Updated at: 06-09-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

It’s critical to keep in mind what kind of surface your outdoor playground will have when designing it for little children and toddlers. An mishap on a hard surface, such concrete or asphalt, is not ideal. Playground turf is the answer!

Your children’s outdoor play area will be secure, comfortable, and visually appealing thanks to playground turf. Learn all you need to know about kid-friendly turf, from what to expect to how to keep it looking great.

What is Playground Turf?

Artificial grass, or playground turf, delivers a luxurious and lifelike grass feel to any place. It is common for playground turf to resemble the natural Bermuda grass that thrives in the southern part of the US.

The UV, heat, and frost resistance of kid-safe turf makes it a dependable playground flooring year-round. This type of turf is distinguished by its thicker, more durable fibers and a higher face weight*. Playground turf is a heavy-duty option for playgrounds because of these two qualities.

Playsafe Turf Rolls | Artificial Grass for Kids | Playground Fake Grass | Playground Artificial Gras

Artificial grass’s “face weight” measures the quantity of material utilized per square yard of the turf.

Playground Turf Padding

To get the most out of kid-safe turf, you need padding beneath it. The fall height is used to determine how effective the padding is. Children can safely fall from the fall height, which is the highest point from which they won’t be gravely damaged.

You can count on IPEMA for the safest play equipment and surfaces in the world. It is the goal of IPEMA to help kids have fun while also ensuring their safety on the playground. In order for a product to be certified by IPEMA, it must meet the organization’s stringent certification and safety requirements.

The extra thickness of our kid-safe play pads is based on their fall height rating, which is rated and certified by us. With IPEMA certified play padding, in addition to playground turf, you can rest assured knowing you have a much safer kid’s play area.

As a result of our kid-safe play pads being tested and approved for their fall height rating, the playground flooring now has an additional thickness. As long as you have playground turf and IPEMA-certified play cushioning, you can rest easy knowing that your children are safe.

Various thicknesses of lawn pads can be found. We propose a Lawn Pad with a thickness of 1-1/8′′ to 2-1/8′′ for playground constructions. A 3/4-inch thick pad is sufficient for most lawn applications.

The Lawn Pad fall height ratings* are as follows:

  • Pads with a 3′-4′ fall rating and a 3/4″ thickness
  • Thickness: 1-1/4 in., fall height: 5-6 ft.
  • Thickness: 2-1/4 in. ; fall height: 8-9 ft.

All of these factors are taken into consideration when calculating fall height ratings for IPEMA. The conditions of each installation are unique.

Pros and Cons of Playground Turf

We know how important it is for your playground’s turf to be kid-safe. Synthetic playground turf’s primary function is to ensure children’s safety, but it also has a number of other advantages and considerations that you may not be aware of.

Advantages of Playground Turf

  • Low-maintenance synthetic turf is a great alternative to natural grass. For a playground, weekly maintenance, such as mowing or watering, is not necessary.
  • Kid-safe turf is made to reduce the number of injuries that children sustain when they fall from playsets.
  • Providers of a safer play area for children may also find it convenient to do so. Children may run and play on playground turf since it has a soft grass texture.
  • Recycled materials are used to make artificial lawn. Electric riding and push mowers’ hazardous emissions are reduced by artificial grass, says the Synthetic Turf Council, because of its measurable, positive environmental impact.
  • Turf is not a breeding ground for insects and other pests. You can spend more time on the playground equipment and less time worrying about creepy-crawlies.
  • Our synthetic playground grass is lead and pesticide-free, so you won’t have to apply fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides to keep your playground area looking fresh.

Limitations of Playground Turf

  • Artificial turf gets hotter while it’s in the sun. Catalina Turf Rolls and non-toxic Hydrochill filling reduce heat buildup on the artificial playground grass.
  • Price: You may be hesitant because of the up-front fees. Synthetic grass, on the other hand, is a long-term investment that requires no maintenance or replacement as the seasons change.

Playground Turf Materials

Polyethylene or polypropylene are the most common materials used to make playground turf. Compared to other forms of playground flooring, this fiber can withstand a lot more wear and tear.

