How to Build a Simple Outdoor Playground


Playgrounds are essential components of childhood diversion, building strength and flexibility while encouraging creativity. As with many items designed for children, simplicity is often better than complexity. Simple playgrounds require a more active imagination for their use, and children tend to adjust to these demands rather quickly. The most important factor in the construction of a simple outdoor playground will typically be safety: make a playground safe, and children can entertain themselves for hours on the structures without interruption. Following simple safety guidelines, then, is key to the process of building a playground.

Things You'll Need

  • Power drill
  • 2” bore bit
  • Post digger
  • Saw
  • Sander
  • Safety material (pebbles, sand, mulch, rubber, etc.)
  • Search in libraries or on the Internet for playground building plans that suit your needs. Simplicity is in the eye of the beholder, so it is important to look at a variety of plans before choosing the one that is right for you.

  • Follow the plan design closely. The stability of the structure is often dependent on the length, size, and shape of each component. Deviating too far is tantamount to building a playground from scratch.

  • Cut all lumber and drill all holes before proceeding. It is necessary to mount primary posts in cement for safety, and it can be exceedingly difficult to accurately measure and attach the surrounding equipment if it hasn't been prepared. Be sure to use the two inch bore bit to create recesses around all bolt ends so that they do not jut out and create a safety hazard.

  • Use the post digger to make holes at least two feet deep, then pour concrete and set the main posts in the holes. Use stakes and wire to secure the posts so that they are straight while waiting for the cement to set.

  • Wait for the cement to dry. Once it has, you can then attach all surrounding equipment by simply ratcheting the bolts in place through the pre-drilled holes.

  • Apply a safety surface material throughout the playground that extends to a minimum of six feet beyond the playground structures in all directions. If using a natural material such as mulch, sand, or pebbles, you'll need at least a 12 inch thickness of application to provide proper cushioning. If you're using rubber mats or rubber mulch, simply follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

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