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Adding a Backyard Playground: Planning Your Playground

By Margaret Mierke

Photo courtesy of Northland Recreation Supply

Once you’ve determined what type of material you want to use, it is time to start planning your new play area. Before purchasing any equipment, you need to identify your needs (e.g. the number of children using the play set, their ages, your budget and yard size). You must then determine the number and level of play activities required to suit your children’s needs. Remember to include enough play options to keep the kids busy and interested in the long term.

Basic play sets typically come with swings, slides, climbing stairs and a rope ladder. In addition to these fundamentals, look for challenging components and tactile activities such as rock-climbing walls and monkey bars for older children and steering wheels, telescopes, and tick-tack-toe panels for younger kids. A sandbox can also be added, either as a separate component or as part of the play set.

The play structure’s size is determined by the size of your backyard and what space you want to dedicate as a play area. All reputable manufacturers offer sets to accommodate all yard situations, from ‘space saver’ models to massive play systems that rival many neighbourhood parks. For a basic, entry-level wood play set, you should expect to pay $900 to $1,500. An intermediate play set with additional features can range from $2,000 to $5,000, while larger high-quality systems can cost anywhere from $5,000 to more than $15,000.


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