Three questions to ask yourself before you start playset shopping

Expert Advice  |  5 years ago

Three questions to ask yourself before you start playset shopping

If you live in a part of the country where the ground is frozen and/or covered in snow, a new swing set may not be top of mind right now, but if you’re thinking about getting a new playset once the weather gets warmer, this is actually the ideal time to start doing research and planning ahead, so when spring gets here, you'll be ready to maximize your warm weather play time.

The first thing to do in your planning is to make sure you have answers to some basic questions about what you want and need in an outdoor playset and how much you want to spend.

How long do you want your playset to last? When deciding this, keep in mind how long you plan to be in your current home. If you expect to be there long-term it may be worth it to you to invest more money in a larger playset built to last. If you don’t expect to be in your current home for more than a year or two, you may want to either hold off on buying a playset until you are settled or buy one that can be moved fairly easily.

Another thing to think about in terms of how long you want your playset to last is how many children you have and their ages. If your kids are young, you will want to think about what they need in a playset for their size and age now as well as how to keep it exciting and fun as they get older and bigger. Maybe you will want one that starts with accessories like an easy to negotiate ramp or a toddler swing that can be replaced with a regular swing in a year or two. You may decide to get a large swing set that has things like a climbing wall or monkey bars that the older kids can enjoy and the younger kids will grow into, or it may make more sense to get a modular playset that can be added on to as your kids grow. If have older kids, you will probably want a bigger playset, with higher deck heights, longer slides and “big kid” accessories like a skateboard swing.

What is your budget for a playset and what kind of playset can you get for that? If you are looking to spend $500 or less you can expect to find some smaller plastic swing sets in that price range. As you move up in price, playsets will get bigger with more accessories, and the materials will change from plastic to Chinese cedar to more durable domestic woods like Northern White Cedar and Redwood. Our handy Swing Set Buyer’s Guide was specifically designed to give you a better idea of what you can expect to find in different price ranges.

How big is your yard and how much level (or easily leveled) space is there for a playset? This will help you figure out how big your playset can be. Keep in mind that all playsets need a safety zone of about 6 feet all around them. If you have swings, that zone must be even bigger, possibly even more than double that, depending on the height of the swings (see the “Space Requirements” section of Swing Sets 101 for more information).

If you live in a rural area or have a large property, safety zones may not have a big impact on how big a swing set you buy because you have plenty of space, but if you have a small property, or your property has limited level ground, this may limit your size. This doesn’t mean you can’t still get a great playset. Many companies, CedarWorks included, offer a variety of sizes ( see Small Playsets for Small Yards), but you will need to know how much space you have and check potential playset dimensions against that.

Once you have answers to the above questions, you are in great shape to start shopping for a new outdoor playset for your family. Have fun!

For more information on what to know about buying a new swing set see Swing Sets 101 and our Swing Set Buyer’s Guide.