How to Turn Your Yard Into a Playground

Kenneth Wilson

If you have space in your backyard, why not turn it into a playground? A small area for your kids so they have a place to hang out in your yard.

This might even help your children get off their devices and soak up some vitamin D from the Florida sun. Even if you don’t have kids, you might have some nieces and nephews or maybe even grandkids who visit you. If not, you can make this space a small wonderland for your pets.

There are many ways you can turn your yard into a playground. You can hire someone to do it or install a store-bought kit. Check out these DIY projects you can try.


Build a Sandbox

Most children love going to the beach. They love the ocean, sea breeze, seeing kids their own age, and playing with sand. It’s fun for them to bury half of their sibling’s body, or even yours, under the sand and to build sandcastles. When you don’t have time to go to the beach, you can bring the sand to them by installing a sandbox.

It doesn’t have to be expensive as well! You can build one for less than $100. Here’s how:

For the first part of the video, The Burb Billy will show you how to cut and build the outer wall of the sandbox.

What you will need:
  • 3 pieces of 8-foot 2’ x 4’
  • 3 pieces of 8-foot 2’ x 4’
  • 1 pound box of 3-inch galvanized screws
  • Pilot drill
  • ⅜-inch drill for counter drilling or clearance holes

The second part will discuss how to create the seats, the cover, and painting the sandbox.

What you will need:
  • 9 pieces of 2’ x 4’ x 8’ wood (Make it 10 to have an extra, just in case)
  • 1 sheet of Luan flooring underlayment (For the cover)
  • 1 box of 3-inch galvanized wood screws
  • 1 box of 1¼-galvanized wood screws (or staples)
  • 1 quart of primer
  • 1 quart of paint (or 1 quart of stain if you prefer staining)
  • Note: 1 quart of paint covers one coating. Get 2 quarts or one gallon if you prefer two coats.

Here’s a video showing the final product:

Alternatively, you could also purchase one for less than $100. The downside is that you won’t be able to customize the size.

  • Made out of sanmu wood
  • Size: 59.13" x 59" x 8.38"
  • Honey-colored
  • Built-in corner seating
  • Comes with a mesh cover

According to the manufacturer, this sandbox can be built in 1.5 to 2 hours by two people.


Create an In-ground Trampoline

Another fun feature you can add to your yard is a trampoline. Instead of a normal above-ground trampoline with a net, you can opt for an in-ground trampoline. This will save you space and the trampoline won’t be as high and dangerous.

These in-ground trampoline sets usually cost around $1,500 or more but you don’t have to spend so much. You can just buy or repurpose an above-ground trampoline and turn it into an in-ground one. They usually cost around $200 to $500, which is three times cheaper than in-ground trampolines.

What you will need:
  • Above-ground trampoline
  • Shovel

Step 1. Shorten the legs of the trampoline frame so you don’t have to dig deeper. Remove the center leg sections of the pipe.

Step 2. Dig a crater and bury the frame.

Step 3. Install the springs and mat of the trampoline - and that’s it!

Optional but recommended:

  • Raise the frame above the grass to release air pressure or,
  • Bury pipes to vent air pressure.

DIY Soft Rubber Floor

Before you install a playset, you need a soft rubber floor to protect your children’s skin from the rough surface. Alternatively, you can also have an area with soft rubber so that your kids can play rough without getting injured.

This video includes building the playset along with the floor, but I will just share details about creating the soft rubber floor.

What you will need:
  • Crushed-rock substrate
  • Rubber crumb compound
  • Protective gloves
  • Trowel

Step 1. Choose an area for the soft rubber floor then spread the crushed-rock substrate to a depth of 50 mm. 

Step 2. Compact and screed the substrate to smoothen the surface.

Step 3. Wear the proper protective gear when preparing or pouring the rubber crumb compound. Spread the mixture to a depth of 10 to 15 mm. 

Step 4. Tamp the rubber crumb compound and use a trowel to smoothen it.

Note: Determine how many boxes of rubber crumb compound you need by checking the area it can cover.


Install a Playset

The best way to turn your yard into a playground is to install a playset, complete with swings, slide, a low rock climbing wall, and monkey bars. You can easily build one from a store-bought set.

  • Two swings and a two-person glider
  • 10-foot wave slide
  • A wooden playhouse
  • Sandbox area with picnic table
  • Flat-step ladder
  • An elevated area with a telescope

Here’s a guide on what to do before installing this playset to ensure the safety of your children:

  • Upon receiving the set, check the contents and look for the detailed instruction manual. Familiarize yourself with the parts and contents. For example, there are different sizes of boards. It should contain all the pre-cut, pre-drilled, and pre-stained hardware and accessories.
  • Check for major cracks or damages. If there are some, call the manufacturer and ask them to replace - it’s covered by your warranty. If you do find hairline cracks, it’s normal for outdoor lumber to have some. Don’t worry as this will not make it less durable.
  • Look for an area that can accommodate a 6-foot perimeter around the playset. Make sure the location is level ground.
  • You can lay down shock-absorbing tiles, mulch, or wood chips to soften the surface. It’s best not to place the set on concrete to avoid injuries.
  • There is an option to hire experts from the manufacturer to install it for you. They will also check the best location so you just have to sit back and relax.
Kenneth Wilson
November 15, 2019
Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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