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Wooden Playsets

  • What to Look for When Buying a Swing Set Online

    Purchasing a swing set takes time and research to make sure you are selecting the right model for your family. If you’re shopping for wooden playground sets online, you’ll want to be confident you know what you’re getting before clicking the “Check Out" button. To help make your online shopping experience a success, we’re sharing our industry expertise on playsets and backyard playgrounds.

    Evaluate Your Property Before Choosing a Playground Set

    Before comparing specific playset models, be sure to evaluate your property and determine the type of swing set it can safely accommodate. Items to consider include:

    1. How much space do I need for the swing set?

    - Keep in mind the proper safety zone precautions: we recommend at least 6 ft. of open space around the entire swing set

    2. What is the safest surface for underneath the swing set?

    - Rubber mulch is the safest surface option for underneath swing sets. Unlike wood mulch, rubber mulch lasts a lifetime. It has great drainage, does not attract insects and only require a 3” depth. Wooden mulch requires twice the depth and needs to be replaced annually.

    3. How big of a playground set do I need for my child?

    - The amount of space you have in your backyard will help you figure out how large of a set you need. Determine what activities are most important. Monkey bars, for example, are a play set add-on that will require additional space.

    - Also, having an idea of the number of children that are going to be playing on the set will help you determine a play set size. A standard swing set – that includes one clubhouse, three swings and a slide – can generally accommodate 2 to 4 children, ages 2 to 12. If you are looking to provide a play area for more children you can consider adding an extra clubhouse or an additional slide.

    - The age range of children playing on the swing set will also help you to determine the ideal size of your play set. Play decks and swing beam heights can vary to accommodate younger and older children, as can clubhouse sizes and inside standing height. If you are looking to play on the swing set with your children consider a model that is constructed for adults and kids, and allows for a taller tent top or wood roof so you won’t struggle to stand up inside the clubhouse.

    4. Do I want a metal, vinyl or wood swing set?

    - If wood, what type of wood is the best option?

    - Cedar or redwood is proven to be highly durable, yet cost effective and is naturally resistant to rot and insect damage.

    After answering these questions, it is safe to begin looking around on the Internet at the different brands and swing set product offerings.

    Investigate the Playset Details

    Once you’ve identified a few swing set options that seem to fit your family’s needs, it’s time to give your potential purchase a deeper look. Here is a list of things to consider as you decide which playset to buy online.

    1. Take a closer look at the photos and videos found on the website

    2. Search around for any reviews of the swing set or the swing set manufacturer

    - Brand YouTube Channels - product unboxing or set up videos

    - Tour around any social pages the brand may have (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and search for comments or reviews the manufacturer may have.

    - Look at the “About Us” section on the company’s website to learn more about their brand.

    3. Read the fine print of the seller’s company policy

    - What is the return policy?

    - What are the manufacturer/retailer warranty terms and conditions?

    Playset Concerns and Future Maintenance

    1. Examine safety features of the swing set

    - Double check to make sure the hardware is recessed. Exposed hardware causes potential dangers for the children playing on the swing set.

    - Be sure the hardware is heavy-duty to prevent easy wear.

    - Check the description mentions there are rounded corners and no sharp edges.

    - Make sure the wood comes pre-sanded and stained on all six sides to prevent future splintering.

    2. Check out any installation videos the company has available to assist you in the swing set assembly process.

    3. In regards to the long-term aspects of your swing set, are you able to substitute any of the pieces when your child is older?

    - Does the swing set you are interested in allow you to switch out the original slide with a more advanced slide?

    - Is it possible to change out a regular swing for a tire swing later on?

    - Can you add additional activities to make the play set more challenging and fun?

    4. Is there future maintenance to consider, such as hardware replacement, sanding, staining, etc.?

    For additional tips on finding the right playground set for your back yard, check out our swing set buying guide. If you have any questions as you begin your research, please contact our Customer Service team. We’d love to hear from you!

