Playsets And Mulch: What You Need To Know

Posted on: 19 March 2020

Installing a playset or swing on your property ensures that your children always have a safe place to play that is close to home. One concern is what to do with the lawn beneath the playset, though. Grass will quickly become worn thin, but you do want a ground cover that is both attractive and safe for the kids. Playground wood chips provide the perfect solution. The following can help ensure that they are installed to the best effect.

Fall Height and Depth

The depth of the mulch layer depends on the maximum height from which a fall could take place on your playset, as well as any local safety restrictions. You can contact the playset manufacturer for specific guidance if you are unsure, or follow the 12-inch depth guidelines as outlined by the National Safety Council. Generally, you will need to dig out a base that is several inches deep to accommodate the mulch.


Underlayment is necessary to prevent weeds from taking over the mulched area. Once the site has been cleared, spread a few inches of sand over the ground and pack it down. Cover this with a layer of weed blocking fabric. The combination of sand, fabric, and wood chip depth should work to keep most weeds out. You may need to still hand pull the few weeds that try to take root in the mulch layer.

Edging and Borders

An edging or border is necessary to ensure the wood chips stay in place. Softer edging material is typically preferred for safety, so opt for vinyl or rubber edging instead of bricks or wooden boards. The edging material should be installed over the weed fabric edges to anchor it in place, so make the wood chipped area large enough so there are minimal chances of a child falling off of the playset and onto the edging material.

Rubber Stress Mats

Certain areas will experience wear more quickly than others, such as beneath swings or at the bottom of the slide. Rubber stress mats are available that will help prevent little feet from wearing through mulch and weed fabric alike. These mats are anchored in place in high-stress areas, then the wood chips are spread over the top. Not only do these mats help prevent wear and tear to the weed fabric, but they also provide extra cushion in areas where injuries are more likely to occur.

Contact a supplier for more information on playground wood chips.