We all want to encourage our kids to have some sort of backyard play activities, especially since playgrounds do so much more than just promote physical fitness. They have also been proven to be incredibly important in developing children’s social, emotional, cognitive skills as well as encouraging imaginative & creative play. But it has become an academic exercise in itself to select the perfect playground for a given family. There are so many options for outdoor play spaces from swing sets to jungle gyms, but this guide is designed to help you sort through your options and find the right one for your family’s needs. Within this guide we will outline the major features & benefits of swing sets and jungle gyms right down to your choice of swing seats and swing set hardware.
Wood Swing Set vs. Metal Swing Set
The first question you need to answer is whether you want a wooden swing set or a metal swing set. This is the most common question people have about choosing a swingset. A generation ago, metal swing sets were our only option. However, these days not only is wood a viable option, it vastly expands the choices available to the consumer. While personal preference can play a major role in deciding wood vs. metal swing sets, the following key decision factors can make your needs more apparent.
How Much to Spend on Your Swing Set
For some people, money is no object but for the rest of us, the price tag will be a key factor in making a purchasing decision. Wooden swing sets are often times more financially economical but may prove to be more costly in time required for assembly. However, the assembly time can vary greatly depending on the number of people assembling the set, the skill level of those people, availability of proper tools, etc. Remember, this is not an area in which you can compromise, as your children’s safety depends on the integrity of the assembled play structure.
Swing Set Weight Limits
Most wooden swing sets are designed with children in mind and are not intended for use by adults. However, some parents may have a strong desire to swing and play alongside their child in which case our metal swing sets would be the perfect solution. Because they are required to be mounted in concrete footings, there are not only suitable for older children and adults, but an individual swing on our metal sets is conservatively rated at 500 pounds per swing, so parents can swing and play with confidence!
Required Play Space Available
All too often space restrictions dictate which products we can purchase for the home or yard but with wooden swingsets, there are innumerable combinations of accessories or add-on kits that make them highly space-adjustable. Metal swing sets are also a good choice for limited space, as they have very compact options available, such as the Huddle Swing Set which requires a 24’ by 14’ playspace.
Preferred Look of the Swing Set
Depending on the setting, a wooden swing set can be a handsome addition to an already picturesque backyard. For example, a rustic home nestled in the mountains or heavily wooded property, would be beautifully complimented by the natural look of a wooden swing set. But a more modern home overlooking an expansive cityscape might be better suited by a less organic, metal structure. Because swing sets can be as unique as the families that enjoy them, we should all consider harmonizing the appearance of playsets with our family homes.
Complete Swing Sets vs. Swing Set Kits
Complete swingsets have everything you need shipped right to your door; no trips to the hardware store. Complete sets include premium quality lumber that has been professionally selected; no scrutinizing the type/quality/straightness of the lumber you buy yourself. Swing Set Kits are more budget-friendly at first glance, but once wood is added the investment they can often times surpass their wood-complete counterparts both in time and in money. Swing set kits can, however, be very versatile as far as customizations go. Kits can also be shipped or carried to remote locations that freight carriers may not be able to affordably access such as countries we do not currently ship to, etc.
Commercial vs. Residential Grade
Whether you plan to build your own swing set for scratch, or are looking for swing set repair or replacement parts, the question of choosing residential swing set brackets vs. commercial hardware is bound to come up. The main differences are price and durability. Quite simply, the more strong and sturdy the hardware, the more it will cost in the short term. However, if you opt for a less expensive residential swing set a-frame brackets for example, you may find that as your set ages, so does your hardware and the set may require replacement parts sooner, depending also on usage of the swing set.
As we all know, our kids grow up way too fast. So while it may be difficult to imagine, your little ones will be climbing and playing all over your new swing set for years to come. Please bear this in mind when equipping your yard with outdoor playsets. Choose a playground that can grow with your kids and be as distinctive and functional as possible for the longest amount of time. Nobody wants a swing set that goes unused. A great way to increase the swing set play value is to update and change it as often as possible. Add-on kits and accessories are designed for just this purpose. Once you decide on a swing set, get an extra set of swings to switch out when the kids tire of them or a monkey bar add-on kit for later. This can make for an excellent emergency birthday gift or even a “just because” surprise gift for the kids.