Wood Playground Mulch

Wood playground mulch is the most popular safety surfacing option, and it’s not hard to see why. With a pleasing natural aesthetic and the lowest upfront price tag, wood mulch is often the go-to surfacing choice for project planners on a budget. It also provides excellent shock absorbency for children at play.

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Considering Wood Mulch? Things to Keep in Mind

While wood mulch is a great surfacing choice, particularly when working with limited financial resources, there are certain things to keep in mind.


Wood mulch must be maintained in order to ensure adequate depth to cushion falls. ASTM safety standards require a minimum wood playground mulch depth of 12” to protect children during falls. Because wood mulch compacts over time, it should be checked frequently and will likely require annual top-offs.

Seasonal Adjustments

Loved for its look and feel, the natural qualities of wood mulch are also what make it more susceptible to mold, insects, and water retention (which can lead to freezing during winter months). Drainage should be a consideration in the initial planning phase

Is Wood Playground Mulch ADA compliant?

Yes! Recreation Unlimited uses Sof-Step Mulch, which is made from soft wood that is ground, screened and then tested to meet ASTM and ADA standards. However, if your play area will be heavily trafficked by guests using wheelchairs or strollers, we recommend a solid surface such as rubber tiles or poured in place rubber for improved mobility.

Every type of safety surfacing will have pros and cons. And although it does have certain drawbacks, that is not to say wood mulch can’t be an excellent choice for surfacing. In fact, it is often used with great success. We recommend learning about each safety surfacing option to determine which will be best suited for your application.

Questions about wood mulch or other surfacing options? Recreation Unlimited is here to help. We’ve been serving Indianapolis and surrounding areas for over 25 years with commercial playgrounds and much more. Contact us at (317) 776-7830 for a custom project quote. Do you already have wood playground mulch surfacing? We can help you make sure it has adequate depth to keep children safe. After all, the safety of our youngest friends is our top priority!

  • IPEMA certified to meet ASTM F1292
  • ADA compliant
  • Budget-friendly
  • Natural aesthetic

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