How to Build Wood Playsets


Building backyard wood playsets can seem daunting. The kits generally come with hundreds of unlabeled wood pieces and a jumble of metal hardware. The instructions can be difficult to follow and the steps are not always presented in a logical order. To save yourself hours in constructing your wood playsets, read on!

Things You'll Need

  • Wood playset
  • Masking tape
  • Black marker
  • Pencil
  • Large plastic bowl or tray
  • Ziploc bags
  • Tools
  • Take inventory and label all wood pieces
    Open all of the cardboard cartons and remove the wood components. Unless you're extremely lucky, just about every piece will be unlabeled. Sort the pieces into piles, roughly by size and shape. Locate the instruction guide and start the inventory. As you match a wood piece to the picture in the guide, use masking tape and a black marker to create a label. Stick the label onto one of the ends and place the piece back into a carton. Place a small check next to the item in the guide to show that you've located and labeled the piece.

    If any major wood pieces are missing or damaged, stop here and phone the playset manufacturer for replacements. There should be an 800 number listed in the instruction guide.

  • Sort all metal hardware
    Locate the large plastic bags of metal hardware. Open one bag and pour into the plastic bowl or tray. Using the instruction guide, start matching up the fastener combinations (for example, bolt+nut+washer). Once you've found all of the pieces of a certain fastener combination, put them into a small ziploc bag and label the bag with a black marker. Check off the fastener type on the instruction guide.

    If you're missing any hardware, it's usually easier and faster to purchase replacements at a local hardware store.

  • Build smaller sub-units
    Most wood playsets will have sub-units that can be built separately from the main structure. These include items such as ladders, climbing walls, rope ladders, tic tac toe boards, etc. It will be much easier to assemble the playset if you build these pieces first. You can also build one of these sub-units in less than an hour typically, so it's a great way to get started. You can also snap together and fasten any of the plastic components, such as swings and slides. The more of these you do up front, the easier the final assembly will be.

  • Assemble the playset
    Go back to the beginning of the instruction guide and start assembling the structure. If you've completed Steps 1-3, the final assembly can typically be completed in about a weekend.

Tips & Warnings

  • Having your kids help you sort hardware is a great way to get them involved.

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