DIY Jungle Gym

I don’t know if it’s just my age but children these days seem to be ever increasingly active. In our back yard we have an outdoor swing set that was generously given to us by our neighbor, who’s children had grown too big for it. For me this was the perfect interim until I could get around to purchasing one of our own. I remember him saying that the frame would appear to lift slightly when the swings were in full flight. I did not pay too much attention to this because our kids are only little. To make sure I pounded in stakes, 12 inches into the ground and screwed them to the main frame to prevent this happening, anyway our Jack who’s only five is rocking this frame work to the extent that the bolts are creaking at every joint. Now this is not a major concern at this point but he’s a strong lad, hand over hand across the monkey bars and somersaults on the trapeze swing. It’s only a matter of time before this apparatus cracks under the strain.

Feeling a little under pressure to remedy the situation the hunt was on to find a suitable replacement but as you can imagine there are a lot of companies and products available. The full kits were OK but didn’t lend themselves to any kind of customization and I wanted to provide a long term replacement rather than something that was good for only a couple of years, another issue was the quality and size of the lumber used in the kits. I was looking for a product that was virtually indestructible with commercial quality but for the homeowner.

While I was surfing the web I came across this company Detailed Play Systems who operate out of New Jersey. They specialize in backyard play equipment and commercial play equipment but the difference is you only purchase the plans, hardware and accessories. The lumber is purchased by yourself and built to the plans provided allowing for upgrades at a later stage. With the skill level aimed at the beginner and the craftsman these plans should be easy enough to follow, basic power tools and hand tools will probably be needed but it doesn’t sound too difficult. I found it very intriguing as it gave me the chance to customize to the children’s wants rather than just take a swing kit as is, the only difficulty would be to shuffle the plans to suit our layout without compromising any safety.

Jungle fort swingset by detailed play systems.

Reading further on the website I found that these swingsets were on sale and free shipping is being offered up to June 1st 2007, so for me I have to decide what options I would order and any additional items I would get at a later date. I think this will be the way that I go, it gives me the flexibility that I’m looking for together with the quality that they are offering, the site even sports a consumer best buy seal which adds to their credibility. I suppose the best way to start is to download their catalog and see what we can come up with, no doubt it will end up larger than we have at the moment but as the saying goes, “They’re only children once!”

3 thoughts on “DIY Jungle Gym

  1. GREAT BLOG!!! I love the way you blogged the whole experience of building the jungle fort. I am embarking on the same adventure that you undertook. I just went this morning and purchased the lumber for the jungle fort and the swing set. I decided that I would wait and by lumber for additional components latter. I am planning on reading you post but if you have any tips for someone about to start building that are not in the blog I would love for you to share them with me. Thanks.

  2. I think the plans that I used were very comprehensive which left little to guess work. I think I would have labeled each component better as they tended to get lost amongst the vast amounts that I had as I cut everything at once. If I had seperate piles it would have been easier but I was also constructing different to the set plans so at the end I was very pleased with the end result.

    The most important aspect of the build was to work at it methodically and not try to rush it along so for me it was a great adventure that I was able to involve my children in. The one thing that I was surprised about was the amount of shrinkage the lumber had over the course of a year and it was important to go around and re-tighten all the bolts. Apart from that I feel I have captured the whole build experience in writing even if it is in a somewhat abbreviated form.

  3. Pingback: Your Garden

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