At Swing-N-Slide, we specialize in do-it-yourself wooden playground sets that add excitement to your kids’ lives straight from their own backyard. We are committed to creating safe, high-quality swing sets. Adding a backyard playset is an easy way to become a hero in the eyes of your children. To ensure your kid has the best experience with their playset, there are quite a few factors to consider when preparing your backyard for a playset ranging from defining the safety zone to flattening the ground. However, once you know what to do, you won’t need to employ a professional. You can finish everything in one weekend afternoon, and you don’t even need a lot of tools. Here’s a step-by-step procedure to follow.
Step 1: Select the Right Swing Set/Playset
Perhaps you already have a playset in mind or haven’t decided yet. Either way, a playset is a great investment in your kids’ growth and wellbeing. They’re excellent for instilling a love of fitness in children and assisting in developing coordination and muscles. Furthermore, it promotes kids’ mental health and well-being by getting them out of the house. We design playsets that challenge your children to grow and develop. Our playsets are suitable for kids in the age range of 2-10 unless stated otherwise.
Here are aspects to keep in mind when evaluating different playsets:
The amount of space you have
You must assess the available space to ensure that the playset you have in mind will fit. We call this the Minimum Use Zone and it includes the physical space used by the playset, plus six feet of clear space around it for safety. Each of our playset designs has a different minimum use zone which is listed in the product specifications on our website.
Consider the material as well. Most backyard playsets are made of metal or wood. But while metal is inexpensive it can become heated in the sun. Plus, it tends to lack beautiful aesthetics. On the other hand, wooden sets (which we specialize in) look attractive and don’t get extremely hot in the sun.
Additionally, if you’re worried about rotting cedar is naturally repellent against water and insects. On top of that, we provide a warranty cover against rot and insect damage on structural components for a period of 5 years and a one-year cover against defects in workmanship or materials.
Consider durability as well. Avoid sets that will only last a few years before becoming too small for your developing youngster. Get playsets that will serve your kids until they take off for college. But of course, keep the recommended age range in mind when selecting playsets too.
Step 2: Choose a Location for the Playset
Safety is the most important factor when determining where to place the playset so shortcuts should be avoided. Spending a little time now will guarantee years of fun later. You should first determine the measurements of the playset or even swing set you intend to install before deciding where to put it. Most manufacturers make this information available on their websites, and so do we. Once you have the dimensions, you can use the following guidelines to locate a suitable spot in your own backyard.
We recommend a location free of barriers such as trees or fences to ensure safety. You will require an obstacle-free safety zone that is at least six feet in all directions around the playset. We have listed the ASTM recommended safety zones for each product on our website to assist you in determining the right safety zone for your playset.
It is also important to place your playset on firm, flat ground like dirt or grass. Avoid steep slopes and rough surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. Also, stay away from underground utilities and sprinklers. You will also want to make sure there are no utility wires or similar obstructions near your set to ensure a safe play environment
It’s a good idea to install a protective surface area around your playset. However, only add it after the playset has been installed and is properly anchored to the ground.
Make sure to choose a location that allows for easy supervision. That is why it is important to avoid steep slopes because you may not be able to see what is happening from inside your home. Safety is our top priority and having the right spot to put your set will go a long way in making your kid’s playtime experience the best it can be.
Preparing the Spot for the Playset
Now that you’ve determined the best location, it’s time to get it ready for your swing set or playset. The key here is to ensure that the ground is level to within a three-inch grade. Don’t worry if your spot isn’t level; there are steps you can take to level it up. We will explain in detail below. But you will have to get the following tools first: shovel, carpenter’s level, tape measure, a string at least 100 feet long, and at least four ground stakes.
Level the Chosen Spot
Using the standards stated above, take measurements of your playset’s footprint. Next, mark the four corners of the ground that need to be leveled. Connect the stakes using a string, ensuring its level between each post. Start digging out the sod at the tallest point and work your way down until it’s level with the strings.
You can accomplish this using a shovel. Finally, set a long straight plank on the ground and level it to see if the ground is level. Don’t forget to check the level in a couple of different directions.
Step 3: Secure Your Playset
Now that your yard is ready it’s time to build your playset. Most wooden sets include anchors that are drilled into the earth and connected to the set to keep them from toppling or being destroyed in severe winds.
While all our sets are perfectly stable on their own you can grab however many anchors you need to add that extra bit of support. They are great if you live in an area that experiences frequent storms or hurricanes. Still, other sets have stakes that need to be cemented in the ground, especially if your soil is softer or even sandier. Just follow the guidelines that come with your playset.
Whatever type of anchoring is required, build the set and adequately anchor it before filling up the adjacent area with safety material. For many of our sets you can choose to have it professionally installed, or you can make it a family affair and set it up over the weekend with your relatives or friends.
You may also have to install a barrier to protect against weeds, depending on your arrangement and the kind of yard you have. This offers a few advantages. It prevents weed growth and soil erosion beneath your playground and protects your playset safety material from dirt and mud contamination.
Step 4: Apply a Protective Layer to the Surface
After you’ve built your set and installed drainage strips and weed barriers, fill the landing spot with shock-absorbing material.
Never position your playset on hard surfaces such as concrete, packed earth, or blacktop because they could lead to injuries in case of falls. There are numerous protective materials to select from. These include: wood chips or mulch, engineered wood fiber, rubber mulch, rubber tiles or poured rubber, and turf or artificial grass.
We do not recommend utilizing grass or bare earth as protective surface covers since they do not cushion well. Sand and gravel are not good either. While they are cheaper, gravel is a choking hazard, and picking up litter from sand is not easy.
Step 5: Allow Your Children to Have Fun
Once your protective surface material is in place, your playset is ready for use, so let the youngsters loose!
Nothing beats watching your children enjoy themselves on a structure you built with your own hands. Whether you decide to go with a swing set or a playset, it’ll be a worthy gift for your kids, and they’re sure to enjoy it for many years to come.
Hopefully, this guide has got you rolling up your sleeves and ready to build your kid’s outdoor adventure. Installing a playset doesn’t have to be hard. Just by following these simple guidelines you will be well on your way in creating the ideal play space.
We offer a variety of playground equipment such as swing sets, slides, and numerous accessories as well. We guarantee our sets are built to last and will hold up against rot, insect damage, and much more for years to come.
Furthermore, all non-wood components come with a one-year warranty against defects in workmanship or materials. However, cosmetic issues that do not compromise the structural quality of the product, as well as natural wood flaws such as splitting, warping, checking, twisting, swelling, shrinking, or any other physical attributes of wood that do not pose a security risk, are not covered. So don’t delay. Choose the set that’s right for you and take your kid’s next outdoor play day to the next level!
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