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  #1  
Old 02-24-2011, 07:50 AM
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Default Ground Cover For Swing Set

I'm so excited! I finally bought a swing set and DH put it together yesterday for the only flat spot in our yard. Here's a link to see what it looks like:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Flexible-F...Swing/11008173

Right now, it's sitting on dirt. Our grass is almost nonexistent b/c it's fairly heavily shaded; and I spent all day yesterday weeding the area. Now it's just dirt (well, mud now b/c it's raining today!). I want to section off the area, and put down some sort of ground cover so it's not just mud.

What do you all suggest?

I'm on a budget, and for whatever reason my DH doesn't think a ground cover is necessary so I'm on my own with this project.

I think later on in the spring, we will be purchasing St Augustine sod to install in our entire backyard... should I just wait and lay the sod under the swing set too?
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  #2  
Old 02-24-2011, 07:52 AM
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wood chips/mulch?
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  #3  
Old 02-24-2011, 09:47 AM
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i have nothing but dirt and grass under mine. And the other swing set is set in my play yard that is filled with pea stones. i would rather do mulch, its way cheaper.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:15 AM
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I don't have anything on mine. But I know by law you are supposed to have it in something. Like they do at the playgrounds. Either cemented into the ground, or pegged, and then so deep into the gravel, sand, or whatever you choose.

At least that's the law here.
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  #5  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:39 AM
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they just changed the regs here and are requiring us to put ground cover under all our swings and climbers.

i'm going with mulch.
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  #6  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:42 AM
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Mulch sticks to clothes, FYI....
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  #7  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by DCMomOf3 View Post
Mulch sticks to clothes, FYI....
i know. but the cats will poo in the sand, and DH refuses to let me use pea gravel, cause the kids will throw it in the grass, and ruin his precious lawn mower.

any other suggestions?
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  #8  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:50 AM
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Mulch sticks to clothes, FYI....
Yup! When my DD attended preschool, it stuck to her socks and really never came out. I could see pieces of mulch in my washer every time I did a load of wash. I hated it!

I feel like there is no good alternative to mulch though; at least not a good inexpensive one. I think I may just wait and sod the area with the rest of the backyard. I don't know...
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  #9  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:51 AM
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what about the turf stuff they use on the golf courses?
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  #10  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:58 AM
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it is probably not cheap at all but what about rubber? they come in bits or squares you can piece together.

http://www.diamond-safety.com/Rubber...Surfacing.html
http://www.diamond-safety.com/Playgr...20Listing.html

Last edited by DCMomOf3; 02-24-2011 at 12:02 PM.
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  #11  
Old 02-24-2011, 12:27 PM
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I have 8" deep of playground mulch. It is natural (not dyed) so it doesn't stain clothes. Invest in a good, deep ground cover in case of a fall.
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  #12  
Old 02-24-2011, 12:36 PM
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Hummmm, I've been raking all these pine needles out of the yard and away from the swing set. Maybe I should leave them under the swing set. I'm not licensed, so my choice.

