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Texas Cheesehead 06-18-2008 10:44 AM

Playground Mulch
 
I'm putting up a play set and am wondering what's the best form of wood chips/mulch to use for the ground cover (about an 18' x 22' area). I'd prefer to use something that I can easily get at Lowes or HD, and I don't want to use any of the rubber products that are out there. That would seem to restrict my options to shredded hardwood mulch, cypress or cedar mulch, or bark chips. When I put cedar mulch in my beds, I tend to get slivers easily, so that concerns me for use in a playground. On the other hand, the shredded hardwood mulch I've used recently seems to be pretty messy option (probably because it's already partially decomposed).

Any tips or suggestions?

handy man88 06-18-2008 11:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Texas Cheesehead (Post 131465)
I'm putting up a play set and am wondering what's the best form of wood chips/mulch to use for the ground cover (about an 18' x 22' area). I'd prefer to use something that I can easily get at Lowes or HD, and I don't want to use any of the rubber products that are out there. That would seem to restrict my options to shredded hardwood mulch, cypress or cedar mulch, or bark chips. When I put cedar mulch in my beds, I tend to get slivers easily, so that concerns me for use in a playground. On the other hand, the shredded hardwood mulch I've used recently seems to be pretty messy option (probably because it's already partially decomposed).

Any tips or suggestions?

Pine bark nuggets?

Texas Cheesehead 06-18-2008 11:49 AM

That might work. When I've used them in the past for other projects I've noticed that they break down slowly and don't hold as much moisture as shredded mulch, both of which are pros for what I'm doing. My only concerns would be whether they provide enough cushioning and whether they have any residual sap (my kids don't need any extra help getting dirty).

handy man88 06-18-2008 01:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Texas Cheesehead (Post 131491)
That might work. When I've used them in the past for other projects I've noticed that they break down slowly and don't hold as much moisture as shredded mulch, both of which are pros for what I'm doing. My only concerns would be whether they provide enough cushioning and whether they have any residual sap (my kids don't need any extra help getting dirty).

Shredded mulch compacts much more easily.

If the nuggets start getting compacted, you could always use a garden fork or rake to lift it back up. The more mulch you put down, the more cushioning you will get.

gregt848 06-18-2008 01:38 PM

My sister just used pea stone for the same purpose. Very cushiony and looks real good. LIned the area with timbers, laid fabric and then put 6" of pea stone. Looks Good.

handy man88 06-18-2008 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregt848 (Post 131529)
My sister just used pea stone for the same purpose. Very cushiony and looks real good. LIned the area with timbers, laid fabric and then put 6" of pea stone. Looks Good.

Pea stone hurts when you fall though, and of course, pea stone can get into your shoes.

downunder 06-18-2008 07:39 PM

I will try to find a link to add later for this but in our (City of Carrollton, GA) parks we use the shredded cypress. I presume that this is for your home? Plan on installing at least six inches deep to do it right.
Until later,
Richard

downunder 06-18-2008 08:01 PM

Here is some information you can look up to find some recommendations:

1 This information has been extracted from CPSC publications "Playground Surfacing - Technical Information Guide" and "Handbook for Public Playground Safety." Copies of these reports can be obtained by sending a post card to the: Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207 or call the toll-free hotline: 1-800-638-2772.

Texas Cheesehead 06-19-2008 09:40 AM

My concern with pea gravel is that I see a 7 or 8 year lifespan for the play area since my youngest (and last!) is almost 4. That's a LOT of pea gravel to get rid of down the road. I'll give cypress mulch a look. I don't know why but I've never used it.

Thanks for all the great suggestions.

Randell Tarin 06-19-2008 01:08 PM

Don't know where you live, but if you have access to pine straw it provides a good cushion and doesn't look bad. It will decompose like all your other options, so you will need to renew it from time to time.

You could also try cactus. It won't cushion anything, but your kids will be to afraid to fall, so cushioning won't be required.

NateHanson 06-19-2008 01:58 PM

Around here cedar chips are the standard. I've never seen any problems with splinters, and it's used to cover all the public playgrounds up here. It doesn't compact the way mulch does.

Texas Cheesehead 06-19-2008 02:19 PM

I live in the DFW area of Texas. Cedar mulch is easy to come by. I just don't know where to get Cedar chips. That would be my first choice if I could just figure out where to find it.

Cactus is starting to sound better by the minute. . .

Randell Tarin 06-19-2008 03:02 PM

There's a product out there called "Back to Earth" soil amendment. I believe it's really really ground up cedar mulch. It's very attractive and a lot softer than chips. It will last about a year before you need to replenish it. We used it quite a bit for mulching our beds.

NateHanson 06-19-2008 07:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Texas Cheesehead (Post 131871)
I live in the DFW area of Texas. Cedar mulch is easy to come by. I just don't know where to get Cedar chips. That would be my first choice if I could just figure out where to find it.

Cactus is starting to sound better by the minute. . .

Call a playground company around you. They can probably tell you who delivers it. Around here it's simple. Anyone with a chipper can make you a pile of cedar chips, since we've got plenty of cedar up here. That's probably not the case in Texas though.


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