  • Swing Set Safety & Maintenance Reminders

    The great weather we have been having is a pleasant reminder that spring will be here soon, which means now is the time to start sprucing up your swing set! This is also the perfect time for a refresher on swing set safety, so you and your family may have a fun and memorable play season.

    Wooden Swing Set Maintenance

    As the snow melts away and the temperatures rise, we recommend giving your playset a thorough once-over. Take your wrench outside and inspect bolts to be sure they don't need tightening. Check for rough spots on the swing set, especially on edges and corners, which may need sanding. Lastly, make sure all accessories are in good condition and not in need of replacing. This applies to everything from swings and clubhouse toys, like the steering wheel, to monkey bars and more. If you do find that some of the accessories need to be replaced, consider gifting them to your child for a birthday or Easter present.

    If you own a wooden swing set, it is important to keep it maintained. Pick a weekend to stain or seal the unit before spring is in full swing. Remember that you will need to let the stain or sealant dry for at least 24 hours, so make sure to get this out of the way early. That way, the kids won't miss a day of fun! We recommend staining or sealing annually in order to keep your swing set looking brand new.

    Wooden swing sets maintenance, swing set safety Wooden swing sets, like this Fantasy Tree House, are a perfect example of a swing set that should be stained or sealed annually.

    A way to help preserve your swing set from the harsh elements of the winter season is with a canopy or tent top over the clubhouse. These tops provide great assistance in protecting the wood for the long-term. With a canopy or tent top, the stain also stays maintained for longer.

    Another aspect to consider while revamping your children’s swing set for the spring is to inspect the rubber mulch play area. We recommend periodically raking up excess mulch around outer edges. In some high traffic areas, consider supplementing with an additional bag or two.

    The last step in making your swing set feel just like new is a quick cleaning of the plastic surfaces. Use a mixture of soap and water to remove any dirt that built up over the winter from the slide, swings, toys and other activities.

    Wooden Swing Set Safety

    Before the kids jump back on the jungle gym, give them a quick refresher of swing set safety tips. Remind them what type of clothing is appropriate. Keeping the kids aware of the proper play attire will help prevent their clothes from catching on any of the playset’s hardware if it is not recessed. This applies not just to the backyard, but also public settings, such as the school playground. We recommended bundling up and dressing for comfort. Some of our favorite suggestions include:

    • Wearing socks and sneakers
    • Avoiding clothing with strings, hoods, or scarves
    • Wearing fitted clothing that is not too baggy

    Now is also a great time to review any rules that you may have for your swing set. Having a set of rules for your children or visitors helps keep everyone safe during playtime. It is important to keep in mind that playing on a wet swing set may be hazardous depending on the material the swing set is made of. Use caution when holding playtime after any winter weather or rain. We recommend encouraging children to follow rules such as:

    • No climbing up the slide
    • No jumping off of the swing in mid air
    • No climbing on top of the monkey bars
    • No pushing others down the slide
    • No rough housing

    While you are outside performing any maintenance inspect the area around your swing set to make sure there are no fallen leaves or broken branches that may still be lingering around from fall. This will help to create an open play area for your little ones.

    While this may sound like a long list of things to do to prep for another season of fun, most of it can be done within a day. Make this a yearly ritual and take the opportunity to spend time together as a family while preparing your swing set for the upcoming season. We hope you and the little ones have a great spring, filled with lots of time outside. If you would like to read more about keeping your swing set safe, visit 10 Tips to Make Sure Your Wooden Swing Set is Safe. Share your questions on swing set safety and maintenance in the comments section below!

  • Building a Wooden Playset with the Whole Family

    When was the last time you and the kids bonded over a family project? Enjoying laughs, working through challenges and finally accomplishing your goal with your son or daughter leaves you with memories that will last a lifetime. And, depending on the project, you'll likely have a finished product that will yield even more fun times for years to come.

