5 best Mulch For Playground Surface Reviews in 2024

Mulch is a great way to keep your playground clean and dust-free. And there are many different types of mulches tailored to playgrounds. The issue is not the number of playground mulches, but to select the best one among the hundreds of brands and types.

This is why we researched, tested, examined, and selected the 5 best mulch for playgrounds so that you can make an informed decision on the one that is best suited to your needs.

Why put mulch on playgrounds?

Mulch is often used on playgrounds to provide a safe surface for children to play on. Mulch can help to prevent injuries by providing cushioning and impact absorption. It also helps reduce the need for maintenance. However, there are some potential drawbacks to using mulch on playgrounds. It can be a slip hazard if it gets wet, and it can also be a source of dust and allergens.

Below, we provide 5 different mulches that use recycled and safe rubber to build kids’ playgrounds. The reason why rubber mulch is a great choice for playgrounds is because it is soft. It helps prevent injuries by providing a cushioning surface. Rubber mulch is made from recycled rubber tires, so it is environmentally friendly. It comes in a variety of colors, so you can choose the best one for your playground.

Best Mulch For Playground Area and Swing Sets Reviews in 2024

Below are the 5 best ground covers for playgrounds with their associated pros and cons.

#1. Kidwise Brown Mulch For Playground – Best Overall

Your local playground is a great place to take your kids for some exercise, fresh air, and fun.

But if it’s not properly maintained, it can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

That’s why you should consider installing Kidwise Brown Rubber Mulch For Playground.

This product is made of 100% recycled rubber tires, so you can feel good about using it.

It’s also safe for kids, as it meets all safety standards for playground surfaces. And because it’s brown in color, it will help to disguise any dirt or mud that may build up on the surface.

So, for those looking for the best mulch for playgrounds, we think the Kidwise Brown Mulch is an obvious choice.

This mulch has a loose-fill rubber that is rated double the fall height of competitors.

First and foremost, we like rubber over wood chips because it provides a clean playing area and won’t give anybody splinters. Also, kids can’t really eat rubber while they can chew on wood.

Next, we really like the Kidwise brand because they are just especially durable and will last longer than the other brands on the market while maintaining their color.

It is also nice to know that this playground mulch is pretty free of contaminants and does a good job of not collecting much dust. It also meets CPSC safety guidelines.


  • Provides a clean area for play
  • Gives children a splinter-free surface for play
  • 99.9%steel free
  • Made of recycled rubber
  • Available in a wide variety of colors
  • Each pallet covers around 300 SF 3 inches deep
  • Comply with ASTM 1292.99 guidelines for safety surfacing guidelines


  • Price could be high depending on the surface

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#2. Perfect Rubber Mulch Surface Material For Playgrounds – Best Shock Absorption

Next up, we have the Perfect Rubber Mulch product that you can buy from Amazon, which is the best mulch for playgrounds if you are looking for safety and enhanced shock absorption.

I have to insist on this matter if you’re looking for a great way to mulch your garden and protect your plants, look no further than this Perfect and best mulch for a backyard playground.

This product is made of 100% recycled rubber, so it’s environmentally friendly and lasts for years.

Plus, it’s easy to install – just spread it over the ground and you’re done.

That’s why we have this Mulch as our next-up solution. It is one of the best mulch for playgrounds if you are looking for safety and enhanced shock absorption.

First and foremost, we have to commend Perfect Rubber Mulch for being the most eco-friendly mulch out of everything we reviewed.

For some folks, this is definitely a game-changer.

Next, just know that this is a set-it-and-forget-it type deal, as it is made from recycled tires and the color won’t fade or transfer to your skin.

And your kids certainly won’t be able to eat it. So it is pretty non-toxic, safe for the planet, pets, and kids, and does a great job of protecting children from nasty falls. Also, the colors look pretty nice.


  • Safest playground mulch
  • Perfect for daycare centers, schools, and park districts
  • Enhanced shock absorption
  • Cost co-friendly solution
  • Last a very long time
  • Non-toxic
  • Safe around plants
  • Safe for animals
  • Attractive 5 colors to choose from
  • easy to install
  • One ton cover 65 cubic feet, or 2.4 cubic yards; a play area of 14’x14′ at a 4″ depth


  • Require a substantial investment

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#3. Playsafer Blue Rubber Mulch For Playgrounds – Best Blue Color

Playsafer Blue Rubber Mulch is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional ground coverings for playgrounds. It is made from recycled tires and is non-toxic.