What do you guys have around your swing sets to contain your mulch/pea gravel etc?
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  #13  
Old 02-24-2011, 12:57 PM
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I would suggest the ground up tires that some places use, but only if you don't mind that they are a carcinogen...
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2011, 01:08 PM
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We bought an awesome swingset about 3 years ago before I started daycare. It had a 10' wavy slide, 2 large clubhouses, deck bench, swings, sun deck, climbing ladders, rock wall, and a tunnel over the top of the swings. It was really, really neat. After I started daycare, I checked into the regulations and spoke with the local surveyor. After pricing woodchips to place underneath that swingset according to manufacturer recommendations, we would have had almost $2000 in just woodchips to cover the necessary circumference. We would have had over $3500 into this swingset and the groundcover, so at that point we decided to sell it. I didnt want the liability of someone falling off the upper clubhouse or off the top of the rock wall even with approved ground cover. My kids loved that swingset, so dh bought a basic swingset this past September and I contacted the local surveyor and spoke with her about the groundcover. She said to follow manufacturer recommendations for the fall zones. Even for this basic swingset, we paid almost $500 for wood chips at a 6" depth. They prefer a 12" depth for many swingsets and that, again, would have been $1000 for this "basic" swingset. I will say that these woodchips do provide a very soft area for the kids should they fall. As for the rubber chips, when I priced them a few months ago, they were ridiculously high. Good luck finding what works best for you.
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  #15  
Old 02-24-2011, 01:09 PM
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They sell playground mulch that is rubber and made for playgrounds.
http://www.permalife.com/
This is what all our public playgrounds and schools have under their swings and play equipment. No carcinogens like ground up tires.
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  #16  
Old 02-24-2011, 02:06 PM
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I'm looking for an alternative to sand. Because I have under 3s I can not have mulch (rubber or wood), wood chips, or pea gravel. So for now, no climbing structure. We are allowed a small cube slide and 24" toddler slide with no ground covering. Other than those items, we have lots and lots of ride ons. I don't know what I'm going to do this summer as our new regs also disallow any type of water play, not even a table or sprinkler, without a 2nd adult present. Going to be a long summer.
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  #17  
Old 02-24-2011, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MG&Lsmom View Post
I'm looking for an alternative to sand. Because I have under 3s I can not have mulch (rubber or wood), wood chips, or pea gravel. So for now, no climbing structure. We are allowed a small cube slide and 24" toddler slide with no ground covering. Other than those items, we have lots and lots of ride ons. I don't know what I'm going to do this summer as our new regs also disallow any type of water play, not even a table or sprinkler, without a 2nd adult present. Going to be a long summer.
bolding mine

WHAT???!?!?!?!! That has got to be one of THE most ridiculous things I have heard! omg, what on earth is their reasoning?!

I am SO glad that my state doesn't require us to be licensed if we have 6 or fewer children...and I hope to heaven that never changes. Some of the crazy things I hear coming out of other state's license requirements is just nuts.
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  #18  
Old 02-24-2011, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MG&Lsmom View Post
I don't know what I'm going to do this summer as our new regs also disallow any type of water play, not even a table or sprinkler, without a 2nd adult present. Going to be a long summer.
Wow, seriously??
I swear the people who come up with these regulations have NO CLUE what it is like to spend the day with a bunch of little people.

lilbutterflies:
I have rubber anti fatigue mats under my swings ~ the look like this:
http://www.emedco.com/anti-fatigue-f...ats-ssmat.html
I definitely didn't pay that much thought; they were like $15 each at Menards or Home Depot ~ 2' x 3' I think.
It's been awhile, but I think we put six together under the swings, then black dirt then grass seed. We did it in the the fall, so there wasn't as much traffic and the next spring we had grass growing up through the spaces. The kids can't create the muddy holes that form under the swings; it worked so well that we put them at the ladders and the end of the slides.

When I put in my under two play area in last year, I put them under the rubber mulch to keep the digging to the dirt to a minimum. They haul it around but it is adjacent to my patio, so I just sweep it up and put it back.

So, if you don't have to have mulch it is a nice alternative.
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  #19  
Old 02-24-2011, 05:20 PM
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Do a search for previous posts here on daycare.com for playground surfaces it has been discussed before and I got a great idea for the outdoor carpet. I LOVE it! We put 12 inches of free wood chips under for a safe fall zone and paid $60 for the carpet from an ad on craigslist.
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  #20  
Old 02-25-2011, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSabre25 View Post
bolding mine

WHAT???!?!?!?!! That has got to be one of THE most ridiculous things I have heard! omg, what on earth is their reasoning?!

I am SO glad that my state doesn't require us to be licensed if we have 6 or fewer children...and I hope to heaven that never changes. Some of the crazy things I hear coming out of other state's license requirements is just nuts.
If I needed to perform CPR who would call 911? This is the case every single minute a child is with me, but apparently the MA Licensing board decided that water play was that much more likely to require CPR. I can understand if it were swimming, even in a baby pool, but sprinklers? Why is washing hands so much different?

