Building a children’s playground
As you may have noticed, in the following months (or maybe even years), we will rebuild our new house with our bare hands! And that will, of course, take very much time. It’s gonna be fun, but what about the kids? When adults will be working on the renovation, there will not be so much time for playing with the kids. Also, our parents offered help with the renovation, but since the majority of the work will be heavy and dangerous, you don’t want them to do it. At the end of the day, it is our shit, not theirs 🙂. So my wife came with an idea how to use their offer for help, but not let them do the heavy work - letting them help building the kids playground on the garden!
We have already managed to get lots of scrap wood from demolition work. Even if the wood looks OK on the first sight, it has the potential to be “infected” with the wood-destroying insects, so we do not put it back inside the house after the renovation is complete. But I consider it OK to use it for some building outside on the garden. Of course the best solution would be to burn it and buy the fresh new wood, but the wood is very expensive right now, so I want to repurpose what I have and give it a new life as much as possible.
All those things above leads to win-win situation for everyone:
- We will be able to work on the house renovation
- We will repurpose the old wood instead of getting rid of it
- Since some wood will be repurposed and we will build it by ourselves, we save some 💰
- Our parents will have fun too (as they really want to help with something), but not with the heavy work. And even kids can help with the building!
- Kiddos will have playground to play on while we are working on the house
Design Time aka Planning What To Build
I am not very creative in this field, so I went for an inspiration on the net. I quickly found out, that the problem would be choosing what to build, because there are so many options you can choose from. So I opened just four of the playgrounds I liked that was offered on the random e-shop and gave it to my wife to make a final selection. We have chosen this one:
The e-shop even provided the coarse dimensions of the whole playground (for the purpose of placing it into your garden), which simplified the things even further - I do not have to think about all of this by myself, neat!
Since the scrap wood I was talking about are only planks, I need to buy just the wooden construction beams for the playground skeleton/foundation. But the question is, how many and which dimensions? I fired up the Fusion360 and in few hours, I made a model of the playground’s skeleton which revealed what do I need to buy. Note: I have not modelled the whole playground as per the image above, just the parts I was not sure about. And I will also use the model as a building instructions when putting it all together.
Can We Build It? Yes, We Can!
Thanks to the model I knew exactly what do I need to buy. The price for wooden beams was 7600CZK:
We dived into the building. First thing needed was shortening all the beams to desired lengths according to the plans. When all was set, the surface of all beams needed to be made coarse, so the sandpaper and electric orbit sander helped. After that, all beams needed to be painted with exterior paint in the colour of walnut wood (the beams itself are made of spruce wood). In the end, multiple layers will be needed, so I bought about 3 litres of exterior paint in total of about 1500CZK.
By the way, the paint job is the most boring task for me, so for this task, I used help of my cousin and my wife extensively throughout the project.
Anyways, this is how the painted playground skeleton looks like:
Next step was to fix the skeleton into the ground. I decided to make foundations from concrete, so I dug 6 holes for all 6 fixing points, 70cm deep (so it is protected from freezing), mounted the anchors to the playground skeleton and put them into the concrete. After several days, the concrete was hard and so the playground will be solid as fuck. Concrete was about 1200 CZK in total, since I need to buy more multiple times (poor estimate)
Following task was to make floors, fences and try to make the house look like the house. All of the wooden material here was repurposed, so it was “free”
What kind of playground is it without swings? I have installed construction for the swings/hammocks/whatever with 4 swing hooks. The whole construction needed two more concrete fixing points to the ground. Because the construction is very solid and high enough, even the adults can use it (when attaching something different than swings 😁)
But dad, we want a slide, too! Oh yeah kiddies, your wish is my command. I have bought the slide that can be attached to garden hose with water, so in hot days, it transforms regular slide into water slide. Slide was for 2900 CZK.
I want the house to look dope, so I bought regular roofing shingles and attached them to roof! To be honest, it is mainly for design, since I have not put the water isolation foil underneath, but as I said, this is only for the better look. Shingles was 700 CZK.
Any parent can prove that kids usually do not care about expensive toys that much as parents do. My neighbour and friend in one person once told me, that parents and grandparents buy things “for kids” but in reality they buy them for themselves 😁. And that is very true. Small kids just do not appreciate riding electric cars and other fancy toys as much as parents that buy them. What do they really appreciate are stones, sticks, insects, dirt, flowers and similar stuff that cost no money at all. That’s why the sandbox is a must-have in any real playground!
I have ordered 1 ton of the sand wondering if it is too much or not, fortunately the amount fits perfectly. Sand cost about 1500 CZK, which is fairly expensive (regular price is about 700CZK), but this was including transport and I have also taken it from the same company that provides containers intended for demolition waste (bricks, concrete, etc) and I did not want to seek another company just for the sand. They also have this certificate, that says that the sand is safe for the kids, which was another advantage.
The whole thing was approx for 16000 CZK (material only) and took around 6 weekends to finish. Of course, I could save 6 weekends and pay the money for out-of-the-box solution, but where is the fun in it? And I would not have anything to write on teh interwebs!
I am very satisfied with the result and kids seems happy too - the best feature so far is the sandpit 😁. Kudos goes to all people that participated: My lovely wife, my cousin Vladimir, my father-in-law Zdenek and my parents too!