Building a Wood Playset for the Girls

I’ve been wanting to get a wooden playset for the girls to put in the back yard. But, if you’ve spent any time pricing new playsets, you’ve probably experienced some of the sticker shock I got. The cheap ones I saw at Walmart (that resembled what I had in mind) go for $900. A quick look online at Amazon shows that most of the complete sets there go for $1200 and more. I don’t want a flimsy cheap playset, but $1200 for a backyard playset is not in the budget. This sounds like a job for DIY Dad!

Step one was to start watching the Craig’s List free section for a used swing set. All kinds of great stuff is always popping up over there. But nice wooden swing sets don’t come up very often and they get snapped up fast (within minutes sometimes.) I saw 2 or 3 playsets show up, but never got a reply in fast enough – someone always beat me to it.

One day I got lucky and landed a free slide. Then I saw a listing for a pile of used deck lumber from a person who’s deck was damaged in last year’s tornadoes. The girls and I spent a few hours riding around in the van strapping various bits of free stuff to the roof. Now DIY Dad had a pile of wood and a slide!

I had to buy some things to go with the freebies. I spent a few hundred dollars getting screws, glue, bolts, some wood to supplement the free pile, and a can of solid color wood stain to give everything a nice even color when the project is finished.

The free wood did not include the 4×4 posts I needed for the upright supports on the club house portion of the playset. So, I had to cut down some of the larger boards and doubled them up with screws and glue to make what I needed.

This is still a work in progress. I have to get the swings and chains and then install them. I also need to sand and stain everything. We need a roof cover for the top (I’m planning to use a canvas painting drop cloth for that) and I’ll need to make a cover for the sandbox area before I fill it so the neighborhood cats don’t use it as a giant litter box.

Once the project is completed I plan to post a more detailed article about how I built this wooden playset.

The girls are already climbing the ladder and playing in the fort. They love the slide too. Of course, I’ve already got improvements in mind too!

What do you think?

Andrew Seltz

Andrew was born in Michigan, raised there and in Tennessee, and has since lived outside Orlando, in Chicago, New York City, and now Birmingham, Alabama. He produces videos and websites for a living and is married to a beautiful, generous, loving woman who also happens to be a talented actress and writer - www.ellenseltz.com. They have two daughters.

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