You want to get your kids a swing set but the high price tag of most store bought swing sets has held you back. A DIY swing set is easier to build than you think and can save you money.
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Summer is the time for kids to play, run around and swing on their backyard swing set. For a lot of families a swing set is a large purchase that is just too expensive. That is why a DIY swing set might be a great option for your family, even if you’ve never built anything before.
Most DIY swing set kits include a slide and come with all of the parts needed and step by step instructions for how to build. With a little bit of work, two sets of hands and some time you can have your own DIY swing set built in a weekend and ready for your kids to play on.
When my husband Chris and I started looking into swing sets we had no idea how expensive they are. Our HOA requires that we have a wooden swing set and the cheapest ones on the market right now start at about $300 and can run all the way up into $2,000-$3,000.
I started doing research on which swingset to buy. If we were going to be investing money into something I wanted to be sure it was really good quality and that it was going to last.
The cheapest swingsets I could find (those in the $300-$400) range all had terrible reviews. Either the wood was very poor quality and it would start splitting after a few months or it was so small that most children would outgrow it by 4 or 5 years old (my kids are currently nearly 4 and nearly 6 so that was going to be a problem)
diy swingset vs store bought
I finally managed to find a swingset from Wayfair that seemed to check all of the boxes for us. It had good reviews, 3 swings and was in our budget of $500-$600 for a swingset. I ordered it and Chris and I spent 11 1/2 hours putting the thing together. We finally finished it after dark and……we hated it.
The swings were so close together that when the kids tested it out the next morning they were smacking into each other as they swung. And despite being anchored into the ground in 6 spots every time the kids would swing the whole back end of the swingset would rock up off of the ground. My kiddos are 38lbs and 46 lbs. It was made of cedar and was incredibly lightweight. How was this going to be a swingset to last us for years?
Luckily Wayfair customer service was phenomenal and they completely understood my safety and quality concerns with the set. They allowed me to return it no questions asked, promptly refunded us our money and sent a crew out to pick up the swingset within a few days. To top it off they even gave us a 10% off coupon towards a future purchase (which we would eventually use for the DIY swingset kit) Their customer service was top notch and I can’t say enough good things about how they handled the situation.
I spent a few hours tearing apart the first swingset and getting all the pieces in a pile for the delivery guys to come pick up. Then I spent all night that night doing TONS of research on DIY swingset kits and how we could build a swing set.
Is a DIY swingset the right choice for your family?
I did a ton of research on the best way to build a DIY swing set without making me want to pull my hair out. I want to save you the hours of research and break down the pros and cons of DIY swing set kits.
A DIY swing set kit is the right choice for you if:
You have own or have access to a miter saw
This is a key tool for making all your cuts. You could make do with a circular saw but you really need the precision that a miter saw has to offer
You own or have access to a truck
While my trusty van can hold a 10 ft board there were several 12-foot boards that were needed for this project that really required a truck to haul. I borrowed my sister’s truck.
You have some time to invest in the project
Not including the time it took to go purchase the lumber this build was roughly 15 hours from beginning to end, including making all of our cuts. Your average store-bought swing set usually takes 8-12 hours, so be prepared to invest slightly more time in building from DIY swing set plans than a store bought set
You want a higher quality swingset for less money
Store bought swing sets with really good quality wood easily cost $1,500 and up. You get what you pay for when it comes to store bought sets. But when you do-it-yourself then you can source the lumber yourself and ensure you’re getting good quality pressure treated wood and it’s at a cheaper price since you’ll be “paying” on the back end with more time and effort to build a DIY swing set
You want to customize your swingset
Want your swings further apart than 20in? Want to add a circle web swing? Want a monkey bar set? Want to have a tire swing? Want climbing walls? The possibilities are virtually endless when you DIY because you can customize the play set to be exactly what your family needs.
You want to save money
We could’ve easily built a swing set identical to the Wayfair one we got originally for less than what we paid for the Wayfair set. But we opted to spend just $30 more and build a much bigger swing set. When you break it down in cost, most DIY swing set kit builds are going to be cheaper than their store-bought counterparts.
You want to tackle a fun project for your kids
There really isn’t any greater satisfaction for me than working hard on a project for my kids and then watching them enjoy that project. My kiddos watched this build process from beginning to end and got to watch mommy work hard on something for them. They kept calling it a “construction site”
I’m showing them the value of hard work and making something for your family with my own two hands, a valuable lesson that they wouldn’t have learned if we had just bought a set and hired someone to put it together for us.
A DIY Swing set kit might not be right for you if:
You don’t have any interest in building
I’m assuming if you’ve read this far it’s probably because you’re curious about the process. But not everyone has a desire to build something from scratch. They would rather just buy the store bought set and hire someone to put it together and be done with it.
And that’s totally ok. Different strokes for different folks. I don’t really enjoy baking or sewing but there are tons of people who live for both of those things. It takes all kinds to make the world go round and that’s perfectly ok.
You’re living in a rental or planning to move soon
A DIY swingset is a labor of love and more time consuming than your average swingset. So if you’re living in a rental for a brief period of time or planning on moving sometime soon then I wouldn’t invest the time and effort into it.
DIY swing sets can be taken back apart and moved to a new location but it’s a lengthy process and most people choose to just sell their swing sets with the house or get rid of it for a cheap price rather than moving it. I wouldn’t want to put my heart into a swing set for my kids only to sell it for half price a few months later.
You’re scared of/don’t have any power tools
I say this one with a caveat. About 3 years ago this was me. I had basically never touched a power tool in my life until Spring 2016. We didn’t own any decent power tools so I went out and got a Ryobi starter bundle to get me rolling.
There are so many affordable options for really great tools nowadays. And if you don’t know how to operate those tools there are some really fantastic resources if you’re wanting to learn.
Woodcraft has locations across the country and offers classes on how to use various power tools. Ana White also has a fantastic beginner’s guide to woodworking.
And if you know anyone in your life who’s handy with tools use them as a resource. My dad has taught me 80% of what I know when it comes to woodworking.
You don’t want to save money
You’ve got a generous budget for swing set and you can afford to buy the top of the line wooden swing set. If the money’s there, then go for it.
For us, the pros outweighed the cons and we decided to take the plunge with the DIY swing set. I am so glad that we did because it gave us the opportunity to customize specifically for our kiddos. Plus we saved money and built a better swing set than what we would’ve been able to afford had we store-bought.
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