  • Fiber that resists the effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays: Polyethylene Artificial playground grass made from polyethylene can be used both indoors and outdoors. In addition to being durable, these fibers are also pleasant to the touch, making them ideal for outdoor use.
  • Soft and easy-to-clean turf is made from polypropylene. This does not mean the playing area should be uncomfortable for children who enjoy getting their hands filthy while playing. With our polypropylene-based grass, your hands and elbows will be more protected against scratches and surface burns.

Traffic Ratings for Playground Turf

Playgrounds are subjected to a lot of wear and tear. Because of this, the amount of traffic your artificial grass can withstand relies on its face weight. The table below shows how the weight of the face affects the traffic rating of playground grass.

  • 40 oz. and less for low-traffic playground turf
  • Turf for medium-volume playgrounds: 41 oz. to 60 oz.
  • 61 oz. and higher is recommended for playgrounds with heavy traffic.

What Is the Best Playground Turf?

The most durable and thickest face weight is what unites the best playground turfs. With so many choices, it can be difficult to make a decision. Here are our top picks to assist you in making the right decision for you.

Pacific Safe Play Turf Rolls

These rolls come with a connected foam pad with a luxury texture, making them ideal for both personal and professional use. The drainage capabilities of this UV-stable turf make it ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.


  • Attached is a foam pad.
  • Chemically impervious to acid
  • A 15-year warranty

Playsafe Turf Rolls

These turf rolls are ideal for playgrounds in residential areas. They are ideal for landscaping because of their face weight and thickness. Your playground will last a long time if you get an extended warranty.


  • Playground flooring for both commercial and residential use
  • Both secure and long-lasting
  • Porous so water can seep away

Playsafe Premium Turf Rolls

With a heavier face weight and a thicker construction, these turf rolls are an upgrade from our standard Playsafe Turf Rolls. In the jungle gym, the more durable you are, the more time you have to play.


  • A ten-year guarantee.
  • It’s the ideal substitute for rubber, asphalt, or pebbles
  • 100% American-made

All Play Pet Turf Rolls

It is inevitable that people will bring their pets to parks. You’ll need a playground surface that is both durable and soft enough for children and their pets to enjoy. With a 15-year warranty, you know your toy will last even if you abuse it.


  • The best turf for your pet
  • Blades have a wide wave-like form in three dimensions.
  • UV-stable

Daytona Turf Rolls

The best of the best are Daytona Turf Rolls. Their face weight and thickness are exceptionally high. They have a 15-year warranty. Regardless of their age, any child can keep up with this turf.


  • Dense and fluffy to the extreme
  • Memorable Foam Fibers
  • Free of lead and metal

Playground Turf Accessories

Additional lawn products are required to keep your fake grass looking excellent! To be sure you have everything you need, always check the product specifications provided by the manufacturer.

  • Your grass will be protected against the intrusion of undesired weeds thanks to an overlay of weed cloth.
  • Your playground’s turf could become matted due to the heavy traffic of shoes. For a more natural appearance, we suggest using infill to hold your turf firmly in place and keep the blades upright.
  • Staples and nails are the best way to keep the edges of your playground grass secure. One of each is required.
  • Are you worried about putting nails in your seams? You can always use seam tape to adhere turf to your subfloor..
  • Extra cushion underfoot, whether in the form of lawn pads or playground pads, is always a good idea. You can choose from a selection of fall-height-rated lawn pads to suit your requirements..

How to Install Playground Turf

It is imperative that you have the following tools on hand prior to beginning the installation process: an electric turf cutter and plate compactor, as well as gravel for the base of the turf.

Prepare the Area

  • Begin the procedure by: To begin, clear off the surrounding area and topsoil of any natural grass or weeds. It is recommended that you flatten the soil in your selected playground area after removing three to four inches from the top.
  • Set the foundation: 3/8-inch-sized chunks of gravel can be used to level up your playground by spreading them out with a shovel or wheelbarrow. Apply a 10 to 15 mm thick layer of sand on top of the gravel once it has been laid down.
  • The base of your playground grass must be level to maintain its long-term viability. To make sure it’s completely compacted, run it through a plate compactor. You may need to make a hole in the base of your grass play pad to bury it, depending on the size of the installation space. There should be no more than 1/4′′ of space above the base.

