A swing set is a great addition to any backyard. It provides hours of entertainment for energy-filled kids and gets them away from the TV for a while. The best part — if you’re into DIY projects — is that you can build it yourself.
But how do you make sure that when you build it, it will last until your kids are grown — or even until your grandkids can have their turn spending quality time outdoors?
First, you’ll need to figure out the size of your swing set — not just how tall it will be, but how much space it will take up in your yard, how much room you’ll have between the swings, etc. If the ground is particularly tough, putting a sandbox around the swing set can provide a softer landing for the kids.
Next, you’ll need to gather materials and tools. Supplies include the following:
- Circular saw
- Cordless drill
- Two A-frame brackets
As stated earlier, the size and amount of supplies needed for your specific project depend on how big you want your swing set to be, but there are plenty of DIY swing set guides online to help you get started.
Can we build it?
Now that you’ve gathered all the materials, it’s time to build the sucker. Attach the four supporting legs together in pairs using the A-frame bracket, a wrench and bolts. Install the hardware for your swings on the top supporting beam and secure it to the A-frame brackets to connect the four supporting legs.
Next, secure the supporting legs by fastening a 4-by-4 between the posts. Dig four holes where the supporting beams will go and fill them with concrete — this holds the support beams in place.
Making it durable
There are quite a few ways you can make your swing set last as long as possible. Building with sturdy lumber, such as pressure-treated wood and naturally durable lumber — like cedar, cypress or redwood — can help the swing set resist wear and tear. Apply a waterproof primer to protect the wood from warping and rotting.
It’s also important to make sure that bolts and screws are firmly in place when securing materials together. Use lock washers to prevent bolts and screws from loosening over time and potentially causing an accident.
Sure, a swing set needs to be fun, but making it safe should be your first priority. Build the swing set on even ground so it doesn’t shimmy when the kids are swinging. Make sure the concrete you used to secure the support beams is even with the ground, to avoid tripping.
Buy swings that have closed hooks and that come with material that protects tiny fingers from being pinched. If you do decide to create a “safety area” around your swing set, fill it with kid-friendly materials such as sand, shredded rubber or hardwood wooden fiber.
Don’t limit your yard to this suggestion — there are numerous options for creating the perfect outdoor playground. Let your kids help with the project (using precautionary measures, of course) so they can better appreciate the new addition to playtime.
Originally posted on October 31, 2013 @ 7:20 pm