How to Build a DIY Backyard Playground

DIY Backyard Playground

It’s very common to find parents that want to build a playground in the backyard of their home for keeping an eye on their kids. Most parents fear that their kids might get hurt from the playground in a park if they are not properly watched over. In having your own playground in your backyard, your children get to have a playground that is custom-built for them. The plans I created for this DIY Backyard Playground could be easily customized to best fit your kid’s backyard adventure. 

If you have some basic tools and willing to build your own projects, then this backyard playground might be a project to tackle. 

Building a playground from wood can create an endless variety of features such as forts, climbing walls, and built-in sandboxes. When building outdoor projects it’s important to choose the right wood. Creating a playground from naturally insect-repelling wood species such as redwood and cedar eliminates the chemical threat. These untreated woods resist fungal rot as well and maintain their beauty without dangerous preservatives.

When we bought our house the playground was already installed, so I didn’t build it from scratch, but I did change/update some things. I decided to make these plans for anyone who might be interested in building their own playground for their kids and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars. Our kids spend hours and hours playing in this playground especially when their friends come over.

You also might be interested in other projects that I’ve built for kids: DIY Wooden Go-Kart, Sensory Table with Water Ramps and Pucket Game.

DIY Backyard Playground

Backyard Playground PDF

$6.00

This PDF download includes Cut Diagrams, a List of Supplies, and 3D illustrations with detailed steps to build the project. Measurements are in imperial and not metric. Does NOT include SketchUp/CAD files.

The plans are embedded on the webpage for free, but if you would like to support the website, you can pay a small fee to purchase the printable PDFs.

Thank you for your support!

Backyard Playground

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Material List

  • 1 1/2″ x 4″ C-channel (x2)
  • 2 1/2″ Diameter Round Pipe/Post (x2)
  • 4x4x10′ (x6)
  • 4x4x8′ (x1)
  • 2x4x8′ (x12)
  • 2x6x8′ (x1)
  • 1x6x8′ (x1)
  • 1x4x8′ (x48)
  • 2x3x8′ (x12)
  • 4’x8′-1/2″ Plywood (x2)
  • Roof Shingles
  • Swings (x2)
  • Bar Swing (x1)
  • Rock Climbing Piece (x1)
  • Slide (x1)
  • 1/8″ thick flat bar (x2)
  • Handles (x6)
  • 1/2″ Bolts and Nuts
  • 2 1/2″ deck screws
  • 1 1/2″ deck screws
  • 8″ Round Concrete Form Tube
  • Concrete

Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size.  See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links. 


Dimensions

DIY Backyard Playground dimensions
DIY Backyard Playground dimensions

Step 1 – Dig Holes in the Ground for Main Posts

Find a flat area in your background that’s approximately 20’x24’ of clear space. Layout the locations for the main posts per provided drawing. Dig the holes using a Post Hole Digger as if you’re digging holes for a fence post. The holes in the ground need to be 2 feet deep and wide enough to insert 8″ Round Concrete Form Tube. There will be 6 posts for the main playground, 2 posts for the bench, and 2 posts for the swing.

Backyard playground post dimensions

Step 2 – Install Posts

After all of the holes are dug and Form Tubes are in place. Insert 10 feet long redwood 4x4s inside the Form Tube for the playground supports. I used a 2 1/2″ round metal pipe for the two swings posts instead of 4×4 wood. I figured metal posts will last much longer due to constant movement from the swings. Mix and pour the concrete inside the form tubes making sure all posts are plumb using a level.

backyard playground post in ground

Step 3 – Cut Posts to Correct Height

Once the concrete completely dries, using a Skill Saw, cut the posts to the provided height dimensions. These dimensions are from the ground up. The additional two feet are underground.

installing post for the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 4 – Install Supports for Ground Floor

Working from the ground up, make sure to measure every piece before cutting for accuracy. Just in case if your posts shifted slightly during the concrete pour, your measurement might be somewhat different from what’s on the picture. Use deck screws to fasten 2x4s and 1x4s to posts.

lower level floor of the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 5 – Install Ground Floor

The area with 2x4s supports will be covered with 1x4s to make a ground floor. Measure and cut 1x4s, then spread them out evenly with 1/2″ between each board. Attach using 1 1/2″ deck screws.

wood boards on the floor for the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 6 – Supports for Second Floor

The second-floor supports will be also built from 2x4s. The lower deck is 44″ from the ground and the upper deck is 54 1/2″ from the ground.

supports for the floor of the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 7 – Second Floor Deck

Similar to step 5, use 1x4s to build the upper and lower deck. Make sure to have 1/2″ gap between the boards.

floor levels for the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 8 – Make Fence Panel

