How to prep your yard for your playset

A stable playset is more fun and lasts longer!

When you install a playset in your yard, you will be your child’s hero! And knowing that you’ve installed it correctly will give you peace of mind that the set is safe and stable, and it will make the set more fun for your kids to play on. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choices in choosing the location and prepping the area in your yard for your new playset.

First, it is important to select an area that is clear of trees, fences and other hazards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requires an area that is at least 6 feet from buildings, trees, large rocks, or fences from the outside dimensions of the playset. If your set has swings, you’ll also need to make sure you leave space that is equal to twice the distance of the height of the swings. Finally avoid powerlines and overhangs from trees or buildings. Never place a playset on pavement.

Next, take the time to level the ground by using a string-level or long level and excavating several inches below the ground or grass surface. It’s best to dig out any sod or grass,  6 feet wider than the set, to help level the surface and create a border wide enough to create a safe area for play.  Make sure the bottom of the excavated area is also level. Don’t put any surface material into the leveled area until AFTER you have installed the playset.

Once you’ve leveled an area big enough for the set, it’s time to think about how to orient your set. How do you want to orient the various elements so your kids will want to play with them? Are you leaving enough space for the swings?

As you install the set, make sure to follow the instructions carefully. Regardless of the material the set is made from, all playsets need to be anchored to the ground.  Once the set is in place and anchored, it’s time to add a surface for play. Shock-absorbing rubber mulch provides the best measure of safety for falls from height, but some people prefer wood mulch. Keep in mind, you’ll need about 9 inches of wood mulch to equal the shock-absorption that you’ll get from 4 inches of rubber mulch. We recommend against using any type of gravel or asphalt, as they don’t provide much safety.

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