I had forgotten about the outdoor carpet someone had posted. And that I could use wood chips underneath. Duh!
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  #21  
Old 02-25-2011, 11:54 AM
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I use wood chips. They are expensive, but worth every penny. I started with an 8 inch depth and add more every year.

I'd rather spend money on safety material than on hospital or liability bills, and it's a tax write off
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  #22  
Old 04-04-2011, 01:20 PM
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I realize a long time has passed but the snow is gone and I took pics today of my carpeted outdoor play area. It is carpeted over 12 inch depth of mulch. I LOVE it btw and the pics were taken after it rained last night. No mud, no wet clothes, no stones, etc....
Photo04041256.jpg

Photo04041258.jpg

Photo04041258_1.jpg

Photo04041302.jpg
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  #23  
Old 04-04-2011, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Childminder View Post
I realize a long time has passed but the snow is gone and I took pics today of my carpeted outdoor play area. It is carpeted over 12 inch depth of mulch. I LOVE it btw and the pics were taken after it rained last night. No mud, no wet clothes, no stones, etc....
Attachment 424

Attachment 425

Attachment 426

Attachment 427
LOVE your play area!! I really like the fire truck thing you have there in the back ground....can I ask where you got it from?
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  #24  
Old 04-04-2011, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Crystal View Post
I use wood chips. They are expensive, but worth every penny. I started with an 8 inch depth and add more every year.

I'd rather spend money on safety material than on hospital or liability bills, and it's a tax write off
We live in a town that was pretty much built around a pulp and paper plant....if we go there and ask, they will give us the wood chips for free. I don't know if that is an option for the different places in the country but if you are near one; it doesn't hurt to ask. I would also check with wood workers and/or furniture companies or landscapers who may have woodchips as a by-product as they sometimes have to pay to get rid of it. My DH is a wood worker and he gives sawdust to anyone who needs it for mulch, crafts, whatever....they just ask.

We also got a whole bunch of wood chips from our city landscapers as they pruned and chipped the trees and branches along the city streets.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:33 PM
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At a daycare going out of business sale. You should have seen us bringing it home on the back of a flat bed trailer...we looked like a parade float and the kids love it, btw. It is an Amish built play set. I googled it when I got it home to see if I had gotten a good deal ($200) and I had. They had a bus, train and the most awesome pirate ship but I couldn't afford the $600 they wanted for it. It was HUGE!! Still regret not getting it.
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  #26  
Old 04-05-2011, 08:03 AM
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We live in a town that was pretty much built around a pulp and paper plant....if we go there and ask, they will give us the wood chips for free. I don't know if that is an option for the different places in the country but if you are near one; it doesn't hurt to ask. I would also check with wood workers and/or furniture companies or landscapers who may have woodchips as a by-product as they sometimes have to pay to get rid of it. My DH is a wood worker and he gives sawdust to anyone who needs it for mulch, crafts, whatever....they just ask.

We also got a whole bunch of wood chips from our city landscapers as they pruned and chipped the trees and branches along the city streets.
I called our local tree trimmers when I wanted to mulch in our play area. They were going to charge me $150.00 for a load of chipped up trees. They told me people do it all the time for play areas. When it was delivered, there were large sticks still mixed in and it was very coarse. I had my licensor come look at it and she told me I couldn't use it. So it had to be hauled back out. Luckily after calling the tree company, I didn't have to pay for it but the time it cost me was ridiculous.

If you go this route, check the quality before they deliver the full load!!
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:12 AM
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My state requires a certain depth of either wood or rubber mulch and it is easily $2000 to put in. Makes me wish I wasn't licensed, but if I wasn't I could only have two children
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:14 AM
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http://www.lowes.com/pd_155419-20787...site=shopLocal

I buy these at Lowes, and put one under each swing, then fill the holes with sand. It's soft, thick, and lasts for years. I have two that are 14 years old, and they have been outside in the hot sun this whole time.

I bought one on Saturday to put over the rocks, and I paid $20.

