How to Build a Playground: Swings and Accessories

A complete list of the swings and accessories you need to add to your DIY playground and play set!

You’ve done the hard work of building the playground. Now comes the fun part: adding all of the swings and accessories! I researched these items extensively, making sure they would hold up outdoors and had maximum weight-carrying capacities (I knew that adults would also give many of these accessories a try too!). As a reminder, we’re building a playground that looks like this:

Large playground stained brown with two green slides, swings, and monkey bars
The fun part: adding swings and other accessories to a DIY backyard playground!

This is the fourth post of a six-part series covering the fundamentals of building a playground. You can read the other posts in the series through these links: Overview, Materials & Tools, Connectors & Fasteners, Lumber, and Design Concepts. Additional posts have step-by-step instructions for the actual playground construction; you can explore those on my Playground page.

Overview

Much like my other posts in this series, a Quick List is first where I simply list all the swings and accessories needed. A Detailed List will follow, where I elaborate on each item’s purpose and utility on the playground. The two lists are sorted alphabetically and use the same numerical numbering to help with navigation. So if you see an item in the Quick List you can look it up by the same number in the Detailed List. All items in the Detailed List will state the quantity needed.

Quick List

  1. Gymnastic Rings
  2. Monkey Bars
  3. Pirate Ship Wheel
  4. Porch Swing
  5. Porch Swing Springs
  6. Rock Climbing Holds
  7. Safety Handle (17.5 inch)
  8. Safety Handle (37 inch)
  9. Slides
  10. Solar Deck Lights
  11. Sprinkler
  12. Swing Hangers
  13. Swing Seats
  14. Trapeze Swing Bar and Rings
  15. Tree swing (60 inch platform)

Detailed List

Quantity: 1 pair of rings

When it came to gymnastic rings, I wanted something my children could swing on but that I could also use for pull-ups. And there’s a lot to like about these! They’re made out of tough ABS plastic and can hold 1,100 lbs – far more than they’ll ever need to carry. The ring width is comfortable – not too narrow and not too wide. And they come with wrap-around grip tape for added comfort and slip-resistance. They’ve become my favorite part of the playground!

Green gymnastic rings on a playground
Playground gymnastic rings.

Quantity: 14 total bars

While I did use monkey bars for swinging, I also used them as step ladder rungs for getting up to and down from the monkey bars. These have a 300 lb weight limit, making them suitable for any adult who wants to relive their childhood!

Green monkey bars on a playground
Playground monkey bars.

Quantity: 2

This is a very basic, plastic wheel. It’s 12 inches in diameter and comes in four colors: blue, green, red, and pink. I bought two: one in blue and one in green.

Blue pirate ship wheel on a playground
Playground pirate ship wheel.

Quantity: 1

This is every adult’s favorite part of the playground, and it’s so awesome for so many reasons. It has an 800 lb weight capacity, so it can accommodate multiple children, adults, or children and adults. It’s made out of pressure-treated wood and the wood is already stained, so it will last in an outdoor environment. It has a rollback design which contours to your body and is extremely comfortable for an outdoor wooden porch swing. And the icing on the cake are the two side cup holders!

Porch swing hanging on a playground
Playground porch swing.

Quantity: 1 pair of springs

These springs absolutely make the porch swing as awesome, comfortable, and enjoyable as it is. They have a 600 lb weight limit and are completely silent. It’s these type of small details that really take a project like this to the next level!

Porch swing springs on a playground
Playground porch swing springs.

Quantity: 26 total holds

There are a lot of options for rock climbing holds, and I chose this specific set for two reasons. First, they have a 220 lb weight limit, so adults can also use them. Second, the bolts that secure the holds are 2 inches long, which means they were made for 2x lumber (which I was attaching them to). Many other rock climbing holds have shorter length bolts.

Rock climbing wall on a playground
Playground rock climbing wall holds.

