How to Create a Safe Play Area for Swing Sets


When it comes to swing sets, fun is the priority for children. For adults, the priority is ensuring that the swing set structure and the area around it are safe for use. Playground safety is not something to take lightly. Being vigilant about the location, materials and maintenance of your swing set will ensure that the fun can continue for many years.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Protective surface material (pea gravel, sand, wood chips, recycled rubber mulch)
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Sandpaper


  • Choose the best location possible for the swing set. Avoid any ground that is sloped or uneven. Select an area a considerable distance away from dangerous obstacles such as wires, roots, stumps, low branches, rocks, and concrete. Create a safe zone of at least six feet in front of and behind the swings, free of debris and other structures.

  • Cover the safe area with a protective surface covering. Choose pea gravel, sand, wood chips, or recycled rubber mulch. Make sure it is at least four inches deep over the entire area.

  • Use the proper hardware when assembling the swing set. Choose bolts and screws recommended by the manufacturer. Use lock washers and self-locking nuts to prevent bolts from loosening over time. Cap all exposed bolts, close "S" hooks, and use hardware resistant to corrosion.

  • Anchor the swing set securely as instructed by the manufacturer. Bury the anchors and all other ground-level hazards or cover them with protective surface material.


  • Check nuts and bolts once a month and tighten as necessary.

  • Check for signs of corrosion or deterioration twice a year.

  • Rake and level the protective surface area periodically. Add protective surface fill twice a year to maintain a four-inch depth.

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