5 Tips For Applying Wood Playground Mulch

Mulching over a playground creates a nice-looking surface area that is also cushioned for when kids inevitably take a small tumble. Wood chips make an excellent playground mulching option when it is properly installed.

1. Choose Soft Woods

Wood mulch is available made from hardwood trees or softwood trees. Most softwood mulches are conifer tree varieties, like pine or cedar, so mulch is commonly available. The benefit of softwoods is that they actually create a softer surface that is better at absorbing the shock of a fall. Hardwoods are simply hard, so they aren't as suitable for mulching an area where children play.

2. Install Good Edging

One of the complaints about a mulched playground is that the mulch can be tracked all over the grassy areas surrounding the play area. Good border edging helps alleviate the problem by creating a barrier that holds the mulch in place. Although any type of edging works well, consider soft edging that is less likely to cause injury if a child falls on it. Rubber edging and flexible vinyl edging are two such options.

3. Ensure Site Drainage

Mulched areas can sometimes become soggy pits after heavy rainfall. Digging out the old turf and topsoil over the playground before applying mulch allows for a well-draining base. A layer of gravel covered with sand will provide a drainage zone that allows water to seep through without collecting on the mulched surface. The result is less mess and a playground that can be used even in wet weather. 

4. Reconsider Weed Barriers

Weed barrier fabrics and plastics are often used under mulch, but they aren't as suitable for playground installations. Children tend to dig and play in the mulch, which means the weed barrier will quickly be destroyed. The aforementioned gravel and sand layer acts as a barrier, but there are no concerns about it becoming damaged by children at play. Any weeds that do make their way through the mulch can be pulled by hand. 

5. Use Thick Layers

Thick layers of playground mulch will also prevent weeds from growing, while also improving the shock absorption and safety of the playground. Several inches may be sufficient, but increasing this to as much as a foot deep will create a very safe surface that protects kids from hitting hard ground while also being easy to maintain. The mulch will need to be replenished annually to maintain this depth.

The right playground mulch installed properly looks good and provides protection against falls. For more information on playground mulch, contact a company near you.