Playset Space Requirements - How big does my yard need to be?

Expert Advice  |  1 year ago

Playset Space Requirements - How big does my yard need to be?

If you are in the planning stages of buying a playset for your family, one of the most important things to know before you buy is how much space you will need. You have to have enough room not only for the playset to physically fit in your yard along with your landscaping, patio furniture, or anything else you might have, but, just as importantly, for you and your kids to be able to safely navigate around it.

So how much room do you need? To plan for maximum safety, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends 6 feet of clear space around all sides of the playset. This is also known as a fall zone. Keeping this area free and clear of obstructions and hazards will ensure that children can use the equipment without the danger of falling on or running into anything.

If the playset has swings, however, CPSC recommends a clear space equal to twice the arc of the swings to both the front and back of the playset. That sounds confusing, but basically it means you need to have enough space both in front and behind the swings to be sure that you can easily walk past the swingset without getting hit by flying feet. What does this look like in terms of actual measurements? Say you have swings that attach 8 feet above the ground (a pretty common height), and the seat of the actual swing is one foot above the ground, the swing arc would be approximately seven feet to the front and seven feet to the back for a total of 14 feet. The resulting recommendation would be twice this distance for a total of 28 feet of clear space (14 feet to the front and 14 to the back). 

Now, let’s say you are looking at buying a playset that is approximately 15 feet by 15 feet, and swings that are 8 feet above the ground, like in the previous example. You will need to add six feet on either end plus 14 feet in front of, and 14 feet behind, the swings, so you will need a space that is at least 27 feet by 43 feet (15 plus six plus six in one direction and 15 plus 14 plus 14 in the other). 

Keep in mind, if your yard does not have quite enough space for swings, a playset is still a great investment. We have found kids spend more time playing in, on, and around the playset structures (forts), climbing walls, or other accessories over the life of the playset than they will swinging. Of course, swings are great, and kids love to swing, but over time, the play structure and accessories will be the core of your investment.

Looking for a small playset? Check out some of our favorites, with and without swings, here.

For more information on what you should know before buying a playset, check out Swing Sets 101 which as information on pretty much everything you need to know before buying a playset.