One of the reasons why you want to have a swing set is because your kid is ecstatic about having one. As a parent, safety is always the priority for our children, and a swing set installation must be thoroughly prepared to ensure safety and avoid injuries.
You have some preparation to do before installing a swing set in your backyard. You need to make sure you have enough space and a safe area. In choosing the perfect spot, you have to consider the visibility, overhead obstacles, and options on leveling the ground to ensure that the swing set will be installed safely.
In this article, we will discuss what you need to prepare for your backyard swing set. We will tackle the list of perfect locations and how to level your ground for your swing set to ensure safety and have it last longer.
Preparing Your Backyard for a Swing Set
When installing a swing set in your backyard, you have some preparation to do. You need to make sure that the area is safe by choosing the perfect spot, anchoring the equipment to the ground, and choosing the safe and right materials.
Putting up a swing set isn’t an easy thing to execute. But with preparation, you can make sure the area is child-friendly. Meanwhile, an improper installation can jeopardize your child’s safety. Thus, here is what you need to do before installing a backyard swing set.
Prepare for Your Swing Set
Before installing a swing set, you have to make sure you have enough space for it. It is the first step of the preparation. Start measuring the bounds of your backyard to ensure that a swing set will fit perfectly.
You could either buy a swing set and decide where to put it or measure the area before purchasing one. You have to be careful with this step because minor errors can lead to bigger problems in the future.
Here are the things you should consider before getting a swing set.
Have enough space around the swing set
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, you must leave at least 6 feet on each side of the swing set or any playground structure.
The area might need to be bigger depending on the swing set
The area surrounding your swing set must be twice its height. The height reference is the height from the ground to the beams that hold your swing set. Once you’ve taken the measurements, double and calculate how large your play area will be for a swing set.
Keep obstacles in mind
When deciding on having a swing set, you have to consider the surrounding obstacles. Avoid putting your swing set near or close to other structures in your backyard, including fences, decks, sheds, and your house itself.
Even if you think that your swing set will fit in your backyard, having it close to a fence may cause accidents, injuries, and maybe get trapped while your kids are playing. Also, in choosing a proper location, you have to avoid trees, power lines, and other utility lines.
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Choose the Best Location for Your Swing Set
Choosing a large location for your swing set is a crucial factor to consider. While having a large space for your swing and other play area is the top priority, there are other things to consider as well.
You need to make sure that the location of your swing set is undoubtedly safe and clear of anything hazardous. Thus, avoid putting a swing set directly under a roof or overhang porch or under a tree to avoid injury from falling branches and limbs.
Power lines must be kept away from the swing set and other outdoor decorations as well.
Sprinkler and utility lines
While anchoring and leveling the ground for your swing set, you must be keen on running on important utility lines, such as gas, internet lines, and other wires and pipes. Watch out for these lines to prevent accidents and expenses related to the damages.
Also, avoid placing your swing set directly on sprinklers, well casing and caps, and other backyard components. You can contact your local utility service provider to inspect your area for any possible lines. They will mark the areas where lines are located so you can avoid them.
Place your swing set in a highly visible spot that can be viewed from any windows and doors of your house, as you won’t always be in your backyard guarding your kids while they play. Thus, visibility is an important factor to consider as well.
Keeping an eye on your children while they play is a basic rule of swing set safety. Choose your swing set’s location wisely and make sure you can see it from any room.
Level Your Yard
Part of the installation process of a swing set is to use a leveled surface. Most backyards don’t have a perfect level ground, so you have to clear and start leveling your yard to have a safe installation with proper anchor points for your swing set.
Ground leveling is very labor-intensive but isn’t hard to map out. Besides, the concept of leveling the ground doesn’t take much brainpower.
You can level your ground for a swing set in three ways:
- Dig the sod to an even level.
- Add rubber mulch or any other material to an enclosed surface.
- Add cement blocks to level out the support of the swing set.
Although you can combine these ways, you can also use your specifications and personal preferences for your swing set. Adding rubber mulch is the best way to achieve a leveled ground but it can be expensive.
Each option provides the safety and longevity of your swing set. Here’s how to apply each ground leveling option.
Digging the sod to an even level
Digging the sod to an even level is the most common option when leveling a ground. With this option, you have to remove extra dirt that causes your ground to be uneven. Also, digging the sod to even the ground can be labor-intensive, although it is not difficult to do.
These options can be done regardless of your swing set’s size. Most people prefer this option because it is inexpensive and can be done by yourself. However, keep in mind that leveling too much of your ground has its downsides, especially if heavy rain comes.
If you take up the majority of your yard, be sure to plan for water drainage that could accumulate in a downpour. To dig the sod to even your ground for your swing set:
- Measure and mark the area to be leveled, including an extra one foot on each side of the swing set.
- Lightly water your lawn a few times before digging the sod to make the process easier.
- Find the lowest part of the plot that needs to be leveled. The easiest way to make sure that you are in the lowest area is by using a long and flat wooden board.
- Dig 2 to 3 inches below the surface of the lowest part of the ground that you want to level for your swing set.
- Section your ground to achieve an even level. You can use a stake or flag in the ground and tie it using twine between the two to create a baseline to section off portions.
- Test whether or not your ground is even. You can either test the evenness by taking a longboard and placing it on the ground, then checking it section by section, or by putting stakes in the ground and tying a string to them.
Adding Rubber Mulch
Adding a surface like rubber mulch can help you level the ground for your swing set. It is often done combined with the first option.
Rubber mulch has a longer lifespan than its counterparts, is weather-resistant, and neither splinter nor create fall hazards. It can be a permanent option for your backyard but it is expensive for a start. Here are the guiding steps to add rubber mulch, after you’ve dug the sod:
- Complete the surface with rubber mulch. The thicker the mulch, the more protection it will provide. Eight to 12 inches is the recommended thickness of rubber mulch for optimum protection.
- Include edging and surface enclosure to prevent the rubber mulch from seeping into your backyard. Edging comes in a few options — plastic playground border, plastic edging stake, or homemade wooden ones.
Add Blocks to the Support
If you don’t want to level your ground by yourself, you can try adding more structure to the support of the swing set. Then, you can add cement blocks or other options.
If you choose this option, consider adding some type of protective covering to the block to avoid any slipping hazards. For instance, adding sand at the top of the cement block is helpful if you have toddlers around.
At the end of the day, it is important to ensure that this option is completely secure in your backyard. After you level the ground for your swing set, it is ready to be installed. Don’t forget to double-check the features for safety and longevity reasons. Here are other finishing touches before installing your swing set:
- Ensure that crossbeams between A-frames run parallel to the ground.
- Prevent the swing set from sinking.
- Measure the clearance from any hazards.
- Conduct a noise test.
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Preparing your yard for a swing set is a process that demands time, effort, and detailed view, but it is all for the safety and enjoyment of your kids.
As long as you follow the leveling process correctly, install the safety materials properly, and leave enough space around your swing set to provide a safe play area for your children, it is good to go for your kids to enjoy and savor the swing set experience.