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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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.