Why Installing Artificial Turf in Playgrounds is Ideal

Why Installing Artificial Turf in Playgrounds is Ideal

More than 50 years after Astroturf made its debut in Houston, artificial turf is an ideal option for playground surfaces. Artificial grasses have come a long way since then, and modern versions offer several benefits for playgrounds. As such, turf is an ideal surface solution for any playgrounds, including those in:

  • Parks
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Commercial centers
  • Apartment complexes

5 Advantages Of Installing Artificial Turf In Playgrounds

1) Artificial Turf Offers a Safe, Comfortable Playing Surface

Artificial grasses are soft, ideal for absorbing shock, and promote better safety on playgrounds. They don’t poke like wood chips, they don’t scuff like gravel, they can’t be picked up and thrown like dirt or sand, and if properly padded, they won’t bruise the children like concrete.

In fact, many artificial playground turfs are certified by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) for safety. IPEMA derives its safety standards from ASTM International – formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Of particular note is ASTM F1292-22, a standard that addresses playground surfaces. This standard concerns the shock absorption qualities of a playground surface and whether it is sufficient to prevent head injuries to children.

There are many artificial grass products that meet this standard and, by extension, the IPEMA rigorous safety requirements. Kids can play freely on these grasses with reduced risk of injury from falls.

Professional artificial turf installers can add a layer of padding under the surface to improve its shock absorption qualities further. In most cases, this is a layer of rubber or foam that remains invisible under the playground turf.

2) Artificial Turf is Weather and Water Resistant

Heavy rains are a seasonal concern in Houston and The Woodlands, which means regular flooding for outdoor play areas. Unfortunately, most playground surface materials do not handle severe downpours well. Concrete loses traction and can cause slips. Wood chips soak up water and foster bacterial growth. Gravel is slippery and heavy rains can wash it away. Dirt will also wash away, and what remains on the playground will turn into mud.

Artificial grasses are designed to be weather-resistant and promote rapid drainage. You’ll need to build the drainage structures under the turf first, but the turf itself is porous and allows water to pass through unhindered. Some artificial turf products can drain up to 30 inches of water an hour, and no other material comes close.

In Houston, flooding is always a concern. However, it is much less of a concern with artificial turf.

3) Artificial Playground Turf Requires Minimal Maintenance

Once installation is complete, artificial turf requires minimal maintenance. It requires no mowing, weed eating, edging, fertilizing, or any other lawn treatment. This makes artificial grass a cost-effective solution, especially post-installation. While turf costs a little more upfront to install, this higher upfront cost is balanced out by greatly reduced maintenance costs.

In fact, the only maintenance that artificial grass does require is the occasional cleaning. Like any playground surface, turf can become soiled with time, but there are non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning substances available. These can be quickly applied and washed off, restoring the grass to a clean, safe playing surface for children.

4) Artificial Turf Installed in Playgrounds Looks and Feels Like Real Grass

Compared to turf products from just 10 years ago, modern artificial grasses are superior in appearance and texture. They are designed with greater color richness and are corrugated to reduce glare and appear more like natural grass. High quality turfs also have a thatch layer that’s designed to look like the dead blades of grass that you’d see mixed into a natural field. This gives the turf additional texture and a convincing appearance.

Artificial grasses have more “spring” to them than natural grasses, which are fragile in comparison. They bend back faster and reliably return to their initial shape – both of which are important for long term durability. Artificial grasses are also soft to the touch and provide a natural feel.

5) Artificial Turfs Offer a Long-Term Surface Solution for Playgrounds

Speaking of long-term durability, synthetic playing surfaces are designed to last up to 15 years, and it is common for high quality turfs to last up to 20 years. Quality grasses are also made with UV inhibitors that prevent the colors from fading, so the blades retain their fresh look throughout their lifespan.

Although initial installation costs may be higher than natural grasses, once artificial turf is placed, it will provide a return on investment (ROI) within a few years due to reduced maintenance costs and water usage. Add a 15-20 year lifespan into the equation and turf isn’t just a long-term surface solution – it’s also a cost-effective solution. 

Professional turf installers will ensure you get the most out of your new synthetic grass. Some property owners attempt to tackle the project on their own, often with lackluster results. Here are some of the reasons why professional turf installation is recommended:

  • Experience with best installation practices – Artificial turf must be properly cut, shaped, anchored and seamed to produce the clean, professional look that property owners want. If these steps aren’t followed just right, there will likely be ripples or uneven edges present once the job is done.

    The professionals observe best installation practices when placing turf, ensuring it looks and functions as it should, which is very important on playgrounds full of children.

  • Equipment and tools to do the job right – It takes a special set of tools and materials to expertly install synthetic grass. This includes unique rakes and nails that you’ll only see when installing turf. Few property owners have these items on hand, and they can be difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Professional installers bring the equipment needed to the job.

    The professionals also use high quality infill in the correct amounts to ensure a natural appearing finish. Infill weighs the turf down and gives the grass that natural bounce and feel when walked and played on.

  • Enough manpower to get the project done quickly – Some playground turf projects are quite large, measuring thousands of square feet. These jobs take an entire team to manage to be done on time. It’s common for DIYers to find themselves still installing turf weeks after they thought they would be done.

    Professional installers have large enough crews to tackle turf projects of any size and ensure they are completed on time with impeccable results.

Artificial Turf is Safe, Cost Effective and Ideal for Playgrounds

Among playground surface options, artificial grass stands out. Its natural appearance, superb shock absorption qualities, easy maintenance and rapid drainage make it a good fit for Houston and The Woodlands playgrounds. Work with an experienced artificial turf installer and your artificial grass will hold up to years of children playing and having fun.