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Choosing the right sports surface is crucial for creating a safe and enjoyable outdoor play area. With various options available, selecting the most suitable surface can be daunting. This blog explores different types of flooring, focusing on the benefits of outdoor play matting. Whether you’re planning a new recreational area or renovating an existing one, understanding the advantages of different materials will help you make an informed decision.

What is Outdoor Play Matting Used For?

Outdoor play mats are commonly used due to their safety, durability, and low maintenance. Made from materials like rubber or synthetic grass, it provides a cushioned surface that reduces the risk of injuries from falls. This type of matting is designed to withstand various weather conditions, ensuring it remains functional and appealing year-round. Additionally, its easy-to-clean nature makes it a practical option for high-traffic sports areas.

Safety Considerations

Safety is paramount in the design of outdoor sports areas. The appropriate flooring can greatly minimise the risk of injuries during sports activities. Outdoor play matting, known for its impact-absorbing properties, is an excellent choice for areas with high-intensity activities or where there’s a risk of falls. This matting is specifically engineered to cushion impacts, making it ideal for sports like basketball, volleyball, or any activities involving dynamic movement. When selecting matting, it’s crucial to choose products that adhere to recognised safety standards and to consider the specific requirements of your sports activities when deciding on the thickness and density of the matting.

Aesthetic and Functional Choices

The flooring of outdoor sports areas plays a crucial role in defining their overall ambience and usability. Outdoor play matting, available in a variety of colours and designs, offers the flexibility to create spaces that are both functional and visually appealing. For sports facilities, choosing vibrant colours can energise the environment, boosting the morale and enthusiasm of athletes. Alternatively, more natural tones can be selected to harmonise with the outdoor setting, providing a calming and focused atmosphere for sports activities. These aesthetic decisions not only enhance the visual appeal of the area but can also impact the functionality, with specific colours and patterns potentially being used to define different zones or activities within the sports area.

Installation and Maintenance

Proper installation is crucial for maximising the lifespan of your playground flooring. Outdoor play matting typically requires a level base and professional installation to ensure safety and durability. Maintenance involves regular cleaning to remove debris and periodic checks for wear and tear.

Comparing Playground Surfaces

That being said, let’s compare the different outdoor play surfaces and see how each one aligns with various playground needs, factoring in safety, durability, maintenance requirements and aesthetic appeal.


  • Bonded Rubber Mulch
    Bonded Rubber Mulch is particularly popular in playgrounds and kids’ play areas, where its impact-absorbent nature is a key safety feature. Made from shredded rubber, often recycled from tires, this surface is bonded together to form a continuous, accessible area. Its natural, rustic appearance resembles wood chips, blending well with outdoor environments. While it’s a common choice for children’s play areas due to its cushioning properties and aesthetic appeal, Bonded Rubber Mulch is also suitable for various outdoor sports areas. It provides a safe surface for activities around outdoor fitness equipment or in areas designated for lower-impact sports. Regular maintenance, such as topping up, may be necessary to maintain its level and safe condition over time.
  • Play Grass
    3G Sports Grass, a high-quality synthetic alternative to natural grass, offers a durable and realistic playing surface ideal for various sports settings. This type of artificial turf is specially designed to withstand heavy foot traffic and diverse climatic conditions, making it a preferred choice for sports fields and arenas. 3G Sports Grass provides a consistently soft and natural-looking surface, enhancing the playability and aesthetic appeal of outdoor sports areas. While it boasts lower maintenance requirements compared to natural grass, it does necessitate occasional cleaning and infill replenishment to preserve its quality and functionality, ensuring it remains in top condition for athletes and sports enthusiasts.
  • Wet Pour Surfacing
    Wet Pour Surfacing, renowned for its seamless, rubberised composition, is an excellent choice for a variety of sports areas. This surface is not only popular in modern playgrounds but also in sports facilities due to its high customisability in colour and design. This allows for the creation of visually appealing and functional sports spaces. Wet Pour is known for its superior shock absorption, making it a safe option for high-impact sports activities. Its smooth, even texture is also wheelchair-friendly, promoting inclusivity in sports facilities. While the seamless nature of Wet Pour Surfacing contributes to its low maintenance requirements, it is worth noting that the initial investment might be higher compared to other surfacing options. However, its durability and versatility make it a cost-effective solution in the long run for diverse outdoor sports applications.
  • MUGA – Multi-Use Games Area Surfacing
    Designed for versatility, MUGA surfaces cater to a variety of sports and activities. They are typically made from polymeric rubber or artificial grass, offering good traction and durability. While ideal for sports activities, MUGA surfaces may not provide the same level of fall protection as surfaces like Wet Pour, unless they are specifically designed for this purpose.

Each surface offers unique advantages tailored to sports areas. The decision largely hinges on the specific requirements of the sports facility, such as the type of sports activities, level of usage, athlete safety considerations, and maintenance capabilities. By comprehensively understanding the properties and benefits of each surface type, you can make an informed choice that guarantees optimal safety, performance, and durability for your sports area.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing the right flooring is a key decision in creating a safe and appealing playground. Outdoor play matting offers a blend of safety, durability, and aesthetic appeal, making it an excellent choice for various playground settings. By considering the specific needs of your play area and the characteristics of different flooring options, you can create a space that children will love and parents will trust. Contact us for our expert advice on what flooring would be best for you.