By Gene and Katie Hamilton
To provide hours of safe and enjoyable fun and exercise outdoors, consider building a kid's play set in the backyard. Many are made of chemical-free wood or manmade timbers and include a variety of components like plastic molded swing seats, gliders, ladders and sliding tubes. The sets typically are designed for ground level, but many feature raised play environments too. Some systems are sold complete, while others offer individual components with plans you can design and build. You can see them in action at playground equipment companies and on display at home and garden centers. To find them online, type "playground equipment" in a search engine.
While online look for the instruction manuals for equipment you're considering. They are usually in .pdf files so you can download and print them to get an idea of what's involved in building it yourself. Here's an example from Backyard Discovery's manual Somerset.
A playground equipment company will charge $1,814 to install a good quality play set, which includes labor and material. You can buy the components for $1,400 and build it yourself, pocketing a 22 percent saving. Depending on where you live and the terrain of your property, you may have to pay a higher installation fee.
Don't want to do this job yourself? Find a contractor who has the skills and tools to do it right, click
Home Advisor, a free referral service that connects homeowners with local prescreened contractors.
When you're shopping for a play set, look for well-built components with recessed hardware and protective bolt caps. Plan to locate the play set in a level area that's free of obstructions or potential hazards and within view from the house. Allow for at least six feet of open area around it. And even though most of these play sets end up on grass, wood chips, sand or fine gravel is better because they absorb more impact from a fall.
Now you know the average cost to build a swing set, which includes the labor and material, and what’s involved, so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Don’t forget to adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020