Playground Rubber Mulch

GroundSmart Playground Rubber Mulch helps improve playground and play area safety for children of all ages. GroundSmart Playground Rubber Mulch is uniquely designed and manufactured to not only meet, but exceed today’s playground safety standards and guidelines.

Nearly 114,000 children in the US go to emergency rooms every year due to falls onto the play surface at public playgrounds. Even more alarming is that nearly 5,500 children under the age of four suffer a traumatic brain injury on a playground. Additionally, playground related injuries among children fourteen and younger cost an estimated $1.2 billion annually.

When compared with other playground safety surfaces, GroundSmart Playground Rubber Mulch cushions a child’s fall and provides up to 2.5 times more fall height protection than grass, dirt, sand, pea gravel, wood mulch, engineered wood fiber (EWF), rubber tiles or poured in place surfaces. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends the use of Rubber Mulch as a playground safety surface.

playground fall height chart
Playground Safety CertificationsGroundSmart Playground Rubber Mulch meets the criteria required by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) for certification as a playground or play area safety surface and wheelchair accessibility.

  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F1292-13
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F1951-99
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F3012

GroundSmart Playground Rubber Mulch helps create safer, smarter playgrounds that are ready for play 365 days a year, year after year.

Playground Rubber Mulch Features and Benefits

Landscaping Rubber Mulch

  • Creates safer playgrounds
  • Reduces injuries from falls
  • IPEMA certified for critical fall height protection (ASTM F1292-13)
  • Recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission “CPSC” for use as a playground safety surface
  • Meets Americans with Disabilities Act “ADA” accessibility standards as playground safety surface (ASTM F1951-99)
  • Up to 60% savings versus engineered wood fiber (EWF) or wood mulch in playground or play area applications
  • 12 year Color-Lock guarantee
  • Inhibits growth of mold and fungi, reducing allergy risk
  • Saves time and money by eliminating annual mulching
  • Requires up to 50% less material than engineered wood fiber (EWF) or wood mulch
  • Helps prevent weeds
  • Does not attract termites, carpenter ants or other harmful wood destroying insects
  • Resists rodent infestation
  • Does not float, absorb water, erode or blow away with heavy wind or rain
  • Will not rot unlike engineered wood fiber (EWF) or wood mulch
  • 100% Recycled Rubber
  • 99.9% Wire Free
  • Non-toxic

GroundSmart Playground Rubber Mulch is available in the following colors and sizes:

Cedar Red Rubber Mulch

Cedar Red is our most popular selling playground rubber mulch color. The natural look and color blends well with almost all playground equipment colors and designs.

Available Sizes: 0.8 cu ft bags, 38.5 cu ft super sack, 76.9 cu ft super sack

Mocha Brown Rubber Mulch

Mocha Brown is a very popular and versatile color. This warm, natural tone allows the colors and design of most playground equipment to stand out.

Available Sizes: 0.8 cu ft bags, 38.5 cu ft super sack, 76.9 cu ft super sack

Espresso Black Rubber Mulch

Espresso Black is ideal for those looking for a rich, sophisticated look. This deep, rich color helps showcase the colors and design features of any playground or play area.

Available Sizes: 0.8 cu ft bags, 38.5 cu ft super sack, 76.9 cu ft super sack

Green Rubber Mulch

Green Rubber Mulch is a great color for those who desire fun and creativity throughout the playground and play areas. This color resembles the look of natural grass.

Available Sizes: 0.8 cu ft bags, 38.5 cu ft super sack, 76.9 cu ft super sack

Blue Rubber Mulch

Blue Rubber Mulch is the top color choice with kids for use in playgrounds and play areas. This color is frequently used to create the illusion of water and helps expand imaginary play.

Available Sizes: 0.8 cu ft bags, 38.5 cu ft super sack, 76.9 cu ft super sack

Uncoated Rubber Mulch

Raw, uncoated rubber mulch. Traditionally used in playgrounds under tiles or other types of safety surfaces and not as the main safety surface.

Available Sizes: 76.9 cu ft super sack

GroundSmart Playground Rubber Mulch is the smart, economical solution in playground safety surfacing. GroundSmart Rubber Mulch provides up to a 59% savings versus wood mulch or engineered wood fiber (EWF) over a 12 year period.

Products like wood mulch and engineered wood fiber (EWF) break down and decompose. As a result, the cost and maintenance of a playground using wood mulch or engineered wood fiber (EWF) significantly increases over time. Additionally, as these products break down and decompose the critical fall height protection they provide is reduced.

GroundSmart Rubber Mulch does not break down or decompose and helps create safer, smarter playgrounds that are ready for play 365 days a year, year after year.

