Playground Grass Synthetic Turf vs. Pea Gravel

When it comes to playground surfacing, there’s only one solution that checks off all the boxes, and it’s not pea gravel! Playground Grass synthetic turf outperforms other turf, wood chips/mulch, pea gravel, and rubber flooring in every way. 

Playground GrassPea Gravel
ADA Compliant?YesNo
Soft Like Natural Grass?YesNo
Long-Lasting? (Doesn't Need Replenished)YesNo
Harbors Pests?NoYes
Contains Toxins?NoNo
Prone to Fading?NoNo
Releases VOCs?NoNo
Pea gravel

Pea Gravel just doesn’t cut it for playground surfacing.

Pea gravel…

Collect in kids' shoes.
Wear away under swings.
Can easily be choked on.
Pose a tripping hazard.
Need to be replenished regularly.
Hides sharp objects.
Creates a challenge for mobility devices.

Loose fill loses, synthetic turf wins.

The National Study of Playground Equipment and Surfacing conducted by The National Program for Playground Safety (published in March 2019) sheds light on issues with loose-fill surfacing such as pea gravel, wood chips, and rubber mulch:

Limitations on playground equipment height, with stricter standards for loose-fill surfaces (sand, pea gravel, crumb rubber, wood-based materials) above 9 feet.

Surfacing material must be adequately maintained and its performance periodically verified.

At the time of testing, 74% of loose-fill playground surfacing material had been displaced and 40% of loose-fill material surrounding each play structure had deteriorated.

If safety is your number one concern, why would you choose any other surface?


20% of pea gravel areas tested are not meeting impact attenuation standards, and 35% are not obtaining a HIC (Head Injury Criterion) score of below 1,000 (below 1,000 is the standard for playground surfaces).

In contrast, Playground Grass synthetic turf meets the ASTM 1292 fall specifications as well as the ASTM 1951 ADA accessibility specifications. Playgrounds created with our synthetic grass meet all required standards, performing in a predictable manner over time.

(Source: The National Study of Playground Equipment and Surfacing)

Parents, teachers, and superintendents prefer Playground Grass synthetic turf over pea gravel.

Mom and kids playing on Playground Grass synthetic turf by ForeverLawn

Here’s why…

No pokes or jabs.
No dusty residue left on clothing.
No small pieces to pick up and/or choke on.
Looks and feels like soft, lush natural grass.
Stimulates development and creativity.

"Parents would never send their kids to school in their nice clothes or shoes, because the pea gravel, mulch, and mud would destroy them!"

—Daycare Director

"We’ve had kids fall off, land on the turf, and be great. The safety of our new turf has had the most prominent impact."

—Park District Superintendent

Forget pea gravel. Take your playground to the next level with synthetic grass designed for play!

Interested in what Playground Grass synthetic turf can do for your playground? We’d love to help you find the right surfacing solution for your project. Contact us today to get more information, or to request a free consultation with the Playground Grass team.