Rubber mulch is a great choice for playgrounds, as it helps absorb impact and prevent injuries to children. While it is also a safe and low-maintenance option for gardens and around trees. However, it’s important to understand the risks associated with it before installing it. In this article we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of rubberised mulch installation to help you decide if it is right for your outdoor space.
The best and most common application of bonded rubber mulch is as a safety surface for children’s play areas. It is a great shock absorber and it has many other safety features such as anti-slip properties, good insulation and low heat transference. It can be installed in conjunction with a variety of equipment including swings, slides and climbing frames to create a safe play area.
It is a good idea to work with experts in playground safety to ensure that the right thickness of mulch is used. This is based on the critical fall height of the playground equipment and will help reduce the risk of head trauma. It is also important to consider the use of surfacing that is anti-slip and has good drainage.
Another advantage of using bonded rubber mulch for playgrounds is that it is a non-slip surface and it will not compress or degrade over time. This is a big advantage over natural materials that can lose their consistency over time and can result in a loss of their shock absorbing properties. In the case of a bonded rubber mulch installation, it is a much more durable product that can be installed and then left in place for a long period of time without the need for regular inspections and redistribution.
Before any bonded rubber mulch is installed the ground must be graded for drainage and a base material must be put down and compacted. This will allow the mulch to be spread at an even and consistent level and it will help to minimise weeds and grass growth.
For a residential garden, a sub-base of crushed aggregate is generally sufficient but for commercial play areas a geo-textile fabric is recommended. This membrane will act as more than just a weed barrier and it will separate the mulch from the soil to avoid the mud and clay that can reduce its shock absorbing properties.
Once the sub-base and weed control layer are in place, the mulch can be spread and topped up as required. If the surfacing is going to be used for children’s play, then playground borders can be installed to contain the mulch and help maintain a constant depth. They can also help to provide a nicer look to the site and they are easy to install.
A specialised rubberised mulch will need to be added underneath the play mat layer as this helps it to adhere. This is important to ensure that the surfacing stays in place and doesn’t move under any equipment such as swings and slides. Once installed correctly, a bonded rubber mulch installation will last for years to come and offer a safer and more beautiful alternative to traditional organic wood or bark mulch.