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Old 09-30-2008, 04:55 PM   #1
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


We're purchasing a backyard redwood playset (20'x16') but the location where we want to put it in our backyard is not completely level. There are a few slants and hills in the 20x16 area, with the biggest difference high-to-low of about 6-8", possibly up to 12". Could we level-out the areas where the end-post goes + the area underneath the playhouse as these make-up the bulk of what sits on the ground, vs. leveling the entire 20x16 section? Also what would be the best methods for leveling the area/sections? I've read of using a yard-long level or attaching a std level to a long yard+long piece of wood to locate the high-low areas, and then cut-into the high spots to level it off. I've also heard of using weights and string (??) - I'm not a builder but an kind of handy so could learn how to do it. No access to a bobcat to dig it out, and would prefer to do it by hand if possible (shovel + level).

Thanks in advance!

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Old 09-30-2008, 05:33 PM   #2
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


We use a laser level...you can rent them at home depot for $50. You might be able to fit a miniskid in there.... they rent out for $150.

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Old 09-30-2008, 05:52 PM   #3
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


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We use a laser level...you can rent them at home depot for $50. You might be able to fit a miniskid in there.... they rent out for $150.
Re: the miniskid, so you're suggesting using this vs. hand digging the entire area or just the sections grounded by the playset?
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:01 PM   #4
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


Something like this?



In that picture, it looks like the play set sits on five different area. I would imagine it would be acceptable to just level these five "pads" if the ground underneath is going to be ok for the kids to play on. I think you still need some type of slope for drainage, otherwise your going to create a nice mud pit when it rains - but that might be ok too
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:09 PM   #5
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


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Originally Posted by Lawnworks View Post
We use a laser level...you can rent them at home depot for $50. You might be able to fit a miniskid in there.... they rent out for $150.
Do you think a water level would be easier to use?
http://www.buildeazy.com/fp_waterlevel.html

Last edited by jerryh3; 09-30-2008 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:41 PM   #6
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


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Originally Posted by Git View Post
Something like this?



In that picture, it looks like the play set sits on five different area. I would imagine it would be acceptable to just level these five "pads" if the ground underneath is going to be ok for the kids to play on. I think you still need some type of slope for drainage, otherwise your going to create a nice mud pit when it rains - but that might be ok too
Yes similar (smaller actually). The area has good drainage already so really would be looking to level the area for the fort + the end A-frame (ours only has 1, the fort is the other end).
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Old 09-30-2008, 08:06 PM   #7
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


wally -

In addition to thinking about the material you will be removing, think about the material you will be using on the surface. This may dictate how much you have to remove. This is a high use area.

In any case, you will have to makes sure you have drainage and are not just creating a pond to set the playset in.

Dick
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Old 10-01-2008, 06:46 PM   #8
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


Wally,

May I offer some suggestions as a parks department playground maintenance person?

I wouldn't be too concerned with getting the playground perfectly level as with a laser level or even a water level. As a side point, once you get used to using a water level, they are incredibly accurate and simple.

It is recommended to have adequate mulch- wood chips, etc, in the play area for shock absorbtion in case of falls, which causes appoximately seventy percent of injuries. I would suggest shredded wood fiber. A minimum of six inches; nine-twelve is better.

Having said that, you may want to consider having someone come in, take out a good six inches, and grade the area to an even slope.

I realize that you are most likely focused on just getting the playground installed reasonably level and secure, but I would have a hard time sleeping knowing I saw your thread and didn't bring this to your attention.

A quick internet search on playground safety, in particular recommendations of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, will help guide you in keeping your children safe, not to mention reduce your liability in case of an accident.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:18 AM   #9
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


downunder -

"Having said that, you may want to consider having someone come in, take out a good six inches, and grade the area to an even slope."

We are trying to figure out how to level our yard. Very frustrating. If we can't do this safely and without spending too much $$$, we're just not going to get the playset. Still trying to figure this out...

Our yard slopes like this... Visualize a rectangular area with the long sides running W-E and a slope at the SE corner of the rectangle. The SE corner is about 8-10" lower than the other 3 corners. (We have staked this out and measured to the best of our ability). Based on your comments, if we dug out 6" and filled the one corner with 2-4", would we have to use landscaping timbers in the SE corner to keep the soil/mulch from eroding and would we have to put drain tiles under all that mulch to prevent a pool of water?

Thanks for your help!
Kim
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Old 08-17-2009, 05:19 PM   #10
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


Quote:
Visualize a rectangular area with the long sides running W-E and a slope at the SE corner of the rectangle.
The SE corner is about 8-10" lower than the other 3 corners.
Ayuh,.... Think of it this way,....
You Lower the Higher corner moving the dirt out to the lower corners, til you have an Inch or 2 from the Highest to Lowest areas....
That way water will drain naturally, without streaming,+ it's errosion...
Probably no need for timbers,... Just carry the grade to where you Need,+ let it drop from there...

A 2' or 4' spirit level,+ a Long 2x4 or straight pipe will determine grades longer than the stick itself....
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Old 08-17-2009, 05:27 PM   #11
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Yard leveling techniques for playset


I dug the support beams for the swingset down one side about 2"
The whole area slopes, but the swingset is level
I did the same for the play structure & the sandbox (protected by spa cover)
This pic is from last Spring, before more mulch was added
Baby swing & slide are gone, new swings & trapeze bars installed


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