View Full Version : Playground area safety....What to do now!

03-09-2006, 07:24 PM
I am building a playground area in my own yard for the kids. I need to raise a slopped area of my yard up a little to make it level with the rest of the yard. I want to stay away from a full blown retaining wall since its not that much of a raise. I laid a 2 course level of 8x8 ties along the back of the area to hold back the fill. I was going to just pull the fill out the sides to level it with the rest of the yard.
Now the issue. I ordered 15 yards of a sandy gravel mixture as fill. It shows up yesterday. It gets dumped in the area I asked the driver to put it. It is all sand. Nice soft, fine sand. I spread it all today. My question is, Is the sand going to be able to be packed down enough to where I wont have any problems with it? What should I do to make it secure enough for a swing set to be placed and kids to play?:dizzy: thanks for any input.....

03-09-2006, 09:12 PM
I hate to tell you this but sand is a horrible playground material. I don't think you can get more than 80% compaction with sand. I would do a RCA base to level and keep the swingset stable and then about 4-6" minimum of pea gravel. Pea gravel is very forgiving because it doesn't really pack. It doesn't hurt kids feet. no splinters (as opposed to woodchips) it also doesn't get all over the kids and most importantly cats don't usually crap in it.
I kknow that sux to hear, but get rid of that sand.

03-09-2006, 09:39 PM
Yep kids inhale it too.Try rubber mulch

03-09-2006, 09:47 PM
the plan was to put the pea stone over the gravel at about 4-6 inches. But now I have to use the sand as a base with the pea stone over that.

03-09-2006, 10:11 PM
well the pea wont compact into the sand..it will disapear eventually into the sand,so I would lay down a double layer of Geotextile fabric secure it well all the way around then top with a rubber mulch

03-11-2006, 07:57 AM
I would agree with Cedarcroft on the rca base. We use crushed material as a firm base to make sure everything is in check and that nothing is going to shift. As far as what and how much material we use in the play area, we referr to our handy dandy notebook for fall heights heighs. Depending on tha height of the set we are installing will determine what and how much material we use. Pea gravel will give you a maximum fall height of 5'-6' @ 6" depth. Anything higher than that would require more than 6" of gravel. :)

03-11-2006, 11:38 AM
OK... This is speaking from a school angle on the history of "tot lots" for school sites in CA over the past 20 years.

(1) Equipment out on bare ground was ruled unsafe because the ground got so hard from foot traffic compaction and ridges developed around swing sets and other pieces of play equipment.

(2) Play boxes with sand in them was the next step. Sand was supposed to be soft but they forgot that over time it compacts REAL HARD. Any wonder why it's used in large trenches as compaction material? Wet it down and it really compacts. And what's road base's main component? They also found that sand boxes attract cats/dogs and broken beer bottles get lost and cause a problem also.

(3) Next generation is "soft fall" which is clean, chipped tree byproducts. Problem with it is that although it may be a little softer it eventually compacts in trafficked areas, still does not deter cats/dogs and grows a "dog vomit" fungus if it gets/stays too wet. And it's easily picked up and thrown at other kids.

(4) What's next? Crumb rubber maybe but that'll be up to some engineer to figure out. Guess if they wanted to make it 100% safe for the kids then they can just take all play equipment out of all school sites.

It used to be a badge of honor when a kid twisted his ankle or broke his arm playing hard on school grounds. Now there are way too many lawsuits. Since most of my playing days were spent in ditches, fields, trees and other dangerous areas of play it's a wonder I made it out of childhood. :laugh:

03-11-2006, 12:01 PM
They are useing rubber mulch in Fresno city park playgrounds now

03-11-2006, 01:16 PM
I think what it really comes down to is which company does the best presentation for their product. Stop coddling the kids. Put the play equipment back on asphalt like in the good old days. Every kid should be exposed to "road burn" once or twice in their childhood. :laugh: