects.

Artificial Grass Turf

Artificial grass playground surfacing is a resilient and visually appealing solution for creating safe play spaces for children. Crafted from high-quality synthetic fibers, it delivers a soft and slip-resistant surface, reducing the risk of injuries during play. This surfacing option not only mimics the natural look and feel of grass but also requires minimal maintenance, eliminating the need for mowing or watering. Its durability allows it to withstand heavy use and diverse weather conditions, ensuring a consistent and level playing surface. With customizable options in color and texture, artificial grass enhances the aesthetic appeal of playgrounds while providing an eco-friendly alternative to traditional grass, making it a popular choice for modern and low-maintenance play areas.

Rubber Tiles

Rubber Safety Tiles are available in several colors, as well as thicknesses to accommodate a variety of fall heights. This option is great for diy projects and smaller surface areas, as well as indoor playgrounds. Like Poured-in-Place, these offer a lot of wheelchair accessibility. 

Wear Mats

In addition to your primary loose fill safety surfacing, it may be a good idea to add wear mats to areas with high traffic where surfacing wears down quickly. This is typically under swings and at the bottom of slides. Wear mats can help extend the life of your surfacing, as well as adding extra cushioning for children at play.