Can You Put A Swing Set On Grass? (Or Is It Really Too Dangerous?)

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A swing set will provide your children with hour upon hour of fun.

And when you get it, they will usually just want it up and running as soon as possible!

The quickest way to do this is to erect it straight on your lawn.

But can you put a swing set on grass? Should you put a swing set on grass?

Let’s find out…

Can You Put A Swing Set On Grass?

A swing set definitely can go on grass, it is cheaper, more convenient and looks better. You do just have to be aware of the risk of injury from a child falling on the grass, particularly in the summer when the grass might be very dry and hard. The risk of serious injury is very small but more pronounced on a grass surface.

There are a large number of surfaces you can put under a swing set. Sand, wood chippings, rubber mulch and pea gravel are all possibilities.

But by far the easiest and most convenient is grass.

So let’s deal with this question by looking at both sides of the argument for putting a swing set on grass.

Grass Under A Swing Set: The Pros

We’ve briefly alluded to a couple of the main benefits of putting a swing set straight on the grass.

It is easy and it is convenient. Building a swing set can be enough of a pain as it is, add in changing the surface beneath it and that is even more stressful!

It is also probably the most aesthetically pleasing surface to have your swing set on. It looks natural and will obviously fit in with the surroundings.

It is the cheapest option too, there are no additional costs associated with it as the grass is already there waiting for the swing set to be installed.

For the most part in the summer it is non-slip, water drains through it and it can be relatively soft should your children fall on it.

Of course, there are different types of grass you can grow, some which are better for swing sets than others. Bermuda Grass for instance is pretty much bulletproof and needs little to no care.

And whilst I don’t have any figures to back this up, I would bet that grass is still the most popular surface to have under a swing set.

This is some of the feedback I came across when I was doing some background research into this question:

Comments on swing set safety
Click comments to enlarge.

So in summary, the main advantages of grass are:

  • Convenient.
  • Cheap.
  • Looks good.
  • Can be reasonably soft and non-slip.
  • Most popular choice to go under a swing set.

But of course, that is only one side of the story…

RELATED ===> Buyers Guide: The Best Swing Sets on the Market

Grass Under A Swing Set: The Cons

Two swings above grass

It Could Be Consider Unsafe

One of the main downsides of putting your swing set on grass, and possibly the one factor holding you back from doing so, is that it could be considered unsafe.

Before we get too far into the argument of whether it is or not, let’s look at some statistics.

The most recent study on playground related injuries I could find was from 2001 and covered the period from 1990 to 2000.

It is quoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the statistics from 1990 to 2000 were:

  • Over 200,00 children aged 14 or younger required a visit to ER as a result of a playground-related injury.
  • 45 percent of the injuries were severe–fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations
  • 147 children aged 14 or younger died as a result of a playground-related injury. Eighty-two of these deaths were from strangulation and 31 from falls.
  • In total 70 percent of the deaths occurred on home playgrounds.

On top of that, if you look at the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Public Playground Safety Handbook, grass is not a recommended surface under playground equipment.

Scroll down to Section 2.4.2 Selecting a Surface Material (page 9), from the link above and it says:

Grass and dirt are not considered protective surfacing because wear and environmental factors can reduce their shock-absorbing effectiveness.

Playgrounds in public areas and at daycares and schools, etc are recommended to use “at least 9 inches of loose fill material (mulch, sand, etc)” as a base.

And to back that up further the American Association of Neurological Surgeons says that without proper protection, a fall of as little as two feet can result in a skull fracture or permanent brain damage. 

I am not putting this here as scaremongering, I just want you to be fully aware of the facts.

Now on the contrary side to this only 31 deaths at home playgrounds as a result of falls occurred across a decade.

That is three a year, and whilst even one death is too many when you consider how many children across America play on swing sets at home every year, that is a tiny, tiny proportion and a miniscule risk that will never be eliminated completely.

Also obesity, a poor diet and a lack of exercise are risks to children’s health, and by having a swing set you are encouraging your child to get outside and be active.

That said, in the middle of a dry spell in the summer, grass can become very hard and there will be a risk of injury should your child fall from any height.

Also, when it is bone dry and you get some rain it becomes slippery on the surface, which is another risk.

It Will Take a Pounding!

If you stick to grass under a swing set, expect to see some bare patches.

There will be patchy worn spots in places, most likely under the swings.

Remember there could well be multiple kids running around on it at a time, so it is going to take a pounding at times!

Be prepared for this and be prepared to write-off spots of your lawn.

It Will Be Difficult to Maintain

Those areas where the grass does grow will be more difficult to maintain.

Trying to cut or weed grass under a slide, beneath swings, around poles or structures is going to require more time and effort from you.

It Is Going to Get Muddy!

No matter how careful you look after the grass in and around the swing set, some spots will get muddy.

Think of your children using it for the first time of the year on an unseasonably warm early spring day, or on the contrary for the last time on a mild fall day.

That luscious grass might not be in top condition and instead, it could be soft and muddy.

There is a risk of that mud coming indoors when your children are done playing!

What Other Surfaces Can You Put A Swing Set On?

We’ve looked at the pros and cons of having grass under your swing set, but it is important to compare it to the other potential surfaces you could use.


  • Pros: Soft, easy to fill, easy to replace
  • Cons: Gets into clothes and eyes and hair, very young children might eat it, will get tracked into the house, your neighbor’s cats might find it very appealing…

Wood Chips/Bark Mulch:

  • Pros: Soft and well padded, looks good, doesn’t leave a residue on children, cheap to replace.
  • Cons: Can get cut by it, more work and expense initially, will travel outside the swing set area.

Rubber Mulch/Chippings:

  • Pros: Excellent cushioning, will last a long time, good for the environment.
  • Cons: Carcinogen properties (ie don’t want children putting it in their mouths!), expensive.

Pea Gravel

  • Pros: Affordable, low maintenance, easy to install and replace, water drains well.
  • Cons: Tracks into house, young children might eat it or throw it, gets in clothes and pockets, will spread outside of the play area.

 Plastic Mat Grids

  • Pros: Water drains easily, protects grass, last a long time.
  • Cons: Possible trip hazard as it settles into ground, could be expensive, not overly cushioned.

And you could always consider securing it on artificial grass.

Final Thoughts

INFOGRAPHIC Explaining Can You Put A Swing Set On Grass
Click infographic to enlarge.

You can put a swing set on grass, the question is whether you want to put a swing set on grass.

The main concern would be the safety risk. In the summer bone dry grass can be akin to concrete and could cause injury if a child falls on it.

However, thousands of homes across the world have their swing sets on grass, and in the grand scheme of things, the amount of injuries that occur are very, very small.

And let’s be fair, children are at risk from all kinds of things every day. They could just as easily have an allergic reaction to a hornet sting for instance.

Grass definitely looks nicer and is much more convenient too.

If the danger of injury from a fall is too much of a concern for you, then there are alternative surfaces to put a swing set on.

They will be more costly and time-consuming to install and will come with their own risks, but will be softer to land on than grass.

Whatever you decide, your kids will be out in the fresh air, exercising and having fun, and nothing is more important than that.

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