Turf/bark? What's the best outside play surface?

(22 Posts)
Greensleeves Wed 12-Apr-06 12:06:51

This is easily the most mundane thread you'll read today... but does anyone have an opinion on the best surface for an outdoor play area for small children? At the moment it's bare mud, I want to put a little climbing frame/seesaw/swing on it, but don't know whether to turf it/use grass seed/buy woodchips.

tangerinecath Wed 12-Apr-06 12:17:45

Mundane it may be but I'll be watching with interest as I'm thinking of getting an outdoor playhouse for dd and was wondering the same thing!

Enid Wed 12-Apr-06 12:19:22

turf becomes mud pretty quickly

I would like to have put bark down personally

Enid Wed 12-Apr-06 12:19:40

but I have turf/mud and its fine tbh

FioFio Wed 12-Apr-06 12:19:53

Message deleted

scotlou Wed 12-Apr-06 12:21:14

WE've got woodchip (as we had a pile of trees chopped down and a neighboured chipped them for us). Disadvantages are you have to prepare a "box" to hold it or it gets everywhere - and put liner down so the weeds don't come through. This is more expensive. Also, it gets disturbed by the child's feet on swing / slide and needs to be raked back into place occasionally.
However, it looks tidy and soft for them to fall on.
Grass'll be cheaper - but if you use seed you'll need to wait before they can use it. Also, you will end up with a bare mud patch under swing, base of slide etc.

MrsBadger Wed 12-Apr-06 12:22:54

all three are fine to play on
turf is pricey and must be laid properly but looks great instantly, and can look like a grownup garden rather than a park if you want to have a barbecue etc in it.
grass seed is a pain in the bum, I've never been patient enough to go through with it
Bark chips are dead easy to lay, low maintenace, and don't get 'worn bits' but you need an anti-weed sheet thing underneath them. Also the kids will pick them up and eat them / throw them at each other etc, and they're not v comfy to sit on if you have a picnic.

(NB hope they're out there making the most of the bare mud at the moment - nothing seems to be a substitute for mud pies...)

BettySpaghetti Wed 12-Apr-06 12:23:03

Do those of you who have bark find that cats use it as a giant litter tray though? I've thought about using bark but this has always put me off as there a lot of cats around here

MrsBadger Wed 12-Apr-06 12:26:28

we have intimidated our local cats to such an extent that they don't come close any more (supersoakers at the ready...)
think they like it more sheltered where they poo, so is more of an issue if you have bark on flower beds etc rather than on wide open spaces.

Enid Wed 12-Apr-06 12:27:21

we have a bit of plasticky stuff under our swing that came from tp toys

scotlou Wed 12-Apr-06 12:37:03

My cat doesn't use the bark (she decided to use the sandpit all winter - but that's another story)

Norah Wed 12-Apr-06 13:01:58

Another alternative is the bouncy tiles made from recycled tyres ! We have laid them in our dd's play garden and they are fab ! In fact she flew off her swing last week and didn't even cry ! Bounced a bit mind you !

Got them from B&Q by the way. Great in all weathers - don't need any maintenance and cat's ignore them !

Greensleeves Wed 12-Apr-06 13:15:04

Thanks everyone I am tending towards turf atm... but what do the bouncy tiles look like, and are they expensive?

DH has suggested sand - any opinions on this?

I told you it was mundane

bootsmonkey Wed 12-Apr-06 13:52:46

Sand and bark will be used as a giant cat toilet - take my word for it. Have just shovelled all our bark chippings and years worth of cat turds into 7 plastic bags and taken them to the tip! Nice job!

Enid Wed 12-Apr-06 13:56:04

kids will chuck sand everywhere also cats and badgers will poo in it

the bouncy tiles are what we have at the end of the slide/under the swing (prime turf-turning-into-mud areas)

MrsBadger Wed 12-Apr-06 14:09:00

oh, I do love a poo in a nice sandy garden...

the tiles look like the ones you get at adventure playgrounds - think they're made of recycled tyres - kind of matte black and rubbery

Norah Wed 12-Apr-06 15:15:35

Yes the tiles look like playgrounds - but usually the playgrounds have the stuff that is poured in - so no seams unlike the tiles. They look like fresh tarmac - iykwim - but are bouncy ! We have red ones and black ones - they were the same price. I know you can also get ones with animal pics on - but they were quite a bit more expensive - but nice as a one off for end of slide or the such.

Tried sand once - don't do it ! Also tried bark and it got trod everywhere - all over the rest of the garden and into the house ! And Yes - cats do poo in it !

gscrym Wed 12-Apr-06 15:22:08

We got turf done twice. Our garden used to have red chips and we wanted turf so that DS could crawl about. Due to rubbish drainage, we ended up going back to having stones. DS is 3.5 so no need for crawling.

Norah Wed 12-Apr-06 15:24:27

Tiles are £19 each - 50cm square !

Can't do links - but look here - http://www.justoutdoortoys.co.uk/store/item/nrob/ServicesSurfaces/hout-land_rubber_playtiles.html

B&Q don't seem to have them on their website anymore - but may have them in store.

MrsBadger Wed 12-Apr-06 15:42:57

Norah's link here - no pic though
More here - minimum order is four 1mx1m square tiles at £19.53/tile ex VAT & delivery

Simonstaton Thu 23-Sep-10 09:30:11

I would say bark by a mile! looks nice and keeps your kids very safe.

Simon
Sandpits

floordoctor Wed 22-Jun-16 11:48:59

when it comes to play areas for little children, safety and health are the first of most parents concerns. Here at TactTiles we pride ourselves in providing and installing (if needed) truly remarkable play areas bespoke for the Customers requirements. Bark and turf can be dirty and high-end costing in maintenance, our external tiles are long-lasting (10 year warranty) and practically maintenance free! www.tacttiles.com Or give John a call on
01458 253395 to talk your ideas through.

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