It’s very common to find parents that want to build a playground in the backyard of their home for keeping an eye on their kids. Most parents fear that their kids might get hurt from the playground in a park if they are not properly watched over. In having your own playground in your backyard, your children get to have a playground that is custom-built for them. The plans I created for this DIY Backyard Playground could be easily customized to best fit your kid’s backyard adventure.
If you have some basic tools and willing to build your own projects, then this backyard playground might be a project to tackle.
Building a playground from wood can create an endless variety of features such as forts, climbing walls, and built-in sandboxes. When building outdoor projects it’s important to choose the right wood. Creating a playground from naturally insect-repelling wood species such as redwood and cedar eliminates the chemical threat. These untreated woods resist fungal rot as well and maintain their beauty without dangerous preservatives.
When we bought our house the playground was already installed, so I didn’t build it from scratch, but I did change/update some things. I decided to make these plans for anyone who might be interested in building their own playground for their kids and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars. Our kids love spending hours and hours playing in this playground especially when their friends come over. They have so much fun being outdoors.
You also might be interested in other projects that I’ve built for kids: DIY Wooden Go-Kart, Sensory Table with Water Ramps and Pucket Game.
- 1 1/2″ x 4″ C-channel (x2)
- 2 1/2″ Diameter Round Pipe/Post (x2)
- 4x4x10′ (x6)
- 4x4x8′ (x1)
- 2x4x8′ (x12)
- 2x6x8′ (x1)
- 1x6x8′ (x1)
- 1x4x8′ (x48)
- 2x3x8′ (x12)
- 4’x8′-1/2″ Plywood (x2)
- Roof Shingles
- Swings (x2)
- Bar Swing (x1)
- Rock Climbing Piece (x1)
- Slide (x1)
- 1/8″ thick flat bar (x2)
- Handles (x6)
- 1/2″ Bolts and Nuts
- 2 1/2″ deck screws
- 1 1/2″ deck screws
- 8″ Round Concrete Form Tube
Tools for this Project
Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size. See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Step 1 – Dig Holes in the Ground for Main Posts
Find a flat area in your background that’s approximately 20’x24’ of clear space. Layout the locations for the main posts per provided drawing. Dig the holes using a Post Hole Digger as if you’re digging holes for a fence post. The holes in the ground need to be 2 feet deep and wide enough to insert 8″ Round Concrete Form Tube. There will be 6 posts for the main playground, 2 posts for the bench, and 2 posts for the swing.
Step 2 – Install Posts
After all of the holes are dug and Form Tubes are in place. Insert 10 feet long redwood 4x4s inside the post hole Form Tube for the playground supports. Another alternative for a redwood is pressure-treated lumber that you could purchase at any home improvement store.
I used a 2 1/2″ round metal pipe for the two swings posts instead of 4×4 wood. I figured metal posts will last much longer due to constant movement from the swings. Mix and pour the concrete inside the form tubes making sure all posts are plumb using a level.
Step 3 – Cut Posts to Correct Height
Once the concrete completely dries, using a Skill Saw, cut the posts to the provided height dimensions. These dimensions are from the ground up. The additional two feet are underground.
Step 4 – Install Supports for Ground Floor
Working from the ground up, make sure to measure every piece before cutting for accuracy. Just in case if your posts shifted slightly during the concrete pour, your measurement might be somewhat different from what’s on the picture. Use deck screws to fasten 2x4s and 1x4s to posts.
Step 5 – Install Ground Floor
The area with 2x4s supports will be covered with 1x4s to make a ground floor. Measure and cut 1x4s, then spread them out evenly with 1/2″ between each board. Attach using 1 1/2″ deck screws.
Step 6 – Supports for Second Floor
The second-floor supports will be also built from 2x4s. The lower deck is 44″ from the ground and the upper deck is 54 1/2″ from the ground.
Step 7 – Second Floor Deck
Similar to step 5, use 1x4s to build the upper and lower deck. Make sure to have 1/2″ gap between the boards.
Step 8 – Make Fence Panel
For this step, make a fence panels using 1x4s for both the rails and pickets. Measure the distance from post to post for rail dimensions, again your dimensions might be slightly different than what’s on the drawing. Make 2″ gap between pickets. Use 1 1/2″ deck screws to attach the boards.
Step 9 – Install Fence Panels
There will be 4 full fence panels. Place the panels on the floor and then attach them to the posts.
Step 10 – Fence Panel for Slide Area
The area for the slide will have a partial fence section with only two 1×4 pickets.
Step 11 – Roof Truss Supports
Attach 70″ long 2x4s at the very top of the posts. These are supports for roof trusses.
