Playground Turf Buyer’s Guide
By Kayla Haas
| Fact Checked By: Sonal Agarwal
Published: November 5, 2017 | Updated: June 30, 2020
Maybe you’ve been considering playground turf for a while now, but weren’t sure how it compares to other playground flooring options. Maybe you want nothing but green grass in your backyard for your kids. Whatever your reasons, we’ve got the info you need to choose the artificial grass that fits your needs.
As a kid, I was all about the playground. My parents had a simple swing set for me and my sister, but I always had a lot of fun on it. We’d play car wash by going down the slide, and we would swing so high the swing set would come off the ground and almost become airborne.
It was pretty awesome.
Today, I don’t have a swing set, but maybe your kiddos do. If they’re like me and my sister, they probably try to stand on top of the set, or manage to hang upside down until their faces go red.
If they’re also like me and my sister, they probably fall off a lot. It’s inevitable, really.
Enter: Playground Turf.
Playground turf is a lot like landscape turf, but if you add a fall-height rated pad underneath, it becomes the safest place to play.
If you’re into outdoor fun and safety, I can teach you everything you need to know about playground turf. Criss-cross- applesauce your legs, sit back, and listen up.
It’s gonna be fun. Pinky-swear.
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What is Playground Turf?
Let’s start with the basics:
- What is artificial grass?
- What is playground turf?
- Which artificial grass do I need?
These questions are probably buzzing through your mind if you’re just starting your journey into playground turf. Luckily we have a neat video to help answer some of your questions:
Playground Turf Explained
Now that you know the basics let’s take a moment to look at playground turf specifically.
Most fake grass for playgrounds is going to look like real grass blades. Manufacturers are working hard to make artificial grass look more realistic and feel more realistic than ever before.
Playground turf grass often mimics real grasses that are found throughout the United States. For example, artificial grass that looks like bermuda grass is popular on the West Coast.
Playground turf is super UV stable and also heat and frost resistant. It typically has a higher face weight* and more durable fibers than other types of turf. Both of these factors make playground turf extremely durable for the playground.
Playground turf is usually made from polyethylene or polypropylene. This fiber can hold a lot of wear and tear compared to other types of outdoor playground flooring.
*The face weight is the amount of material used per square yard in your artificial grass.
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Playground Turf Padding
Unfortunately, the turf on its own will not give you a proper fall height rating to keep your kids safe. To keep kids safe, you’ll also need a padding under the turf. Fall height is the highest point a child can safely stand on. If your playground flooring surface is fall height rated for 7′, that means the child can fall from 7′ without serious injury.
Playground turf has different fall height safety ratings, depending on thickness and underlayment. The thickness is measured by adding the thickness of your lawn pad or play pad with the thickness of your playground turf.
It is important to note: these are the standard ratings, but playground flooring safety ratings vary by product, so make sure to check out the specs on the specific product you are looking at to ensure it will be safe.
2.1-3.1” → 5′ fall height rating, great for most residential playgrounds
3.3-4.3” → 7′ fall height rating, great for most residential & commercial playgrounds
Benefits of Playground Turf
We’re at the point in the post where you probably want to see the breakdown of why you should choose playground turf over other playground flooring.
To be honest, playground turf has a lot of perks. Let’s take a look.
- Bug-be-Gone: You’ve got artificial grass covering your lawn. That means bugs will be a thing of the past. Everybody wants fewer creepy-crawlies when enjoying their yard.
Maintenance Free: One of the best things about artificial grass is that you don’t have to mow or water it. The heat-of-the-day labor is gone for good.
Safety: With play padding underneath, your playground turf doubles as a safety zone for your kiddos.
Eco-Friendly: Artificial grass is made of recycled materials and has a measurable, positive impact on the environment.
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Limitations of Playground Turf
Like all things you’ll buy, there will be a downside. Playground turf is no different.
Let’s take a look at the downside real quick.
- Expense: Buying and installing artificial grass can get expensive. You need accessories and time to get the perfect lawn. We like to think it’s worth it though. You’ll find in the long term, it’s actually cheaper!
- Heat: When the heat rises, so does the temperature of your artificial turf grass. There are fills to help keep the temperature down, but artificial grass is hotter to the touch than real grass.
Playground Turf Products
Now that you’re ready to choose your playground turf, let me gather the best info on our products to make the process easy. Here we go!
Playsafe Turf Rolls
These turf rolls are great for residential playgrounds. They have a face weight and thickness perfect for landscaping. With a long warranty, your playground will be around for a long time.
Playsafe Premium Turf Rolls
A step above our Playground Turf Rolls, these turf rolls have a higher face weight and a higher thickness for more durability. More durability equals more time playing on the jungle gym. Can’t beat that.
Daytona Turf Rolls
These playground turf rolls are the creme of the crop. They have a super long warranty and an extremely high face weight and thickness. This is the turf that can keep up with any kid.
Austin Elite Turf Rolls
Elite isn’t in the title for nothing. These turf rolls are the elite. They have a great face weight and thickness, so your lawn can take a beating. Even better, it still has a long warranty for your peace of mind.
Pet Turf Rolls
Don’t let the name fool you, these turf rolls are for more than just pets (though they’re great for that too.) Pet turf rolls are super soft and also have a great face weight for durability. Though they aren’t the thickest around, they do have a great warranty.
Free Time Turf Rolls
These are pretty cool because they work both indoors and outdoors. This turf is multi-use and can be used for playgrounds, to pets, to working out; it’s your choice! Since they’re indoor/outdoor they have a lower face weight and thickness than the plush artificial grass you’re used to.
|Related Content >> Playground Flooring Buying Guide|
Playground Turf Installation
This is where playground turf can get a little complicated.
To install, you’re going to need a few accessories. Luckily, we have them available for you to buy now. No website hunting needed!
Playground Turf Accessories
- Weed Fabric: You don’t want weeds and grass poking through your perfect lawn. You’ll need to lay this down first.
- Infill: Infill helps hold your turf down and keeps the blades standing up for a natural look.
- Staples and nails: Nails are used to hold the edges of the turf down, while staples are great for holding seams together. You’ll need both.
- Seam Tape and Adhesive: If you really don’t want staples, you can always use seam tape to stick turf together. Easy as pie.
- Wonder Edge: Edging can help make your turf look it’s best.
- Polyboard: If you want to get landscaping after your artificial grass is laid, polyboard is an alternative to natural wood edging.
- Lawn Pads or Play Pads: For some extra cushion under your feet, lay down a lawn pad. If you have some kiddos running around, these are also fall height rated for safety.
Definitely look twice at your manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you have all the tools you need to make your landscape look amazing.
If you’re like me and need some visual learning, we have a great video on how to install artificial grass:
Your kids’ playground will always be their oasis. They’ll climb, tumble, and fall and to make it more stress-free for you, playground turf is the way to go. They’ll stay safe during their activities, while you sit back and relax.