Best Artificial Grass for Playgrounds

Aug 22, 2023 | Playground Turf, Artificial Grass

Kids’ playgrounds should be fun and enticing but, above all, safe. Parents looking to install a play area in the backyard will need to consider not only the type of grass used but how it’s installed for the utmost safety.

Most parents will also want to maintain an inviting appearance in the yard so that they love it as much as the kids.

Whether you’re thinking of an entirely enclosed playground area or installing a few climbing frames and swings in a corner of your yard, the wear and tear is likely to be significant. Switching from natural grass to synthetic grass may be a smart idea.

But what’s the best artificial grass for playgrounds?

Ultimately, the best playground turf is durable, UV-protected and antimicrobial with a good face weight and well-cushioned to soften potential falls.

This article will help you make an informed decision and select the best artificial turf for your playground so that it lasts long into the future.

Here’s what we cover:

Best artificial grass for play areas: quick summary

Following is a quick summary of the ideal characteristics of playground turf for installations:

playground turf pile height

Why use artificial grass for playgrounds?

best artificial turf for playgrounds

When homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area want a play area for their children, they have options beyond real grass. These include synthetic turf, wood chips, rubber tiles, asphalt and gravel.

While the other options are similarly low maintenance to artificial grass, they don’t offer the same plush feel or the verdant and inviting year-round appearance. Besides, asphalt is too hard and wood chips and gravel scatter easily. None of these options is the kindest surface for kids who fall off a playground swing or slide.

So, whether you’re switching your entire lawn from real grass or simply installing a new play area in one corner of it, you can look forward to the following benefits of artificial turf over natural grass:

  • Artificial playground turf is designed to withstand the wear and tear of boisterous kids’ play
  • It retains an immaculate appearance with little maintenance compared with real grass (saving time and money)
  • Your kids can use the area all year round – no mud, bald patches, frozen ground, etc.
  • Flat and even surface with few tripping hazards (no divots, dead spots or holes)
  • Safely installed with shock absorbers to prevent fall injuries
  • Artificial grass is soft and inviting — just like the real thing
  • Non-abrasive — no scratches or scrapes
  • No mowing, trimming, re-seeding or aerating
  • UV, heat, and frost resistant
  • No fertilizers, weedkillers or herbicides, which reduces the toxic load and makes it safer for kids
  • Saves money on maintenance and water costs
  • Excellent durability: lasts 12-15 years or more
  • Instant and permanent results: no waiting for the grass to grow (and the blade length stays the same permanently!)

All artificial grass for playgrounds installed by the team at DFW Turf Solutions is child-friendly. We install it on top of a layer of padding that absorbs shock and prevents fall injuries.

artificial grass playground injuries

The special safety requirements of playground grass

Parents installing playground turf in their backyards will understandably be concerned about safety. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 200,000 children aged 14 and younger receive treatment per year in ER and over 600,000 children are injured on playground equipment.

If your children will be playing on swings, monkey bars, slides, seesaws and jungle gyms in the backyard, they need a soft landing when the inevitable falls happen. No parent wants a trip to casualty.

playground safety

Specifically, the ground cover must be shock-absorbent and plush enough to prevent injuries.

For backyard playgrounds, it pays to follow some of the regulations that commercial playgrounds must follow when installing play equipment. These are based on the standards set out by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA), which promotes safe play and provides certification programs for playground environments.

For instance, if slides, swings or climbing equipment are placed in the playground, the turf and cushion material must be fall height (zone) rated. 

The fall zone is the area that surrounds the equipment. Any surface placed here must extend beyond the equipment by a minimum of six feet and be installed to prevent injury. More specifically, the ground surface in front of a slide’s exit should extend four feet plus the height of the slide (six feet minimum) up to a maximum of 14 feet.

The ground cover surrounding swings must be two times the length of the pivot point to the surface (both front and back).

The ground surface surrounding play equipment in commercial playgrounds must also be thick enough to absorb impact based on its critical fall height. This is the fall height below which a life-threatening head injury would be unlikely to occur. 

Playground turf used in commercial playgrounds must first undergo lab tests to ensure that it is fit for purpose (with suitable impact and shock-absorption properties).

playground slide fall zone infographic

It’s essential to install backyard playground turf professionally. Our team has been installing artificial grass playgrounds in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for almost a decade and we always place the safety of children first, following best-in-class standards for all products used.

What is the best artificial turf for playgrounds made from?

