How to Design with Artificial Grass for Children’s Play Areas


childrens play area on artificial grass

Why use artificial grass for your children’s play area? Because it’s superior in every way to other types of surfaces – wood chips, mulch, pea gravel, rubbery tiles, and especially natural grass. Surprised? Don’t be. There are good reasons why artificial grass is the surface of choice for schools, municipalities, and apartment complex managers as well as homeowners with kids.

Artificial grass is:

  • Safer – no holes to trip kids up, plus FallSoft technology that assures softer landings
  • Cleaner – no mud and mess for little feet to track indoors
  • Prettier – always looks tidy and inviting
  • Healthier – no toxic materials or allergens
  • Tougher than your kids, and your dog, too
  • More fun – drains and dries fast for extended play time, even in iffy weather

There’s no question artificial grass is great. But a great children’s play needs more than great grass!

Design options are almost endless

You’ll want to consider age. If your kids are still quite young, the ideal play space will be adaptable enough to grow and change as they do. And, of course, you will have to work within the space available in your backyard. You could simply install a section of artificial grass, put some play equipment on it, and call it good. But what equipment? Swing sets and slides are traditional favorites, but so are structures that enable climbing.

There are lots of different styles of playsets you can purchase for your backyard play area, or you can build a play structure from scratch, if you’re so inclined and handy with tools. But why not design a play space that that will spark your children’s imagination as well as help them get needed exercise? Even a play structure you buy or build can have multiple elements that add intrigue.

Design like a pro

Just as landscape designers use the concept of outdoor “rooms” to produce different types of spaces within a yard, professional playground designers also plan spaces that offer different types of play:

  • Active – this is the one that always comes to mind first, when we think of equipment and play structures. But kids like to run and jump, so you’ll want to include some open area for tumbling and games.
  • Sensory – shapes, colors, textures, and smells all contribute to a stimulating atmosphere. Plant fragrant flowers in your garden adjacent to the play area, or place your backyard brook where kids can hear the sounds of the water (and maybe even play in a section).
  • Creative – space for painting or drawing, coloring, writing, dancing.
  • Imaginative – a playhouse, a fort, a pirate ship (or space ship).
  • Social – room to share experiences with friends, both active and quiet times.
  • Reflective – a shade space on the artificial grass for daydreaming, or reading.

By designing areas that focus on different types of play you also accommodate different energy levels. The pros also make every effort to build in little “discoveries” to pique interest and keep little minds engaged as children play. Paint a butterfly in a corner. Put a sign with a secret message in a hiding place. Add peep holes or talking tubes, or a gate that opens with a clever latch. 

Don’t nail it all down

The pros note that one of the best ways to fuel kids’ imaginations is by giving them “ambiguous” materials to play with. Boxes, buckets, sticks, fabric – things that can be moved around to create whatever comes to mind – can keep kids busy for hours and ensure the play area is always new.

Professional designers also caution parents that the primary purpose of any children’s play area should be fun, no matter how messy and chaotic that turns out to be. So aren’t you glad you chose artificial grass as the foundation for designing your play area? Aesthetics may not matter to kids, but you can rest assured that their play space will always look as pretty and inviting as the rest of your yard.   

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