Using Synthetic Turf For Schoolyards

Increasingly schools are using synthetic turf to surface the schoolyards.  They are relatively maintenance free and do work out as a cost-effective alternative to natural surfaces due to the need for minimal manpower to keep it in shape. It would thus be relevant here to understand the more delicate issues with artificial turf and how to maximize their utility to the most extent.

Water requirements

The typical constituent of artificial turf being of man made fibers and fabric, it really does not need nourishment as such. But during the extreme heat buildup of the hot summers, a spray of water or mist of water would help tremendously to lower the temperature of the surface. This, in fact, helps micromanage the surface to a far more full extent than otherwise possible with natural surfaces most of the time.

Fire properties

Often when artificial materials like plastic are considered, it does tend to catch fire rather quickly.  Most artificial surfaces are laid on a bed of sand or of silicate substrate. This would act as a natural fire retardant and hence keep any flare-ups to within manageable limits. The chances of an uncontrolled blaze are to the least at most.

The silica substrate has the added advantage that it helps drain off the water as it accumulates on the surface. Thus the base forms a porous medium that is meant to clear off the water as it gathers and hence keeps the site clear of any puddles and water spots.

Vacuuming the turf

One of the hardest parts of keeping the turf clean is to vacuum it from time to time. This removes the debris that would have accumulated on the surface and helps fluff up the material on the surface. A good vacuum does ensure a sort of combing action that is bound to add an excellent presentation of the surface at all times.

Are turf and grass different in artificial surfaces?

It is a common mistake with folks to mistake grass with turf, when in fact they are two different materials all the time. The grass is typical with longer blades and has a tapered structure most of the time. Whereas the turf is more of an amorphous shaped material that tends to be short in size.

The big difference is when it comes to kitting out the people with the right cleats to take on the grass and turf. The artificial grass tends to need small spikes to provide the proper grip to the surface whereas the lawn takes to cleats that have specialized holds that can help grip the surface most of the time.


A lot of schoolyards are being done with artificial surfaces and for a good reason too. It is not only a better-looking option but the more hard wearing option as well. Most of the turfs and grass can take to a fair amount of rough treatment as has been seen in the past.

Why Schoolyards Needs Improvements

Gone are the old concepts that once a school yard is built, it stands till eternity. The modern concept of the school playground is one that evolves with the changing student body most of the time. This involves redesign and rework to make it suited to the times and purposes of the moment. Most schools are hard pressed for funds to do up the school yard as it is often a low priority area as compared to the more academically inclined needs.

Safety and health issues

The school play yard must be free from hazardous material and should not be used as a dumping ground for any sort of material.  Often since the yards make up an open space, there is a tendency to utilize the area for meetings and get together. No harm as such for this but it must be noted that there is bound to be rubbish and left over debris after such interactions and it needs to be cleaned up.

A strong sense of well being is brought about if the school yard is free of stagnant water at all times. It is understood that the rainy season does bring copious rainfall most of the time to most places, but there must be sufficient space for the water to flow off the space and in quick time too.


A great deal of thought is given to designing the entrances and pathways that link the school yards. The social trend these days is to allow even the people with disabilities to enter freely into the grounds at any time. One of the emerging trends is to centralize the location of the school grounds such that it is accessible to the most folks during the school timings.

Making the school ground accessible to all might not be such an issue for the most schools of the day. But it is quite possible that some folks might need the extra care in positioning themselves during times of entry to the school and the yards.


It is the wrong concept that landscaping of school and its yards are only about making things presentable to the users. Often a good landscaper tends to strengthen some of the more noticeable qualities in a school yard and to make it accessible to the most number of students.

With the proper use of landscaping, it is possible to in fact set out the school yard to more than the area that it covers. At the same time, it is possible to make out a compact layout so that people are not given to feel that they are in such a large area of the school.


Design concepts keep changing from time to time and with school yards as well. The active school management must be prepared to include the most pressing changes to the fields and buildings around the yard to make it relevant to the learning methods of the times. The best use of the school yards are when the complete use of the same is done and in a scientific manner too.

Planning And Design Process Of School Play Yards

In the first place, it has to be clear what a school aims at using the play yard.  The functions of the playground can be as a meeting place, a gathering space, a play area and even as an assembly point. Most applications of the playground end up as multi-use featured spaces that need to be incorporated into the school design right from the very beginning.

The role of asphalt in planning a schoolyard

Traditionally, it is asphalt that has been seen to be a central component of school play yards, and the mistake of using asphalt has been realized now by the planners. There is a stronger emphasis on the use of grass and mud patches to form the back frame of the school play yard as far as possible.

The grass overtones, unlike the asphalt, have the flexibility that few other materials can provide the user. Grass has the stable characteristics of keeping the topsoil together even during the hardest of rains. When done just right, there can be a little substitute for the feel that a patch of grass provides the user.

Thus the next day schoolyards are being done in materials other than asphalt, and in case something harder wearing than grass is to be attempted, then materials like artificial turf and covering are tried.

Water and its availability

It would be wrong to consider the construction of a schoolyard with little water to be around. Mainly if the material of choice happens to be grass that does consume a lot of water too. There are some very creative ways of dealing with water and things like a drinking fountain, and flowing water is but one of the many ways water can be presented at the site.

It is common practice to construct a playing yard alongside the pool. There is the twin advantage of having a recreational spot close to each other and hence brings about a saving of space and area.

The soft touch

When the asphalt was used to construct the playing grounds, these were hard-wearing surfaces that gave the space a hard appearance. With the use of substantial amounts of green grass and mud paths, the look has been one of a softer presentation most of the time.

What needs to be stressed is how playgrounds can double up as emergency response areas during calamities and disasters. This would be of significance to the interior spaces of towns and villages when the local school ground could be the center of operations during an emergency situation. It is a convenient spot to gather around as has been demonstrated from time to time. The school forms the center stage of the lifestyles around the traditional villages and small towns as well.  

The schoolyard is thus a multi-functional area that needs proper planning and cares each time it is being done up. Considering the very nature of the yards, remodeling them and recasting them would not be such a great deal after all.