How much playground mulch do I need?

At 9” deep, you will need 1 cubic yard (27 cubic feet) for each 36 square feet of the playground, or around 400-600 lbs of mulch. If you’re buying bagged mulch, you will need 13.5 bags of mulch at 2 cubic feet each.

With the spring weather finally arriving in the Northern Hemisphere, now is the perfect time to start thinking about refreshing or building your playground. Playgrounds come in a wide range of styles, from the classic playground with the jungle gym, swings, slides, and a sandbox, to the more elaborate playgrounds like the ones with water features and sandboxes, or even playgrounds with zip lines and rock climbing walls. The playground of your dreams can be built just about anywhere: in a local park, on a school campus or even in your own backyard!  But no matter what kind of playground you have, there’s one thing most of them have in common: mulch.

Types of playground flooring

When it comes to playground safety, flooring is just as important as the equipment itself. Having a safe, cushioned floor to land on reduces the chance of injuries. For this reason, playgrounds in preschools, daycare centers, and schools are required to have a certain type of flooring installed to meet safety standards. The flooring material used in these environments varies based on the age of the children who will be using it and the space available to build the playground.

Mulch is just one of the types of playground flooring. There are 2 main types of playground mulch: wood & rubber. We will discuss the pros and cons of each one in a wood mulch vs rubber mulch article.

Playground mulch depth

It is generally recommended to have a depth between 8” and 12” of mulch around a playground structure. The taller the structure and its features, the deeper the mulch layer should be.

Playground mulch weight

The weight of the mulch varies a lot as it depends on the type of material and how dry it is. As a rule of thumb, 1 cubic yard of mulch weighs between 400-800lbs.


Other Considerations

Mulch in playgrounds should be topped every 6-12 months. You can try to get mulch from your local tree service company, it might be cheaper than the commercially available mulch, or even free. 

Other features that go hand-in-hand with the playground mulch are fences and playground borders.