Artificial Grass for Playgrounds
As terrific as artificial grass is for residential landscaping, it can also be a great surface for many other applications. Some of our customers have used artificial grass as part of a home gym, for bocce ball, for soccer fields and in batting cages. Purchase Green grass is so versatile its applications are limited only by your imagination.
Many of our customers have used our artificial grass to create a gorgeous and functional playground. If you’re considering a similar project, here are some things that, in addition to installation techniques, you should know.
Artificial grass for playgrounds involves greater complexity than an ordinary landscape application. This is because playground surfaces require a system consisting of three components – the artificial grass, shock pads and infill.
Now, this system is a requirement only in commercial settings. Residential playgrounds can of course be created as seen fit by the homeowner. And while not mandatory for homeowners, the following information is good for reference.
First things first – you want to choose the right grass for your playground. Things to look for in a playground grass are durability, density and resistance to matting. Playground grasses are meant to be trampled on, so you’ll want to choose a more durable variety. Grasses with shorter, denser fibers will prove most resistant to matting. You can choose a taller grass if you wish but keep in mind you’ll need to use more infill as a result.
What the heck is a shock pad? Sounds dangerous! But in fact it’s the opposite. A shock pad is an underlayment for artificial grass that improves impact attenuation, which is the measure of a material’s shock absorbing properties.
If you’re building a commercial playground, you’ll need to choose a shock pad that is consistent with the required critical fall height (CFH). CFH is a combination of critical height and fall height. According to ASTM International, critical height is “…the maximum fall height from which a life threatening head injury would not be expected to occur.” Fall height is “…the vertical distance between a designated play surface and the playground surface beneath it.”
Purchase Green’s 45mm shock pad has a CFH of 5’5″ by itself. Our 16mm shock pad has a CFH of 3′ by itself. Purchase Green’s shock pads are made using closed-cell, cross-linked, polyethylene. The closed cell structure means it does not absorb moisture. The cross-linking produces a three-dimensional bond between the molecules providing excellent performance. Purchase Green playground systems (shock pad + artificial grass + infill) can provide critical impact ratings up to a 12′ fall height, depending on how the system is constructed.
Choosing the right infill is probably the easiet part of constructing a playground system. The right infill is the one that fits within your budget and offers the features and benefits desired. Silica sand infill, for example, is a reasonably priced option. It doesn’t do anything fancy other than serve as a good quality infill.
A note about Silica Sand: Crystalline Silica is a known carcinogen. In raw sand form, it can produce dust, which can be inhaled. However, our silica sand is thoroughly encapsulated in a coating that prevents any of the silica from escaping or coming into contact with the outside world. So, although we legally have to carry a Prop 65 warning, our silica sand is a safe, cost-effective and popular solution for many types of turf applications. See this product’s MSDS for more a complete report.
If you have pets or are otherwise concerned about odors or microbes, then our MellowFill is the best choice. MellowFill’s unique biocide chemistry controls odors caused by mildew, mold fungus, and algae and significantly reduces the odor caused by ammonia buildup in pet urine.
Artificial grass is a great option for commercial and residential playgrounds. It is less expensive than traditional poured in place playground surfaces, has a longer useful life, is far more durable and has significantly lower long-term replacement costs.
At Purchase Green we can help you create your perfect playground system. You can also check out our CFH tests here, here and here. If you’d like to build a beautiful playground using artificial grass, stop by your local Purchase Green store today. As always, we’re happy, helpful and happy to help!