If you want your kids to have the exercise they need, and at the same time give them something healthy to enjoy, try a play structure. You could pay someone to build one for you. But if you build it yourself, you'll not only save a bundle of cash, but will win your kid's hearts. And, you'll give them an incentive to play at home and stay out of trouble. This project will take some time and expense, but in the end you'll be glad you did it.
Step 1 – Preparation
Find a plan that will lay out all the structure's dimensions, the material you'll need, how to design the playground around the structure, where to place the structure. and even how to design your sprinkler system around your structure. Compare several plans and choose the one that will give you the size and layout you prefer. Take into account time and expense factors, as well as matching your structure size to the area in your yard in which you will build your structure.
Step 2 – Removing Your Sod
Removing your sod is an option. Leaving it in the play area will result in unnecessary maintenance to mow and trim the grass and replace worn patches. Removing it will be your best bet, even with the $40 to $50 rental cost it will take to rent a sod cutter. In addition, you will need a pickup truck to haul it, and a friend or older child to help you load and unload it. Plan on taking about an hour to do 1,000 square feet of sod. The best way to cut the sod is to first cut around the perimeter of your area, then make back and forth cuts, either horizontally or vertically.
Step 3 - Prepare Your Post Holes
Check your plans to determine the number of posts you'll need. Dig holes about 1 foot deep for each of your posts if you plan is to plant them in concrete. Without concrete, dig them about 8 inches deep. Add about 2 inches of gravel to each hole. You can use concrete to plant your post holes in, but it won't be necessary. Keep in mind you may in the future want to move your structure.
Step 4 – Spread Mulch
Lay landscaping plastic sheets on the ground where you plan to place your mulch. This will prevent weeds from later growing up through the mulch. Spread 3 to 4 inches of mulch, such as redwood chips, across the plastic. Bagged chips will be easier and faster to transport to your playground than using bulk chips, but will also be more expensive.
Step 5 – Estimating and Ordering Your Lumber
Check with your structure plan to determine the types and amounts of lumber pieces you'll need. Most likely you'll need to either have the lumber delivered, or if you plan to pick it up, yourself, you'll need a truck larger than a pickup.
Step 6 – Building Your Structure
Follow your plan instructions, and begin building your structure.