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Make sure the Engineered Wood Fiber you install on your playground is not Landscaping Mulch! It should look like the chips in the video below:
Choosing the sire for playground mulch is key to its longevity and to reduce maintenance. Choose a site that is fairly flat but that also has a little pitch so water can drain. If the site is too slanted, the mulch will try to migrate down forcing you to rake it up all the time. If the site is flat or dug out, we recommend installing a layer of crushed stone and some type of drainage system and overlaying it with filter fabric before you install the mulch.
Among all surfacing materials, playground mulch is the one that needs the most maintenance. Like all organic materials, it will decompose over time. It will also compact with use. This means that you have to replenish it over time. A good practice is to have marked borders or playground posts with a line that shows the "fill level" of the mulch as a reminder to replenish it. The decomposition rate is highly affected by how well the site drains. The more the wood fibers stay wet, the faster they break down. If the area doesn't drain well, expect frozen mulch in the winter as well.
You also have to rake the playground mulch regularly to make sure the impact attenuation is uniform throughout the sire and also to keep in compliance with ADA laws. This can be very challenging in areas with high traffic, such as entry points, slide exits and under swings. We recommend using wear mats in those areas to minimize the displacement of playground mulch.