How can you prepare the ground for a child’s new playset?
- Select a suitable location
- Level the ground and remove any tree stumps
- Install a border
- Install the playset
- Add a netted canopy over the playground
- Add surfacing materials
Preparing the ground for a child’s playset is a crucial endeavor that will keep your little one safe when having a good time. You need to choose the location, remove any debris, install the playset, and pour protective materials to prepare the playground area.
It may seem like a lot of work, but it is essential to prepare playground areas before letting children play on them. Playsets are an excellent way to keep kids occupied and ensure that your children get some exercise.
Most playsets have a combination of three or more play stuff like swings, slides, stairs, ladders, monkey bars, a playhouse, and a steering wheel, among other things. It can help a child develop gross motor skills and strengthen the child’s muscles.
- How to Prepare Playground Areas for Kids
- What is the Best Material to put Under a Swingset?
- Engineered Wood Fiber
- Pour In Place Rubber
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How to Prepare Playground Areas for Kids
It would help if you considered a few things to make a playground safe for your little one to play in. You need to pick an ideal location, prepare the ground, install the swing set, and then choose the perfect insulation material to break the kids’ fall.
It would be best to get it right the first time around because a playset can last for several years. This article explores all the aspects you need to cover when creating a safe space for your little one.
Choose a Location
The right location will make the preparation process more manageable and reduce the time it takes to prepare.
It would help if you found a clearing at least 6ft away from any buildings, fences, power lines, internet cables, drainage pipes, or structures in general.
You will have to leave a space twice the height of any swings on the playset. Try to find a flat area, which will take a shorter time to prepare. In case your clearing of choice is uneven, you will have to invest in leveling the site.
You may have to trim a few branches here and there to accommodate the playset in the playground. Please take all the measurements of the playground and demark it for simple identification.
Clear any debris on the ground, including branches, rocks, and any sharp objects. If there is grass in the area, you need to mow the grass to the shortest size possible.
It will enable you to see any debris that you may have overlooked on the ground.
Level the Ground
It is hard to find a location that has level ground all around. You will need to level the ground if there are a few bumps. If you live on a slope, then you need professional assistance to level the ground.
Use a construction leveling tool to ensure that the land is even.
Choose a location that has a firm foundation that you can hold the weight of the playset and your kids. Use a rake to break down any soil bricks and get the ground even all around.
Install a Border
The concept of creating a safe playground area for your little one will depend on whether you maintain it. It would be pointless to create a safe playground for a playset when foreign items fall into it.
It would be best if you made a border around the location to keep protective materials in place.
You can create a half a foot high barrier so those little ones can cross it without any trouble. You need to use child-friendly materials like PVC pipes or steel.
The border should be in the space you left away from any structures.
Install the Playset
Ideally, you should install a playset in dirt and not a hard surface like concrete. It would help if you dug holes for the playset pillars according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Ensure that the playset is level, and there is adequate space for all loose materials under the playset to create a soft landing area for kids in case they fall. Ensure that you follow all the instructions that manufacturers put in place to keep children safe.
Add Geotextile Fabric and Drainage
Once the playset is in, you need to install a drainage system underneath the playground area to ensure that water doesn’t settle there. You can opt to place some drainage pipes before installing the geotextile fabric.
Alternatively, you can install the geotextile fabric and then add drain strips on the material to guide water away from the play area.
A geotextile fabric covers the ground of the play area and prevents anything from growing in the area. Pipes are not as effective in draining the water as drain strips.
You need to direct the water towards the area that slopes away from the playground.
Prepare the Surface of the Playground
Creating a soft landing area at the playground’s surface prevents injuries when your child falls when playing. You can use organic or synthetic top materials to absorb the shock of a fall for a high area.
You will need to add 9-12 inches of material to be on the safe side with big playsets.
Different materials can be used as shock absorbers that will break the fall for children. The most popular materials are sand, rubber mulch, engineered wood fiber, wood mulch, and poured in place rubber.
What is the Best Material to put Under a Swingset?
There are several materials you can use as shock absorbers as parents prepare playground areas for children. Each material has different properties.
The price varies depending on the availability of the materials and the labor for installation. The best material in the market is pour-in-place rubber.
It provides maximum protection to children, but it comes at a high cost.
Sand is a readily available material that offers some level of shock absorption when a child falls. It would be best to source the sand from reputable suppliers that assure the sand doesn’t contain any toxins.
You can pour 9-inches of sand for playsets with upper levels that are 5ft above the ground. Also, ensure you redistribute the sand from time to time as it tends to accumulate at the playground’s corners.
The most significant downside of using sand on playsets is that animals will use it as a litter box. You will need to rake it and remove any fecal matter that animals may leave behind.
Animal poop contains many germs that can transfer to your little one. Another downside is that sand tends to get packed when it rains. It’s not a good idea for a child to play on the sand when it is wet.
Wood mulch is much lighter than sand, and it provides some shock absorption when a child falls. It is locally available at an affordable price, and you need about 9-inches of it to be on the safe side.
However, wood mulch can be blown away by the winds, and you need to confirm that the playground area has enough mulch from time to time. Also, the mulch can begin to decay during the rainy season because of water absorption.
Rubber mulch comes from old tires, and it is an all-weather solution for topping the surface of a playground. It is light, but it provides a high level of shock absorption due to its bouncy nature.
You can expect the filling to last for a long duration, and animals will not use the playground as a litter box.
It is one of the best options that parents can opt to use to fill for a playground at a low cost. The downside is that rubber mulch contains chemicals that may be harmful to kids.
Engineered Wood Fiber
Engineered wooden fiber is better than wooden mulch because the pieces are relatively the same size. It is easy to distribute the wood fiber evenly on the surface of a playground.
Also, it provides a soft landing for kids and prevents injuries.
You should expect to pay a significant amount for the engineered wood fiber playground filling. It is made from natural wood and does not pose any health hazards to kids.
Pour In Place Rubber
As the name suggests, pour-in rubber is a permanent filling option for playgrounds. It has a highly shock-absorbent base layer and a top layer available in various fun colors.
It is expensive to install, but an owner can recoup the initial cost through the low maintenance costs. You don’t have to do much in maintenance since the filling doesn’t require regular addition like other types of playground filling.
It is imperative for parents and childcare providers to prepare playground areas before adding a playset that children will use. Kids are active, and they will try to explore every part of a playground when it is open.
Preparing a playground ensures that you take all the safety precautions necessary to keep a child from getting hurt when playing. It is possible to design a playground as a DIY project if the area isn’t huge.
However, you may need professional help if you are installing a massive playset on the playground. Ensure that you follow all the steps of preparing the area to ensure that children play in a safe environment at all times.
Please be careful and use at your own risk
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