It provides a safe, soft surface for children to play on and helps to prevent injuries. It’s perfect for kids’ playgrounds and sports fields.

This mulch is also an excellent alternative to gravel.

It is durable, non-toxic, and easy to install. You can buy Playsafer Blue Rubber Mulch on Amazon, and you won’t be disappointed.

So it is another really nice option when it comes to the best mulch for playgrounds. I want to make the point that it comes from steel-free 100% recycled scrap tires.

Many people like it because it is pretty durable and certainly lasts longer than most of the other brands out there.

Additionally, while it does a good job of maintaining its shock absorption and safety rating, there are better brands out there like the ones we mentioned above.

So overall, if you are just looking for something that pretty much lasts forever and holds its colors for a while, the Playsafer Rubber Mulch brand is definitely a safe bet.


  • Safe for playground
  • Perfect for daycare centers, schools, and park districts
  • 99.9% steel-free 100% recycled scrap tires
  • Provides 3″ of coverage for 310 square feet
  • Color guaranteed for 12 yrs
  • Delivered on a pallet with 50 individual 40 lbs. bags
  • Enhanced shock absorption
  • Cost co-friendly solution
  • Long-lasting
  • Non-toxic


  • Shipment can be expensive

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#4. Rubberific Rubber Mulch For Playgrounds – Best Non-Toxic

When you are looking for a safe and environmentally friendly surface for your playground, Rubberific rubber mulch is the perfect option.

This rubber mulch is made of recycled tires, so it is durable and long-lasting. It also provides a cushioning effect to protect children from bumps and falls.

Additionally, the mulch is non-toxic and will not fade or discolor over time.

So, when you are looking for a safe and environmentally friendly surface for your playground, Rubberific rubber mulch is the perfect option.

The Rubberific Rubber Mulch For Playgrounds is a must-have if you want something that doesn’t attract termites or other harmful insects and something that clearly doesn’t float or blow away.

In fact, we think the standout feature of the Rubberific is that it is quite denser than the rest of the competition so, in really bad weather, this stuff stays put while other brands don’t fare as well.

Furthermore, this rubber mulch is pretty good at making sure weeds don’t grow inside and it does a great job of not collecting dust.

Other brands can often get quite dusty which is not good for the lungs.

Overall, Rubberific is just a solid brand that many people have used before without any problems. It is a nice mulch for playgrounds that will withstand the test of time.


  • Perfect for pathways
  • Easy to spread
  • Enhanced shock absorption
  • Cost co-friendly solution
  • Long-lasting
  • Non-toxic


  • Best for around plants and less so for children’s playground

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#5. Vigoro Rubber Mulch For Playgrounds – Best Mat

Parents are always looking for safe and affordable playground surfaces for their children.

One option is Harmiden rubber mulch. This mulch is made of recycled rubber tires and is available in a variety of colors (though not always available in other colors than black). It is soft enough to cushion falls, but also durable enough to withstand heavy use.

Harmiden rubber mulch is a great choice for playgrounds, as well as other areas where children play, such as daycare centers and schools. It easily rolls out so you can take it in your car.

So in this last product, we recommend the Harmiden Rubber Mulch.

In general, we think that this brand does a pretty good job of striking the right balance between having a good shock impact and having good longevity and durability.

The color is nice and lush and definitely stays on for years without any noticeable signs of fading. At least this is what the long-term customers tell us.

Also, it does a great job of maintaining itself without you needing to turn it ever so often.

This is a really easy hassle-free rubber mulch that is really easy to lay on playgrounds.


  • Perfect for pathways
  • Great mat for resting
  • Allow water and nutrients to filter through
  • Deter weed growing
  • Just open and roll it to install
  • Cost co-friendly solution
  • Long-lasting
  • Non-toxic


  • A bit difficult to do yoga on the mat

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Final Verdict

There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing mulch for your playground. First and foremost, make sure to select a type of mulch that is safe for children to play on.

Secondly, be sure to choose a mulch that is durable and will last in your climate. Lastly, take into account the cost of the mulch before making your final decision.

In this article, we have given you five great choices for mulches for your playground. Just choose one and enjoy the day out.

