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How To Install Artificial Grass on Playgrounds

A complete guide on how to install artificial grass on playgrounds. Hear the benefits of enhancing your play area with turf. Determine if this fits your specific needs and is ideal for your space. Discover the best approaches to installation and recommended materials for best results.

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Why Do People Install Artificial Grass on Playgrounds?

Children love playing outside. Whether they're running, jumping, or sliding the excitement of a playground and feeling the fresh air as they exercise can't be beaten. Especially when play equipment is involved, falls are inevitable. Wouldn't you love having the peace of mind knowing your playground offers a soft plush surface? Below are just a few of the many reasons customers make the switch to artificial grass in play areas: 

Why people opt in to artificial grass installation on playgrounds

Turf on Playgrounds is Safer! 

Mulch, gravel, or sand playgrounds tend to deteriorate over time. Playtime can become dangerous in areas like under the swings or at the landing of a slide because the material becomes displaced exposing the hard ground underneath. Fake grass is the perfect ground cover alternative!

Synthetic turf is the best playground surface for shock absorption. When installed with a padding underlayment and the proper infill, it meets ASTM standards that provide excellent protection from falls during playtime activities.

Let's face it, kids also like to get dirty. Fake grass for playgrounds will remove dirt and soil from your kid's play areas. This will keep the area and your children clean and eliminate the risk of children ingesting any potentially dangerous contaminants. Another great benefit to installing artificial turf on playgrounds is that by removing grass you'll eliminate any allergens from the surface. 

Playground Turf is Long Lasting and Cost-Effective

The cost for an artificial turf surface will eventually outweigh the initial expense of installing it. The money you'll save in water and maintenance to a natural lawn will exceed the original cost of the surface — and then some. 

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Turf Deters Animals and Pests

Installing artificial turf on your playground will remove all food sources for unwanted animals and pests, causing them to move on and search elsewhere. This is another example of how artificial grass offers a cleaner and safer surface. The difference will be night and day with the removal of soil and debris. 

what materials work best for installing artificial grass on playgrounds

Best Artificial Grass Materials For Playgrounds

Playground turf is designed to be used in a variety of locations and environments. Turf for play surfaces can be installed over concrete, asphalt, or even rooftop applications. This versatility will save you time and money in the long run. But what turf materials are best for children and playgrounds? Because we install only non-toxic lead-free turf, with InstallArtificial you can choose almost any artificial grass for your playground. However, the following will produce the best results: 

Lower Density Turf With Durable Blades

We typically recommend less dense fake grass in play areas to provide a cooler surface for your children to play on. On high-temperature days, artificial grass can become warm. The addition of a padding system underneath the installation allows for optimal cushioning even when the turf itself is less dense. You get the best of both worlds.

Because there will be play and high foot traffic on playgrounds, you'll also want to make sure the artificial grass for your playground is durable and traffic resistant. Synthetic turf with durable structured blades that are resistant to wear and tear will also require less upkeep throughout its lifespan

Artificial Grass With Padding Built-In

For added convenience, there are also certain turf materials that have a 5mm padding system built into the design. These grasses are nice for at-home areas or spaces with no play equipment. However, for areas with equipment, a 5 mm pad is not enough to meet ASTM fall standards and you may have to purchase another pad to get beneath this type of artificial grass.

Drainage Layers for Playground Turf

Drainage layers are not always necessary for playground turf but are recommended in certain spaces. For commercial projects, we recommend adding a layer of drain core underneath the padding to allow for proper drainage of the area. Although the padding systems offer some drainage, to maintain the integrity of the installation for years to come drain core is best. It provides pockets under the surface for air ventilation and proper water flow. 

antibacterial sand infill

Antibacterial Sand Infill

Antibacterial infill prevents the growth of bacteria and is recommended in any artificial grass areas where children will be at play. Antibacterial sand has larger granules meaning they don't compact as much as regular silica sand allowing for more airflow underneath the surface, in turn helping keep the area cooler. This infill is also beneficial because it doesn't take away the bounce and softness that customers are searching for. 

Padding Systems for Artificial Grass on Playgrounds

So What do you put under playground turf to make it more shock absorbent? The biggest difference between installing regular artificial grass and installing artificial grass on playgrounds is that we add a layer of padding underneath the surface. As mentioned above, this is crucial in areas that have play equipment.

A proper padding system is also helpful with water drainage. The padding system you choose will be installed directly on the base layer before laying out the turf. We offer a few different padding systems to ensure we create the perfect space for your needs:

5mm Pad for Artificial Grass

5 mm pads are great for adding additional cushion and a soft feel to the artificial turf surface. This padding is mostly installed in residential backyards because it offers shock absorption but not enough for commercial playgrounds with heavy equipment. This is the most affordable padding layer to build a soft surface. Great for toddlers and teenagers.

Regular Foam Pad for Artificial Grass

These are the most commonly used turf underlayment panels that provide superior drainage and impact absorption necessary for safe outdoor and indoor play areas. This basic pad is available in both 25mm and 50mm. The pad is made from 100% recycled materials, which help you obtain LEED® Credit for your projects. 

Advanced Pad for Artificial Grass

This option involves interlocking pads. Advanced pads provide the best drainage, consistency, and performance. Ideal for commercial playgrounds. It is designed to exceed the highest requirements and is safe to install with playground equipment that has up to a 10 ft. fall height. This type of padding is the most costly but provides the most safety.

How to Secure Fake Turf on Playgrounds

When installing artificial grass on playgrounds, the safest option is to opt for a nail-free installation. Typically we secure the turf by placing nails every 2 in. along the border and every 2 ft. throughout the surface. However, this can pose a safety risk in children-specific areas. For commercial and public playgrounds, a nail-free installation will be required for insurance purposes, but nail-free installation is recommended in any area where playground turf is being installed, including backyards

frame installation

Rather than using non-galvanized nails to secure the artificial grass to the base, for playground turf applications, you'll want to build a frame around the perimeter. You can then stretch and secure the turf to the frame using heavy-duty commercial-grade staples.

How to Maintain Turf on Playgrounds

Maintenance has never been simpler with freshly installed artificial grass on your playground. Because you've removed the need to perform laboring yard work, there are only a few key cleaning and maintenance needs that will keep your playground or play area useful for years!

For light cleaning, simply spray down the surface with a heavy flow of water. We also recommend using some type of sanitizer to remove any bacteria that may have developed. To keep fibers upright and plush, periodically brush the area. A leaf blower can remove any unwanted foliage. Re-distributing the infill as needed will help maintain padding and shock absorption, and brushing the area will help keep the infill evenly dispersed. For any excessive needs, we are here to help!

ready to make the switch to artificial grass installation on playgrounds

Is Playground Turf Right For You?

Playgrounds aren't limited to homes or schools. Offices, restaurants, and rooftop common spaces are among our favorite projects. Whether you're looking to provide added protection in your commercial space or simply create a safe play area in your home, we're here to help. Get in touch with us today to discuss your project!

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