DIY Turf Blog

The Best Artificial Turf for Playgrounds: Everything You Need to Know


As a parent, you want to give your kids a playground that's fun and safe. Choosing the right ground cover is crucial for this. Natural grass might seem like a good choice, but it hides a lot of risks. It's also hard to maintain, which can put a damper on your children's playtime. The great news is that you can get all the perks of grass minus the dangers and the hassle with the best artificial turf.

Natural Grass Vs. Artificial Grass: Safety

Children are seldom careful when they're having fun and your kids will be no different. Here's how easy-to-install artificial grass does a better job at keeping your kids safe while they play: 

  • Injury Risk 

Natural grass often grows on hard soil, which means it's not as forgiving when kids fall. When children tumble over on natural grass, they can get bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes from falling onto sharp rocks or hard dirt.

But artificial grass has shock pads beneath its surface that reduce the impact of falls by up to 75%. That means your kids are more likely to walk away with just scratches instead of broken bones or worse. The right infill can enhance the effect, especially if you’re also trying to build the best putting greens for your kids. 

  • Texture 

Real grass is prickly. That means it can poke your kids and snag on their clothing while they're running around. They might even get itchy rashes from rubbing against the grass too much.

An artificial turf installation is soft and springy. Your children can play on it barefoot without getting itchy or uncomfortable. It’s also flat and even—so no tripping hazards! 

  • Germs 

Natural grass contains living organisms that can carry harmful bacteria and viruses. You can't do anything to get rid of them without damaging or poisoning the turf.

Fake grass has antimicrobial properties that help prevent germ buildup. You can also wash and disinfect it as much as you want to ensure it's clean. Moreover, the best artificial grass accessories are resistant to mold, mildew and fungi growth. 

  • Slip Risk 

Real grass turns slippery when it's wet. That means that if your kids and pets play on it after rain, they could slip and fall. This increases the risk of injuries, especially if they slip after jumping from a play structure.

Artificial turf offers traction even when wet or snowy. I's safer than natural grass when it's been raining or there's snow on the ground. It also means that you can let your children play in the rain without any worries. 

  • Allergies

Natural grass is a common cause of allergies in children. If your kids are allergic to grass, they'll experience sneezing, runny noses, itchy eyes and rashes every time they play outside.

Installing artificial turf removes one of the main causes of grass allergies: pollen.  It also removes other common triggers, like mold, mildew and dust. 

10 Essential Parts of an Artificial Turf Playground

What's even more amazing about synthetic grass is the built-in features that make it safer and more comfortable for children to play on. You can also add a few optional features to boost safety even further. Here are the must-haves for any kid-friendly artificial turf playground:

  1. Soft Artificial Grass

When it comes to kid play spaces, you want the surface to mimic natural grass as much as possible—minus the downside, of course. That's why you need to look for an artificial turf that's soft, springy and realistic-looking.

It shouldn't look like a fake plastic carpet. 

The best artificial grass products on the market have a thick pile, thatch layer and realistic colors. This gives them a natural appearance that's close enough to the real thing. More importantly, it makes them feel and function like natural grass, which is essential for a comfortable play experience.

  1. Shock-Absorbing Layer

As we mentioned before, one of the main advantages of artificial turf is that you can customize it with extra features. This way, you can create a play area that's as safe as possible.

One safety feature you should consider is a shock-absorbing layer. Also known as foam padding or shock pads, this material is designed to reduce the impact of falls. It's often used in playgrounds, gymnasiums and other areas where there's a risk of injuries. It's perfect for residential backyards too!

Aside from giving children a softer surface to land on, foam padding makes the turf more comfortable to play on. This is especially important if your kids will be spending a lot of time on the turf, like during a birthday party or playdate.

  1. Drainage System

Another key safety feature is a drainage system. While it's essential for any type of artificial turf application, it's even more important for play areas for several reasons: 

First, a good drainage system will ensure that water doesn't pool on the surface of the turf. Standing water isn't just dirty and unsightly,t's also a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests. You don't want your children in contact with that!

Second, a drainage system will help the turf dry quickly after rain or watering. This is important for two reasons: first, it prevents the growth of mold and mildew; second, it reduces the risk of slips and falls.

Third, a drainage system will keep the turf cool on hot days. The porous material lets the turf "breathe" and encourages air circulation, which helps regulate the temperature. This is essential for comfort and safety, as kids are more susceptible to heat exhaustion than adults.

  1. Anti-Microbial Coating

Mold, mildew and bacteria can cause serious health problems, so you need to make sure that your artificial turf is protected against them. The best way to do this is to look for an artificial turf with an anti-microbial coating.