For this step, make a fence panels using 1x4s for both the rails and pickets. Measure the distance from post to post for rail dimensions, again your dimensions might be slightly different than what’s on the drawing. Make 2″ gap between pickets. Use 1 1/2″ deck screws to attach the boards.

railing for the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 9 – Install Fence Panels

There will be 4 full fence panels. Place the panels on the floor and then attach them to the posts.

installing floor supports for the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 10 – Fence Panel for Slide Area

The area for the slide will have a partial fence section with only two 1×4 pickets.

installing railing for the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 11 – Roof Truss Supports

Attach 70″ long 2x4s at the very top of the posts. These are supports for roof trusses.

attaching 2x4 for the roof support of the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 12 – Back of Playground

On the backside of the playground, in the center, we’ll have a half-round rock climbing area that’s 16″ in diameter. So mark 16″ wide section in the center for the rock climbing piece. Then attach 92″ long 1x4s on each side of the 16″ gap. The 1x4s are 2″ apart.

attaching 1x4 to the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 13 – Rock Climbing Piece

Now attach the rock climbing piece and the handles.

attaching rock climbing to the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 14 – Front Fence Panel

The front of the playground will also have partial fencing. Attach 14″ long 1×4 to the post at the bottom. Then attach two 36″ long pickets on each side having 2″ gap between each picket.

building rails for the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 15 – Build Lower Roof Trusses

Building a roof truss will consist of a combination of 1x4s and 2x3s. At first, build the left side of the truss separately from the right side. The top and bottom fascia boards are 45″ long 1x4s. The 2×3 truss boards are cut at 45° and 48 1/4″ long. Attach all 3 truss boards to upper and lower fascia boards using 1 1/2″ deck screws. Once both left and right trusses are complete, attach them together at the top.

truss measurements of the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 16 – Install Roof Framing

Now attach the entire roof framing to the 2×4 supports that were previously installed. After the roof frame is installed, cut 24 1/2″ long 2×3 boars at 45° on one side and attach them at the front of the truss making a diamond shape design.

building trusses for the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 17 – Build Upper Roof Framing

Similar to step 15, build a second roof but now it’s 49″ long. Attach the roof trusses to 2×4 supports.

building trusses for the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 18 – Cover Roof with Plywood and Shingles

Cover the roof framing with 1/2″ plywood. Then cover the plywood with shingles.

installing shingle on the roof of the DIY Backyard Playground

Step 19 – Install Ladder

The front of the playground will have a ladder in the center. Take 2×4 and cut to 52 1/8″ (x2). The bottom is cut at 69° and top at 21°, see picture. Cut 18″ long steps from 2x4s (x4) working from bottom up, the first step is 10″ from the bottom, the rest are 12″ apart. Attach the ladder using 2 1/2″ deck screws to front 2×4. Fasten handles for ladder and the pickets above the ladder.

building a ladder for DIY Backyard Playground

Step 20 – Bench and Table

For this step build a bench and a table. Take 2×4 and cut it to 16″ with one side at 45° (x2). Also, cut 2×4 to 17 1/2″ long with both sides at 45° (x2). Build a triangle as shown on the picture and attach it to the 4×4 post at 23 3/4″ from the ground. Once the supports for the table are fastened, cut 1×6 to 47″ long (x2) and attached these board to table supports. The bench will also be 47″ long but from one 2×6 board. Attach the board to the short 1 foot 4×4 posts.

installing posts for the swings

Step 21 – Swing Support

I used metal 1 1/2″ x 4″ c-channel for the horizontal support of the swing. You could use 4×4, but c-channels will last much longer than 4×4. C-channel will sit on a 2×4 that’s attached to 4×4 posts. The other side of the c-channel will be placed on top of the round metal posts. Measure and cut the c-channel using a Sawzall with a blade for metal cuts. Make sure the c-channels are leveled.

installing c-channel for the swings

Step 22 – Attach Swings

Attach the swing and a swing bar to the c-channel evenly spaced out. At the top of the round metal, posts attach 1/8″ thick flat metal bars making a cross. This will prevent the posts from moving when kids are using a swing.

attaching cross brace on the swings

Step 23 – Attach Slide

Finally, attach the slide. You’re done with this DIY Backyard Playground.

DIY Backyard Playground

10 thoughts on “How to Build a DIY Backyard Playground”

  1. Amazing set of plans! Any chance you have more choices available that we can build strong/large enough to handle us parents in with our kids too?? It’s been one enormous challenge to find any! Your help will be Tremendously appreciated!!

    Reply
    • Just built this in our garden and put and extra support along the middle if the floorboards, on the underside and it now supports me and my husbands weight at the same time. As for large enough, I recon if you left the main posts about a foot higher it would then support your height too x

      Reply
  2. Where do the slides, swings and other components order from? Is that something that is included with the PDF download or is that just up to the builder to research? I may have missed it. thanks

    Reply

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