‘Big box’ stores are a common place to buy standard plastic and metal swing sets. Plastic is an increasingly popular material, but these sets often cannot hold excessive weight and they don’t offer a wide variety of play options or add-ons. Metal is cost-efficient but weather may wear them down fairly quickly unless they are guaranteed not to rust.
If you’re looking for something that’s safer, more rugged and long-lasting, consider purchasing a higher-end wooden play set. The bigger upfront cost is usually offset over time by the savings you gain due to lower replacement and maintenance costs.
The advantages of wood swing sets are that they are sturdier and they last 15-20 years! They typically support 120 pounds or more per person. They also have a more high-end appearance and offer more fun features such as rings, towers, forts and other components. We highly recommend them for safety and longevity!
Before you decide on what type of swing set to buy, we also recommend that you think through the answers to these important questions:
- The size of your yard: Consider the size of the play set in comparison to your lawn. You don’t want it to take up the entire yard. But how much of you yard are you willing to give up?
- Do you have your community’s approval? If your neighborhood has covenants or an HOA, you are responsible for getting HOA approval, permits and ensuring that the play set adhere to covenant rules.
- Where’s the best place to put it? As you choose the area to put your swing set, make sure there is a perimeter of at least 6 feet of clear space all around it. Choose a location where water drains easily. If trees allow, you might also put it in the shade for sun protection. And it’s ideal to put it in a location where you can easily see the kids from a convenient door or window.
- What do your kids like to do? Let them test play sets at outdoor displays. Do they like to play pretend games in forts? Do they like to climb and swing? Play in the sand? Choose swing set features that match what they spend most of their time doing.
- Can you deal with the time and stress of installing it yourself? Wood swing sets are long-lasting, and the installation is can be accordingly long. While professional installation costs more upfront, it saves you many hours of installation time–and possible frustration! Forget the stress and hire a company that can professionally install it according to the strictest safety guidelines.
- What will your maintenance schedule be? Periodically, the hardware needs to be tightened and the wood set needs to be re-sealed or re-painted. This ensures its stability and safety for your kids. While you can do this yourself, it’s often easier to pay for an annual maintenance call. Let the experts inspect every aspect of your set and give it the care it needs to stay in top shape.
A high-quality wooden swing set is an investment in your backyard–and in your children’s fun time. By considering these factors up front, you’ll be yards ahead in making the choice that’s best for your home!