How to Install Landscape Fabric Under a Swing Set [6 Steps]

In order to install landscape fabric under a swing set you should:

  • Plan the layout of your playground and mark it clearly.
  • Excavate the playground area to a depth of 8–12 inches (20–30 cm).
  • Construct your swing set and secure it.
  • Lay an initial layer of landscape fabric in a north-south pattern.
  • Lay a second layer of landscape fabric in an east-west pattern.
  • Pour 8–12 inches of mulch on top of the fabric.

Laying landscape fabric around your swing set after it has been constructed will require cutting holes in the landscape fabric where support posts must pass through. However, as much of the play area should be covered with landscape fabric as possible in order to prevent weed growth.

Landscape fabric under swing set

Do You Need Landscape Fabric Under Playground Mulch?

It is essential to lay landscape fabric beneath mulch when constructing a playground because landscape fabric is one of the best weed stoppers for a playground. Not only does landscape fabric act as a weed barrier, but it also prevents heavy mulch, such as shredded rubber mulch, from sinking down into the soil when the ground gets wet. By laying out landscape fabric you’ll make your layer of mulch last longer.

  • Landscape fabric is a necessary barrier when constructing a long-lasting playground.
  • Without landscape fabric, weeds will invade your playground.
  • Mulch laid over bare ground will turn into a mud pit—landscape fabric prevents this.

If you skip the step of laying landscape fabric in your playground it’s very likely you’ll be battling weeds in your playground nonstop. Not only that, but dirt will be able to rise up through your mulch, turning your playground into a muddy mess.

6 Steps For installing Landscape Fabric Under a Swing Set

Before you pour a truckload of wood chips into your child’s playplace and call it a day, consider laying down a layer of landscape fabric. It will suppress weed seeds and increase the longevity of your mulch. This makes it a worthwhile investment. Here’s how to construct a playground with a layer of weed barrier fabric included.

Mark The Playground Outline

Before you begin, make a plan for your playground. How big is the swing set you’re installing? Make sure the area you will cover with mulch extends 3–7 feet (1–2 meters) in every direction around the swing set so there is a play space near the playground equipment.

  • Pick a location for your swing set.
  • Plan to have at least 3 feet (1 meter) of mulch in every direction around the swing set.
  • Use this marking paint to mark the outline for your playground.

Once you have decided on the location and size of the playground space, clearly mark the outline. Use marking paint so that you have a clear outline to follow once you start digging up the soil in the playground area.

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Excavate the Playground Area

Once you’ve marked the playground perimeter, begin excavating the area where the swing set will be. Dig down to a depth of 8–12 inches. This will allow for the proper thickness of mulch to create a soft, safe play space.

  • Excavate the playground area to a depth of 8–12 inches (20–30 cm).
  • Use a shovel to dig or rent an excavating machine such as a skid steer.
  • When digging, ensure you have created a level surface across the entire playground.

Although you can excavate the area using a shovel and other hand tools, if you have access to excavation machines, the job will go much faster. A few fit people with shovels and pickaxes will get the job done quickly, but it’s much easier to dig a pit several inches deep if you’ve got mechanical help.

Construct the Swing Set

Build your playground equipment in the excavated area before moving forward. If you need to dig additional holes in order to support posts and make for a sturdy swing set, it’s best to do so when you haven’t yet laid landscape fabric or mulch.

  • Construct your swing set at this point, before laying landscape fabric and mulch.
  • Excavate any additional holes needed to support posts.
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions to assemble your swing set.

Enlist help when constructing and erecting swing set pieces. Follow all manufacturer instructions and assemble as many parts on the ground as possible. Then, tilt the assembled sections up into place.

Lay the First Layer of Landscape Fabric

Now, you can begin laying your landscape fabric. Start by laying fabric in a north-south pattern across the playground. Whenever you need to lay sheets of landscape fabric side-by-side, overlap them 6–12 inches (15–30 cm). This overlap will prevent open seams where weeds can crop up.

  • Lay an initial layer of landscape fabric in a north-south pattern.
  • Overlap sheets of landscape fabric by 6–12 inches (15–30 cm).
  • Cut holes or slits in landscape fabric as necessary to lay fabric around the base of swing set supports.
  • Use these landscape staples to secure your fabric to the ground.

Wherever you encounter playground equipment posts, cut holes or slits in your landscape fabric so you can cover the ground around the base of the equipment. A utility knife is the perfect tool for cutting holes in landscape fabric. It’s a good idea to use landscape staples every few feet in order to keep the fabric in place as you work, pour mulch, and later use the playground.

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Install the Second Layer of Landscape Fabric

Install a second layer of landscape fabric on top of the first. Lay this layer in an east-west pattern (at right angles to the first layer). As with the first layer, cut holes where necessary and overlap sheets of fabric by 6–12 inches.

  • Lay a second layer of landscape fabric in an east-west pattern.
  • Use additional landscape staples to secure this second layer as you did with the first.
  • Two layers of weed control fabric are more durable than one layer.

A double layer of landscape fabric is necessary in playgrounds. A single layer can be punctured or torn by foot traffic on top of the mulch. This sort of damage will render your landscape fabric ineffective. However, a double layer will hold up to heavy use and all types of play.

Pour Mulch on Top of the Fabric

With your fabric and swing set in place, all that’s left is to order your mulch and pour it on top of the landscape fabric. 8–12 inches of mulch is the ideal depth to provide a cushion and safe play space. You can use whatever type of mulch you like, whether it is bark, wood chips, or recycled rubber.

  • Pour the mulch of your choice on top of the landscape fabric until the excavated area is filled.
  • Wood and rubber mulches are the best choices for playgrounds.

Make sure to order enough mulch. Most garden suppliers will deliver mulch by the cubic yard. A single cubic yard will cover a 300 square foot area to a depth of 1 inch. You’ll need 8 cubic yards of mulch to fill a backyard playground adequately.

How Do You Prepare the Ground for a Playset?

In order to prepare an area for a playset, first make a plan for how large your play area will be. Then, mark the outline clearly on the ground. After you’ve marked the area, excavate the ground within the outline to a depth of 8–12 inches. With this completed, it’s time to build and erect your swing set. Next, lay two layers of landscape fabric to create a durable weed and mud barrier under your mulch. After this, all that’s left is to order mulch and spread it in the playground.

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