Soft Fall Landscapes For Playgrounds
A whole industry has developed around keeping kids safe in play areas. Soft fall has become big business, and Landscape contractors should be central to their construction. Rubber mats and wet pour rubber are widely used as a safe surface for playgrounds. Mulch is another option, but what types are best? Why is turf by itself not allowed and what options are available for using real grass? New research has provided Landscapers with an approved option for using green life in a soft fall area, allowing Landscapers to create a green space in fall zones.
Soft fall surfacing is required to meet Australian Standards for Playground Safety. The level and type of soft fall you require will be determined by the play equipment you choose for your area. Soft fall surfacing need only be installed to the required fall zone area of the play equipment, the remaining play area may utilise standard landscape options like turf.
One very popular surface for fall zones is wet pour rubber. Wet pour is the process involved in laying rubber products. It is an in situ product which basically means the products are mixed on site and then hand-troweled. The process is very similar to asphalting or concreting. Colours are used to make the surface more visually appealing.
To have the product approved, all soft fall options need to be tested by an accredited tester, and must meet Australian standards. The Australian Standard AS/NZS 4422:1996 specifies testing requirements that will determine the Critical Fall Height for playground safety equipment. This height is determined by dropping an instrument from various heights onto surfaces and measuring the point where one of the two safety criteria are exceeded. Different thicknesses and types of soft fall determine the critical fall height and thus the height the playground equipment can be. Another soft fall option comes in the form of rubber tiles. The best known system is from Play Matta.
Play Matta™ Original tiles can be installed over prepared or most existing hard surfaces, including gentle contours and is immediately compliant and ready for use, providing children with a safe playing surface.
Play Matta™ Original Systems have a choice of shock pads and tests show excellent results for impact reduction of up to 4.5 meters for the A+A shock pad system. These self-draining tiles have a non-slip surface for good traction levels in wet and dry conditions and comply with disabled accessibility requirements. The true benefit of this system is longevity. The real cost of playground surfacing is not just the initial outlay, but the cost of ongoing maintenance, the cost of repairs and the cost of replacement when the surfacing reaches the end of its life. Using a system that lasts longer makes sense.
Play Matta have recently released a Grass Tile system that is compliant to the Australian standards. It has a soft base, and a covering mat, and so even if …read more