All artificial grass consists of plastic yarn fibers woven into a backing material, which is also made primarily of plastic.

what is playground turf made from

Polypropylene, polyethylene and nylon are the three plastic materials mainly used in artificial grass and each material imparts different properties to the turf. Playground turf will vary not only in color but also in blade shape, thickness, pile length and more.

We’ve found that the best blade material for artificial playground grass is polyethylene, which balances affordability with excellent safety, aesthetics and durability. Like all artificial grass, it needs almost no maintenance.

This turf uses single filaments of synthetic polyethylene fiber. Other inferior grass may use polypropylene, which is softer and cheaper but is not the best choice for the robust treatment meted out by kids’ play. Nylon is rarely used for playgrounds as it’s not as soft as polyethylene and is more expensive, though it does offer excellent durability — hence its wide use on sports fields across the U.S.

All polyethylene-based playground turf installed by DFW Turf Solutions resists the best attempts of kids to destroy it and is also well-equipped to handle the intense heat and sunlight in the Dallas area.

playground turf installation by dfw turf solutions

What to look for when selecting synthetic playground turf

Because of the variety of options and the need to make a safe choice for playground turf, it helps to understand what you’re looking at when researching artificial grass products.

There are a few basic technical terms to be across but if you talk to our professionals, they’ll explain everything in non-technical terms and help you understand the best synthetic playground turf choice for your area and the installation process.

Here are the main factors to check when reviewing the specifications for artificial grass for play areas…

Face weight

Face weight is the combined weight of the yarn and thatch but not including the backing materials. For artificial grass for playgrounds, we need a high face weight, as this will generally produce better-quality grass that can absorb higher usage/traffic levels.

The best play area turf should have a face weight of 75-80 ounces per square foot, making it robust enough for heavy use by kids.

playground turf face weight

Total weight

The total weight is a measure of the combined weight of artificial turf yarn, thatch and backing. 

It is generally a good indication of artificial grass quality but be careful — the bulk of the weight should be in the face weight. A total weight of 100-105 ounces per square foot is generally optimal for the best play area artificial turf.

Pile height

The longer the pile height, the greater the length of the artificial grass fibers/blades that make up your turf. This usually provides more cushioning. 

For play areas, the grass should be long enough to cushion falls but not too long for a greater risk of children tripping or obstructing good drainage. We’ve found that the ideal pile height for kids’ play area grass is a little over one inch. 

One of the best things about artificial turf is that if you choose a pile height of a little over an inch, it stays that way for its entire life — without any weekends chained to a mower and trimmer.

playground turf pile height


The artificial grass backing is the material that the plastic yarns are woven into and stuck to.

The best artificial grass for playgrounds features two-part backing: a netting-type material (usually made from polypropylene) that the grass fibers are woven into in rows as the primary backing and a secondary backing made from a rubbery material glued on the back, which seals the turf together. 

Look for a total backing weight of 25-30 ounces per square foot if the face weight is around 75-80 ounces.

playground turf backing


Slippery turf and mud can be a problem in play areas with natural grass. If water pools on the playground turf surface, it can easily become a hazard for playing kids.

Artificial grass is usable all year round but you’ll need a professional installation to ensure that drainage is adequate. It’s an important safety factor.

With the play area grass installed by DFW Turf Solutions, perforations on the back of the turf allow rainwater and other liquids to permeate the ground below. If you have dogs, they can even pee on the turf and it will drain through.

A fully permeable backing and a drainage rate of greater than 25 inches per hour are best for artificial grass for playgrounds.

playground turf drainage

Antimicrobial protection

Other important safety factors are cleanliness and hygiene. Installing artificial grass with antimicrobial protection means you can look forward to a more hygienic play area than with real grass.

There are fewer pests, insects, toxins and places for bacteria to form on artificial grass when compared with a natural lawn. Even if you have dogs straying onto the kids’ play area, antimicrobial blades and infill (silica material) can help to prevent any “nasties” lingering and endangering your children’s health.

An occasional spray-down might be all your play area needs to remain clean and hygienic.

playground turf install dfw turf solutions

UV protection and cooling for kids’ feet

Artificial grass gets hotter than natural grass but that doesn’t mean it will burn anyone’s feet.

Like many elements of artificial turf, technology has addressed any perceived weaknesses and come up with winning solutions. 

The yarn shape of the turf we install at DFW Turf Solutions is designed to increase airflow and lower surface temperatures. The unique Omega-shaped blades help keep grass cooler than average for your kids even in the summer.

