Play Structure & Swing Set

Submitted by Colby032 on Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:52

My second building project... this one took quite a while, building in the evenings after the kids went to bed.

The playhouse is based off of Ana's Playhouse Building series, with some modifications to fit the space in my backyard and accommodate climbing wall, monkey bars, and slide.

To put the main deck structure into the ground for sturdiness while protecting from moisture, I dug out 5 holes to fit single hole cinder blocks (4 corners plus an extra 4x4 for the monkey bars; you can see an leftover block on the ground in one of the pictures). I placed some brick in the holes, then the cinder blocks on top. I then partially filled the cinder blocks with sand, put the pre-built deck in the cinder block holes (with help - it's heavy!), and then filled the rest of the cinder block holes with sand. It's worked remarkably well - the deck has been up for about a year now. I also sprayed some clear waterproof sealant on the bottom part of each beam near the ground for extra protection (deck, monkey bars, climbing walls, and swingset A-frame). This has allowed me to still run sprinklers near/around the playset and even grow grass underneath the swings!

Materials used:
* Playhouse: pine, plywood, Suntuf solar grey polycarbonate corrugated roofing panels (I live in Arizona, so little rain to worry about but lots of heat - the sheeting lets light in but blocks most of the UV rays, corrugated shape also provides venting at top when placed sideways)

* Deck/Swingset/Monkey bars: treated lumber, composite decking, pine for railings, monkey bars purchased from Amazon

* Climbing wall: pine, treated lumber, handholds/railing bought off ebay/Amazon

* Swings/slide/bongos/wheel, telescope: purchased from Amazon

* Turned playhouse 90 degrees to be in back of the deck, with swingset coming off the side. This meant the support beam for the swingset had to pass through the playhouse - modified the frame for that wall slightly and created a notch for the beam to pass through.

* Slide comes out one end of playhouse - made the "window" on that end larger than the plans called for in order to give room for the slide.

* Monkey bars come off one side of the deck - used extra 4x4 here to create support for the bars, and used extra bars to make a ladder on this side

* Climbing wall instead of ladder for main entrance

* Put large window in back wall of the playhouse

* Added cross bracing to side of decking on swingset end to make it more solid/cut down on sway when swinging

Estimated Time Investment
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Finish Used
Paint on playhouse, water seal on railings
Recommended Skill Level



Tue, 04/29/2014 - 20:41

This is phenomenal - just the plan & design we've been looking for. Can you upload a few more pictures? Any sketches you can provide? Shopping list? Really great job - I hope your kids love it. It looks awesome.


Wed, 04/30/2014 - 04:53

Love it! I like the way it sits right next to a tree - I thought it was a tree house at first.


Wed, 09/10/2014 - 14:03

Thanks! It's certainly nestled in right behind that tree - I originally was going to place it in between that tree and another one but then decided to just place it behind them in order to take better advantage of shade (critical in AZ) and fit in everything I wanted to put on it (monkey bars, swings, slide, climbing wall)


Mon, 07/08/2019 - 00:48

We've  been looking at these type of players for our son, and good grief! Prices are astronomical for playsets that are NOTHING like this. This absolutely an amazing  place for those boys to make memories. You're  amazing!  Do you mind if I ask what it cost once it was finished? I never imagined  that it would cause a tic in my eye to look at the kids from Lowe's or anywhere else for that matter.


Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:14

I don't remember how much it cost in the end... but probably around $900?  That may include getting some tools that I needed but didn't have at the time.  The slide was the most expensive single piece I bought - I think I got it from Amazon.

When it was all done, I remember thinking that what I got for my money was *way* beyond what I would have gotten by purchasing a kit or a pre-built play structure.  Plus, by going my own way, I was able to build it to fit my space and the needs/abilities of my kids.

While the whole thing is big and looks like an intimidating build, it really isn't bad - the platform is a fairly blank base to design everything else off of, and is incredibly sturdy.  Everything else is a discrete part that branches off of the platform and can be planned out as you need.  Adding the monkey bars required putting in a 5th upright (the first 4 are the corners), but that was an easy modification since I knew I wanted it before building the platform.  The playhouse just sat on top of the platform (screwed down, of course).



Sat, 08/01/2020 - 20:40

Hello. This is pretty cool, probably the best modification that I am looking for from Ana's default plans. Could you please add some more detail on the right side wall, and how you incorporated the support beam through the playhouse? (with maybe a picture from inside of that wall). And secondly, if you can add the dimensions for the monkey bar setup on the left side of the deck? Thanks, much appreciated