Click for larger chart image
  • What’s wrong with falling on grass, dirt or sand?
  • Falling on grass, dirt and sand is how a lot of us grew up and we’re fine, right? Thanks to the NFL and the automotive industry, today we know a lot more about head impact protection and traumatic brain injuries. The most important recent finding is that every bump to the head – whether big or small – is cumulative. Each one adds up and has an effect on the brain. Brain injuries can be the result of multiple small bumps to the head or one large hit to the head. Having a reliable, all weather safety surface made from GroundSmart Rubber Mulch helps reduce the number and severity of impacts to the head that can result in brain injuries.
  • What are some of the short term and long term symptoms of brain injuries such as concussions?
  • Acute symptoms can include unconsciousness, inability to recall the traumatic event, confusion, difficulty learning and remembering new information, trouble speaking coherently, unsteadiness, lack of coordination and problems with vision or hearing.  Long term symptoms include violence, anger, depression and increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
    Source 1: Mayo Clinic
    Source 2: Alzheimer’s Association
  • How does GroundSmart Rubber Mulch protect children?
  • When installed and maintained to a proper depth for the surrounding equipment, GroundSmart Rubber Mulch softens the impact by gradually slowing the fall and dispersing the energy which greatly reduces the risk for a traumatic brain injury. GroundSmart Rubber Mulch has the unique ability to provide this protection all year, rain or shine in a variety of climates.
  • What is the maximum certified fall height protection from GroundSmart Rubber Mulch?
  • GroundSmart Rubber Mulch provides up to 16 ft of critical fall height protection – this means the risk for a traumatic brain injury from a fall up to 16 ft onto GroundSmart Rubber Mulch is minimal. The risk for traumatic brain injury is conducted in accordance with the ASTM F1292-13 test method.
  • Does that mean your child won’t be hurt after a fall from up to 16 ft?
  • No.  A broken nose, brief loss of consciousness and other injuries may still happen but the risk of the most severe type of non-fatal injury – a non-recoverable brain injury – are dramatically reduced.
  • Does GroundSmart Rubber Mulch prevent broken bones and sprains?
  • Currently, there is not an approved or accredited test to evaluate the risk of a broken arm or leg.
  • How much do I need?
  • We recommend a 4″ to 6″ compacted layer of GroundSmart Rubber Mulch. A 4″ inch compacted layer is International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) certified to provide up to 10 ft of critical fall height protection, a 5″ compacted layer will provide up to 12 ft and a 6″ compacted layer will provide up to 16 ft of critical fall height protection. When assessing how much GroundSmart Rubber Mulch you need, be sure to measure from the highest point where someone could jump or fall.
  • How do I maintain GroundSmart Rubber Mulch?
  • Minimal maintenance is required for GroundSmart Rubber Mulch. GroundSmart Rubber Mulch resists degrading, floating and blowing away. All colors come with our 12 year Color Lock Guarantee. Raking, leveling and compacting are occasionally required to maintain the desired depth of 4″, 5″ or 6″.
  • How do I clean it?
  • Leaves and small branches can be blown off the surface with careful use of a leaf blower. The coating does not stain or absorb odors from urine. GroundSmart Rubber Mulch’s color can be freshened with the use of a mild detergent and a power washer on a low setting.
  • What if my child or dog eats it?
  • Despite our fun and vibrant colors, GroundSmart Rubber Mulch doesn’t taste very good. Nonetheless, we had GroundSmart Rubber Mulch tested using the European toy test method EN 71-3 which determines if heavy and toxic metals will leach out of a product when exposed to stomach acid should a person or pet consume a piece. Nothing was determined to leach out of GroundSmart Rubber Mulch when exposed to stomach acid.
  • How should the ground be prepared before I install GroundSmart Rubber Mulch?
  • A level ground, with sufficient drainage to prevent pooling and puddling, free of rocks and debris is a key foundation to start with. If you live up north, you want to make sure that water cannot collect and pool within GroundSmart Rubber Mulch and potentially freeze. The frozen water can reduce the ability of GroundSmart Rubber Mulches to absorb an impact.  For commercial applications, consulting with a local landscape architect is recommended.
  • How do I install it?
  • Installation is simple. GroundSmart Rubber Mulch is conveniently available in 0.8 cu ft poly bags,  76.9 cu ft super sacks or 38.5 cu ft super sacks.  Once your ground is prepared, simply slit either bag size open and GroundSmart Rubber Mulch pours out. As it pours out, simply rake it in place and compact it. Detailed installation instructions can be found in the playground resource section.
  • What makes GroundSmart better for my playground compared to other rubber mulches?
  • GroundSmart Rubber Mulch is produced to tight manufacturing specifications. This manufacturing process is certified by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) to provide consistent head impact protection. The end product is 99.9% metal free, provides up to 16 ft of critical fall height protection and comes with a 12 year color warranty.
  • Who recommends or approves rubber mulch as a playground safety surface?
  • There are many entities that support the use of rubber mulch including federal, state and local environmental agencies, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA). Rubber mulch has been proven effective in reducing critical brain related injuries from falls.

Playground Rubber Mulch Resources

Playground Rubber Mulch Research

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Rubber Mulch Retail Partners

GroundSmart Rubber Mulch products available at major lawn and garden retailers, mass merchandisers and garden centers, including:
Sold under the Vigoro Brand at:
Find Store: Rubber Mulch Store Locator


Worth every penny!

Rob L.

We use Rubber Mulch in projects all the time. Great material. Durable and easy.

Staff, Brownstone Landscape Architecture

Makes landscaping SO easy!


Had to buy online because all of my local stores were out of this. Transaction was easy and delivery was uneventful. Showed up with forklift and unloaded right where I needed it at project site. Highly recommend this product and process.

Bill H.

Landscape looks amazing!

The cost is more upfront than “real” mulch but the fact that it lasts longer saves money in the long run. I feel like it’s totally worth it and makes my landscaping look 10x better!


Never Have to Mulch Again!!

I bought this mulch because I was tired of having to refresh my mulch every year because of faded color. Yes, it costs a little more than regular wood mulch but in the long run it is cheaper. It is a nice mocha brown color. A friend of mine has had it for 7 years and it still looks exactly as mine, I just did. Highly recommend for big areas or small areas.