Backyard Playgrounds

Backyard Playgrounds: Turn Your Backyard into a Playground

Backyard playgrounds are meant to be enjoyed by a few children at a time, versus parks that can hold up to dozens of children at once. Backyard playgrounds are meant to be smaller, can be geared towards individual interests of certain children and can be made as big or as small as the builder wants. Many parents use a kit to create their children's dream “park” in their own back yard, while other parent's build a play set from scratch using lumber and parts from a local hardware store. Whatever method that is used, the children will be sure to enjoy their own swing, slide and climbing toys in the backyard of their home.

A popular choice for backyard playgrounds is constructing a set made of lumber. These sets can cost around $3,000 versus metal and plastic sets which can be more inexpensive, costing around $1,000. Most swing sets that are purchased in major department stores are even cheaper, but may not be as safe as more expensive equipment sold by playground distributors. The inexpensive department store play sets are not often made of high quality products, cannot be secured safely into the ground and do not withstand the weather very well. Both lumber sets and the higher quality swing sets can withstand more weather damage and often can be secured firmly in the ground to help prevent injuries to users.

A benefit to buying a backyard playground is that they play set can be customized to a child's interest. For example, if a children love to climb a parent can build a playset with a rock climbing wall, cargo net, ladders, ramps and climbing arches. If a child loves to dig, playsets may have a sand, dirt or water box attached them. Other customizable options include belt swings, trapezes, periscopes, steering wheels, different kind of slides. Since these sets are modular, it makes it easy to add to them over time, or take away the equipment that the children are no longer interested in.

Keeping your backyard playground safe is the most important part of the construction process. Installing equipment that is age appropriate to the primary users of the equipment is the most obvious first step of the safety process. Also, all open spaces of the equipment should be smaller than 3 inches or larger than 9 inches, so small heads cannot get stuck. Also, remember to put the slide away from the swings, have a six foot safety zone all equipment and play area (meaning no bushes, concretes or trees within 6 feet of the play set), use the highest quality materials that you can, try to use the softest surface possible (in case of falls), inspect equipment on a regular basis and teach your children about playground safety to reduce injuries.