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68MHJCs 07-06-2009 11:39 PM

Swing set play area frame out...
My wife and I just bought my daughter her first swing set.Here is where I need the help. Now to mark off the area and lay out base for play area. I spoke to a friend and he said he used 4X6 and rebar to frame out the play area with child safe mulch. My question is since I have never have done this job what is the best way to go about this... Frame out the size I need using maybe 2X4 or 4 X4 I am putting it in an uneven area so I will have to do some leveling should I remove the grass or leave it and put some weed block mesh down then put the mulch down. Baiscally use dirt or the mulch to level the play area and how should I frame it out.

gma2rjc 07-07-2009 08:26 AM

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When I did mine, I marked off the shape of the area with a couple garden hoses attatced end-to-end.

I then used weed & grass killer in the entire area. The amount of time it takes for the grass/weeds to turn brown varies.

Then I dug the area out about 8 or 9 (?) inches down and filled it with mulch. Haven't added any yet this year. Wood chips can be a little sharp, so look for a shredded mulch, pea gravel or sand. I didn't use the sand or gravel because I thought the gravel would only end up in the grass and the kids would bring sand in the house on their clothes and shoes.

I thought about using PT lumber or cement to edge the area, but I was afraid someone would fall and get hurt on it.

I would not use the landscape fabric to keep the weeds out. It doesn't work. Weeds grow up through it and the root system is still below the fabric. That makes it impossible to pull the weeds out. Or, seeds land on top of the fabric and the roots grow down beneath the fabric.

Once the weeds start growing again in that area, I wait for a day the kids won't be outside and spray with the weed & grass killer again.

Here's a picture of the play area in my back yard.

Gary in WA 07-07-2009 02:48 PM

Hopefully, that is a child-safe weed killer. Most of the store bought ones shouldn't be used, as they collect in the bark/chips around the weed. Over time this builds up and the child puts his fingers in his mouth , then collects/eats the chemical from touching it. I have not tried this but it sounds like a good alternative to poisoning children: Be safe, G

Scuba_Dave 07-07-2009 03:14 PM

I'd dig down & then fill with pea stone & mulch
I never use an chemicals near the play area
And very little on the back yard - play area
Only when rain is expected for several days & my son is in daycare
I pull weeds & use a metal rake to get rid of weeds

Its back in the corner of the yard so I just mulched over existing pea stone w/weed block underneath. I buried bricks as a seperation point between the grass & mulch. The bricks are buried deep enough that the grass is higher. They are fairly far away from the play area

Just a note:
If you dig down you could have a problem with water build-up
But enough mulch shoudl prevent problems

gma2rjc 07-07-2009 03:42 PM

Thanks GBAR. I'll definitely try the mixture from that website. The stuff I use says to keep children and pets away until it's dry, but it's supposed to be fine after that.

I like the idea of the natural ingredients though. Sounds much better.

68MHJCs 07-08-2009 11:09 PM

No weed killer used...
This is the first project I really went into blind. I started digging and laid the sod on lower portion but am concerned with how stable that will be when we put the swing set fixture on it ...wont it be wobbily? I cut the play area in 1/2 and took the area that was high and placed the sod from the high to the low.I picked up a truck load (2 scoops) of playground mulch. I dont want to start to put the muclch down without being sure that this will work doesnt seem like it will. I also got accent timbers and metal spike to drive through for the frame of the area. HOw can I sure up the low side that itll be level with the high side. Will sod from the high side and an extra dose of mulch do the trick or should I use something else? YOur thoughts?

gma2rjc 07-08-2009 11:34 PM

Our swingset was here when we moved in and was very wobbley. We bought a set of swingset anchors, one for each leg of the swingset. Our soil is soft, so I was surprised they worked so well.

I know you're talking about leveling the ground, but ours is pretty level and it still required the anchors.

Putting playground mulch down will only help level it for a short time. It will break down gradually and the ground there will no longer be level.

Is it possible to lower the high side to the level of the low side? It might be easier (?) and you'll have solid ground under all of the swingset legs.

Can you post a picture so we can see what you're working with?

Scuba_Dave 07-09-2009 08:59 AM

Usually you use a line (string) run (tight) between 2 posts & then put a line level on the string. That will tell you when you are even

68MHJCs 07-09-2009 11:30 PM

Ummmmmm Im kinda not sure how to post a pic if you can walk me through it ill post it. For now picture a 12 X 12 area the right side is higher do to the slope of the yard. I took 1/2 the sod from the right higher side and put it on the lower left side is this wrong?? Should I try to level it a different way? I thought why not use what I have to help level. But now thinking how sturdy will this be with sloped ground dug up sod and mulch? I thought with the steaks would help to stabilize.The high point of the swing set is on the it is a rock climb wall into a deck with tent roof and sliding board. The base to that area is a square like a frame so that would be the area that needs to be level the most. Your thoughts.

gennots 05-14-2013 09:23 AM

Any update?
I am actually going through the same process. The area where the playset will be built is slightly slopped. Want to make sure that I prepare it such that playset will not be wobbly. Could you post an update on what you ended up doing and how it held up?

Blondesense 05-14-2013 12:32 PM


Originally Posted by 68MHJCs (Post 299826)
Ummmmmm Im kinda not sure how to post a pic if you can walk me through it ill post it.

This might help.

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