Playground Landscaping Ideas with the Best Artificial Turf in San Jose

Lay the Turf

  • Compacted soil should be laid on top of your play pad. The installation does not necessitate the use of a weed barrier.
  • Lay the playground turf and wait at least three hours for the grass to settle before using it. Then, using the tape or glue recommended by the playground turf maker, attach the individual pieces together.
  • Use a utility knife to cut the edges of your turf for a tidy, professional look to ensure a perfect fit. As a reminder, we recommend using our turf seam tape or one of our adhesive packs, which comes with a gallon-sized glue bucket.
  • Now is the time to use nails and staples to secure your lawn. Make sure your playground turf area is completely surrounded by landscaping pins or galvanized posts. Take care not to overdo it when hammering the nails. If you nail it down too close, you’ll notice a noticeable dip in your playground grass.

Finishing Touches

  • Apply infill: Using the filler of your choice, evenly cover your playground grass. This will retain the strands of your turf in an erect position and strengthen their grip on the surface.
  • Make sure that your infill is well integrated by brushing your playground turf.

Brushing your turf will help it look better, and you can always add additional infill if necessary.

How Much Does Playground Turf Cost?

Our playground turf ranges from $2.29 per square foot to $3.99 per square foot in price. Keep in mind that the cost is heavily influenced by the quality and thickness of your kid-safe turf and cushioning.

Your faux grass product will last for years to come, thanks to its increased durability and safety.

We also recommend Home Advisor’s Turf Pricing Guide for extra information on the cost and installation of turf.

Is Artificial Grass or Synthetic Turf the Best Option for Playground Flooring?

The fibers or yarn used to make synthetic turf or fake grass are similar to those found in synthetic grass (some call it an outdoor playground carpet). In terms of appearance and feel, it mimics a natural grass playground surface, but it requires none of the regular upkeep. Synthetic turf, which has been used on sports fields for decades, is becoming more frequent on playgrounds. Multiple layers of polypropylene or polyethylene, a backing, cushioning, drainage, and an infill of recycled rubber tires or natural cork are commonly used to make the fibers. Some playground grasses are constructed from recycled materials while others aren’t, so do your research before purchasing.

  • Affordability and Durability of Synthetic Lawn
  • Artificial Grass Prices
  • Artificial Grass’s Ease of Accessibility
  • Artificial Grass Appearance and Indoor/Outdoor Use
  • Artificial Grass’s Durability and Look
  • Putting in Synthetic Grass

Safety of Synthetic Turf Playground Flooring


  • An important consideration when choosing a playground surface is how well it protects children from falling down. Synthetic turf can meet the American Standard Testing Methods (ASTM) guidelines for shock absorption when laid with the right padding and infill.
  • In most residential and commercial playgrounds, a fall height safety factor of five feet can be achieved by using artificial turf that is between the thickness of 2.1-3.1 inches and the thickness of 3.3-4.3 inches.


  • Poured-in-place surfaces, on the other hand, are more likely to be able to absorb falls from a greater height than artificial turf.
  • The right fall-height rating for synthetic turf may necessitate additional padding or underlayment.
  • To ensure that the product is safe, it is imperative to verify the product’s precise details.

Cost of Synthetic Turf as a Playground Surface


  • The cost of artificial turf as a material is quite modest over the course of its lifespan. For the first three to five years, the expenditures of maintaining natural grass and soil outweigh the installation’s price.
  • Building projects can get LEED points for a variety of factors, including water efficiency, the use of recycled or repurposed products or low-emission products, and the lawn itself.


  • Installing synthetic turf generally comes at a high expense. Besides the turf itself, you’ll have to spend for ground prep, irrigation, and more.
  • Before installation, the cost of artificial grass can range from $6 to $20 per square foot. The price of the installation varies from company to company, which raises the overall price.
  • A new piece of artificial grass can be ripped out and installed for roughly $12 per square foot if there is any damage (not including installation).
  • Synthetic grass tends to seem a little worn, so a new patch stands out.

Accessibility of Synthetic Turf Flooring


  • Synthetic grass can be used for accessible playgrounds and ADA compliance as long as it is firm and wheelchairs can easily travel around it.
  • Due to its zero-pollen count, synthetic turf is also ideal for those who suffer from hay fever or other allergies.


