9 Base Ideas: What Material Do You Put Under a Swing Set?

We know that you want your children to be safe and protected when they play on a swing set. Yet you don't want to sacrifice their fun. There are ways to keep your children safe without taking their fun away.

One way to do it is to make sure the base material your swing set sits on is soft and easy on the landings. Finding the right materials to place your child’s swing set on is not that difficult. There are so many options the difficult part of the decision is picking one.

In this article we go through the different materials yo can place under a swing set and let you know their good and bad points. Plus, we add in some more information to help you set your child’s swing set up just right.

Looking for a Swing Set? Don't buy something you'll hate

Where to Install a Swing Set

Getting the right location for your swing set is also not a difficult task to do. You just have to be aware of the safety standards that guide the placement of swings. These safety standards are put in place so your child can have fun without risk of injury or hurting their friends.

When you are looking over your yard to see where the perfect place is for your child’s swing set, keep in mind that you need a minimum 6 feet of free space all around the swing set.

That is 6 feet in front, behind an don both sides. You also should not place it near eaves or overhanging branches. You want as clear an area as possible. To save on time and money, you also want to have it on level ground

Can a Swing Set Go on Concrete


As long as the concrete is nice and level you can place a swing set on it. The basic requirement for setting up a swing set is level ground and concrete, if done right, would qualify.

But, it is not recommended that you set one up on either concrete or asphalt. There are some very good reasons for this attitude. Both concrete and asphalt are hard surfaces. They may be easy to level but they have no give to them.

If your child or one of their friends fall on the concrete, they could get hurt pretty badly. While concrete and asphalt are convenient, easy to put in place and inexpensive to use, it is the safety issue that should stop you from using those materials as a swing set base

9 Swing Set Base Ideas and Materials

With concrete and asphalt out of the running, you need some replacement materials and ideas to make sure your child’s swing set is safe to use. Keep in ind that there are no regulations stating which material you can or cannot use under your swing set.

Also, no matter what base material you use, there is no guarantee that your children will not get hurt if they fall. Here are 9 good replacement materials for you:

#1. Swing set on grass

grass is probably the most common used swing set base used so far. You do not have t o install it as it is already there in your yard. Plus, grass is easy to level and prepare for your new swing set.


It is also the cheapest idea and base to use when you are setting up your children’s swing set


  • It is soft
  • It looks good
  • Minimal maintenance required


  • It gets long
  • It gets wet
  • It gets muddy

#2. Swing set on mulch


Mulch or wood chips can be inexpensive to buy and use. There is an abundant supply of them and you can buy as much or as little as you want. Once you place them under the swing set, they will help that area look a lot better.


  • They are natural
  • They are cheap to buy
  • They help your lawn


  • Splinters can be a problem
  • Always need to add more
  • Easy for children to throw

#3. Wooden swing set base

This make look good and protect your lawn but it is not as soft as the other base materials listed here. Your swing set area will look good and smell nice but there is a risk of more serious injuries when children fall on it. Wood is better than concrete and asphalt and will enhance the look of your home


  • Looks good
  • Solid and stable base
  • Easy to level


  • It can rot
  • Bring bacteria and insects
  • Is a hard surface

#4. Rubber mats for under swing sets

Rubber mats can be a nice soft landing if your children or their friends slip and fall. They last long and you do not have to worry about the weather hurting them. You also can place them where you need them the most.

About the only issue you may have with them is keeping them clean and germ free.


  • Soft and pliable
  • Come in a variety of sizes
  • Easy to place


  • They may have an odor
  • They cost some money
  • Some kids may have rubber related allergies

#5. Sand as a base


This is anther inexpensive material that is in abundant supply. You can get large amounts next to nothing and get a lot of it to make sure the area under swing set is covered thoroughly. Your younger kids could use it as a sandbox when they get tired of swinging.


  • Inexpensive and abundant
  • Organic and natural
  • Multiple uses for more fun


  • Attracts cats and germs
  • Gets everywhere- shoes & clothes
  • Gets into your home as well

#6. Pea Gravel as a base

If looks and drainage are important to you, this swing set base material will do those jobs. Pea gravel is not that expensive, is easy to spread and helps the look of your swing set area while draining it. Plus, it should last you a long time.


  • It is very durable
  • Looks good
  • Provides a natural look to the area


  • A little o the hard side
  • Kids can toss it at each other
  • It can get into the house

#7. Using rubber mulch

This is a simple answer if you do not want to have wood spread all over your yard. It is soft, drains well. Plus, it can absorb a lot of the impact from a fall. Another good point is that it does not attract insects, flying or walking.


  • Shock absorbing power
  • Low upkeep needed
  • Easy to install


  • Can catch on fire
  • Doesn’t stop weeds from growing
  • May not be good for the environment

#8. Poured rubber

This idea is the safest of all the 9 mentioned here today. But it is also the most expensive. Your kids get great protection and you can customize the thickness to meet your needs. No maintenance is required yet it is the material that will last you the longest.


