A swing set tends to be the centre of attention in any outdoor play area. And why not? Children of all ages, as well as adults, can have lots of fun on the swings and slides. Nevertheless, to ensure that you purchase the correct swing set for your garden and set it up properly, we’ve prepared a short guideline that will set you well on your way.
Choosing a swing set
Before even looking at any children’s garden swing or kids slide, you need to size up the yard and measure the exact available area in your garden. Choose a flat area with no obstruction or chance of future obstruction, like a growing tree. If there are any small saplings growing on the ground, pull it out.
Your measurement must also include the projected maximum swinging area (the farthest distance where your feet and head could reach while swinging). A buffer of between six and eight feet should be sufficient. In addition, you should probably leave some room for future expansion in the event your family grows. Two swings and a slide might be enough for a family of three, but in a few years, it will be too small for a family of five or six.
It is also worth checking if the local council has any height or building restrictions, or permit requirement.
Next, decide on the material of the playset. While flat grain wood like redwood and cedar looks great, they do require the occasional maintenance, and there is always a risk of rotting or insect infestation. Plastic sets look less attractive, but they are cheaper – and you don’t have to worry about rots or stray splinters. Nevertheless, the climate can turn the surface colour into something sickly. Nothing a fresh coat of paint can’t handle though.
Installing a swing set
While your children may be eager to help, they should be nowhere near the garden when you are setting the swing set. If you have no experience working with your hands, don’t experiment. Find a carpenter to help you – it will be cheaper in the long run.
Ensure that all individual components of the swing set are anchored to the ground. If you are concerned about rocking when they are used, dig a hole in the ground and secure the base of the swing set to a cement footing. This will cost a little extra, but it will guarantee that your swing set will remain solid and secure for a long, long time.
Once the setup is concluded, there are two more things you need to do. The first is to run your fingers over all surfaces with bolts and screws. Tighten and flush them to ensure no one will be cut from an exposed head in future.
The second and final thing is to test each component of the play set up to the maximum published weigh. Sit on the swing, slide down the slide, climb the crawl bars – try everything twice over.
Ideally, let the swing set bed in for a couple of nights first before allowing your children and family members to use it.
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