Are you looking to update your play area with a fresh layer of bark? Calculating the amount needed may seem like a daunting task, but fear not! In this article, we will guide you through a simple and efficient method to determine the perfect amount of bark for your play area. Whether you have a small backyard or a sprawling playground, we’ve got you covered. So grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started on transforming your play area into a safe and inviting space for endless adventure!

Choosing the right type of bark

When it comes to choosing the right type of bark for your play area, it is essential to consider your specific needs. Different types of bark offer various benefits and drawbacks, so taking the time to research and evaluate each option can ensure that you make an informed decision.

One crucial factor to consider is the safety of the play area. Some types of bark, such as certified BS EN:1177 playground bark, are specifically designed to provide a cushioned surface and meet safety standards. Researching different types of bark and their safety features can help you determine which one is most suitable for your play area.

Additionally, you’ll want to consider the level of maintenance required for each type of bark. Some barks may require more frequent replenishment or might be more prone to degradation over time. Understanding the maintenance needs of each type of bark will help you make a choice that aligns with your long-term plans.

Measuring your play area

Before calculating the amount of bark needed for your play area, you’ll need to determine the dimensions of the space. Measure the length and width of the play area accurately, ensuring that you account for any irregular shapes or obstacles. Once you have these measurements, convert them to the same unit of measurement for easier calculations.

Once you have converted the measurements, you can calculate the total area of the play space by multiplying the length and width together. This will give you a solid foundation for determining the amount of bark needed.

Calculating the bark depth

The purpose of the play area will determine the required bark depth. If the play area is primarily for swing sets or climbing structures, a deeper bark depth may be necessary to provide improved shock absorption. On the other hand, if the play area is purely for recreational activities, a shallower bark depth might suffice.

Considering potential settling or compaction is also crucial when calculating the bark depth. Over time, the bark may compress, and settling could occur, reducing the initial depth. To account for this, it’s recommended to factor in an extra depth to avoid any potential safety issues down the line.

Calculating the volume of bark needed

To calculate the volume of bark needed, you’ll first need to convert the bark depth to the same unit as the area. Ensure that both measurements are in the same unit to avoid any discrepancies in your calculations. Once you have consistent units, multiply the area of the play space by the bark depth to determine the total volume of bark required.

Keep in mind that settling or compaction can affect the final volume needed. To account for this, it is advisable to adjust the calculated volume by adding an extra percentage to compensate for potential compression or settling over time.

Considering bark coverage and conversion factors

Different types of bark have varying coverage capabilities. Before calculating the final volume needed, determine the coverage of the chosen bark type. This information will help you understand how much area each volume of bark can cover effectively.

Additionally, conversion factors can prove handy when adjusting the volume. For example, if you have an irregularly shaped play area, conversion factors can help convert the area to a more manageable shape for calculations. Be sure to research and utilise appropriate conversion factors based on your specific needs.

Accounting for irregular shapes or obstacles

If your play area includes irregular shapes or has obstacles like trees or gardens within it, you’ll need to account for the extra volume of bark required to cover those areas adequately. Measure the irregular shape or obstacle separately, calculate its area, and add it to the total volume needed.

This ensures that every part of the play area is adequately covered, promoting safety and a consistent appearance.

Taking into account maintenance

When calculating the volume of bark needed, it’s essential to consider future maintenance needs as well. Bark can gradually degrade or be lost through various factors such as weather conditions, children’s play, or natural wear and tear.

To account for potential bark loss or degradation over time, it is advisable to adjust the volume accordingly. This can help you maintain the desired depth and coverage of the play area for a more extended period before replenishment is necessary.

Determining the purchasing quantity

To optimise your purchasing process, consider buying bark in bulk. Purchasing in bulk often offers cost savings and ensures that you have sufficient bark for both the initial installation and future replenishments.

When calculating the purchasing quantity, account for potential extra bark needed. This additional bark serves as a backup in case of unforeseen circumstances such as damage, loss, or unexpected changes in the play area. By factoring in these possibilities, you can avoid any disruptions to the functionality and safety of the play area.

Other factors to consider

In addition to the calculations themselves, there are several other factors to consider when planning the amount of bark needed for your play area.

Accessibility for delivery is an important consideration, especially if your play area is located in a hard-to-reach area. Ensure that the bark supplier can deliver to your location without any logistical challenges.

The weight and storage requirements of the bark should also be taken into account. Consider how much weight your play area can withstand and ensure that you have adequate storage space available to accommodate the volume of bark required.

Lastly, evaluate the cost and budget for the bark. Different types of bark can vary significantly in price, so it’s crucial to consider your budget and make a decision that aligns with your financial resources. Balancing cost and quality will ensure the best outcome for your play area.


Calculating the amount of bark needed for your play area may seem like a complex task, but breaking it down into various steps can simplify the process. By considering your play area needs, properly measuring the space, calculating the bark depth, determining the volume needed, and accounting for maintenance and other factors, you can make an informed decision and create a safe and enjoyable play area for everyone to enjoy. Remember to evaluate the pros and cons of different types of bark, think about the long-term maintenance requirements, and consider accessibility, weight, storage, cost, and budget to ensure the best outcome for your play area project. With a little planning and calculation, you can create a play area that provides endless fun and safety for children of all ages.