Surfacing for backyard play equipment or other small playgrounds

The Comparison Chart of Playground Surfacing Materials outlines the key points regarding surfacing materials commonly used in Canada.

A deep, soft surface that can reduce the risk of serious injury when children fall from playground equipment is preferable. Grass, packed dirt or earth, asphalt and cement are not recommended because they do not absorb the impact when a child falls. To help prevent serious injuries from falls, play structures should be no higher than 1.5 metres (five feet) in height.

Currently, there is not enough research to indicate which kind of material works best for all situations. The Comparison Chart of Playground Surfacing Materials describes the different types of surfacing available. Each type has advantages and disadvantages. This comparison chart is for information purposes only. Parachute recommends consultation with an expert when considering suitability of playground surfacing materials. Proper installation and impact testing are essential for all types of surfacing.

Sources for playground surfacing materials

Many garden centres and hardware stores carry sand, pea gravel, wood chips and rubber crumb and can provide assistance in determining how much material is required. In addition, playground equipment specialty stores may also sell surfacing materials.