A swing set is a real joy of childhood and is a place for kids to play and imagine. It can be a great source of treasured memories. If you want to give your kids the gift of a well-constructed swing set, it all begins with preparation. It will enhance the enjoyment of the swing set and ensure your children’s safety. Getting your yard ready is an essential step.
This guide will help you create a safe space for your children to enjoy their new swing set. Following these simple steps and tips, you will ensure your children’s excellent experience that they will cherish for a lifetime. And it will also give you the peace of mind that they will be doing so safely.
Select the Location
Finding the right location for the swing set is critical for safety and enjoyment. Check for these obstacles:
- Underline utilities and sprinkler pipes. The best thing to do is contact local services to have them check for underground wiring or pipes. The last thing you want is to hit one of these and either cause injury or must pay the cost to fix the damages.
- Overhead power lines, roof overhangs, and tree limbs. These can be substantial safety hazards if they should fall on or around the swing set. They could potentially cause injury or death.
Your swing set should be far away from potentially dangerous obstacles. Think of things on the ground in your yard that could be a safety hazard, such as large rocks or yard equipment.
The set needs at least six feet of open space in every direction, measured from the equipment’s edge. Be sure to include enough space to place a protective layer in front and behind swings. When possible, keep bare-metal platforms and slides out of the direct sun. Metal can get extremely hot in direct sunlight and can cause burns when in use.
Determine Your Swing Set
When you know the space available for the swing set, it’s time to pick out the equipment. You can find sets in wood, metal, and vinyl-coated wood. While all these materials offer a high level of durability, there are some drawbacks to each. Wood requires more maintenance to ensure resistance to rot over time. Metal, while less maintenance is needed, can be uncomfortable in hotter climates. Vinyl-coated wood is more durable than ordinary wood but can be prone to rot that you will not be able to see.
Select a set that has a five-foot deck to maximize the time your kids can use the equipment. A shorter deck makes it less attractive as kids grow taller. Choose designs that will grow with your kids but aren’t dangerous for them at their current age. For example, climbing walls aren’t recommended for children four years or below.
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A level surface ensures the playset won’t tip over during rigorous play. Plus, it provides that you install the equipment properly. For example, if you set up a swing set with a tube slide, and the bottom of the slide is lower than the rest of the equipment, it can put excess pressure on the slide structure.
- Measure and mark the playground area with wooden stakes and tie string or twine to the stakes to create a perimeter.
- Use a carpenter level to ensure the strings are level, adjusting the stakes as needed.
- Use a shovel to remove grass and dirt from inside the perimeter, beginning at the highest point.
- Gauge the depth from the twine to the base of the hole. The depth depends on what type of absorbent material you are using.
- Use the level at several points around the base to ensure that it is level.
Choose Your Protective Surface Material
Natural grass is not enough protection under swing sets. Experts recommend using sand, pea gravel, wood mulch, rubber mulch, or surface mats instead. Most should be installed at a minimum of nine inches deep.
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, rubber mulch is excellent because it doesn’t decompose. However, it needs to be 12 to 20 inches deep for proper protection. Check each option to determine which one works best for your situation.
Anchor the Swing Set
The last consideration is how you are going to anchor the swing set into the ground. An unanchored set is in danger of tipping over. And always anchor your swing set before laying down the protective layer.
Most wood swing sets that come as kits include an anchoring solution. You drive or screw the anchors into the ground and secure the equipment to those anchors. If you are building a custom set, you can purchase anchoring kits and brackets separately.
With these easy steps, your kids will be safe while they enjoy their new swing set.