Experts agree that (in addition to being just plain fun) playgrounds offer many benefits for child development.
Today, due to the COVID-19 crisis, public playgrounds are closed in many cities throughout the United States. But that doesn’t mean your children have to give up on the benefits of the playground. With a backyard playground, you can get some serious fun started at home. With kids stuck home all day, it’s a great time to think about how you can make your yard more enjoyable for them.
One option for a backyard playground is to purchase a prefabricated product. You’ll find a wide variety to choose from. However, prefabricated playgrounds can be pricey, and they’re not necessarily unique. Here are Homescape Now’s best ideas for affordable backyard playground fun that you can customize to fit your style, your yard, and your children’s interests.
Use Recycled or Upcycled Materials
For the environmentally responsible, one drawback of prefabricated playgrounds is the amount of wood that they use. If you build your own playground, you can save money and the earth’s resources by using recycled or upcycled materials. Shipping pallets, for example, have many possibilities and they’re not too hard to collect from local businesses. Or for recycled lumber, check out Arbor Upcycle, San Francisco’s only tree salvage wood mill.
Once you’ve gathered your materials, you can let your imagination run wild. Sandboxes, forts, and playhouses can all be created from a few simple materials. You’ll find plenty of designs online for inspiration.
Use the Existing Landscape of Your Backyard
As you’re designing your backyard playground, don’t forget that your yard may already have features that could help you. A hill or terraced area, for example, could be the perfect spot for a slide. Or use the natural slopes of your yard to help you build a multi-level playhouse or fort.
If you have trees or a wooded area, maybe you can find the perfect branch for a swing. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that the branch is sturdy enough to be safe. Two trees could become opposite ends of a zipline. A flat, level area might be a perfect place to set up some giant backyard board games. A great way to get outside while still enjoying jenga, chess, checkers, or scrabble. If you have an appropriate space, you might even look into creating your own mini golf course.
Backyard Obstacle Course
If you don’t have the time and energy for these more ambitious projects, a homemade obstacle course is a great option. You probably already own most of the materials you’d need. Pull out those old tires and pieces of scrap wood from your garage. You’ll be amazed at what you and your kids can come up with. Log slices could become stepping stones. A few scraps of wood could make a balance beam. Use some pallets to make ramps, a rope for a swing, or some PVC pipes and tarps to build a tunnel.
You could set up your obstacle course a permanently, but if you don’t want it in place all the time, that’s no problem! Provide your kids with the pieces and a storage space. They can build a slightly different course every time for hours and hours of fun.
Backyard Playground Safety Considerations
One of the many benefits of playgrounds is that they allow children to build self-confidence and an awareness of their own physical abilities and limits. It’s good for children to engage in activities that involve a certain level of risk, such as climbing, sliding, or swinging. As you’re building your home playground, you’ll want to allow your children a chance to challenge themselves physically. At the same time, it’s obviously important to take adequate precautions to prevent serious injury. You’ll want to ask yourself questions such as:
- Will this swing bear the weight my child?
- Could this swing hit another object when fully extended?
- What kind of material can I put on the ground to soften a fall?
- When my child goes down this slide, where will they land?
Not Sure Where to Start? Homescape Now Can Help!
Did you know that Homescape Now can help you with a backyard playground, along with your other landscaping needs? With the onset of quarantine restrictions, we’ve seen a surge of interest in building background playgrounds.
- Not sure where to start?
- Don’t have the time or energy to take on the project yourself?
- Want help integrating a playground into your other landscaping goals?
We’ll help you design and build your backyard playground to ensure that it’s safe, enjoyable, and visually appealing. Contact Homescape Now to get your new project started.