Skip to main content

Children are wonderful, and there are few things more rewarding than playing with them in the yard. Watching them run around, ride their bikes, or play on their playsets is fantastic. Each of those activities can be hard on turf, whether in the short or long term. Depending on how your family uses your yard, landscape strategy and maintenance may need to be adjusted. Let’s discuss what toys and little feet do to your grass and how to create space for those activities so you can make allowance for both play and healthy turf in your yard.

Swing Sets & Trampolines & Toys, Oh My!

How does play affect your yard? That depends on the stage your children are in and the toys they use. Large structures like trampolines and playsets introduce shade that your landscape didn’t have beforehand. Since they also have specific approach and departure locations, they create traffic in very specific areas, causing mechanical wear and compaction to your grass. Swings and the repeated strikes of little feet will wear away the turf and eventually create those characteristic divots.

As kids age and playsets give way to bikes or even motorized toys, repetitious paths cause clear, bare trails and compact soil. Forts built in trees may cause damage to bark and introduce shade to the turf below. Sheds built to house these toys may also throw shade on turf and landscape areas previously in full sunlight. Each of these challenges can be circumvented with an idea I like to call an “outside playroom.”

Create an Outside Playroom

One of the very first things expectant parents do is decorate a nursery. It’s a natural thing for us to compartmentalize. That’s why we end up with a toy room or playroom when they get older and their toys begin to multiply. You know what I mean: the room in your house where all the toys are supposed to be. When company comes over, that room has a door you can close to sequester the vortex. The same ideas can be applied to your yard—or portions of your yard.

Strategically plan your landscape around use and structures to maximize both fun and plant health.

  • Pay attention to existing shade in your yard to guide your location choice, and convert an area that may already be compromised into the perfect play area.
  • Mulch areas you intend to use for play to limit impact from falls and clearly separate turf areas from play areas, keeping the optimal turf areas for turf.
  • Consider the amount of space your kids will need and use. Bigger children with bigger toys need bigger areas to play. Maybe this is a backyard, side yard, or other specific part of your property.
  • Take advantage of areas with limited visibility. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are damaging, so limiting that damage to areas where it’s visually acceptable is key.

Team Up with Lawn Care Professionals for Strategy and Maintenance

As the children continue to age, growing beyond each stage, you can always change the landscape again. In the same way the toy room eventually becomes a spare bedroom or home office, the backyard can be reclaimed for its beauty. For now, take advantage of that space. Let them play. At Nature’s Turf we offer fertilization and aeration services to combat the damage, and we have a staff of professionals ready to help you strategize changes at each of these stages. Give us a call at 770-461-4156 or email us at, and team up with Nature’s Turf.