    That's certainly the case when it comes to building a wooden playset for the backyard. Depending on the model you've selected (and its complexity), getting the kids involved may seem a bit challenging. But not to worry -- there are plenty of ways to get the little ones to help out safely. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Safety first -- Teach your children how to make sure all safety precautions are taken before embarking on a construction project. This means having the proper equipment (safety goggles, gloves and sneakers, or another type of closed-toe shoe) and the appropriate work space; making sure any lumber you've picked up at the local hardware store is sanded and free of splinters; etc. Communicate all of this to your kids during a "safety talk" before you get started on the wooden playset. Be sure to mention that power tools can be dangerous, so it's important they stay away from these items unless otherwise instructed.
    Little girl using drill on swing set bracket Whether it's cleaning up, learning about safety precautions, organizing hardware or learning how to use the drill (with adult supervision, of course), the kids will have a blast helping to build a wooden playset for the backyard.
    • Have the kids organize the hardware -- Before getting started, gather all of the hardware you'll need and ask your children to sort through it. Have them place all the bolts in one pile, the washers in another, the caps in another and so on. Then, once you start assembling, your kids can have them ready at your request. This activity will help them learn all about the different parts of the swing set, and they'll get an up-close look at the construction as mom or dad's assistant.
    • Let them try their hand at assembling -- Since you will be supervising the activity, there's no harm in allowing your child to try using the drill, provided he or she is the appropriate age and you have modeled the correct usage several times. Just guide the youngster along and you should have no problem.
    • Have them take care of the finishing touches -- Whether it's helping them up the ladder to hang the swing or handing them a rake to smooth the rubber playground mulch around the set, the kids will love the privilege of being responsible for the finishing touches.
    • Clean up -- There's nothing children love more than a game, so factor in the spirit of competition and see who can clean up the most! Instruct the kids to gather up any boxes, and make sure all the pieces of hardware are picked up and placed in their respective bags.
    • Test out the product -- It's the moment they've been waiting for! Once the wooden playset is assembled and cleanup is finished, it's time for the kids to try out their new swing set! We recommend having a camera on hand so you can capture the excitement as they hop on the swings and swoosh down the slide for the very first time!
  • Carolina Retailer Now Selling Eastern Jungle Gym Swing Sets

    Eastern Jungle Gym is excited to announce the addition of an authorized specialty retailer in North and South Carolina.

    Liberty Storage Solutions is now selling Eastern Jungle Gym swing sets at ten of its super center locations. The company, which was founded in 2006, manufactures and sells high quality storage sheds. Gazebos, carports and barns are also available at Liberty Storage Solutions, which has a total of twenty locations across the two states.

    "Our swing sets have helped families create childhood memories for more than 22 years, so we are confident that they will do very well in North and South Carolina," said Rolf Zimmermann, vice president of sales for Eastern Jungle Gym. "And because Liberty is committed to providing top-notch products along with great customer service, we know this partnership is a good fit. We're very excited."

    Eastern Jungle Gym swing sets range from the Classic freestanding series, to models with a single slide and clubhouse, all the way to playsets that features a treehouse, multiple clubhouses and several slides. There are 70 playsets in total. They all use 100-percent cedar wood, heavy-duty hardware, thru-bolt construction and high quality accessories.

    All of the swing sets are available through Liberty, which also offers delivery and installation through its professional installation team.

    Eastern Jungle Gym is planning to have its cedar swing sets in all Liberty locations next season. The Liberty locations currently carrying Eastern Jungle Gym swing sets are in Burlington, Concord, Jonesville, Rutherfordton, Statesville, Salisbury and Conover in North Carolina; and Anderson, Gaffney and Newberry in South Carolina. For exact locations, visit our "Find a Factory-Direct Location" page.

    Eastern Jungle Gym will continue to grow its network of authorized specialty retailers--which includes national and international dealers--as well as its online presence. The company recently added Vuly trampolines to its online inventory.

  • Metal, Vinyl or Wooden Swing Sets

    When it comes to selecting a new playset for the family, one of the most important first questions to consider is the type of material you are selecting. From wooden swing sets to those made of vinyl or metal, there are plenty of options, each with pros and cons that are worth contemplating before making a purchase.

    If you are leaning toward one of the many types of wooden swing sets, you have several choices: cedar, pressure-treated pine or redwood.

