A swing set can be a great addition to a yard. For young children, it’s a fantastic form of thrilling recreation. For parents, it’s a great outdoor activity for the kids where it’s also easy to keep an eye on them. Swings, a slide, monkey bars, and more can all become favorite activities!
Adding a swing set to your backyard can be a great addition to your yard. A quality one can even help raise your property value. You can have it installed or you can do it yourself, although it’s best to have a few friends over to help. Let’s look at some of the things to keep in mind when deciding on a swing set and setting it up.
Choosing A Spot For A Swing Set
The space you need to install this type of addition to your yard can vary because there are all different types and sizes of sets. The most basic set, with two individual swings or one wide swing, measures about three meters wide. With a slide and a trapeze swing, you’re looking at about four meters. But some units run anywhere from 6 to 15 meters, too.
If you have space, you might opt for a modular unit. This lets you expand as your budget allows – and as your family grows.
You also need to have enough space in front of and behind the swing set. Daring children will want to launch themselves from the swings. And you or older children will be able to stand behind and push, too. Two meters is needed for this. That’s measured from the forward and backward feet of the structure. That space should be clear and cushioned – as much as we love stamped concrete, you don’t want it too close to the swings!
It’s also important that this space be level. The equipment won’t function well if the whole system isn’t balanced. That could make them impossible to use or even dangerous. Be measure to level the ground before beginning to install the swing set.
There are other concerns about the spot, too. One is that you want it to be visible from the house. Pick a spot that you can see from a window that you’ll often be at. You want to be able to keep an eye on the children and see that they are using the equipment safely.
You also have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not going to have grass in the immediate area of the swing set. It will quickly get worn out by little feet pushing off to swing, serving as breaks at the bottom of the slide, and running around.
Finally, try to choose a spot that has shade in the afternoon, especially if you’re going to invest in a metal swing set. But even plastic can heat up, making it uncomfortable or even causing burns to exposed skin.
Installed Or DIY?
A swing set has a lot of parts that need to be put together correctly for the safety of your children. It takes time to sort everything out and assemble it.
The easiest and quickest option, of course, is to have someone else assemble it. Some stores that sell the equipment also offer this service. Or you could hire a local handyman, preferably someone with experience on this type of project.
If you choose to do it yourself, don’t underestimate the amount of time and work involved. Some of the pieces are quite large and can be heavy, especially if they’re made of wood. It can be tough work as a one-person job since you’ll have to attach supports and cross pieces that are over your head.
But that also means its a great chance to have a couple of friends over and enjoy the day while building something. Try to start early on a Saturday so you’ll have the whole day, and if necessary you can continue on Sunday. Be sure to ask them to bring tools so the work goes faster. But it’s good manners for you to provide the food and adult beverages!
Once you’re ready to start, first lay out all the pieces of your kit. It’s best to do this right in the location you want the swing set – it’s not something you’re going to want to move after it’s already started!
Be sure everything is there as indicated in the instructions. Also, be sure you know what each piece is and how it fits in. You might want to have a handful of plastic containers to sort the smaller pieces like bolts and nuts.
Follow the instructions carefully and make sure all joints are fastened tightly. Remember, your children are going to be playing here.
Cushioning The Landing
You want to make sure that the ground is suitable for a soft landing. There will be jumps and falls – that’s almost a given with playground equipment. So it’s important that the ground around them be forgiving.
As we mentioned, grass is unlikely to last long. So it’s best to consider other options.
Rubber playground mulch or rubber tiles are a good choice. They are also environmentally friendly since they generally come from recycled materials. The mulch might take a little care because you’ll have to rake it back into the area. And the tiles are probably the most expensive option. However, both provide a lot of padding and protection.
Wood chips are also soft and can absorb the impact of a young body jumping after a rousing round of “Higher, higher!”. However, they can trap moisture and will need to be replaced at times.
Play sand is another good alternative. You need about 12 inches of cover for it to be effective. While it does the job well, it’s sand and will get tracked everywhere. It can also be attractive for pets and strays to “do their business.”
Your children will love the opportunity to swing and slide right in their backyard! Adding a swing set is a great way to provide them with outdoor entertainment. It takes a bit of planning and hard work to get it assembled, but it’s all worth it when you see the smiles on their faces.