TM 5-803-11/AFJMAN 32-10139
PLAY AREA SURFACING
(7) Artificial Grass. Artificial grass is an ex-
pensive material that is suitable for general play
A variety of surfaces should be provided in play
and game areas. It should be laid on a hard surface.
areas. Both soft and hard play surfaces are needed
(8) Soil. Untreated soil is variable. Soil maybe
to support different types of play activity. Hard sur-
acceptable for some situations if maintained to pre-
faces and safety surfaces are discussed in this chap-
vent erosion and eliminate poor drainage condi-
ter. Safety surfacing is mandatory throughout the
tions. Soil condition changes significantly with pre-
use zones of all manufactured play equipment.
cipitation, temperature, erosion, and wear.
Safety surfacing includes synthetic surfacing and
vided. Flat grades or negative drainage should be
11-2. Hard Surfaces.
b. Recommended Ages. Hard surfaces are used by
Hard surfaces include soil, concrete, asphalt, arti-
ficial grass, and decomposed granite. These surfaces
c. Safety Guidelines.
support a variety of activities for all age groups,
(1) Prohibited Use. Hard surfaces will not be
including: circulation, wheeled toy play, chase
used in play equipment use zones or crawl areas for
games, site exploration, and ball play. Hard sur-
faces are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
(2) Slip Hazards. Concrete finishes with a light
a. Design Considerations.
texture, such as a broom finish, should be provided
(1) Concrete. Concrete should be poured on a
to reduce slipping when wet. Loose material, such
prepared base that is clean and free of debris. Color
as sand, gravel, and wood products, create slip haz-
admixtures or surface paint may be added for inter-
ards on hard surfaces. Where loose-fill materials
est and to provide opportunities for organized
are adjacent to hard surfaces, the level of loose-fill
games and dramatic play.
material should be installed 75 mm (3 inches) below
(2) Asphalt. Asphalt should be contained with
the level of the hard surface. Loose-fill materials
a concrete or timber edge to eliminate chipping and
should be contained with barriers. Designers should
consider that moss and mold on concrete and as-
(3) Pavers on Concrete. The accessibility of this
phalt are a slip hazard and a maintenance issue.
surface depends upon the surface texture of the
(3) Trip Hazards and Dropoffs. C h a n g e s
pavers and the profile of the mortared joints. This
greater than 6 mm (l/4-inch) between levels on
material can provide a stable and easily maintained
pathways should be avoided.
surface for both foot and vehicular traffic.
(4) Drainage Grates and Utility Boxes. Drain-
(4) Crushed Stone and Decomposed Granite.
age grates and utility boxes will be locked and lo-
When compacted, this material is a good all-
cated outside of the play area where possible.
weather, accessible surface for picnic areas or path-
ways. Designers should be aware that maintenance
(1) Hard Surfacing Options. All hard surfaces
is essential to continued accessibility.
and primary pathways will be firm, stable, and slip-
(5) Wood Decking. This surfacing material is
resistant. In the order of decreasing accessibility,
the following hard surfacing choices include: con-
moderately high amounts of maintenance. Adequate
crete; asphalt; pavers on concrete; crushed stone or
drainage and ventilation of wood decking is neces-
decomposed granite; wood decking; pavers on sand;
sary to avoid rot and to prevent the growth of moss.
artificial grass; and untreated soil,
Wood decking can be easily painted to provide inter-
(2) Asphalt. Asphalt will not be used in very
est and to delineate areas.
hot, sunny locations because it may become soft and
(6) Pavers on Sand. This hard surface material
cause difficulty for people using wheelchairs. As-
is less expensive than pavers on concrete, and is
phalt used in these locations may also be a safety
permeable to allow for drainage. Similar to pavers
hazard when hot.
on concrete, the accessibility of this surface depends
e. Maintenance. The maintenance level is low for
on the surface texture of the pavers. This surfacing
most types of hard surfaces.
material is subject to erosion, and to heaving during
freeze/thaw cycles. Displaced sand can present a
f. Cost. The initial cost is moderate. The cost of
maintenance is low.