How to Put Together a Backyard Playset

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
Well now, I’m on my way to Troup, Texas to visit Dennis and Kimberley Stevens. 

RON HAZELTON:
Oh, man, you're going to have a jungle gym village out here when you're finished.
DENNIS:
[LAUGHS] That’s what we're hoping for.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
RON HAZELTON:
Now one thing I really like, you've already got the safe play surface down here with the pea gravel. You got plenty of that. So what's your thinking here? This is about where you want to put the second one?
DENNIS:
Yes, it is.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay. Are we going to build this from scratch?
DENNIS:
Build it from a kit. Have to buy the lumber additional and the slides, also separate.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay. So what, do you get the accessories and the hardware in the kit?
DENNIS:
Right.
KIM:
Right.
RON HAZELTON:
And you've got that already?
DENNIS:
Yes, we do.
RON HAZELTON:
And the lumber.
DENNIS:
Yes, we do.
RON HAZELTON:
Let's go.
KIM:
We're ready.
RON HAZELTON:
Our play set requires a bit of construction. We're going to build a two story structure with a tube slide and other accessories connected to the upper level.

Now before we start, let me show you the kit that we're going to be using today. And this is actually the unit that we're going to build. And this kit, like most, provides the accessories and all the hardware. And here's a tip for you — separate the hardware out to start with.

Put the like kind in piles like this, and using a muffin tin is a great way to separate out the small parts. This kit also has a cutting list right here. So the first thing we're going to do is start cutting some wood — 23 and a quarter.

Using the cut list as a guide, we measure and mark, each piece of wood.

We're just going to measure and mark these, one at a time, all right? Now take the speed square if you would, draw us a nice straight line across there.

Dennis and Kimberley take turns with the circular saw. Running the base of the saw along the edge of the speed square assures us great cut. With all the lumber cut, we begin assembly. We're first going to put together two nearly identical frames which could be thought of as the front and back of the play set.

We snap chalk lines on the concrete patio to create a full size plan. With this, we can see the exact location for each piece of lumber. Then we just lay the boards on top of the lines.

All right, this is the beginnings of our first frame right here. So we're going to temporarily attach this together.

We temporarily attach the frames together by first drilling pilot holes, then driving in four stainless screws at each joint.

Okay, guys, we're going to flip this over now. We have one more brace to put on the other side.

We secure the joints with carriage bolts, washers and nuts. Finally, it's time to raise the frame so we can continue the assembly.

Guys, push it up so that it's vertical. Okay, Kim, put the level up there. Let us know when it's plumb or vertical.
KIM:
Okay, a little bit more.
RON HAZELTON:
More which way?
  KIM:
Out.
RON HAZELTON:
This way?
  KIM:
Mm-hmm [AFFIRMATIVE]. Yeah.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay, you got it, in?
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
KIM:
In.
RON HAZELTON:
In?
KIM:
Yeah, right there.
RON HAZELTON:
Right there, okay, everybody hold on.

Once plumb, we temporarily hold the frames in place by clamping them to braces, which are attached to stakes driven into the ground.

Now we're going to hook these together with six pieces of 2 x 6, starting right down here on the bottom. Okay, guys, grab that end. The same thing here now, we're going to drill a pile of holes and then we're going to put the screws in first, and then we'll bolt later.

We attach our first two boards to the sides of each frame, connecting them together on the bottom. Then we'll attach two more boards across the top of the frame, and two at the midpoint. In addition, we're going to install two joists running through the middle of the frames.

These will support the deck boards that we'll attach later on.

Okay, brace number two. Okay, what a team over there, huh? Feel like we're framing out a house here.
DENNIS:
It's a big project, isn't it?
RON HAZELTON:
Well, we put all of our cross supports in. You can see that we've got a really sturdy structure here now — took a little break. Now we're going to come back and stabilize this. There's always a danger of one of these play sets tipping. So to prevent that from happening, we're going to put some heavy stakes around the bottom right here.

We secure the stakes to the frame with 3-inch screws. Then Kimberley and I climb up top to begin installing the decking. We're attaching the deck across all four supports or joists with galvanized deck screws. Using a carpenter's pencil as a spacer, leaves just enough distance between the boards to allow water and small debris to fall through.

With the deck in place, we begin installing the walls or siding, again using galvanized screws.

You ready? Well, we've gotten all the siding on our upper level up there. Now we're putting it on the bottom down here, the same process. But I want to show you a little, little trick here. Sometimes if you're working by yourself and it's hard to hold the board, as you're getting it in position to screw, you can use a clamp like this just to secure it where you want it, so in this case, flush with the top.

Then you can let go with both hands and go ahead and put the screws in.

With the play set frame, decking and walls complete, Dennis and I are going to attach a small wooden frame we've just built. This is the landing for a pirate's ladder, one of the several accessories that came with the kit. We attach the ladder to the top railing with a couple of eyebolts.

The bottom of the rope ladder is attached to the frame with heavy duty staples to make sure the tension is tight. With the ladders attached, Dennis fills in the landing and covers the frame with pea gravel.

Well, this is our second accessory here, the climbing rope and it attaches to the upper part of the structure the same way the pirate's ladder did, with a long eyebolt and a nut, which we'll now tighten down.

