It won’t be hard to coax your children into the backyard once you’ve built a DIY playground out there.
Starting with a central climbing structure and adding components like a ladder, rock wall, slide, and swing, this playground will appeal to kids of all ages. Young children can safely play in the lower sandbox, while their older siblings or friends climb, swing, and zipline from the upper level.
Best of all, this playground is entirely flexible. You can build the central two-level climbing structure in about a week. Scale it up whenever you like by adding on new playground features.
Main DIY Playground Features
- Central Climbing Structure: The heart of the DIY playground is the four-post, two-level central climbing structure. Here, kids can scamper up a ladder to the upper level or they can play below. It’s a sturdy hub for all other features.
- Ladder: A short ladder that you easily build from scratch brings kids from the ground level to the upper level.
- Rock Climbing Wall: Kids can hone their rock-climbing skills with this short rock wall that’s tilted slightly for safety. Molded rock holds purchased separately screw easily onto the rock wall base.
- Sandbox: Two-by-ten skirt boards at the base of the climbing structure provide extra stability. They’re also built-in walls for a sandbox. Just add sand and you’re ready to go.
- Slide: The central structure is a perfect place to attach a plastic slide.
- Swing: Purchase or make a swing, with one end of the upper bar attached to the central climbing structure and the other end elevated on its own stand.
- Extra Fun Features: Purchase or make flags, a ship’s wheel or steering wheel, telescope, or zip line and add to the upper level of the playground.
Cost of a DIY Playground
Building your own DIY playground will be considerably cheaper than building a premade playground system.
Expect to pay $3,500 to $5,000 for a premade playground with a similar raised upper level, including a sandbox, picnic table, two-person swing, and an enclosed clubhouse on top.
At the lower end of the premade price range, a small two-level playground more appropriate for preschoolers, with an enclosed playhouse, staircase, and ladder, runs around $750 to $1,000.
This project’s DIY playhouse will cost between $800 to $1,500. The central climbing structure, ladder, and sandbox alone will cost in the lower range of this estimate. The main price drivers are extra features that you purchase, such as the slide, swing, or zipline.
Permits and Codes
Municipalities have different approaches to permitting for backyard play structures. Some communities allow one- or two-story structures, such as playground sets, under certain size and height limits. Sizes may range from 120 to 200 square feet. Maximum height limits may range up to 12 feet. Check with your local permitting office for guidance, and check any HOA regulations, if applicable.
Observe all safety precautions for working with power tools. Take care when working on the playground’s upper level.
Source: The Spruce