Anti Fatigue Rubber Mat


Last edited by Michael; 04-05-2011 at 02:46 PM.
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  #29  
Old 04-05-2011, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
My state requires a certain depth of either wood or rubber mulch and it is easily $2000 to put in. Makes me wish I wasn't licensed, but if I wasn't I could only have two children
Mine does also so I went to the county road commission and they have wood chips free for the taking. I have also had tree trimmers just dump their truck in my drive if working in my area (for free) and use the mulch for my 12inches of depth. Then we tamped it down with a tamper and covered the entire area with outdoor marine carpet fastened down with landscape staples that we got off craigslist for $60. All together with the staples we spent $72 to mulch and carpet the 24x32 playground.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:39 PM
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Mine does also so I went to the county road commission and they have wood chips free for the taking. I have also had tree trimmers just dump their truck in my drive if working in my area (for free) and use the mulch for my 12inches of depth. Then we tamped it down with a tamper and covered the entire area with outdoor marine carpet fastened down with landscape staples that we got off craigslist for $60. All together with the staples we spent $72 to mulch and carpet the 24x32 playground.
Where are you guys finding such awesome deals on carpet? I looked at Lowe's and Home Depot and their instock outdoor carpet was $5/linear foot for the cheap fake grass stuff?
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by youretooloud View Post
http://www.lowes.com/pd_155419-20787...site=shopLocal

I buy these at Lowes, and put one under each swing, then fill the holes with sand. It's soft, thick, and lasts for years. I have two that are 14 years old, and they have been outside in the hot sun this whole time.

I bought one on Saturday to put over the rocks, and I paid $20.

Anti Fatigue Rubber Mat

Now that looks like something I can do! Do you have a problem with grass growing up through the holes? Do u move them to mow the lawn? I am not required to have any padding as long as it's in a grassy area but my problem is the ditch the kids make with their feet (swinging) wearing the grass off then when it rains it turns to mud.

Only $20 each too that's a good deal I think!
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Where are you guys finding such awesome deals on carpet? I looked at Lowe's and Home Depot and their instock outdoor carpet was $5/linear foot for the cheap fake grass stuff?
I got mine from a craigslist search, it was used at an outdoor wedding. When I was doing research for the carpet I also found companies that replace putting green and sport fields with carpet and sell the used stuff cheaply. Just did a "used outdoor carpet" google search.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:18 AM
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Now that looks like something I can do! Do you have a problem with grass growing up through the holes? Do u move them to mow the lawn? I am not required to have any padding as long as it's in a grassy area but my problem is the ditch the kids make with their feet (swinging) wearing the grass off then when it rains it turns to mud.

Only $20 each too that's a good deal I think!
I have these ~ I WANT the grass to grow through the holes, lol. I have one set that I put down 3-4 years ago and the grass has virtually hidden it, you don't even know it is there. It solves the problem of the divets under the swings and the glider from dragging their feet. It just wears the grass off. You don't have to move them when you mow the lawn, they are too heavy for the mower to suck up. You just have to be a bit careful around the edges the first year.

I was going to attach a photo, but I apparently have too many attachments so I need to figure out how to delete some
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:57 AM
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I have these ~ I WANT the grass to grow through the holes, lol. I have one set that I put down 3-4 years ago and the grass has virtually hidden it, you don't even know it is there. It solves the problem of the divets under the swings and the glider from dragging their feet. It just wears the grass off. You don't have to move them when you mow the lawn, they are too heavy for the mower to suck up. You just have to be a bit careful around the edges the first year.

I was going to attach a photo, but I apparently have too many attachments so I need to figure out how to delete some
Great thanks so much!!
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Lilbutterflie View Post
Yup! When my DD attended preschool, it stuck to her socks and really never came out. I could see pieces of mulch in my washer every time I did a load of wash. I hated it!

I feel like there is no good alternative to mulch though; at least not a good inexpensive one. I think I may just wait and sod the area with the rest of the backyard. I don't know...

