You have wanted to get a playset for your kids for some time. You have seen them online and maybe you’ve been tempted to buy one. However, there is one thing that prevents you from making that final commitment – your fear of installing it.
Playset installation can seem intimidating on the surface. With all of their pieces and hardware, they can look like a complex apparatus that requires years of experience to put together. Yet, in reality, anyone can install a playset.
In this article, we are tackling the art of putting together a playset to help you feel confident about installing one yourself. We will cover all of the steps from location planning to understanding the instructions and the required tools. If you’re unsure about other steps in the whole playset process, check out our guide on everything you need to know about buying a playset.
Ready? Let’s get started.
How Skilled Do I Need to Be?
Most manufacturers design their playsets and swing sets with parents in mind. Regardless of how complex they appear to be, if you have some basic skills and can enlist some help from your spouse or neighbor, there is no reason you should not be able to install a playset. There are services available for installation; however, they can add unnecessary cost.
Putting the Steps in Order
Although there are many ways to approach playset installation, we found that the steps below will prevent you from making too many mistakes or overlooking any details. Check out our playset installation steps below.
Plan Where It Will Go
Though it seems like a no-brainer, you would be surprised at how many folks do not put a ton of time into this step. Before you purchase a playset, measure the dimensions of your backyard space. If you have a desired location for the playset, measure that separately and accurately. Most professional installers will tell you that the biggest issue they encounter when installing a playset is the owner’s miscalculations in measurements.
It is also important to take safety into account. Playsets will often have slides and swings that create momentum. Make sure you have at least a six-foot buffer zone on all sides, so your children will not risk being flung into a hard barrier. Be aware of cement pavers, sprinkler heads, and other objects that can cause injuries. Make sure the ground is level. Once you have those measurements and taken into consideration impediments, then you can purchase a playset right for your backyard.
Prepare Your Backyard
Once you have decided on a safe and appropriate location for the playset, it is time to prepare your yard. The most important part of yard preparation is leveling the playset area ground. Anchors on playsets are meant to keep the unit stable. However, if there is any slope, it can cause the playset to move with any force applied to it, causing unsafe conditions.
The best way to accomplish this is to place a wooden stake at each corner and outline the area with twine. Using a level to determine possible slopes, start removing grass and dirt at the high areas, gradually bringing them to an even plane with your lowest level.
Skim the Instructions
You may feel overwhelmed when you first open the playset installation instructions. The best way to get over this feeling is to skim the instructions and highlight important points. Read over the parts and hardware descriptions to familiarize yourself with each item.
Take Your Time
Once you do your first once over on the instructions, go through them a second time. Remove each piece and the hardware. Please make certain that you can identify each by matching them with the diagrams provided in the instructions. Separate and organize them so you can find them quickly and with as little stress as possible.
Highlight Important Steps or Potential Stopping Points
Once you have completed your organization, it is time to set your step order. Most instructions have an order of installation that they recommend. However, there are significant points where tasks may become slightly more complex. Some steps will take a considerable amount of time. It is critical to highlight these steps to be aware of any time constraints or plan when you start your project.
There may also be potential stopping points during the installation. It is vital to note these natural breaks in the steps. They can serve two purposes. One, they will allow you to re-evaluate your progress, ensuring that you have done each step correctly. Two, they will allow you to recognize steps where you may need to enlist assistance.
Take Note of Where One Person Can Work on Installation
When you organize your task list, please make certain you take note of the number of people it will take to most easily complete a required task. One person can do many steps during installment. However, when getting to the bulkier pieces, or if any mounting is required, it is a good idea to recognize those times and plan accordingly.
What You’ll Need
As with any work task, you must have all the required time and items available before beginning your project. Here is what you need to have ready before starting your installation.
Patience and Time to Focus
The main challenge in installing a playset is not putting it together but allowing yourself the time necessary to complete each task correctly. Schedule a specific time period that will not be interrupted, and be patient with each part of the installation process. By doing so, you will be able to focus and avoid mistakes.
Tools That Will be Required
There are some basic tools you will need to do the job properly. Here is our list.
Standard or Cordless Drill with Phillips Bit
Most playsets will come with a collection of many screws. Unless you want to be spending all day with a handheld screwdriver, you need to drill to complete this task. If you have a cordless drill, all the better, as it will allow your more freedom to get into tight spaces with a cord getting in the way. Most screws will come in 1/8th, 1/4th, and 7/16ths measurements, so have the proper sizes accordingly. If you do not have a cordless drill, make certain you have an extension cord. Regardless of the power supply to your drill, you’ll want to be sure it has enough power to handle a heavy duty job.
It is crucial to follow general safety guidelines when using any power tool. The experts at Occupational Health and Safety have safety tips to follow and observe before beginning your project.
Wrench or Socket Wrench
Bolts are another common component of playset construction. Having a quality wrench and socket wrench set will ensure your installment is solid while, at the same time, limiting the amount of physical exertion required.
Tape Measure and Pencil
It is vital to make certain that you are placing your playset in the appropriate spot to ensure stability and safety. Have a tape measure and pencil ready to go.
Hammer and Mallet
Hammers are always a good tool to have on hand if nailing is required or making joints fit tightly. A standard hammer for driving nails and a rubber mallet to fit joints without damaging parts is necessary.
Most professional installers will tell you that one of the most common problems people have when installing a play themselves is mounting the playset on uneven ground. A level is vital to ensure this does not occur. A 90-degree post level is a plus for the job!
Enlist a Helper
Before you start your project, make certain that you have your help lined up and ready to go at specific times. Nothing is more frustrating than completing all the tasks that require a single person, only to be held up for days or weeks because of not having the help needed to complete the remainder of the project.
It is a good idea to sort components out in the order of the task at hand and correspond them with the tool needed to complete the job. By doing so, you will save time and energy.
Stay on Schedule
Some projects are easy to do in increments with a large amount of time between work. However, we recommend that you stay on task and keep to a fairly strict schedule to complete installing your playset.
Projects that are not attended to tend not to get done promptly. Also, working on a task such as this is about flow. Losing momentum will delay completion and make it more difficult as you may have to re-familiarize yourself with its instructions and components.
Familiarize Yourself with Playset Safety
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the best safety practices before allowing your children to use the playset. We will share some safety tips in a future article.
Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor
Once you have completed your installation, you’ll want to crack open a cold one and pat yourself on the back – and you very well should! Though playsets are made for children, you did this so that you could spend time with your little ones while they are enjoying their backyard’s new centerpiece. You may not be able to climb on the playset yourself, but the joy of watching your children enjoy the fruits of your labor can be every bit as satisfying to you as it is to them.