Are you wondering about the distinction between play area bark and regular bark mulch? This article aims to shed light on the dissimilarities between the two. While both types of bark serve landscaping purposes, play area bark is specifically designed for use in playgrounds and other recreational areas. It provides a cushioning effect to ensure the safety of children during play, reducing the risk of injuries from falls. On the other hand, regular bark mulch is primarily utilized for decorative purposes in gardening and landscaping projects. By understanding the disparity between these two bark options, you can make an informed decision on which type best suits your needs.
Play Area Bark
Play area bark, also known as playground bark or play chip, is a specially designed type of mulch that is used as a protective surfacing material in play areas. It is specifically engineered to provide a safe and cushioned surface for children to play on, helping to reduce the risk of injuries.
One of the key differences between play area bark and regular bark mulch is the presence of safety features in play area bark. Play area bark is usually certified to meet safety standards, such as the BS EN:1177 British Standard for impact attenuation of surface systems under and around playground equipment. This means that it has been tested to ensure that it provides a sufficient level of impact absorption to cushion falls and reduce the risk of serious injuries.
Play area bark is typically made from high-quality materials, such as shredded hardwood or softwood, that are carefully selected for their safety and durability. The bark is finely shredded to create a loose and lightweight material that is easy to install and maintain.
The use of play area bark offers a range of benefits. Firstly, it provides a soft and cushioned surface that can help protect children from injuries caused by falls. The impact-absorbing properties of play area bark reduce the force of impact, minimising the risk of fractures, sprains, and other playground-related injuries. Additionally, play area bark helps to prevent the growth of weeds, helps with drainage, and can enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of the play area.
Installing play area bark is a relatively simple process that can be done by professionals or experienced DIY enthusiasts. The area where the play area bark will be installed needs to be properly prepared by removing any existing vegetation and levelling the ground. A weed barrier may be laid down to prevent weed growth. The play area bark is then evenly spread across the designated area to a recommended depth of 15-30 centimetres, depending on the height of the play equipment.
Maintenance for play area bark is minimal but necessary to ensure its longevity and performance. Regular inspection of the play area is important to identify any areas that may require additional bark, as exposure or displacement can occur over time due to natural wear and tear. Additionally, keeping the play area clean from debris and litter is essential for a safe and enjoyable play environment.
The cost of play area bark can vary depending on factors such as the quantity required, the supplier, and the location. However, it is generally more expensive than regular bark mulch due to its specialised design and safety features. While the initial investment may be higher, the long-term benefits in terms of child safety and durability make play area bark a worthwhile investment.
Play area bark has a good lifespan of around 5-7 years, making it a durable choice for play areas. However, regular maintenance, such as topping up the bark and ensuring proper drainage, can help to extend its lifespan and maintain its safety features. Over time, the play area bark may break down and decompose, requiring replacement to ensure optimal safety and performance.
Play area bark is ideally suited for play areas, playgrounds, and other outdoor spaces where children gather to play. Its impact-absorbing properties make it an excellent choice for areas with play equipment, such as swings, slides, and climbing frames. It provides a safe and comfortable surface for children to run, jump, and play on, reducing the risk of serious injuries in case of falls.
Play area bark is generally considered to be an environmentally friendly option. The bark is sourced from sustainable forestry practices and is biodegradable, which means it will naturally break down over time without causing harm to the environment. Additionally, the use of play area bark helps to reduce water runoff, prevent soil erosion, and promote healthier soil conditions.
Regular Bark Mulch
Regular bark mulch, also known as garden bark or landscape mulch, is a versatile and widely used material in gardening and landscaping. It consists of shredded or chipped bark from various tree species and is primarily used for weed suppression, moisture retention, and enhancing the aesthetics of garden beds and landscapes.
Regular bark mulch has a wide range of uses in gardening and landscaping. It is commonly used as a top dressing for flower beds, vegetable gardens, and around trees and shrubs. Regular bark mulch helps to suppress weed growth by acting as a physical barrier, preventing sunlight from reaching weed seeds and inhibiting their germination. It also helps to conserve soil moisture by reducing evaporation, maintaining a more consistent soil temperature, and providing a natural insulation layer for plant roots.
Regular bark mulch is typically made from a mixture of different tree barks, including pine, spruce and hardwood. The bark is shredded or chipped into various sizes, depending on the desired aesthetic and functional purposes. The size and colour of the bark particles can vary, offering options to match different landscaping styles and preferences.
Using regular bark mulch offers several benefits for gardeners and landscapers. Firstly, it helps to suppress weed growth, reducing the need for manual weeding and chemical herbicides. Secondly, regular bark mulch helps to conserve soil moisture, reducing the frequency and amount of watering required for plants. It also acts as a natural insulator, protecting plant roots from extreme temperatures. Additionally, regular bark mulch enhances the visual appeal of garden beds and landscapes by providing a neat and tidy appearance and creating contrast with plant foliage.
Installing regular bark mulch is a straightforward process that can be done by DIY enthusiasts or professionals. The area where the mulch will be applied needs to be cleared of any existing weeds or debris. A weed barrier, such as landscape fabric, may be installed for added weed suppression. The mulch is evenly spread across the designated area to a recommended depth of 5-10 centimetres, ensuring an even and consistent layer.
Maintenance for regular bark mulch is relatively simple. Periodical inspection of the mulch is recommended to ensure its even distribution and coverage. Any bare spots or areas where the mulch has thinned out can be topped up as needed. It is also important to keep the mulch free from debris, such as fallen leaves or branches, to maintain its aesthetic appeal and weed suppression properties.
The cost of regular bark mulch can vary depending on factors such as the quantity required, the supplier, and the location. It is generally more affordable compared to play area bark, making it an economical choice for gardeners and landscapers. The cost-effectiveness of regular bark mulch, combined with its numerous benefits, makes it a popular choice for a wide range of applications.
Regular bark mulch has a moderate lifespan of around 2-3 years, depending on factors such as weather conditions, exposure to sunlight, and the type of bark used. Over time, the mulch will break down and decompose, becoming part of the soil organic matter. Regular maintenance and replenishment can help to extend the lifespan of regular bark mulch and ensure its effective weed suppression and moisture retention capabilities.
Regular bark mulch is suitable for a variety of gardening and landscaping applications. It can be used in flower beds, vegetable gardens, around trees and shrubs, and for general landscaping purposes. It provides an aesthetically pleasing and functional layer that helps to improve soil health, reduce weed growth, conserve moisture, and enhance the overall visual appeal of outdoor spaces.
Regular bark mulch is considered to have a low environmental impact. The bark used in regular bark mulch is a by-product of the timber industry, making it a sustainable choice. By using regular bark mulch, gardeners and landscapers support the recycling and repurposing of materials that would otherwise go to waste. Regular bark mulch also contributes to the improvement of soil health by gradually decomposing and adding organic matter to the soil.