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Our hard working customer service staff gets many questions regarding swing sets, such as “What should we put under our swing set?” The materials that you choose to put under your swing set is often ignored, but it can make your backyard play area a safer place. In addition, the right material will help your backyard look clean and professionally manicured.
Wood Chips / Mulch
Rubber mulch is commonly used under playground swing sets. However, they’re a great long term and safe solution.
Pea gravel looks similar to small rocks, but it works well under swing sets.
All of the materials mentioned above would be an acceptable choice. We suggest using wood or rubber mulch. It is not as easy to track mulch all over the backyard and it does a great job at absorbing the impact in case your child falls. While it may cost your more than pea gravel or sand, through our own experience and from customer reviews, mulch has proven to be the cleanest and safest material to put under swing sets. Considering we’re talking about your children, don’t you want the best?
What material did you put under your swing set? We would like to hear what you think!
Swing sets have been around long before the invention of video games. Whether it is playing at their school playground or right in their own backyard, almost every child has enjoyed playing on a swing set at least once. I can also guarantee that many adults have vivid memories of their playtime on swing sets. It is one of the few times that a kid can be a kid.
Swing sets allow kids to express their imagination, get physical exercise, develop hand-eye coordination, improve social skills and of course, have fun.
As an avid video game player myself, it is hard for me to admit that video games are “borderline evil”. As a child, I enjoyed playing video games; however I found plenty of time to go outside and play. That is not always the case with children in America. Today the obesity rate in children is almost 20%. Frighteningly, children are choosing to exercise their thumbs instead of going outside and playing on a nice swing set.
While our wooden swing sets can cost anywhere from $999 to $3,000, it’s easy to think that buying a $300 Xbox or PS3 is cheaper. However, after years of buying video games and accessories, you might spend close to $5,000. In addition, new systems continually come out which means your child will be begging for a new gaming system sooner than later.
The best part of swing sets is that they never go out of style and you will not have to continually buy new parts just to keep your child content. High quality swing sets will still be standing strong in your backyard when all of your children become teenagers.
Another positive aspect that parents don’t always think about in regards to swing sets is the social impact it has on children. Playing on swing sets is one of the first activities that forces children to learn how to communicate with their peers. Children will discuss their imaginative games with their friends and learn to wait their turn on the swing.
If you’re looking for ways to get your child active and have fun at the same time, consider buying a cool swing set for your kids. Swing sets will help your child grow physically and mentally. There are not many other activities for kids that can claim that.
Here at Heartland, we get a lot of questions here regarding play sets, such as “What should we put under our child’s play set?” or “How much space should I leave around the set?” to name a few. So let’s address some of these, especially those concerning safety, as nothing is more important for your child.
How much space do I need?
Where’s The Beef?
A lot of us can still remember this famous line from a successful fast food ad campaign. It asked a very fundamental “burger” question… Are you getting what you paid for?
The question is just as valid if you are shopping for a Wood Play Set. Today, many companies are chasing lower retail price points and it’s a very good time to ask “Where’s the Beef”.
What are you really getting for your hard earned dollar???
Here is a short list to help you ask the “right” questions when shopping for a quality play set for your child or grandchild.
1) Is it safe?
Does the play set meet all ASTM safety standards? This requirement is currently voluntary for residential play sets but… would you buy a residential swing set that didn’t meet a government safety requirement for commercial swing set and might contain a trap or hazard for your child? Or purchase from a company who put’s your child’s safety first?
2) Will it last?
Is the set constructed out of premium wood? Is it “beefy”? More wood and weight make for a stronger, more stable set. Today, many play companies are using a much thinner and lighter wood product from China. Some of the structural pieces are even laminated!
These may look pretty and they certainly are a lower cost material but… will they hold up? A good “shake” test will tell you a lot about the construction and materials of each set.
3) Is the hardware heavy duty?
Swing hangers, ropes, pinch free chains, belt swings, slides etc. should all stand up to rigorous play. While it may be tough to detect or “see” the difference of quality components on various play sets, look closely when shopping and “feel” the difference. Your kids will appreciate it with hours of safe, comfortable fun.
4) How will it look in my yard after a year?
Is the play set you are considering hand-stained with an appearance stain? Will it need to be re-stained year after year to keep looking good or, is it stained with a pressure process that penetrates the wood to the core (much preferred!) and looks better year after year? Some of the best play sets on the market are now treated with a MicroShades staining process that guarantees fade resistance. Make sure the play set you purchase has this, the newer appearance will help you get some of your money back if you chose to re-sell the play set to a neighbor when your kids or grandkids are done with it!
5) Is it warranted and guaranteed?
Does the company selling the set have a strong safety record and a proven customer service record? Why would you deal with anyone else??
That’s my list. I hope it helps you make an informed decision.
Remember, a quality play set will last years with proper care and provide a helping hand with your young ones. Improved physical and social skills, better long term health, fitness and creativity are just a few of the benefits of backyard play.
Don’t forget to ask the question before you buy… “Where’s the Beef”?
It may interest you to know that all Heartland playsets meet or exceed all applicable ASTM standards. You may be asking yourself “What is ASTM?”. Formerly known as the American Society For Testing And Materials, ASTM is a global leader in the development and delivery of international consensus standards. Our wooden playsets are rounded and sanded to ensure that there are no sharp edges. Heartland playsets never have overlapping play zones, meaning swings are never hung from monkey bars, slides never lead into another play areas and so fourth. Also, the hardware on our premium wood playsets is recessed, so there are no protruding bolts that could potentially cause injury.
Here at Heartland, providing your child with a safe and fun play experience is our number one priority. That is why we choose southern yellow pine to build our playsets which is two times stronger than cedar, and gives 50% more fastener holding power! Our bigger, thicker, and stronger wood alone makes for a safer playset. In addition to this, our CAPTAINS LOFT comes with posts that are coated in plastic! This means NO twisting, NO splintering, NO maintenance of any kind! Whether you are building your playset yourself or trusting installation to one of our trained professionals, you can have the piece of mind that comes with knowing your quality materials will come together to make a durable structure, guaranteed to provide you with years of reliable performance