  • Bacteria can thrive on synthetic turf, resulting in unpleasant odors and unsanitary conditions. There are other antimicrobial chemicals that can be incorporated into the product or sprayed over the surface to keep bacteria at bay.
  • Additionally, if the artificial grass rolls are not laid correctly, they may develop seams that pose a tripping danger.

Appearance and Indoor/Outdoor Use of Synthetic Turf Playground Flooring


  • If you’re thinking about installing artificial turf at your playground, you have a variety of options when it comes to colors, styles, densities, and heights. You may even go for a more realistic look and feel.
  • Use it both indoors and outdoors, if you so desire.
  • In terms of aesthetics, synthetic turf is the best option for playgrounds. No matter what happens, this “grass” will always be green.


  • Aside from being irritating, loose rubber granules in the artificial grass can become stuck on clothing, skin, shoes and more. Dirty and difficult to clean up, they can easily be brought inside the school building (or your home). The lack of loose material is one advantage of poured rubber playground surfaces.
  • As a result, it is impossible to readily imprint your synthetic grass with visuals like games, logos, or forms. For those who find such a deal-breaker, we can recommend surface that offers virtually endless design possibilities.

Quality & Maintenance of Synthetic Turf as a Playground Surface


  • Compared to genuine grass, synthetic turf requires far less upkeep. Water, mowing, herbicides, or fertilizer aren’t necessary either.
  • An occasional wash is all that is required, yet water drains easily off of its surface.
  • Turf for playgrounds has a higher face weight, which means that the amount of material used per square yard is more, therefore it is more durable and can sustain more abuse.
  • Fortunately, you won’t have to replace the entire lawn if it has to be repaired. The damaged turf should be removed and replaced with new turf.
  • In addition, mud and grass stains are a thing of the past.
  • UV-resistant synthetic turf will not fade in the sun. It is also resistant to both heat and frost.
  • Bugs generally avoid artificial grass, so you can forget about creepy-crawlies for good.


  • Synthetic turf requires more upkeep than poured-in-place surfacing.
  • If you live in a particularly dusty area, the artificial turf will need to be cleaned more frequently.
  • If you want to get rid of the dirt, you can use a blower, rake, stiff-bristled broom or even a garden hose.
  • Synthetic playground turf gets hotter as the temperature rises. In spite of additional infill, artificial grass is often significantly hotter to touch than actual grass.
  • As a result, if static electricity accumulates on the synthetic turf, an anti-static treatment may be required.
  • Artificial grass can only survive for a maximum of eight years if it is made by a certified producer. However, it typically lasts only 10-15 years, so you’ll need to replace it sooner rather than later.

Installation of Synthetic Turf Playground Flooring


  • One advantage of installing synthetic turf is that it’s quite easy to hire a contractor to help.


  • A lot of thought goes into the initial installation of synthetic turf because there are so many minor elements to take into consideration.
  • First, a base of crushed stone or gravel will need to be laid down on the ground to ensure good drainage.
  • To prevent stagnant water or odors from accumulating, the surface must be level. A weed cloth is also an important layer to prevent the growth of weeds.
  • An infill layer is usually required to keep the structure stable and to keep the blades from sagging.

Next Steps

When it comes to choosing a playground surface, there’s a lot to consider. If you’re still undecided, take a look at the additional benefits and drawbacks of our playground surface selections. Please get in touch with us for a free quote on poured-in-place rubber playground flooring or rubber tiles for playground flooring if you’re ready to move forward.

Choosing a playground surface might be confusing because there are so many distinct aspects and attributes to take into account. As a result, we’ve put together an in-depth comparison of 11 of the most common playground surfaces, including wood chips and recycled rubber mulch.

5 Popular Playground Surfaces

From the ground up, designing a safe playground is necessary. While it’s critical to have sturdy playground equipment, the surface beneath it is just as vital. The playground’s accessibility and safety, as well as the children’s enjoyment, are influenced by the ground cover.

Playground safety surfaces come in a wide variety of options, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Loose-fill and unitary surface coverings are the two main types.