    Redwood, which grows on the coast of California, is the most expensive. Like cedar, it is naturally resistant to decay and rot, as well as to damage from insects. Experts consider this wood very durable, and easy to work with. It offers minimal shrinking and swelling when compared to other wood, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. As its name suggests, this wood is naturally red. This is a look many people feel adds tremendously to the aesthetics of their backyard playground.

    Still, redwood is not maintenance free. Sealing and staining a redwood swing set is a smart move, as it will lengthen its lifespan.

    Wooden swing sets that are made of cedar are naturally resistant to insect damage, rot and decay.

    Cedar wooden swing sets are typically a bit more affordable than redwood swing sets. They, too, are naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect damage -- plus, they have a beautiful aroma. They are also less prone to twisting and warping when compared to pressured-treated swing sets. Most cedar swing sets today are made from either Western red cedar, Northern white cedar or China-Fir.

    • Northern white cedar is the lightest of all commercial wood in the country, according to the US Forest Service Department of Agriculture. It glues and holds paint well and offers little dimensional change, the department states. But this wood is rather soft, so it does not hold fasteners as well as other materials. On the plus side, Northern white cedar is naturally resistant to splintering.
    • Western red cedar, which comes from the Pacific Northwest, is also known for its durability and lightness. This material has been used for decades on fencing, outdoor furniture and playgrounds.
    • China-Fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) is very resistant to decay, pest infestations and fungus. It has been used abroad for centuries because it is a terrific all-around, versatile material. This wood is typically a warm yellow or light white color, with hints of red.

    Pressure-treated swing sets contain preservatives, which are applied in an effort to make the material last. And last it does! This material can hold up for years and years, although the quality (swing sets are not all created equally) can affect tendency to warp and twist. The process for pressure-treating wood allows the preservatives to be forced deep in the wood so that the material becomes resistant (which it is not naturally) to decay, insects and rot.

    Before 2003--when the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in--this type of lumber often contained a composite that used arsenic. Today's pressure-treated wood has safer preservatives, but it is wise to look into the specific type of preservative your swing set contains before making a purchase. Pressure-treated swing sets are usually the least expensive when it comes to wooden playsets.

    Another option is metal. These are the swing sets most adults remember having as a kid. They use thin gauge steel pipes that are painted or powder-coated, and anchored in concrete. Maintenance may include applying an oil or grease to fight off corrosion, depending on the type of metal. These swing sets are strong and affordable, but definitely give a backyard a different feel than that of a wooden swing set. Again, the quality of the swing set can make a big difference, so look at plenty of reviews and be prepared with questions.

    Vinyl swing sets use pressure-treated pine wrapped in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for the structural components. They use composite decking (wood-alternatives made of recycled materials, such as plastics and lumber) for the walls and decks of the playset. There is no need to stain or seal these swing sets, but they should be cleaned annually. There is also no risk of splinters (which should be nearly non-existent with a quality wood playset that is sanded and has properly rounded edges). These swing sets are typically on the expensive side. One thing to keep in mind is that the moisture trapped in the pressured-treated pine has no place to go when it is encapsulated. That means rot is likely inevitable at some point in the life of a vinyl swing set. When that occurs, and to what degree, varies.

    One more important factor in your decision of a swing set material is the construction of the support posts and beams. Some wooden play sets use solid pieces of woods, such as 4-by-4s, which can sometimes lead to increased cracking because of the constant swelling from rain and shrinking from the heat. Other jungle gyms use a two-piece construction--where the wood is bolted together without glue. This reduces the frequency of checking and cracking. Another possibility is laminated wood, meaning multiple pieces of wood are glued together. Although often hard to detect, this type of post is prone to de-lamination and failure. Painting or sealing would only slow down the process.

    No matter the swing set style and design you are leaning toward, it is important to be educated and do your research when making this purchase. After all, this is an item your family will enjoy for years to come! We would love to hear about your experience with wooden swing sets, metal swing sets and vinyl swing sets.

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