  • Soft and shock absorbing
  • Durable and long lifespan
  • No maintenance


  • It does cost some money
  • You can’t do it yourself
  • Not natural

#9. Swing set on artificial grass

This is a good option if you do not like bugs and other insects crawling all over the swing set and your children. It is safer to use and requires little to no maintenance. Plus it is non-abrasive and can last a long time. Your kids won’t get muddy or dirty landing on this swing set base.


  • Clean and safe to use
  • No maintenance required
  • Has a long lifespan


  • Could cost more to install
  • Expensive to repair
  • Hard to bring with you if you move

What Is the Best Material to Put Under a Swing Set?


After reading about the 9 different good materials you can use, we are betting that you are wondering which one is the best. Placing the right swing set base material under your child’s swing set will depend on several factors.

First, how do you want your yard to look. Second, how much money you want to invest. Third, how long do you want it to last. These are all important factors when determining which one is the best base material to use.

We do not like the expense that comes with artificial grass but it is one of the top base materials you can choose. The longevity and other benefits make it a good option.

The one we prefer over artificial grass would be the poured in rubber option. Its impact absorbing capability is a great plus, along with its no maintenance and long life. We give the edge to this base material over all the others.

Which one you think is best depends on you and your needs. You need to fit your budget while keeping your kids safe. One thing is for sure, don’t go for concrete or asphalt.

Can You Put a Swing Set Over a Septic Field or on Leach Field

When you get ready to buy a swing set, you need to consider your yard area. It is not wise to and buy any swing set and assemble it in the widest spot in your lawn. You need to evaluate the space you have, if it is level or not, or if it floods easily and if yo have a leach or septic field underneath.

The last two issues will influence the type of swing set base you use as you have to be careful not to damage the leach or septic fields. This can happen if you block oxygen intake the fields need or if you damage any pipes when you dig to level the area.

Also, before you assemble, you should get the field inspected to make sure you pick the right spot in your yard for the swing set. Other than being careful, there is no problem in assembling a swing set over a septic or leach field.

Another factor is that about every 2 decades the septic field has to be moved. If it hasn’t been moved for while, you can move it and then set up your swing set without issues.

How Do I Keep My Swing Set From Sinking


This can be a situation you need to avoid. As children play and more weight is put on the swing set, it is possible that it will sink and become a risk to tipping or not operate correctly.

The key to the swing set sinking is that too much weight is centered on a spot that is too small to handle it. There are two basic ways to stop this from taking place. They are not hard or expensive solutions to use.

First, you buy a piece of lumber. The wider the better. You can use 2 x8s, 2 x 10s, or 2 x 12s. it doesn’t matter. Just cut the lumber size you have chosen into n less than 1 foot lengths and place them underneath each leg of the swing set. You can use more than one piece if you want.

Or you can go out and buy some pre-made concrete blocks or piers. These blocks have tapered tops and can handle a lot of weight. The goal of using either option is that you want to distribute the weight. Taking the weight off one small area should solve your sinking issue.

How To Make a Swing Set Base

You may be the type of person who likes working with your hands. And that is good. It gives you something constructive to work on and you feel good when you finished. You can make your own swing set base if yo are this type of person.

The steps are quite simple:

  1. Decide what type of base you want to build

  2. Measure out the area that will hold your swing set

  3. Depending on the design, you need to dig out the area and level it. If you are only using blocks, then your digging and leveling is not going to be much

  4. Build a wood frame to hold the materials you have selected to use. You can go larger than your swing set to make sure the area is safe

  5. Pour in your base material and level it out. In the case of using sand, you do not want to pack it too firmly

  6. Place your swing set on the base material. In the case of sand, mulch, pea gravel and similar base materials yo may want to use concrete blocks to avoid any sinking issues

Can You Have a Swing Set on a Rental Property

Laws may vary but it is very likely that you can have a swing set on a property you are renting. In most cases, you would need to check with your landlord and get his or her permission.

The reason for this is that you may affect their liability and personal injury insurance. You may cause damage to their property or cause some issues with your neighbors.

You may need to check with a real estate lawyer for all the details in your area. If you are a landlord and renting the [property? Then you should not put a swing set on the property. You are just opening yourself up to many problems you do not need to have.

Some Final Comments

To get the most out of your swing set, you need the right base to put it on. Which base you choose to use is up to you but do some research to make sure you are getting the proper base for your family.

Also, check your budget to make sure you can afford a good base or if you need to save up for one. There are some pretty good cheap options you can use until you are ready to upgrade.

Make sure you do a good yard evaluation first so you do not cause damage to some other aspect of your home. The last thing you need is to create your own repairs. Then if you rent, be patient and wait till you own your own hoe before placing a swing set in the back yard. You will save yourself a lot of issues if you do.

Looking for a Swing Set? Don't buy something you'll hate

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