What do you need to consider when buying the best mulch for playground surfaces – A Buying Guide

When it comes to playground surface material, there are a few things to consider. These are:

  1. Drainage
  2. Price
  3. Maintenance cost
  4. Quality and color
  5. Safety

1. Choose the best drainage mulch

A key consideration when selecting mulch is its ability to drain water. If water stands on the surface, it can cause slipping hazards and increase the risk of injury. Look for mulch that can quickly and effectively drain water to prevent pooling and accidents. That’s one of the reasons why rubber mulch is a popular option, as it drains water quickly. In essence, this material is durable, long-lasting, and provides excellent drainage.

2. Budget for playgrounds and swing sets

Buying mulch for your playground can be expensive. This is why it is important to monitor your budget to ensure you are getting the best value for your money. The average price for rubber mulch ranges from $400 to $1,000, and this depends on the size of your playground.

For smaller playgrounds, a budget of $400 should be enough to cover the required amount of mulch. However, for larger playgrounds, you may need to allocate a larger budget (around $1,000 and above) to ensure you have enough mulch to cover the entire surface area. It is important to remember that while rubber mulch may be more expensive than traditional mulch options, it often lasts longer and requires less maintenance in the long run. By monitoring your budget and selecting the right type of mulch for your playground, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable play area for children, while also staying within your budget constraints.

3. Maintenance cost

Factor in the maintenance cost before buying playground mulch. Some materials require more frequent upkeep than others. For instance, cedar mulch, pine wood, and real grass require a renewal budget to replenish the mulch. This means that you may have to spend more money over time to maintain the playground.

On the other hand, if you opt for an artificial grass surface, there’s not much maintenance required. Similarly, rubber mulch is cost-effective, protects your kids from fall injuries, and doesn’t require much maintenance. This means that you can enjoy a clean and safe playground surface without having to constantly replenish the mulch.

4. Quality and color

Quality, color, and smell are a few factors that you need to consider before purchasing a playground mulch. Choosing a good quality mulch is crucial as it ensures the safety of children playing on the surface. High-quality mulch is usually associated with durability and lasts longer compared to inferior-quality products. Regarding color, it is recommended to choose a color that adds aesthetic appeal to the playground while still being safe for use. Dark brown, green, red, or natural wood colors are excellent options.

Additionally, it is important to note if the product smells bad, as this may indicate poor quality or contamination from unwanted substances. The ideal mulch should be odorless and free of any harmful chemicals or impurities. Therefore, taking into consideration the quality, color, and smell of the mulch when buying it will create a safe and pleasant environment for the children to enjoy.

5. Playground safety

Choosing the right type of mulch for playground surfaces is crucial to ensure safety for children. Obviously, every different playground has its own unique needs. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has defined that although no specific chemical hazards from recycled rubber tires in playground surfacing are known, precautions to limit exposure are still recommended. It is important to avoid mouth contact with playground surfacing materials, including mouthing, chewing, or swallowing rubber mulch.

On the other hand, rubber “mulch” has become a popular option for playground surfaces because it can protect kids from falls, reducing the risk of injury. However, experts are still concerned about whether chemicals in recycled tires used to create rubber mulch could pose a risk to children. Overall, choosing a mulch with outstanding safety capabilities can keep playgrounds safe and fun for children.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of mulch material used for playgrounds?

Below are the 5 best playground surface material types of mulch you should consider for your local children’s playground.

1. Wood Chips for playground surfaces

Wood chips are the most traditional type of mulch for playgrounds. They provide a nice, dust-free surface that can be easily cleaned. Wood mulch is a good option because it is affordable and easy to maintain. This type of wood fiber mulch also adds some natural beauty to the playground area. The downside is that you need to replace it every few years.

2. Pine Bark Mulch

If you’re looking for a natural playground surface that’s safe and environmentally friendly, consider pine bark mulch. This material is made of finely shredded pieces of pine bark that make it easy to decompose over time. The end result is a soft, finely shredded bark mulch that’s perfect for playground areas. Plus, its color is similar to natural soil, so it won’t stand out in your yard or garden. Another benefit of using pine bark mulch as a playground material is that it’s quite soft and, in most cases, won’t hurt kids if they fall on it.

