Series: How to budget for your playground – Surfacing.

Safe for children to play on wet pour rubber surfacing.
Part 3 of our “How to budget for your playground” series is all about surfacing.  


The last two weeks we’ve looked at budgeting for your playground design and equipment, but today we’re getting down to the groundwork and focusing on surfacing.

Surfacing will make up a large portion of your playground project budget, and it’s not something you can brush over, so today we hope to get you thinking about safety, and accessibility, and how to choose the right surface for your playground.

Click here to download the Creo “How to Build a Playground” Guide

How to plan your playground surfacing budget? 

Play surfacing is often overlooked when people are planning a playground, but it makes up a significant part of every playground project and your budget. It’s important to be thinking about your playground’s surfacing at the same time you plan for your equipment and design needs. All 3 components work together and will have a bearing on the cost of your project.

When looking at surfacing options for your playground, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the fall height of the equipment?

It’s important to find out the fall height of the equipment you are installing into your space. The higher the equipment is, the more you might have to spend on safety surfacing to make sure all falls are cushioned.

  • What is the existing surface condition?   

If your existing surfacing needs to be cleared out, demolished, or needs drainage work, this will add to the cost of your project.  

  • Do you need your playground to be inclusive and wheelchair accessible? 

Some low-cost surfacing options like bark chips are not suitable for accessible playgrounds and you might have to factor in more expensive surfacing materials.

  • What kind of ongoing surfacing maintenance are you okay with? 

Some surfaces require more maintenance than others. For example, wood chips need to be topped up annually whereas wet pour rubber surfaces require very little ongoing maintenance. Think about how much time/resources you want to allocate to maintaining your playground surfacing.

  • Is a loose safety surface going to affect the usability of adjacent areas?

Loose materials like stones, gravel, bark, or sand will spill out beyond the borders of your playground. Have a think about whether this will make adjacent areas unusable.

  • Are you wanting to include surface mounds and topography play into your space?

Only a few surface options allow for this level of design.

  • Do you want a theme designed into your surface?

The more design you add, the higher the cost of the surface.

  • Do you intend on landscaping the surrounding area?

Adding garden areas around your playground adds to the character of your playground, but also adds to the cost, both initially and in maintenance.


If you’d like to talk to someone about a future project or would like a concept designed for your space, give us a call at 0800 000 334, or book a 15-minute ideas session with one of our consultants.