Summer is almost here, and soon the kids will be out of school. Or, if you have grandchildren, maybe they’ll be coming for a visit soon. Like most parents or grandparents, you probably want to encourage them to put down the video games and play outside more. Installing a swing set in your backyard can tempt them to venture outdoors, but of course you want them to be safe as well.

Choose the right spot. Obviously, a swing set requires a level spot in your yard. But here are a few more things to consider when choosing the right spot for a play space:

• Place slides and ladders far from fences, walls or other structures that might tempt kids to climb, or jump from one to another
• Choose a spot far away from any drowning hazards such as a pond or swimming pool
• Watch out for overhanging electrical lines, branches, or clotheslines
• Swings should be twice the height of the swing beam away from other structures
• Choose a shady spot, if you can (or plant some good shade trees)
• Don’t install your swing set over asphalt, concrete, or any other hard surface (watch concrete borders as well)

Set it up safely. Once you’ve chosen the right spot for your swing set, correct installation will help to prevent injuries.

• Check the ground under and around the swing set; remove rocks, stumps, and other hazards
• Position the slide facing north, if possible, because it will receive the least amount of sunlight that way (helping to avoid burns)
• Follow all assembly instructions meticulously; don’t “wing it” if a part is missing, and don’t try to alter your swing set in any way
• Anchor the swing set correctly, if placed on loose or sandy soil
• Create a soft surface to protect against serious falls; wood chips, playground sand and other fill materials are available
• Create a border to keep fill materials in place

Of course, nothing is guaranteed, so always exercise caution when your children are playing outdoors. Review safety rules with them regularly, and make sure to check on them at intervals. You know how children can be; if they’re quiet, they’re probably up to something!

We have designed hundreds of play spaces for kids over the past 15 years and have learned that it’s important to follow the above guidelines to prevent injury and allow the kids to have fun.

Give us a call and we can review your different landscaping options. We have a soft spot for children (and grandchildren) and are happy to help offer advice for incorporating your swing set into your landscaping.

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