What’s tougher on outdoor play equipment – the weather, or your kids? Any playset you choose for your backyard play area has to meet both of these durability challenges. You’ll find no shortage of options out there, but how do you make the best choice for your yard and your family?
Here are some key considerations for choosing the best playset:
If your children are very small, looking for a playset they can grow into as their play interests change will give you the best return on your investment. Fortunately, many manufacturers offer interchangeable activity options.
How much room do you have? Playsets come in a variety of sizes, based on three basic designs:
- Angled-base – these are sturdy, with lots of deck space. You can adjust the height and add climbing options.
- Adjustable base – if your yard is not flat, this is the playset for you because each base-post can be individually height-adjusted to create a level play surface.
- Multi-level – these combine different types and heights of features, connecting them with bridges, ladders, etc.
Some playsets can accommodate as many as 10 children at once. This number depends not only on size, but also configuration and the specific play activities available.
For a quality playset, you’ll likely spend somewhere between $500 and $1,000. So ask about the warranty – these can vary considerably from one manufacturer to another. Ask about delivery fees, too. (Some companies will also install the playset if you don’t want to do it.)
Wood is a very popular material for play sets. Most are constructed of treated cedar or redwood, because these species resist rot and insects. Some playsets are constructed of metal, but installation requires setting posts in concrete, etc. The most durable and easiest to maintain playsets are vinyl — actually treated wood that is clad with vinyl.
Playsets come with certain play activities, but manufacturers can offer a mind-boggling assortment of add-ons to create a custom design. Typical features include one or more:
- Multiple levels with play decks
- Swings (full-buckets for little ones, or bench, belt, or tire swings for older kids)
- Slides (standard and wavy)
- Climbing ropes
- Rock walls
- Monkey bars
- Fort or clubhouse spaces
- Trapeze bars
- Gym rings
- Steering wheels
- Snack windows and seating
Makes you want to go out and play yourself, doesn’t it!
Manufacturers of swing sets and play equipment test their products for compliance with numerous government safety standards. You can “think safety,” too, as you’re evaluating playsets. For example, fiberglass slides are not a good choice, because fiberglass will wear over time, potentially exposing children to the glass fibers. But the reality is, manufacturers cannot control everything.
At some point your child – or the neighbor’s kid – will probably fall off some piece of the playset’s equipment. And kids will certainly leap around and jump off while they’re playing. It’s the nature of things.
By flooring your play area with FallSoft artificial grass from Heavenly Greens, you can be confident their landings will be as gentle as possible. This synthetic turf is specifically designed and installed to protect kids from falls from as high as 5 feet. Actually, fake grass has it all going on:
- It’s always pretty and inviting.
- It’s always soft and fluffy underfoot, and never slippery if it gets wet.
- It’s much cooler than sand, and splinter-free, unlike barkdust.
- Kids will never track dirt or mud into the house.
- It’s a no-brainer to keep it looking great. (Your kids may not notice, but you will.)
With the best playset and faux grass flooring, you’ll never hear, “Mom, there’s nothing to do!"