by Dave Logan
1. What do the kids think? I’m sure they will be more than eager to voice their opinions! Make sure the play area not only suits their needs for right now, but also that they can grow into the area for the future. Have them sit next to you while you browse play equipment areas and ideas online. It will make for good bonding time and give you all some great ideas.
2. Does the yard accommodate a play area? Two important considerations for a play area in your backyard should be size and slope. Take some time to measure and mark out the best area for play equipment. Adequate draining, preferably flat surface, no rocks or other debris. A nice, flat grassy area is probably ideal, though you can use mulch or sand, for example, to provide the foundation for the play equipment.
3. How much can I spend? If it were up to the kids, they would have you buy or build them a play area that rivals Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! Since that is likely outside of your budget, do some careful assessments on pricing and overall value. Most outdoor play equipment is built for durability, so plan on it lasting a long time. You may have to spend some money on it, but you want quality materials for your kids, so don’t necessarily pick the cheapest equipment on the market. Your kids will be getting good exercise and fun out of this for years to come. And don’t forget that having a quality play area in your yard could be an attractive feature for anyone who may want to buy your home in the future.
4. What materials are best? There are essentially three materials to consider depending on your kids’ age and your budget. They pretty much fall under two categories: price and durability.
? Plastic “ Good for kids up until about 5 years old. ? Wood “ Cedar, redwood, or pine. Low maintenance, more money than plastic, long-lasting, attractive, and low maintenance. ? Metal “ Great for swingsets or slides. Look for heavy-duty galvanized steel. Make sure your choice has a lifetime guarantee against rust as well.
5. Is it safe? This may be our final question, but it’s also the most important. Obviously, you want absolute safety for your children. When putting everything together, make sure the overall structure is sound and sturdy. See that there are no nuts, bolts, or screws protruding from the equipment. These can cause nasty cuts but are easily avoidable with regular checking. Features like climbing ropes or ladders, for example, may be better for older kids and can be added later as they grow up.
For more helpful information on these and other home improvement projects, check in often with the TDL Blog. And don’t forget to visit TeamDaveLogan.com to find a trusted home improvement professional in Denver and Boulder that will help you with your next project!