Landscape materials should be safe, durable, and aesthetically pleasing when it comes to play areas for children. Even with these considerations in mind, though, some materials just can’t stand up to the elements in play areas as well as others can. When looking at natural landscape materials — materials that are naturally occurring and don’t require much processing — you’ll find plenty of great options that will help you achieve the best possible play area for your property, whatever your needs might be.
While recycled tire pieces aren’t technically a natural material, pea gravel is still a much better choice than plastic mulch. While it doesn’t look as pretty, it also won’t break down and hurt animals in a matter of years. It also has multiple uses beyond being simply an aesthetic enhancement to your backyard. It can be used to block weeds or capture rainwater, making it ideal for many different applications.
A mainstay in playgrounds and parks, wood chips are an eco-friendly option. They can be more costly than some other materials, but for larger projects where you’ll need a lot of material to cover large areas, it’s worth considering. It also makes sense to avoid paints and chemicals by choosing wood as your play area material. Many natural landscaping experts recommend using a combination of topsoil, peat moss and wood chips with no fillers.
The advantages and disadvantages of play sand are many, especially when you look at it in comparison to other types of playground materials. This material is light and easy to work with; there’s no heavy lifting required on your part. Furthermore, it’s porous — water passes through it with ease — so moisture doesn’t sit on top like with some other materials such as wood chips. Play sand helps children build muscles as they move around in an active environment.