Quantity: 2 total handles

Each handle has a 500 lb weight capacity, so they’re super strong. I didn’t use as many of this size as I thought I would – just two here at the top of the rock climbing wall/step ladder to help kids have something to grab onto and get up to the top easier.

Green safety handles on a playground
Playground safety handles (17.5 inch).

Quantity: 8 total handles

This safety handle size also has a 500 lb weight capacity. In the picture below, I have used three of them on the side of one of the monkey bar beams as extra pull up bars. Given the large size of the playground, I found this size safety handle much more useful than the smaller 17.5 inch length.

Green safety handles on a playground used as pull-up bars
Playground safety handles (37 inch).

9.

Slides

I was able to find slides through Kids Creations – here is a link to the exact slides I bought. I was looking for scoop slides – straight, fast, and tons of fun! With a playground deck/platform height of 7 ft., you’ll need the 14ft. long scoop slide. And of course you’ll need two – one for each tower!

Long green slide attached to a playground
Playground scoop slide.

Quantity: 24 total lights

Like the porch swing springs, these solar deck lights are a small detail that take the playground to the next level. They are the perfect dusk-to-dawn, solar-powered accent lights. They change colors, and have quickly become my children’s favorite thing to look at during the evening. I spent a long time researching to find an outdoor accent light like this that had an IP65 weather-resistance rating (most I found were only IP55).

Here’s what the playground looks like at night:

Color-changing solar deck lights on a playground at night
Playground solar deck lights at night.

Children will love the slides, but on really hot days you might need to cool down from the sun with some water fun – and this sprinkler will provide endless amusement! I span the sprinkler across one of the slides, so that the shark mouth’s arch sprinkles water out like a mini waterfall. It’s irresistible – all kids love this sprinkler!

Sprinkler in the shape of a giant shark's mouth, spanning over a slide on a playground
Playground sprinkler.

Quantity: 14 total hangers

There were two things I was looking for in swing hangers. First was a very high weight capacity. At 1800 lbs, these are more than strong enough to handle any child or adult swinging on them. Second, these are completely quiet and wonderfully smooth. There’s no grinding or squeaking that’s so common with traditional bearing-based swing hangers. Again, it’s a small detail but makes this playground pretty unique. Plus, they’re made out of stainless steel so there’s no need to worry about rust or corrosion.

Swing hangers bolted to a playground
Playground swing hangers.

Quantity: 3 total seats

These seats have a weight limit of 300 lbs, so they’re suitable for adult use too. They also have 30 inches of the chain coated in yellow-colored plastisol – a coating specifically designed not to pinch fingers and to make the chain easier and more comfortable to hold. The seat dimensions are 27 inches long by 5.5 inches wide. It’s a very enjoyable swing seat for both children and adults.

Two blue swings on a playground
Playground swing seats.

Quantity: 1

Similar to the swing seats, this trapeze bar and rings have a weight limit of 300 lbs. They also have part of the chain coated in yellow-colored plastisol for safety and comfort.

A green trapeze swing bar and rings on a playground
Playground trapeze swing bar and rings.

Quantity: 1

This is a really nice addition because the 60 inch length means that most children and adults can comfortably lie down flat on it. Swinging is nice, but swinging while lying down is sublime! Plus, with a 700 lb weight capacity, multiple children and adults can use this with ease.

A Note on List Links

As with my other playground posts, these are the exact swings and accessories I added onto this playground. I literally copied and pasted my Amazon order history. I have used everything you see here and I highly recommend each and every item.

Hopefully this post takes the guesswork out of figuring out what swings and accessories you need to build a backyard playground, so you can spend less time planning and more time building!


Did you find this guide useful? Have you built a playground or play set? What swings and accessories did you choose to add on? Let me know in the comments below!


Read the other five posts on playground construction fundamentals: Overview, Materials & Tools, Connectors & Fasteners, Lumber, and Design Concepts.

Learn more at ProjectsByPeter.com/Playground


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