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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.


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. 

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

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. 

What Other Infill Products Does InstallArtificial Offer for Playgrounds?

We believe in providing a range of infill products to cater to the diverse needs of playgrounds. We take great care in ensuring that your facility gets the perfect artificial turf. Our extensive selection includes various infill options, each designed to meet different ASTM fall-height standards. Moreover, we offer a variety of foam pads specifically designed to go underneath the artificial grass, providing an added layer of safety and comfort. Rest assured that we have a complete lineup of infill products and foam pad solutions, enabling you to create the ideal playground environment for your requirements.

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!

Faqs About Synthetic Grass for Playgrounds

What is artificial playground turf, and why is it suitable for play areas?

Artificial playground turf, also known as synthetic grass, is specially crafted to cater to the needs of playgrounds and play areas. It provides a secure and comfortable surface that requires minimal maintenance. With its cushioning properties, it effectively reduces the risk of injuries and can withstand the vigorous play of children.

How do I prepare the area for artificial playground turf installation?

Preparing the area for artificial playground turf installation involves a few essential steps:

1. Clear the Space: Thoroughly remove any existing grass, debris, rocks, or other objects that could create an uneven surface.

2. Level the Ground: Ensure that the ground is level and compacted to eliminate any dips or bumps that could affect the stability of the turf.

3. Add Base Material: Lay down a suitable base material, such as class II road base, to provide a solid foundation for the turf and enhance its stability.

4. Compact the Base: Use a compactor to compress and solidify the base material, creating an even and sturdy surface for the artificial turf to be installed on.

5. Include Padding Layers for Enhanced Safety: To meet the ASTM fall height requirements, it is important to incorporate an extra layer of padding in most commercial playgrounds and public areas equipped with play structures. However, even in backyard playgrounds, the inclusion of a soft pad can significantly enhance overall safety.

Can I install artificial grass for playgrounds myself, or should I hire a professional?

Although installing artificial playground turf yourself is an option, it is highly recommended to hire a professional for the job. Professionals possess the expertise and knowledge of proper installation techniques, guaranteeing both safety and durability in the long run. So, leave it to the experts and enjoy a worry-free experience with your artificial playground turf installation.

What is the role of infill in artificial playground turf installations?

Infill plays a vital role in artificial playground turf installations as it is carefully placed between the artificial grass fibers to enhance cushioning, stability, and support. When it comes to playgrounds, make sure to use non-toxic and child-safe infill to create a play surface that is both safe and comfortable for children to enjoy.

Should I use crumb rubber infill for playgrounds? 

InstallArtificial does not utilize crumb rubber infill for playgrounds. Although crumb rubber infill is commonly used in athletic fields, InstallArtificial emphasizes that it is not utilized in any capacity for our artificial grass surfaces specifically designed for playgrounds. We'd also recommend using more organic infills for sports fields, such as cork or walnut shell. 

How can playground turf be customized to fit a child's needs?

When it comes to customizing playground turf to fit a child's needs, the options are virtually endless. Playground turf offers incredible flexibility and can be tailored to accommodate a variety of requirements. Whether a child has mobility challenges or specific preferences, here are some creative ways to personalize a playground turf:

1. Accessibility Features: Playground turf can easily be modified to include accessibility features like ramps, ensuring that children with mobility challenges or their friends can easily navigate the play area.

2. Diverse Playground Equipment: Unlike natural grass, synthetic turf can handle heavy playground equipment without damage. This allows for the installation of various play structures such as swing sets, jungle gyms, monkey bars, and slides - giving children a mini-park experience in their own backyard.

3. Open Space for Active Play: It's important to allocate ample open space on the playground turf for activities like running games or tumbling practice. This provides children with the freedom to engage in physical exercise and play to their heart's content.

4. Sensory Elements: Children are naturally drawn to sensory experiences, so incorporating sensory features within the playground design can enhance their playtime. Adding elements like mini brooks, sand pits, or even an edible garden can stimulate their senses and make the playground more engaging.

5. Encouraging Creativity: Creativity and imagination thrive in an environment that fosters it. Designating a specific area on the synthetic playground for creative expression, like a crafts corner or an outdoor playhouse, can encourage children to explore their artistic capabilities and let their imaginations soar.

6. Quiet and Relaxation Spaces: Alongside physical activity, it's essential to create spaces where children can unwind and enjoy some quiet time. Installing a hammock in a secluded part of the yard or creating a cozy nook with comfortable seating allows children to reflect and relax when they need a break.

7. Social Spaces: Some children thrive in social environments and enjoy spending time with friends. Carving out a designated section in the playground where they can invite friends over fosters social interaction and creates a space specifically dedicated to their social needs.

Remember, these suggestions are just a starting point for creating a customized synthetic turf playground that caters to your child's unique needs and preferences. Exploring further inspiration and seeking expert guidance can provide additional ideas to make the space fun, exciting, and perfectly tailored to your child.

What are the reasons why artificial grass is superior to natural turf for child care facilities?

Children love playing outside. Whether they're running, jumping, or sliding, the excitement of a playground and the fresh air as they exercise can't be beaten. But when it comes to safety, it's crucial to have a surface that offers optimal protection. Here are a few reasons why artificial grass is superior to natural turf for child care facilities:

1. 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. With fake grass as the ground cover alternative, you can rest easy. 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.

2. Playground Turf is Long Lasting and Cost-Effective. We understand that budget is a concern for child care facilities. While the upfront cost of installing artificial turf may seem higher than natural grass, it's a smart investment in the long run. The savings in water and maintenance expenses for a natural lawn will exceed the initial cost of the surface – and then some. Plus, artificial grass stays green and lush year-round, eliminating the need for costly reseeding or patching.

3. Turf Deters Animals and Pests. Child safety is of utmost importance, and unwanted animals and pests can pose a risk. By installing artificial turf on your playground, you remove all food sources for these creatures, causing them to move on and search elsewhere. This not only makes the area cleaner but safer too. With artificial grass, you'll notice a significant reduction in soil and debris, creating a more hygienic environment for children to play in.

How does playground turf impact the safety of play areas?

Artificial playground turf is designed to prioritize safety by creating a cushioned surface that minimizes the impact of falls. The materials used in its construction are carefully selected to meet rigorous safety standards for impact attenuation, ensuring a secure and protected play area for children.

Can I use fake grass for playgrounds indoors as well?

Artificial playground turf is versatile and can be used not only outdoors but also indoors in various spaces such as playrooms, childcare centers, and indoor play areas. With proper installation techniques and careful considerations for drainage and maintenance, you can create a safe and enjoyable play surface for children in any environment.

What is the expected lifespan of artificial playground turf?

With proper care and maintenance, artificial playground turf has the potential to endure for a remarkable 10 to 15 years or even longer. Its lifespan is influenced by factors such as usage, climate conditions, and the level of care it receives.

How can one get a free quote for playground turf from InstallArtificial?

To obtain a complimentary quote for playground turf from InstallArtificial, simply use the following link to fill out a short request form. Once we know more about your project and intended use, we'll send a preliminary quote for your review. From there, you'll be able to set up an on site consultation at your convenience! 

Is artificial playground turf safe for children and the environment?

Artificial playground turf is not only safe for children and the environment, but it also provides peace of mind. Reputable manufacturers take great care to produce turf that meets safety standards and is free from any harmful chemicals. When choosing artificial turf for your playground, it's crucial to select certified, child-friendly products that prioritize the well-being of your little ones.