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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Does anyone have any great ideas or know where to find some for creating a good play area. I am about to set up a playset (Woodridge) behind the sod in the staked out area. I haven't decided yet how to edge the play area, if at all. I plan on filling it in with playground grade mulch. I have a back deck near the house to relax and watch the kids play. I am considering adding a few more inexpensive features or play items to the play area. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

panorama of what it used to look like

wall built and some grading done


graded and halfway sodded, but still work to do


 

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Learning by Doing
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If you edge, do something that will be flush. Nothing worse than kids (and grown ups) stubbing toes and tripping over playground barriers.
 

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Does anyone have any great ideas or know where to find some for creating a good play area. I am about to set up a playset (Woodridge) behind the sod in the staked out area. I haven't decided yet how to edge the play area, if at all. I plan on filling it in with playground grade mulch. I have a back deck near the house to relax and watch the kids play. I am considering adding a few more inexpensive features or play items to the play area. Any ideas would

graded and halfway sodded, but still work to do
Wall / steps look great!

I would dig a trench around the edge and fill it with mulch. This is what I do with all my planting areas. It is very easy to mow right up to. Keeps both surfaces, grass and mulch very close to being flush / at the same grade.
 

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Too Short? Cut it Again!
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Large PVC drain pipes to crawl through and over. Sand box areas. Little outdoor kid shower area to rinse or cool off under. Kid height tables for bug jars and so forth. At a kids museum I helped build the little ones spent hours fantasizing about going places, steering things, and so forth. Maybe just an old steering wheel in table top? Old shipwrecked dinghy buried in sand. Pirate Cove. Rubber tiles for hopscotch or whatever? Tumbling? Putting green. T-ball stand. Soccer goal. Tents, tarps and things for forts and sleepovers?

How about an outdoor toy chest? Will kids put things away if it is made part of the routine?

Chess/checker boards painted as part of outdoor table areas?

Do look into recycled rubber mulch for kid play areas. It is more resilient than bark, does not cause so many splinters, and seems not to get scattered so much. It comes in colors.

Like the perimeter mulch idea and also the suggestion to keep things level could spare a child or adult ankle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My dad and I built the wall. Still have more to do.

Awesome ideas. I may need to have an actual barrier on the back high side for water and erosion control. I had planned a natural border for my other flower beds ( well tamped dirt trench and roundup) so that is a good idea.
 

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Too Short? Cut it Again!
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I hope I do not come off as blazingly ignorant but N Alabama has a fairly long outdoor season does it not? If you can tolerate bugs the size of b-class stealth bombers and add a firepit for late or early season? You have the potential for almost year round outdoor space use unless it is pouring?

I am lusting for one of the new super high res laser pico projectors. They are about the size of a smartphone and project a crystal sharp, color corrected, image up to about 100" wide on a decent surface. You could plan for a little outdoor theater in your backyard for summer nights? They are about $300 plus $200 more to adapt to your laptop, smartphone or whatever.

http://www.microvision.com/showwxplus/

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There is a lot of opportunity to be outside. Just have to use caution with the heat. I may try to get the fire pit in this fall. My wife liked the idea of a backyard movie screen. May have to look into it. I could build a climbing wall or something and have a pull down screen on it.
 

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Too Short? Cut it Again!
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I had not thought through what the screen material might be but a covering for a climbing wall could work. They make some ingenious "pop-up" display systems for tradeshow booths that would work for an "as needed" backyard projection screen? They fold up for storage and some literally pop into place when needed. Google trade show exhibits to start I guess.
 

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You can buy fairly inexpensive inflatable screens at homedepot.com, walmart.com and plenty of others

with a decent projector you can use just about anything for a screen. I have a Epson 5L ( or something like that, it's at least 5 years old by now) and we show movies outdoors on our white garage door all the time, as well as on white canvas tarps in the back yard. With a PICO you might have to be more careful about getting a better quality screen.

Personaly, I'd buy a more expensive projector and skimp on the screen, especially if your kids are younger. With a more expensive projector ( more lumens) you can start movies earlier in the evening without having to wait until it's super dark outside, especially important in summer. But my experience is the younger kids enjoy making shadows on the screen when the movie is over as much or more than actually watching the movie anyway, so don't overdue it
 
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