Friday, May 8, 2009

The Big Mulch Debate....

Last weekend we found an awesome Rainbow swing set on Craig's List. The set retails for about $2900 but we got it for $475 (Gotta love Craig's List). Madison is so funny. She keeps telling everyone she is getting a park in her backyard and will never have to leave home again. If only things were that simple! I'll post some pics as soon as it is fully assembled.

In the meantime I've been researching what type of soft impact material to put under the play set. The set is on the grass for now but Justin and I both want something a little safer just in case of any falls.

Here are the choices:

Wood Mulch:
  • It is natural
  • Matches our gardens
  • cheap


  • It smells really bad (when fresh)
  • If we buy the black died to match our gardens it will leave our children looking like they played in a coal mine
  • In time it will begin to rot the wooden swing set as it deteriorate.
  • Bugs and critters love the stuff

Rubber Mulch:


  • It is made from old tires so we will be recycling
  • Non toxic
  • Non staining
  • It does not decompose and rot the swing set
  • More shock absorbent than regular wood mulch
  • Does not hold animal odors so they will not be interested in using it as a litter box.


  • Although it claims to be non toxic the skeptic in me wonders what if?
  • On a hot day when my students come off the rubber mulched playground at school like look as if they were playing in a coal mine (no dif than wood mulch)
  • It claims to be inert and won't make dogs sick but I'm not loving the idea of my dog eating it.
  • Quite a bit more expensive than wood mulch

Playground Cushioned Tile:


  • Made of recycled Tires
  • Attractive
  • Seems like the safest option
  • Does not move around
  • the dog can't eat it
  • does not attract various critters


  • Must be installed on a completely flat surface
  • Would require a truck load of dirt to be put down first
  • So expensive we would need to remortgage the house or sell a kidney to pay for (okay maybe an exaggeration but you get the ides)

Ideally I would choose option 3 but I can't justify spending so much money on playground flooring when their are other options and we are not even in a home that we plan on staying in for more than 2-3 more years. If it were our forever home maybe but still it is way expensive!

That being said I'm thinking the rubber mulch is the way to go but I'm still not completely sold on the idea. IF anyone has any related experiences or other options I would love to hear them!



Lori: Teacher Turned Mommy said...

have you considered sand? you could make a sandbox to put the swing set in

Danielle said...

Eliza loves mulch and I am sure any type will be good for her. I had no idea so many mulch options existed. I can't wait to see the park in your backyard!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh, what a find!! And interesting about the mulch... hope all goes well!