Step 12 – Back of Playground
On the backside of the playground, in the center, we’ll have a half-round rock climbing area that’s 16″ in diameter. So mark 16″ wide section in the center for the rock climbing piece. Then attach 92″ long 1x4s on each side of the 16″ gap. The 1x4s are 2″ apart.
Step 13 – Rock Climbing Piece
Now attach the rock climbing piece and the handles.
Step 14 – Front Fence Panel
The front of the playground will also have partial fencing. Attach 14″ long 1×4 to the post at the bottom. Then attach two 36″ long pickets on each side having 2″ gap between each picket.
Step 15 – Build Lower Roof Trusses
Building a roof truss will consist of a combination of 1x4s and 2x3s. At first, build the left side of the truss separately from the right side. The top and bottom fascia boards are 45″ long 1x4s. The 2×3 truss boards are cut at 45° and 48 1/4″ long. Attach all 3 truss boards to upper and lower fascia boards using 1 1/2″ deck screws. Once both left and right trusses are complete, attach them together at the top.
Step 16 – Install Roof Framing
Now attach the entire roof framing to the 2×4 supports that were previously installed. After the roof frame is installed, cut 24 1/2″ long 2×3 boars at 45° on one side and attach them at the front of the truss making a diamond shape design.
Step 17 – Build Upper Roof Framing
Similar to step 15, build a second roof but now it’s 49″ long. Attach the roof trusses to 2×4 supports.
Step 18 – Cover Roof with Plywood and Shingles
Cover the roof framing with 1/2″ plywood. Then cover the plywood with shingles.
Step 19 – Install Ladder
The front of the playground will have a ladder in the center. Take 2×4 and cut to 52 1/8″ (x2). The bottom is cut at 69° and top at 21°, see picture. Cut 18″ long steps from 2x4s (x4) working from bottom up, the first step is 10″ from the bottom, the rest are 12″ apart. Attach the ladder using 2 1/2″ deck screws to front 2×4. Fasten handles for ladder and the pickets above the ladder.
Step 20 – Bench and Table
For this step build a bench and a table. Take 2×4 and cut it to 16″ with one side at 45° (x2). Also, cut 2×4 to 17 1/2″ long with both sides at 45° (x2). Build a triangle as shown on the picture and attach it to the 4×4 post at 23 3/4″ from the ground. Once the supports for the table are fastened, cut 1×6 to 47″ long (x2) and attached these board to table supports. The bench will also be 47″ long but from one 2×6 board. Attach the board to the short 1 foot 4×4 posts.
Step 21 – Swing Support
I used a metal 1 1/2″ x 4″ c-channel for the horizontal support of the swing. You could use 4×4, but c-channels will last much longer than 4×4. C-channel will sit on a 2×4 that’s attached to 4×4 posts. The other side of the c-channel will be placed on top of the round metal posts. Measure and cut the c-channel using a Sawzall with a blade for metal cuts. Make sure the c-channels are leveled.
Step 22 – Attach Swings
Attach the swing and a swing bar to the c-channel. Make sure that the swing set has the same distance from both sides. The swings could be attached with a quick link. This will allow you to remove the swing set and maybe attach a tire swing or something else.
At the top of the round metal, posts attach 1/8″ thick flat metal bars making a cross. This will prevent the posts from moving when kids are using a swing.
Step 23 – Attach Slide
Now attach the slide. There are other small accessories that could be added to this DIY Playground like a steering wheel or a zipline.
You’re done with this DIY Backyard Playground.
12 thoughts on “How to Build a DIY Backyard Playground”
Amazing set of plans! Any chance you have more choices available that we can build strong/large enough to handle us parents in with our kids too?? It’s been one enormous challenge to find any! Your help will be Tremendously appreciated!!
Hi Kristi, unfortunately this is the only set I have.
Just built this in our garden and put and extra support along the middle if the floorboards, on the underside and it now supports me and my husbands weight at the same time. As for large enough, I recon if you left the main posts about a foot higher it would then support your height too x
I know this is crazy but more or less how much did all of this cost you? Estimate is fine.
Hi Natalie, The estimated cost to build this playground would be around $800.
Hi! What’s the general weight limit?
Abi, are you asking the weight limit on the swings? How much weight it could support?
This is great. Thanks !!
Where do the slides, swings and other components order from? Is that something that is included with the PDF download or is that just up to the builder to research? I may have missed it. thanks
Hi Kris, you could purchase these at Lowes or HomeDepot. Go to their website and they have a good selection of different swings and slides available. You could also purchase them from other companies that build these playground sets such as https://www.swingsetmall.com/
How long would this take to construct?
We are looking at doing this for a charity and we will have about 1hr 30min to do it with 30 people.
Do you think this would be feasible?
Thas a lot of people working in the same area. You would need to coordinate everything very well and do all of those people have tools?