3. Natural Grass

Natural grass is a great option for a playground surface. But the reality is that there is no such thing as Natural Grass Mulch. It is more like people call these types of ground surfaces “grass mulch playgrounds”. What we like about these is that they have many benefits for both children and families.

For one, grass naturally absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, providing fresh air for everyone. Secondly, organisms that handle organic and inorganic substances thrive in the topsoil and in natural grass. If it rains, the grass will filter the incoming rainwater. Moreover, having natural grass in your playground will significantly lessen soil erosion.

This type of mulch also provides better cooling than cement and synthetic or artificial grass. In addition, people usually like the relaxing appearance and clean scent of natural grass. Finally, natural grass is a cost-effective choice since this type of playground surface simply regenerates throughout the year. It only really requires some watering if there isn’t sufficient rainfall.

The only downside is that you need to cut the grass quite a number of times during the year, which is why councils do not like to have it on playgrounds as it cost a bit to maintain.

4. Synthetic turf playground mulch (plastic type)

Synthetic turf made of plastic playground mulch has, nowadays, quickly become a popular option because of its low maintenance costs and the variety of colors and textures available.

One benefit of synthetic turf is that it doesn’t need to be replaced often like traditional wood chips or bark mulch. This saves money in the long run, as well as reduces the amount of time spent on upkeep. Additionally, synthetic turf is soft and safe for children to play on, making it a great option for playgrounds.

There are many different types of synthetic turf available, so you can choose the perfect color and texture to match your playground’s theme and atmosphere.

5. Rubber mulch (synthetic)

There are many reasons why rubber mulch is a great surface material for playgrounds. First and foremost, it is a very safe surface for children to play on. It can protect them from injuries if they fall, and it is also relatively affordable. Rubber mulch also has an aesthetic appeal that other surface materials do not have. It can be brightly colored, which makes it more fun for children to play on. This is why Rubber is our top-rated solution for playgrounds.

Is rubber mulch synthetic turf good for playground mulch?

Rubber mulch is a popular choice for playground surfaces and for good reasons. It is easy to install and provides a protective layer for children who may fall or trip during play. The shock-absorbing properties of rubber mulch can help prevent concussions and other injuries common in playgrounds.

Additionally, rubber mulch comes in a variety of colors, allowing for customization and an improved visual appearance of the playground. With a range of color options available, it is easy to match the rubber mulch to other playground features or the surrounding environment. This option, therefore, ensures that a playground looks fresh, aesthetically pleasing, and vibrant. So, when seeking effective and stylish playground surface options, consider using rubber mulch as it offers both safety and visual benefits. Note that there is still research investigating the effect of rubber on children’s well-being. No research has yet shown chemical adverse risks to children to date.

What are the benefits of rubber playground surface material?

  1. It prevents injuries with its cushioning properties
  2. Keeps the surface of the playground dry
  3. Non-toxic and environmentally friendly if chemicals are not added
  4. Easy to install and maintain

Where to buy playground mulch?

If you are in the market for playground mulch, there are several options available online and offline. Many home improvement and gardening stores offer mulch for purchase locally. These same stores offer the same products on their websites, with options ranging from traditional wood chips to eco-friendly rubber mulch. Companies that specialize in outdoor playground equipment may also sell mulch specifically designed for use in play areas, and these can typically be found online. Additionally, online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay offer a wide selection of mulch options from various sellers.

However, it is important to note that when purchasing, it is essential to ensure that the mulch is safe and meets the necessary safety standards for use in playgrounds. It is also recommended to read reviews and compare prices before making a purchase. Overall, with the convenience and variety available online, finding the perfect playground mulch for your needs has never been easier.

How thick should playground mulch be?

When it comes to playground safety, the thickness of the mulch is a crucial consideration. An 8-12 inch depth is generally considered a rule of thumb, but it’s important to note that every playground is unique. The depth requirement for protective surfacing (impact-absorbing) will depend on the equipment’s height and the materials used to construct it.

Consistently measuring the thickness of the mulch is a great way to ensure that it provides adequate protection should a child take a tumble. As a general rule, a thicker layer of mulch is better to ensure the safety of all children who use the playground, and the area beneath the swings should require a greater depth of mulch. Playground safety regulations require a greater depth of mulch in areas where equipment exceeds a certain height. The appropriate thickness of playground mulch is critical to maintaining a safe and injury-free play environment.





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