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Old 02-01-2012, 08:33 AM
 
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We are installing a playset relatively soon. We need to decide on a floor covering to cushion falls. We're trying to decide between wood mulch or rubber mulch. I am a little hesitant about the wood mulch because since our backyard has a lot of brush and trees, we tend to get a lot of bugs and black widows. I've read that wooden mulch can attract spiders. As for the rubber mulch, the claims are that it does not attract bugs. However, it is a lot more expensive. What do you all use to for your home playgrounds? Any problem with bugs/spiders? Also, where are some good places to purchase both mulches? Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:28 AM
 
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hmm, I have lots of wood mulch in my garden and I haven't noticed a higher rate of spiders. The only real benefit I see to rubber mulch is you don't have to replace it since it doesn't break down like wood mulch. But on the flip side, once your kids get too old for the play set you should have some great soil for gardening from the wood mulch breaking down over the years.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:48 AM
 
Location: The South, by the grace of God
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Other things to keep in mind- wood mulch can lead to splinters and gets muddy if it rains.Though it is more expensive in the onset, you don't have to keep replacing the rubber, so its more of a "once and done" scenario.
We used to use pea gravel back in the day, because it drains well and doesn't need replacing and the smoothness of the little stones actually makes falls softer ( or at least that's what we were taught). If the kids are really little, then its not so great as they will try to eat it.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:23 AM
 
Location: NC
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I considered both, but went with standard wood mulch for my daughter's playset area. It's cheaper, easier to replace, and doesn't get super hot like a lot of the artificial stuff can. No extra bugs or spiders at all, but curiously some sort of fungus or mold growing there in the fall time required a bit of extra raking and upkeep. The deer seemed to like that part of it though.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:34 PM
 
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I'll definitely look into pea gravel. Seems like a good compromise between the two -- not as expensive as rubber and not as likely to attract insects. For those who have pea gravel, do you like it? Also, where did you purchase it? Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:40 PM
 
Location: North Carolina
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The problem with rubber mulch (as we found out when we bought it in New Jersey), is that it doesn't break down! So when the kids kick it out onto your grass, or throw it out, or it just blows out, it's just stuck there on your grass (getting stuck in your lawn mower!!!).. If I could do it over, I'd go with traditional mulch and just top it up every few years.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twilitemoon View Post
I'll definitely look into pea gravel. Seems like a good compromise between the two -- not as expensive as rubber and not as likely to attract insects. For those who have pea gravel, do you like it? Also, where did you purchase it? Thanks!
My dad used pea gravel at our house. Kids love to grab handfulls and throw it.

My friend and I used to sit on our wall during the summer vacation and grab handfulls of gravel, throwing one stone at a time, trying to hit the telephone pole 20' away, saying "Wadda you wanna do?". "I dunno. Wadda you wanna do?" for hours on end.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:49 PM
 
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haha yeah I definitely remember my friends and I having gravel fights as kids. One time a kid got a doozy of a shiner because the rock managed to hit his eye in just the right spot.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:20 PM
 
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I think I broke a lot of parenting rules. I a) built their playset on a slight hill (~15 degrees) and b) used absolutely no mulch or anything, just the sod that was there before. That was ~5 years ago and now that they have just about outgrown it, taking it down will be much less work.

Playset was custom lengthened so all the flat surfaces were level and is very simple (4 swings, 2 5x5 platforms, 1 with a roof, 6 ft slide and ~6 monkey bars). The lack of mulch never caused a problem, nothing higher than 4 ft to fall from unless they were doing something stupid like climbing on the roof of the playhouse.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly NoVA and Phila
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We built a big playset 8 years ago when my oldest was 2. She's 10 now. We never put down mulch. We just had grass underneath - never had a problem with it. I'm not sure how much more the mulch would have cushioned a fall. It spreads around so easily and it kills the grass underneath so the ground beneath it is hard. My friend put the mulch down and it would get washed away in the rain. They would get so frustrated with it. The plain grass worked well for us.
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