For an even surface, loose-fill coverings are constructed of tiny bits, such as engineered wood fiber or rubber mulch. Even though they are less expensive to construct, these types of floors demand a greater amount of upkeep and frequent refilling than other options.

Singular materials are put onto a level surface to create unitary surfaces. These surfaces are more expensive to build, but in the long term, they require less upkeep.

When selecting a playground surface, a variety of aspects should be taken into account, including cost, accessibility, and maintenance. Installing some materials is less expensive, but the materials don’t provide as much accessibility and require more upkeep.

Although they cost more up front, some surface materials require less care over time and give a more stable level of safety.

For playground design, here are the five best types of safety surfaces. Playgrounds can benefit from any of these surfaces. Individual parks and projects are then given the opportunity to make a decision based on their own needs and priorities.

Poured-In-Place Rubber

PIP, also known as poured rubber, is a single, uniform coating of rubber that is poured over the entire surface. Shock-absorbing rubber buffings and a top finish coat of granular particles are both used in the 2-layer method known as poured rubber. For a long-lasting finish, this is the best way to go.

Rubber poured into a mold has a smooth, flat surface, which makes it easy to reach and reduces the risk of injury. All youngsters and practically every activity may be protected from the elements thanks to this type of playground flooring.

Poured rubber, on the other hand, is long-lasting and requires little to no upkeep.

Poured rubber can be colored and styled to complement any playground’s aesthetic.

As a result of its ability to be poured with graphics into practically any pattern or design, it is the most customisable surface option.

Poured rubber’s greatest drawback is its cost, making it one of the most expensive playground surfacing options available. Poured rubber can fracture or flake over time due to exposure to the weather, however this normally takes many years of severe use before it happens.


With an impact attenuating pad, turf can be used as a safe unitary surface for playgrounds and sports fields.

Under elevated play equipment, children can safely play on synthetic turf, which mimics natural grass in appearance.

There is no need to fertilize, mow or water the grass in a playground with turf.

There is a cushion layer beneath the grass-like layer of turf that can absorb the fall height rating of play equipment.

As a result, the color of the turf will not fade over time.

Unlike natural grass, synthetic turf can sustain years of heavy use.

The cost of installing turf is a drawback, as it might be prohibitively expensive.

Infill is used in certain turf to keep the plastic blades of grass from flattening out over time, and it is made of quartzite or rubber granuales. Over time, infill material can shift, making it more difficult for youngsters to run and play on surfaces without fear of it spilling out.

In playgrounds for infants and toddlers, turf with infill should not be used. Non-infill turf choices are available, but they can look less natural and flatten over time if they aren’t properly maintained.

Best Playground Surface Options: Pros and Cons

Rubber Tile

Customizable and risk-free, rubber tile is a popular choice for playgrounds. Rubber tiles are pre-formed square tiles, typically 2 feet by 2 feet, composed of bonded rubber.

A pattern with interlocking sides is then laid out on the ground to connect the individual tiles.

Rubber tile has the benefit of being readily available, which is a major selling point. If you’re looking for something that’s accessible to youngsters of all abilities, this is the best option.

There are many thicknesses of rubber tiles available to satisfy the fall height attenuation requirements of a particular piece of play equipment.

Rubber tile is available in a wide range of colors and may be used to create designs that are both entertaining and eye-catching.

Rubber tile, on the other hand, is more expensive to put in. There are many advantages to installing floor tiles on top of a concrete foundation.

The edges of tiles can begin to separate and peel with time, posing a tripping danger. As a result, the surface is made up of tiles, which makes repairs easier and can actually save replacement costs in the long run because only those tiles need to be replaced.

There is a moderate amount of upkeep required for rubber tiles, which consists mostly of removing dirt from between the tiles, as well as sweeping and cleaning the surface. Rubber tile doesn’t appeal to animals, which reduces the risk of bugs or other vermin causing harm to the playground.

Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch resembles wood chips in appearance and feel, however it is made of rubber instead of wood.

Rubber mulch is the most environmentally friendly playground surface because it is manufactured from recycled tires.

Rubber mulch has a number of advantages, including its mid-range price and low maintenance costs. Rubber mulch does not disintegrate over time, unlike loose wood chips.

As with playground equipment, rubber mulch comes in a range of colors.

An important disadvantage of rubber mulch is that, like all loose-fill surfaces, it can be tracked off the playground and end up in the shoes of youngsters.

To maintain optimum fall height attenuation of the surfacing material, regular monitoring of mulch depth and replenishment is required. Rubber mulch, on the other hand, can make it difficult for children to get around.

Engineered Wood Fiber

Engineered wood fiber, or EWF, is a thin layer of artificial wood that is applied to a surface. A softening procedure is used in the manufacturing of EWF to make it different from regular wood chips that contain bark or other debris.

For those who want the best of both worlds, engineered wood fiber is the answer.

As a result of its natural appearance, EWF is a popular choice for playgrounds.

Shock absorbing EWF is very straightforward to install. Even while it is more prone to movement in high-traffic locations like under swings and slides than other loose-fill options like rubber mulch or sand, it does hold its shape better.

Keeping the wood fiber surfacing in good condition is done by raking the displaced material back into place, keeping an eye on its depth, and replacing it when necessary to keep up with the fall heights of the machinery.

EWF, like all loose-fill covers, has a drawback in that it restricts access to the playground. Wheelchair users and youngsters with mobility issues may find it challenging to operate on this surface because it is not fully smooth. Compaction of engineered wood fiber surfacing is required to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Why Not Real Grass?

Despite the fact that genuine grass may appear to be a safe play surface for children, it is not.

Because grass does not have the same shock absorption capabilities as rubber or synthetic turf, a youngster who falls on it could sustain considerably more serious injuries.

Furthermore, natural grass demands a great deal of care and can rapidly become worn out. Grass that has been repeatedly trodden by youngsters can form ruts, posing a hazard to anyone playing in the vicinity.

When ruts form, the grass is trampled and youngsters are forced to play on the hard dirt that results. Natural grass has an uneven surface, which makes it difficult for children of all abilities to use.

In the long run, it may be more cost effective and safer to install a synthetic turf field rather than natural grass because of the increased time and effort required to properly maintain natural grass.

Making a decision about a playground’s surface is a big one. With a range of possibilities, these are the most prevalent playground surfaces.

Incorporating at least one of these ideas will result in a play area that children will enjoy for many years to come. Contact Go Play Playgrounds today for help with your safe playground surface. We are experts in developing safe and exciting playgrounds.


What is the safest surface to use under playground equipment?

Safety. Rubber mulch for playgrounds is the most impact-absorbing material available. A ten-foot fall can be cushioned by six inches of rubber mulch. If you have a lot of foot traffic in a particular location, you should keep an eye on rubber mulch since it can shift.

What is the best material for artificial turf?

A good all-around material, polyethylene is a fair compromise between suppleness and sturdiness. The versatility of this artificial turf material makes it a popular choice for a wide range of uses.

Can you put playground on artificial turf?

Synthetic grass can be used for accessible playgrounds and ADA compliance as long as it is firm and wheelchairs can easily travel around it. Due to its zero-pollen count, synthetic turf is also ideal for those who suffer from hay fever or other allergies.

Can you put a playset on grass?

While grass is still the most popular material for backyard playsets, it may be adequate for your family’s needs.

Is rubber playground mulch toxic?

Rubber mulch created from recycled rubber has been shown to be a non-toxic alternative to wood mulch that may give superior fall protection and long-term value. Rubber mulch is becoming more popular for playground safety.

Why do playgrounds use wood chips?

Rubber mulch and wood chips in the playground both help kids who fall over while playing outside by giving them a comfortable landing. Although the rubber shredded from old tires in the second technique may constitute a safety issue, the former option is more environmentally friendly.

Is grass a safe playground surface?

Despite the fact that genuine grass appears to be an ideal playground surface for children, it is really not safe for them to play on.

Which is the best turf?

Ryegrass, smooth stalked meadow grass, and fescue grasses are ideal for the greatest garden turf. With no ryegrass, “fine turf” requires more attention. Fine turf isn’t the best garden turf unless you’re a die-hard lawn fanatic.


The playground where your children play will always be a haven for them. Playground turf is the best option for you because they’ll climb, tumble, and fall, and it’ll make the experience less stressful for you. You can sit back and relax, knowing that your children are in good hands.