5 Reasons Parents Are Installing Artificial Playground Turf Systems in the Backyard
Artificial playground turf systems and synthetic grass are becoming more and more popular, and many homeowners and park managers are finding the financial, aesthetic, and environmental benefits of switching over to turf to be very tempting.
Here are the top five reasons why many people are making the switch to artificial grass:
Safety Kids will be kids, and every year over 200,000 kids are injured on play grounds and in play equipment-related accidents across Texas. Occasionally, these injuries will be sustained during sports or collisions, but for the most part, kids injure themselves from falling to the ground.
While some school administrators have suggested avoiding this risk by limiting the height at which play equipment is built, pretty much anyone who actually has or understands kids realizes that this is not a practical solution. Be it monkey bars, trees, or gallant attempts at human flight, kids have a knack for finding ways to test the power of gravity.
This being the case, the obvious solution isn’t to limit their climbing, but to soften their descent. Unlike most playground surfaces which are comprised of natural grass, dirt, sand, or woodchips, artificial playground turf systems are made to absorb the energy of a fall to help limit any injuries.
When installed with a proper base, shock pad, artificial turf and infill, a playground turf system can provide a safe, soft landing for falls from up to 12 feet in height, according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Additionally, since the surface of the turf is consistently level and doesn’t give way like sand or dirt, it is ADA wheelchair accessible, meaning no one has to miss out on the fun.
Aesthetic Appeal Let’s be honest, kids hurting themselves while playing is not a recent phenomenon, and there have been several solutions designed specifically to mitigate the risk that falling presents, like rubber matting for instance. However, while many of these solutions may provide effective absorption rates and share similar ASTM safety ratings like the one playground turf systems have, they weren’t really designed with the homeowner or park manager in mind.
Placing a rubber mat under your backyard swing set or out in the local park may effectively stop kids from drilling their way into the upper mantel, but it comes at the cost of aesthetics when the rubber mat takes the place of nicely maintained grass.
If there weren’t other options available, this could be seen as a selfish complaint; we’re talking about the safety of kids here after all. But in light of the alternatives available, one has to ask, “Why should we be forced to choose between safety and aesthetics when options like artificial playground turf systems offer the best of both worlds?”
Artificial playground turf systems, like real grass, are green and come in a wide variety of blade height, texture, and color, including multiple shades of green or earthy tones to match the look and feel of real grass.
Cleanliness While kids see a playground as an invitation to run around and have fun, parents often see it as a breeding ground for germs and with many of the conventional foundation materials like sand, wood chips, or even natural grass or dirt, minor cuts and scrapes can make your child vulnerable to whatever organisms are lurking around.
With artificial turf, this risk is minimized. Not only is turf designed to be washable, allowing dust, dirt, and pollutants to be removed from the picture, but certain types are also made with anti-microbial agents to help protect against bacteria and prevent other microbes and microorganisms from growing. This way, not only will your child bring less dirt or mud in from the playground, but they will also swap less germs with their environment, making the playground environment a safer place for kids, and less of a petri dish for bacteria.
More Durability and Less Upkeep Traditional playgrounds need to be heavily maintained, including mowing, raking, sweeping, and frequent replacement of foundation materials. From kids running, digging, and just being kids, typical pour-in-place surfaces take a lot of abuse and generally wear away as the months go on, leading to replacement every few years or so. And in the case of natural surfaces, the constant foot traffic kills and uproots the grass and prevents any new growth in the area, eventually leading to a mostly dirt playground.
Fortunately with artificial playground turf systems, kids pose little to no risk at all. Not only is synthetic grass far more durable and cost effective than any other type of pour-in-place surface, it often lasts twice as long and requires next to no upkeep. Aside from the occasional watering down, artificial turf is designed to be hassle free and withstand the elements and any abuse you or your kids can throw at it.
Even the heavy flow of spiked shoes and rough-and-tumbling on football and soccer fields doesn’t destroy or damage artificial turf, so what do you think your kids could possibly throw at it that it can’t handle? (That was rhetorical; don’t actually challenge your kids to see what they can do.)
Environmentally Friendly and Cost Effective Not only are artificial turfs durable and extremely functional, they are also the environmentally green solution many of us in Texas, and the American southwest, need. At a glance, it’s pretty obvious why. Unlike real grass, artificial turf doesn’t need constant watering or dangerous petro-chemicals and fertilizer to maintain its green, lush look. In a drought prone area, that’s definitely a plus.
Additionally, artificial turf is often made from recycled plastics and other sustainable components, which help reduce landfill waste and minimize its carbon footprint, protecting not only the health of the children who play on it, but also their future here on earth.