UV protection is also essential for all synthetic grass exposed to the sun in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Select grass with UV-stabilization added during the manufacturing process to prevent fading and deterioration. All playground grass installed by our team has inbuilt UV protection and is designed for the Texan climate. 

playground turf sports

Best artificial playground turf products

Artificial grass products are usually sold in 15-foot-width rolls, which need to be cut and shaped to fit the designated area.

Two of the best artificial grass products for playgrounds are described below… 

All Play

All Play is a verdant and realistic grass substitute with green thatch. It is a heavy-weighted turf with a high face weight. This provides an extra lush look and feel and helps it withstand plenty of the inevitable rough and tumble dealt out by boisterous kids.

The turf also comes with a unique 3D Wide Wave blade shape that helps with durability and plushness and is built to handle the drainage requirements of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Like all artificial grass fitted by DFW Turf Solutions, All Play comes with a 15-year warranty.

all play pet turf
  • Yarn type: Monofilament polyethylene
  • Available colors: Field Green/Olive Green
  • Face weight: Approx. 78 ounces
  • Total weight: 105 ounces
  • Primary backing: 7-ounce dual layer non-expansive
  • Secondary coating material: 20 oz polyurethane
  • Pile height: 1 1/8 inches
  • Thatch color: Green
  • Infill: Silica (1-2 pounds per square foot)
  • Drainage rate: 28+ inches of rain per hour per square yard
  • Warranty: 15 years

Pet Turf

Despite its name, Pet Turf is well suited for use in playground areas, where artificial grass needs many of the same properties as turf used by boisterous dogs and other pets.

Durable, with a high face weight, excellent drainage and a 15-year warranty to back up its high performance, Pet Turf is highly effective for playground areas when installed by our professionals with shock absorbers beneath.

The turf is UV protected and non-flammable and incorporates 3D Wide Wave shape blades, which provide excellent fiber strength.

pet turf pile height
  • Yarn type: Monofilament polyethylene
  • Available colors: Field Green/Olive Green
  • Face weight: Approx. 78 ounces
  • Total weight: 105 ounces
  • Primary backing: 7-ounce dual layer non-expansive
  • Secondary coating material: 20 oz polyurethane
  • Pile height: 1 1/8 inches
  • Thatch color: Brown/Green
  • Infill: Silica (1-2 pounds per square foot)
  • Drainage rate: 28+ inches of rain per hour per square yard
  • Warranty: 15 years


Is artificial grass safe for kids?

Yes, high-quality artificial turf installed in play areas by professionals is safe for children because shock absorbers are installed beneath the turf to cushion falls and prevent injuries.

Synthetic grass contains no lead and, even with barely any maintenance, is less susceptible to bacteria growth, insects and pests. It usually has a lower toxic load than natural grass too, which may have fertilizer, weedkillers, pesticides and herbicides added from time to time.

Can you install play area turf yourself?

Artificial grass installations for play areas are not generally DIY jobs. For safe and durable turf installations, hire professional know-how because a lot of ground preparation is needed for artificial grass play areas before the rolls of turf can be laid.

How do you maintain playground turf?

The best artificial grass for playgrounds requires little maintenance once it’s laid. This is one of the main attractions. 

Homeowners won’t need to dedicate their evenings or weekends to tending to the lawn if it’s made of artificial grass. It will look in fine fettle permanently with little more than an occasional debris clear-up, spray of water and some cross-brushing to prevent matting. Weeds are rarely an issue but occasionally grow from the silica infill.

How much is high-quality playground grass?

The cost benefits of artificial grass for play areas are in the long term. You’ll pay more than real grass for an installation of synthetic turf but it will pay itself back every year in much lower maintenance and water costs — as well as saving loads of time.

Most cost estimates say that an artificial lawn pays for itself in around five years. This ultimately makes artificial turf well worth the higher upfront costs.

cost of playground turf

Professionally installed grass for playgrounds

If you’re considering installing artificial grass in your backyard play area, the type of grass and installation team you choose are both important decisions.

Most high-quality turf suppliers will also provide an installation service that you can trust. DFW Turf Solutions are well-established in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and our team understands the concerns of parents. We have the expertise and experience to tailor your backyard play area installation to your children’s needs.

We’ll recommend grass with the right face weight, backing, pile height, blade shape, drainage, UV protection and antimicrobial protection — and ensure it’s fitted safely with nothing missed. To learn more about our custom installations and get a free quote on the synthetic turf products and services mentioned, call DFW Turf Solutions.

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