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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, my mother has decided to honor our new baby by gifting an outdoor playset on DD#1. While this is fine by me, I'm trying very hard to figure out what type of playset to put in, as well as what mulch to put down, and how much. For clarification, we are looking at something with swings, a slide, and a ladder or climbing wall.<br><br>
There are tons of play set options out there, but it is really hard to figure out what will be best for our family. Metal seems like it will rust, plastic seems like it will fade, break down, and warp, and DH is worried wood will splinter and crack over time unless we sand and paint every couple years. This leaves us with vinyl wrapped wood, which seems like the most durable. Also pricey, but my mom said she would pay for a nice one, so it is possible.<br><br>
As for mulch, DH wants pea gravel, since he sees it ending up all over the yard, and pea gravel would, he thinks, just fall down into the grass and disappear into the soil (he thinks). I'm thinking rubber mulch, but it is pricey so we couldn't afford to do the 6" depth they say is best for max safety. We could only afford 3-4". Are there other options we should be considering?<br><br>
Anybody with a playset want to chime in about what they picked and why? And how about what they put around their set for safety?<br><br>
Thanks ladies!
 

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I don't think you would have a problem with wood cracking and peeling unless you paint it to begin with. Just leave it alone, and it should be fine.<br><br>
Personally, I really dislike the rubber stuff. We have a couple of parks that have it, and it gets in your shoes and sticks to your feet. The black reflects the sun so it is HOT. And I imagine it would make a big mess of your lawn for sure.<br><br>
And I am no expert, but I would suspect that a proper amount of gravel would be safer that an improper amount of rubber.<br><br>
Finally, kids can have just as much fun with the gravel as they do with the swingset.<br><br>
So personally I would go with wood and gravel. I have been longing after a <a href="http://www.rainbowplay.com/" target="_blank">Rainbow System</a> for a long while!
 

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We went with sand and a wooden playset. I can't say enough how glad I am that we chose sand, as it is an added play feature that bark or rubber mulch just aren't. It feels great on bare feet and is pretty cushy for falls. The only downside so far is sand getting into the house, but it's easy enough to vacuum or sweep.<br><br>
My boys are dirt lovers, and they will sit and dig in that sand for an hour or more at a time!
 

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We have a pressure treated wood swingset (and soon to be playset as soon as DH finishes his other projects), and I am not at all worried about rotting.<br><br>
I would, however, worry about the unseens that can happen with wrapped wood - I don't know if I'd 100% trust the vinyl wrapped wood because you cannot watch out for large cracks, fungus, termite activity, rot, etc...that would VERY much worry me. It's all hidden.<br><br>
As for ground material, I agree that rubber mulch is 1. expensive and 2. HOT. I also don't think it's a very permanent solution. Easily scattered throughout the yard and needs to be "topped off" every so often. Also, I don't like the offgassing from rubber.<br><br>
We have regular old mulch now, but we will soon be converting our entire backyard (it's only 40x40 feet) into pea gravel.
 

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Check out cedarworks.com. They are made from cedar heart.. not treated, no need to treat, splinter free. Pricy... we had it put in at the ski area that my husband manages. We've had it about 5 years and it has aged beautifully and held up to Many children and even ski boots in the winter.<br><br>
Oh and you design your own playset with the features you want.
 

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I love my playset! We just got it and it was very well made: <a href="http://www.bigbackyard.com/meadowvale.html" target="_blank">http://www.bigbackyard.com/meadowvale.html</a><br><br>
We have some sand under the swings, but other than that it is just on grass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the feedback ladies! After reading the comment about the hidden wear to wood under the vinyl wrap, I drove to a local "display lot" where they have vinyl coated playsets. I managed to find one that was missing an end cap, and what do you know, not only was the wood split, but it wasn't square! And I realized that the decking for the landings is that Trex stuff, which I know gets very hot in the sun. Not good! So now I'm back to thinking wood.<br><br>
I checked out cedarworks.com and I must say I'm totally in love. But there are no prices quoted, so I guess I'll have to wait until I get their catalogue to see if it's within our budget.<br><br>
I'm going to look into sand/gravel for underneath, as it sounds like the rubber will get hot and maybe smell. The sun here in CO is brutal, and the last thing I want is a hot play structure. DD wouldn't play on it! I would leave some just grass, but where we want to put it is all weeds right now, so I figure better to just mulch the whole area rather than try to sod and water.
 

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I would take a look at wooden playsets that use things like cedar. It is a very durable (yet pricey) outdoor wood. The one thing with wood is to make sure its not treated. The treatments on wood contain very yucky chemicals including things like arsenic to treat the wood from rotting....YUCK!<br><br>
I would recommend going to a few of those national chain outdoor play equipment sellers (places like rainbow) and just take a look at the features they offer and what you like and dont like. Having your brother along would be helpful as well especially if he's building it. DIY playset plans are available online rather cheaply. DH priced ours and it came in at under $300 (we had more of a non tree treehouse) but all items like slides,swings, heck even brackets and bolts are available online. There are even some companies that sell you everything you need sans wood and ship it to you.
 

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My hubbs is building our kidlets a playset/tree fort and he's making it out of wood. The slide will be plastic and we'll have vinyl ropes <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
As for the floor, we're planning to use <a href="http://www.rubbermulch.com/" target="_blank">rubber mulch</a> which you can get at your local landscape company or Home Depot (or the like).<br><br>
HTHs
 

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If you create your own playground on cedarworks.com, they'll email you back a quote or call you. They were really quick with ours. We love the playground we got from them!
 

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Cedar works does have sales sometimes,too.<br><br>
The biggest problem I had was that i couldn't stop adding features. FOrtunately i wasn't paying for it and it was for public use so big was OK.
 

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We have a wooden playset that we bought from Costco last spring. For ground cover, we used playground mulch from a local landscape supplier. The playground mulch is just wood without the bark, so it doesn't break down as quickly as the regular stuff. We considered pea gravel, but my DH was concerned about it getting scattered around the yard and posing a hazard when he mowed. I was concerned about little ones sticking it in their ears, noses, etc.
 
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