This type of coating prevents the growth of microorganisms, keeping the turf clean and safe. It's a critical safety feature, as it helps reduce the risk of infections and other health problems.

  1. UV Protection

The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays are incredibly damaging to most materials. Inferior turf products will fade and deteriorate quickly when exposed to direct sunlight. Aside from making your backyard look bad, this reduces the turf's lifespan and makes it brittle, which can create hazards in your yard. 

To avoid this, you need to look for an artificial turf with UV protection. This type of turf is designed to withstand the sun's rays even when exposed 24/7. 

  1. Slip Resistance

Aside from proper drainage to keep the surface free from stagnant water, the artificial turf itself should be made of slip resistant materials. Children are incredibly active, and because they're still developing coordination, they're more likely to fall or trip on their feet.

Manufacturers of the best artificial grass in San Jose consider slip resistance when it comes to the turf's design. This includes the proper pile height, pile weight and texture. The result is a lifelike product that offers fantastic footing and stability. Lead-Free MaterialThe presence of lead is a common concern among parents considering artificial grass for their backyard play areas. It's a valid concern, too. Low-quality turf products may use lead-based materials in their construction.

When inhaled or ingested, lead can cause serious health problems, including developmental delays, behavioral problems and more. And since artificial grass can last up to 10 years or longer, you don't want even the tiniest amount of lead on your new lawn. 

Again, this is a priority for makers of the best artificial grass in San Jose. Aside from being lead-free, high-quality products also don't contain any harmful chemicals or toxins. You can rest assured that your children are safe when they're playing on this type of turf.

  1. Weed Barrier

Weeds aren't just unsightly. A lot of them can be toxic to children. For instance, poison ivy and poison oak are common yard weeds that can cause serious skin irritation. Then there's the ever-present danger of stinging insects like bees and wasps.

For this reason, a weed barrier is one of the most crucial elements of artificial turf installation for children's playgrounds. A good barrier will keep out most, if not all, of the weeds in your yard. 

  1. Pet-Friendly Materials

Many families also have furry companions. Not surprising since pets can be great for children's development, as they help teach responsibility and build empathy.

However, not all artificial turf is pet-friendly. Some products are made of materials that can be harmful to animals, so you need to be careful when choosing one for your backyard. 

Pet-friendly turf isn't just realistic and soft. It also includes pet-specific accessories like odor-fighting infill and drainage systems that keep pet waste from contaminating the turf. This way, both your children and furry friends stay safe while enjoying their time on artificial grass.

  1. Ease of Installation and Maintenance

Finally, you need to consider the artificial turf's installation and maintenance requirements. A good turf system should be easy to install, so you don't have to hire professional help. This can save you a lot of money on labor costs, which you can spend on your home and children instead.

As for maintenance, opt for a product that doesn't require too much work to keep it looking its best. High-quality artificial grass only needs occasional brushing and rinsing to stay in top condition. 

This is in contrast to natural grass, which needs constant mowing, watering, weeding and other time-consuming tasks. With artificial turf, you can finally have a beautiful, low-maintenance lawn that your children will love without all the hassle.

How to Install Artificial Grass for Play Areas

Installing artificial grass is a straightforward process. And yes, it's a great DIY project! If you research, prepare and take your time, you should be able to install your new turf without any problems.

Here's a quick breakdown of the general steps:

  1. Prepare the Site

First, you need to clear the area where you'll be installing the turf. Remove all existing grass, weeds and debris. You should also level the ground to ensure that it's even.

  1. Install a Weed Barrier

Once the area is clear, lay down a weed barrier. This will keep weeds from growing through the turf and ruining your new lawn.

  1. Install the Turf

Next, unroll the turf and lay it down in the prepared area. Make sure that the turf is lying flat and that there are no creases or wrinkles.

  1. Secure the Turf

To keep the turf in place, you'll need to secure it with landscape staples or nails, as well as turf adhesive.

  1. Infill the Turf

After the turf is secure, you can add infill. This will give the turf some weight and body, making it look and feel more realistic.

  1. Brush the Turf

Finally, use a power brush or stiff broom to brush the turf in all directions. This will help the blades stand up and look more natural.

It really is that easy! As for the tools you'll need to install turf, most of them are basic ones you probably already have in your garage or shed. If not, you can easily find them or rent them at your local hardware store.

Safer Playtime Begins with the Best Artificial Turf

If you're looking to DIY the perfect background playground for your kids, we've got you covered. From artificial grass products to turf accessories, you can be sure we have what you need here at Artificial Turf Express.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We love helping people like you who want to make their kids' play space one-of-a-kind and fun. Call us at 408-960-2255 or contact us online!