SKILL LEVEL 4
by Larry Johnston
Let your kids burn off some of their boundless energy and get healthy exercise at the same time with a backyard swing set. With appropriate seats, this sturdy swing suits children of any age. The 12-foot-long top beam accommodates two swings with plenty of clearance, and at 8 feet above the ground, allows adequate height even to hang a trapeze for older kids. Common building materials and simple construction put the project within reach for most do-it-yourselfers.
Do-it-yourself writer Larry Johnston still fondly remembers the swing set his grandfather built for him and his brother many moons ago.
4 Skill level
4 out of 5
Buy swings and hardware before you put up the frame because it’s easier to install hangers on the ground than from a ladder. You can buy swing seats and associated hardware at many larger hardware stores, home centers, and through Internet retailers.
Build the frame from pressure-treated lumber. Buy hardware and fasteners made of stainless steel or coated to withstand the corrosive effect of treated lumber.
Apply construction adhesive for treated lumber to the top of each upright, and join the uprights to the beam with a 3/8 X 8-inch lag bolt and flat washer in each hole. Check with a framing square to ensure right angles. Nail on steel end post caps, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Grass under the swing set is doomed, and the bare ground will become hard-packed, then muddy when wet.
Do the following periodically to maintain your swing set:
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|#10x3½-inch exterior screws|
|1½-inch spade bit|
|45-degree combination square|
|Construction adhesive for pressure-treated lumber|
|Drill/driver, twist drills, and screwdriver bits|
|Four 3/16-inch swing chains|
|Four 3/8 x 8-inch lag screws and flat washers|
|Four swivel swing hangers with attaching hardware|
|Mortar tray and hoe or concrete mixer|
|Nails or screws|
|One 2x4, 8 feet long, pressure-treated|
|Playground mulch or other soft-surface material|
|Posthole digger or auger|
|Sanding block and sandpaper|
|Snap links, quick links, or carabiners as necessary|
|Three 4x4, 12 feet long, pressure-treated|
|Two 4x4, 10 feet long, pressure-treated|
|Two age-appropriate swings|
|Two pair 4x4 end post cap connectors with nails|
|Two sets of swivel swing hangers|
|Two ½x6½-inch carriage bolts with nut and flat washer|
|Wood stakes and 1x2 or 1x4 temporary braces|
|Wrenches or socket set|