Okay, Kim, give it a try. I'll give you 10 seconds to get up here.
[KIM LAUGHS]
Come on, go ahead. At least it's strong enough, huh?
KIM:
Yeah —
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
RON HAZELTON:
Can you hang on it?
KIM:
— it will, it will help me. [LAUGHS]
RON HAZELTON:
Now every two-story playhouse requires a suitable set of front steps. In this case, it's going to be a ladder. We'll make the rails out of two 2 x 4s and to be sure the holes are spaced accurately, we'll clamp them together and drill through both at the same time.

The rungs are short pieces of 1-1/8" dowel which came with the kit. Simply pound them through and secure them in place with screws. We attach the ladder to the play set and now it's time for the grand finale.

Well, there are slides and then there are slides. Now this tubular slide was purchased as an accessory for the play set and we're going to roll it into position here and then we'll attach it to the main frame.

Kimberley places the bottom of the slide into the pea gravel, then Dennis and I bolt the top onto the frame. Now no playhouse would be complete without a roof, so Dennis attaches a ridge beam to support an awning that came with the kit. We drape the awning over the beam and attach it with screws and fender washers.

Finally, it's time for me to do what I came here for.  No, not build an outdoor play set, play on one. [LAUGHS]

What's — this is a great HouseCall. Thanks for having me down. I just want to ask one thing, can I come back and play on this a little bit some day?
KIM:
Yeah.
DENNIS:
Definitely.
[LAUGHTER]
RON HAZELTON:
Well, if I don't make it back to enjoy this play set any time soon, I know someone who will enjoy it for me for a long time to come.

Install a Backyard Play Structure with Two Stories, Ladders, and Tube Slide from a Kit. You Supply and Cut the Lumber.

Product Information
For more information on playsets by Swint N' Slide, CLICK HERE.

Call it a playhouse, a fort or anything your child wants. You and a helper can install this wooden outdoor play structure using a ready-made hardware and accessory kit that requires only purchase and cutting of lumber to fit. The kit's straightforward assembly instructions and cut list make this a true weekend project. Add pea gravel base and you're set.

Assemble the Playhouse Front and Back Frames with Stainless Screws
Step 1

Assemble the Playhouse Front and Back Frames with Stainless Screws

Cut wooden components. Assemble the play structure's front and back frames per manufacturer's directions. Snap a chalk line on your patio and set boards on chalk lines to guide assembly. Drill pilot holes and use stainless screws for preliminary joints.

Flip Play Structure Frames and Secure Joints with Carriage Bolts
Step 2

Flip Play Structure Frames and Secure Joints with Carriage Bolts

Flip frames over and secure each joint with a central carriage bolt, washer and nut. Hammer in bolts and tighten nuts with a socket wrench. Raise and level the frames, clamping them to braces on stakes driven into the ground.

Connect Frames with Two-by-sixes at Ground, Middle and Top
Step 3

Connect Frames with Two-by-sixes at Ground, Middle and Top

Connect plumbed frames with two-by-six horizontal members--two at ground, middle, and top levels. Drill pilot holes for stainless screws and install carriage bolts in joints. Add two joists at mid-level to support the deck boards to be installed later.

Stabilize Structure with Heavy Stakes around Inside Perimeter
Step 4

Stabilize Structure with Heavy Stakes around Inside Perimeter

Stabilize the play structure to prevent tipping by bracing the bottom with heavy stakes. Drive them with a sledge hammer against the inside perimeter of the base and secure them with 3-inch stainless screws.

Install Deck Planks and Siding with Galvanized Screws
Step 5

Install Deck Planks and Siding with Galvanized Screws

Install decking spanning all four joists. Space deck planks with a thin strip of wood or flat carpenter's pencil and secure with galvanized deck screws. Clamp and install siding planks on upper and lower levels in the same way.

Build a Landing and Attach the Play Structure's Rope Ladder
Step 6

Build a Landing and Attach the Play Structure's Rope Ladder

Build and attach a small wooden frame at ground level as a landing for a rope ladder. Attach the ladder to the upper railing with eye-bolts and to the bottom frame with heavy duty staples. Ensure tension is tight.

Attach the Climbing Rope with a Long Eye-bolt and Nut
Step 7

Attach the Climbing Rope with a Long Eye-bolt and Nut

Attach the climbing rope to the extended two-by-six on the top frame. Pre-drill for a long eye-bolt, insert the bolt and secure it on top with a nut. Have a full-sized adult test the rope to ensure its weight-bearing capacity.

Assemble the Ladder with Two-by-fours and Wooden Dowel Rungs
Step 8

Assemble the Ladder with Two-by-fours and Wooden Dowel Rungs

Clamp two-by-four ladder rails together and drill rung holes through both simultaneously to ensure holes are identically spaced. Insert the dowel and seat with a mallet tap. Secure rungs with screws and attach the ladder to the play structure.

Roll the Tube Slide into Position and Attach
Step 9

Roll the Tube Slide into Position and Attach

Position the tube slide bottom in pea gravel and roll it upright to the play structure's upper frame. Attach the slide with bolts driven through each of the pre-drilled holes in the mounting flange at the upper end.

Attach the Ridge Beam and Install the Awning
Step 10

Attach the Ridge Beam and Install the Awning

Attach the ridge beam to support awning supplied with the play structure kit. Drape the awning over the beam and attach it to the upper frame with screws and fender washers.