6 Reasons to Put Landscape Fabric Under Playground Mulch

A layer of geotextile fabric under your playground mulch will stop weed growth from taking over your playground. It also prevents mulch from sinking into the soil layer, which will turn your child’s playground into a muddy mess. In addition, landscape fabric allows for proper water drainage, keeps lawn grasses from invading your playground, prevents your mulch from decomposing, and ensures you don’t have to spray herbicides in your child’s play area in order to remove invasive plants.

Landscape fabric under playground mulch

Do You Need to Use Landscape Fabric Under Rubber Mulch?

It’s essential to use landscape fabric beneath rubber mulch in a playground. Rubber mulch is very heavy. If there is not a layer of fabric between the mulch and the soil below, the mulch will start to sink into the soil during rainy periods. This will cause the mulch layer to become thinner and allow mud to rise up.

  • It’s essential to lay landscape fabric before spreading rubber mulch.
  • Without landscape fabric, the rubber mulch will start to sink into the soil.
  • As the mulch sinks into the soil, weeds will begin sprouting in your playground.

If you add a layer of rubber mulch without landscape fabric, it’s only a matter of time before the mulch gets swallowed by the dirt below. Then, you’ll begin to see weeds sprouting throughout the playground.

6 Benefits of Using Landscape Fabric Under Playground Mulch

Because landscape fabric in a playground is typically buried under a deep layer of mulch, you may not even see it. However, professionally-built playgrounds almost always include a layer of water-permeable landscape fabric between the soil and the mulch. This applies to both organic mulches (like wood chips) and inorganic mulches (like recycled rubber mulch). Here’s why:

Stops Weeds

You can prevent weeds in your playground by installing a layer of landscape beneath your mulch. Landscape fabric blocks sunlight and physically stops weeds from growing up through your mulch.

  • Landscape fabric creates a physical barrier that stops weed seeds from sprouting and growing through mulch
  • You’ll never have to see the weeds that try to sprout, or have to pull them, thanks to your landscape fabric.

Your soil can contain thousands of weeds seeds waiting for the perfect conditions to sprout. By laying landscape fabric over the ground before mulching your playground, you stop all these seeds from sprouting.

Prevents a Muddy Playground

A playground takes a lot of wear and tear from foot traffic. This, combined with moist soil after rain, causes any mulch laid directly on top of the soil to get gradually swallowed by the dirt below. Over time, this creates a muddy, messy playground.

  • Mulch without landscape fabric will be swallowed by the dirt below.
  • Landscape fabric stops dirt from mixing with your mulch.

A layer of landscape fabric beneath your mulch prevents wood chips and rubber mulch from being swallowed by the dirt below. Your mulch layer will remain thick and mud won’t begin to seep up through your mulch.

Assists Drainage

The best landscape fabric for playgrounds is water-permeable. This means that water from rain and runoff will not be trapped in the playground. It will naturally filter down through the mulch, pass through the landscape fabric, and enter the soil below.

  • This landscape fabric allows water to drain without creating muddy conditions.
  • Water can pass through landscape fabric but dirt and weeds cannot.
  • Do not use solid plastic instead of landscape fabric—it retains water.

Never use solid plastic sheeting as an alternative to water-permeable landscape fabric. Solid plastic will hold water, creating unsanitary conditions where bacteria and insects breed. This can pose a threat to your children’s health. Use water-permeable weed barrier fabrics only.

Long-Lasting Weed Control
ECOgardener Premium Landscape Fabric | Durable & Heavy-Duty | Easy Setup for Superior Weed Control | Eco-Friendly
  • Heavy-duty and durable for long-lasting weed control.
  • Easy for you to install and set up.
  • Keeps weeds out without blocking necessary air and water.
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Prevents Grass from Taking Over

Even a layer of wood chips several inches deep can be invaded by nearby grass. Several species of lawn grass—such as Bermuda, Kentucky Bluegrass, and St. Augustine—send out aboveground runners, long roots, or both. Without landscape fabric under your playground mulch, the grass will take root and start encroaching on the playground space.

  • Most lawn grasses will spread into mulched areas quickly.
  • It takes time and effort to constantly trim back aggressive grass.
  • Landscape fabric stops invasive grass in its tracks.

Weed barrier fabrics stop grasses from creeping in at the edges of the playground. Roots and runners won’t be able to get a foothold with the landscape fabric in place. This means you’ll spend less time fighting back grass and more time enjoying the space you’ve created for your family.

Eliminates the Need for Herbicide

Most of us would prefer not to use chemical herbicides in areas where our children play. By installing a layer of landscape fabric, you suppress weeds. This means you won’t be tempted to spray weeds and invasive grasses. The few that appear can easily be removed by hand.

  • If your playground is invaded by weeds, you may want to spray herbicide on the weeds.
  • Because landscape fabric stops weeds from sprouting, you can keep your playground chemical-free.

If you ever do use a weed killer spray in your playground, be sure to review the safety warnings for the weed spray. Herbicides are designed to be safe for humans, but some require careful handling and an adequate drying time before the playground will be safe again.

Increases the Lifespan of Your Mulch

If you use a mulch made of organic material—including bark mulch or wood chips—then direct contact with the soil will speed up the mulch’s decomposition process. A barrier of landscape fabric between soil and mulch slows decomposition. This means your mulch will last far longer. You won’t need to add more anytime soon.

  • Direct soil-to-mulch contact encourages wood mulches to break down faster.
  • The sooner your mulch decomposes, the sooner you’ll have to add more.
  • Landscape fabric presents direct contact between soil and mulch, meaning your mulch will last longer.

At first, a few rolls of landscape fabric might seem like a needless cost when constructing a playground, but it’ll pay for itself. You’ll set your mulch up for a long lifespan by adding this essential barrier to your landscape design.

Do You Need Landscape Fabric Under Playground Mulch?

It’s essential to lay landscape fabric under playground mulch during construction because landscape fabric has the following benefits:

  • It creates a weed barrier
  • Mulch won’t get swallowed up by muddy ground.
  • The playground will drain naturally.
  • Your lawn grass won’t be able to invade your playground.
  • You won’t have to use herbicides to kill weeds and grass in the playground.
  • Your mulch layer will last longer.

Not only will your playground have far more curb appeal, you’ll also save time, effort, and money by getting more out of your mulch and allowing far fewer weeds to invade your child’s play place.

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