At the bottom of the slide, a fall zone is required. We have used sand, woodchips, and engineered wood fiber, and all three need to be contained within a specific minimum size and shape, and need to be able to retain the fall zone material so it doesn’t migrate.
Typically, you would dig a shallow hole about 9-12” deep (unless you’re creating a sand play area as part of the slide fall zone, in which case the hole might be 2-3’ deep), and then outline that hole with retainers to hold in the fall zone material.
We developed an inexpensive fall zone retainer system for a number of applications.
For the slide fall zone retainer kit, the shapes for the slide fall zones need to be very specific to meet the minimum ASTM and CPSC safety codes for slides of various heights. You can purchase this kit for toddler slides, for slides up to 7’, and for slides 8’ and over.
If you want retainers around free form sand or other play areas, or free form gardens, or etc, our retainer system allows you to create any shape because each section of 6x6 is 4’ long, and comes with a pivot joint at each end. Figure out the total linear footage, divide by 3 (there’s a 6” overlap at each end for the pivot joint), and order that many Single Retainers. You can buy these by the piece.
We also offer retainer stumps. These are typically ~12” diameter x 24” long, and are best if set on a 12” deep x 12” wide earth shelf around the outside perimeter of your sand play area. They would then stick out of the ground 12”, and the sand on the inside would also come up 12 “ on the stump. We also recommend making the sand at least 24”, but preferably 36” deep so children can dig deep and not run into dirt (which you do not want mixing with the sand!).
We debark these stumps and treat them with child-friendly treatment to make them last longer.