Does all mulch stick to clothes? I'm wondering if the more expensive rubber mulch sticks?
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:04 AM
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I got a quote for rubber mulch for my new playground were going to build, and its like $4000...............Ridiculous! going with pea rock.
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:53 AM
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Does all mulch stick to clothes? I'm wondering if the more expensive rubber mulch sticks?
I have rubber mulch under my toddler play area and I don't find that it sticks to socks or clothes. IN shoes and pockets yes, but any ground cover will be found in those places, lol. That's reason that I got rid of pea rock; they would empty their shoes in the house!

Jewel ~ that seems really expensive, unless your play area is huge of course. I bought my rubber mulch in bags at Ace Hardware in bags for about $10/bag and each bag covers 10sf at about 1-2" thick. We spent around $400 for about 250sf. Lucky our Ace Hardware is fairly close because it took two trips to get all the bags we needed!

That was a few years ago and Ace was the only place that had it, but now Home Depot, Lowes, all the home improvement stores seem to have it now.
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  #38  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:52 AM
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heres my playground. never had a problem with mulch.

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Old 04-07-2011, 07:17 AM
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We had the wood mulch for years but as it breaks down and composts it get too dirty and the kids get filthy, plus we had a huge problem with mushrooms growing. The first couple of years were fine with wood much and you will have to replace or renew every couple of years.

The rubber mulch was exorbitant in cost because we are required to have a certain thickness depending on fall zone 9 inches to 12 inches. Could never get by with 1-2 inches here.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:14 AM
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heres my playground. never had a problem with mulch.

This is the playground I have in my garage waiting to be assembled...

My problem with mulch is our playground will be set in the part of our yard that always gets flooded during rainfalls, and so mulch would float away, I have to go with pea rock, because it will stay in place when the area floods, and it will drain the water very quickly, otherwise, I'd rather have mulch. And I'd much rather have the rubber, but way to spendy.
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  #41  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by SilverSabre25 View Post
I would suggest the ground up tires that some places use, but only if you don't mind that they are a carcinogen...
What????? Who would purposely suggest using a carcinogen mulch?...Did I miss something?

Our school yard uses those annoying wood chips too.

I have wondered about those hazelnut shells.....the kids might throw them though.....hmm...what is the perfect mulch?....mine is grass under the play structure.
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  #42  
Old 04-07-2011, 12:42 PM
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awesome, we just love our playground. i'm sure you will too

we have almost 6" of mulch but we get it free so thats a plus. we add to it yearly as well as our flower beds.

glad i'm not licensed
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  #43  
Old 04-07-2011, 02:55 PM
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Just have the kids go out side and stand like statues for an hour or so. No matter what we use it will be an issue for someone. How did we ever manage to grow into adulthood without all of these rules and regulations?

Wood chips - tree allergies, relatively inexpensive, mold and fungus allergies, sticks to clothes, turns to dirt as it composts, needs replaced yearly or bi-yearly, washes away when flooded, must be thick for fall zone ....
Pea Gravel - tracks in to house, babies eat it, kids throw it, moderate cost, children like to play in it, hard to walk on, ends up in the grass, find in pockets and cuffs, must be thick for fall zone .....
Rubber Mulch - expensive, carcinogen, (recycled tires)lasts an indeterminate amount of time, don't want babies to eat this stuff, works well for cushioning/safety purposes, good for the environment, thickness isn't as important....
Sand - sticks to clothes and skin, gets in eyes and hair, food source for most under two, carried everywhere, it WILL end up in your house and bedding, gets wet and stays wet easily, cats love it, it must be covered so cats don't get in it, source of contamination, must be thick for fall zone ....
Rubber padding - if you can afford it why are you doing daycare?, great cushioning, easy to clean, good for the environment (recycled tires), carcinogen....
Grass - not safe for fall zone, wears down to dirt in high traffic area, grass allergies, weekly maintenance during growth period, stains clothing if in contact with clothes/children....
Plastic mat grids - water drains easily, possible trip hazard till settles in to ground, cost could become expensive if you need to purchase very many, protects wear and tear of grass, safety of it in fall zone is in question...

Did I miss anything?
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