Synthetic Turf Playgrounds – Why Parks & Schools Are Making The Change
Have you noticed an increase in synthetic turf playgrounds? That’s because synthetic turf is growing in popularity compared to other surfaces! When Gotsch Intermediate School in Affton, Missouri made the decision to retrofit their playground with synthetic turf installed by the Sports Division of Byrne & Jones Construction, there were plenty of reasons for making the switch from mulch to turf. Still, mulch was seen as a better alternative than grass and was definitely preferred over pea gravel, engineered mulch, or old, poured in place rubber tiles. But now, more parks departments and school districts are discovering the many benefits of retrofitting their existing playgrounds with synthetic turf. There are a number of reasons why schools and parks are making the switch.
One of the main reasons why artificial turf is so appealing is due to the significantly small amount of maintenance that this surface requires compared to others. This material does not require constant maintenance because once it is installed, it stays in play and does not need frequent upkeep. The only thing that is required of this surface is the occasional sweeping of loose debris and replacement of infill if damaged. Especially compared to mulch, there is no need to replace the material frequently. Mulch also has the tendency to move around popular areas of playgrounds. Children can displace the mulch, creating vulnerable areas where kids can get hurt if they fall. Wood mulch and sand also have a tendency to get everywhere – in clothes, shoes, and often outside of the play area. Sometimes they are even brought into homes and schools – all while managing to not stay in the high traffic areas where they are needed the most. Since mulch travels around so much, there is a need to replace it throughout the year. While the installation of synthetic turf can be more expensive than mulch, the long-term maintenance fees can be worth it.
Synthetic turf has additionally become more popular because of its safety factor. This material makes for a safer surface for falling. With the shock pads below the turf, it can brace for impact by having additional cushioning to meet critical fall height and can hurt less to fall on than mulch or other surfaces. Since this is a flat surface that does not get moved around, it does not get into children’s hair, mouths (wood chips can be a choking hazard), or eyes. This smooth surface is also ADA compliant as it allows children needing wheelchair accessibility to be able to move around easier than they could on a surface such as mulch. This turf also has a cleanliness factor. It allows for drainage and can resist bacteria and mold. While mulch can also hide things such as bugs or dangerous objects like glass, this flat surface allows for greater visibility. It terms of safety, artificial turf offers up plenty of benefits.
An added bonus to synthetic turf is the aesthetic. For those who like the natural look of grass but dislike the constant upkeep of grass can have the best of both worlds with this surface. With artificial turf, you can have a cleaner, more visually appealing and safer surface for children to play upon.
Being a turf-neutral installer, we have no particular allegiance to any one manufacturer. Our only goal is to find the right synthetic turf solution for your particular playground. (For this job, we used Byrne & Jones Playground Turf from our new line of Byrne & Jones Synthetic Landscape Turf.) The whole installation process can be performed within weeks, and when you factor in long-term maintenance costs, it is actually a more affordable alternative.
Less mess, lower maintenance, and improved fall protection make synthetic turf surfaces an ideal option. Ready to install turf into your playground? Contact the experts from Byrne & Jones Construction at (314) 254-9766.