What is Rubber Mulch?

Rubber mulch is a type of ground cover material that is produced from recycled tyres. The manufacturing process typically involves shredding or grinding whole tyres into smaller bits or nuggets, ranging in size from 10 mm to 32 mm (3/8 inch to 1 1/4 inch). This recycling process removes the steel belts found within the tyres, leaving behind the synthetic rubber compound that forms the main component of rubber mulch.

Unlike traditional organic mulches made from wood, leaves, or other plant-based materials, rubber mulch is an inorganic, man-made product. This distinction gives it a unique set of properties and characteristics that set it apart from its natural counterparts.

Advantages of Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch offers a range of benefits that have contributed to its growing popularity in landscaping and playground applications. Let’s explore some of the key advantages:

Long-Lasting Durability

One of the primary advantages of rubber mulch is its exceptional longevity. Unlike organic mulches that decompose over time, requiring regular replenishment, rubber mulch can maintain its vibrant appearance and functional properties for up to 10-20 years. This long-lasting nature can translate to significant cost savings for homeowners and landscape professionals over the long term.

Resistance to Displacement

Rubber mulch’s weight and non-porous nature make it highly resistant to displacement by wind, rain, or foot traffic. This property helps to ensure that the mulch remains in place, reducing the need for frequent reapplication and maintaining a neat, tidy appearance in the landscape.

Weed Suppression

Rubber mulch’s ability to block sunlight and create a physical barrier on the soil surface effectively suppresses weed growth. This can significantly reduce the time and effort required for manual weed removal, making it a low-maintenance option for gardens, flowerbeds, and other landscaped areas.

Pest Resistance

Unlike organic mulches that can attract pests such as termites and carpenter ants, rubber mulch is not appealing to common outdoor pests. This can help to deter these unwanted visitors and minimize the need for chemical pest control measures in the landscape.

Safe Playground Surfacing

When used in school playgrounds, wet pour and rubber mulch provide a cushioned, shock-absorbing surface that can help reduce the risk of injuries from falls. The material’s springy, elastic properties make it an excellent choice for play area safety surfacing, as it meets or exceeds the safety standards set by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA).

Aesthetic Appeal

Rubber mulch comes in a variety of vibrant colours, including black, brown, red, blue, and green, allowing homeowners and landscape designers to create visually striking and cohesive outdoor spaces. The consistent, uniform appearance of rubber mulch can enhance the overall aesthetic of a landscape, complementing the surrounding plantings and hardscaping elements.

Eco-Friendly Recycling

By repurposing discarded tyres, the production of rubber mulch helps to divert waste from landfills and contributes to a more sustainable waste management system. This recycling process not only reduces the environmental impact of tyre disposal but also provides a practical and beneficial use for these otherwise discarded materials.

Rubber Mulch in Playgrounds and Artificial Turf

Rubber mulch has found particular applications in the realm of playgrounds and artificial turf fields, where its unique properties offer specific benefits and considerations.

Playground Safety Surfacing

The cushioning and shock-absorbing qualities of rubber mulch make it a popular choice for playground surfacing. When installed at the recommended depth, rubber mulch can help mitigate the impact of falls, reducing the risk of serious injuries to children. This safety feature has led to the certification of certain products by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) for compliance with ASTM safety standards.

Artificial Turf Support

In artificial turf, rubber mulch is often used as an infill material, filling the gaps between the artificial grass blades. This infill layer provides additional cushioning, support, and traction for athletes, enhancing the playability and safety of the surface.

Rubber Mulch Landscaping Ideas

Rubber mulch’s versatility extends beyond its traditional applications, allowing for a wide range of creative and practical landscaping solutions. Here are some inspiring ideas to consider:


Create a durable, low-maintenance pathway through your garden or landscape by using rubber mulch. Its resistance to displacement and cushioned surface can provide a comfortable, all-weather walkway.


Transform an outdoor living space into a functional and visually appealing patio by using rubber mulch as an alternative to traditional hardscaping materials, such as pavers or concrete.

Slopes and Inclines

Stabilize slopes and inclines in your landscape by using rubber mulch, which can help to prevent erosion and maintain a neat, tidy appearance.

Tree Rings

Create attractive tree rings around the base of trees using rubber mulch, providing a clean, uniform look while also helping to retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth.

Borders and Edging

Utilise rubber mulch to define garden beds, walkways, and other landscape features, creating clean, crisp edges and visual contrast.


Rubber mulch has emerged as a versatile and innovative solution for landscaping and playground applications, offering a range of benefits that have made it an increasingly popular choice among homeowners, landscape professionals, and playground designers.