When we moved into this house, I was determined to find an affordable, sturdy, and age-appropriate swing set for our kids for the backyard. We live in a region with great weather most of the time, and I wanted our kids to be outside enjoying it. They had a Fisher Price plastic set at our old house but they outgrew that one quickly. If you’ve ever priced out swing sets you know what a challenge it can be to get something of quality for a reasonable price. When the set costs more than the mortgage payment, it’s time to get creative. Maybe a DIY Swing Set was the answer.
Can I do it?
I had seen the “wood free” kits on Amazon plenty of times but I wasn’t confident enough in my skills to pull the trigger and just buy it. Finally, the weather was nice and our backyard was just screaming for something for the kids. I wanted them to be able to enjoy the great fall weather! So after reading the many comments on the Eastern Jungle Gym DIY Swing Set, I decided to go for it! It’s nothing too elaborate but just right for our family. This kit cost under $200 and the 5 wood beams ran me around $50 at Home Depot. It’s the perfect size for our small backyard and was a very manageable build for me.
I didn’t take many pictures because I was more focused on getting the swing set finished before I had to pick the kids up from school. Well, I’m happy to report that I completed it and still had time to eat lunch!
Measure, Measure, Measure! If I had taken more time in measuring (pic #2), I probably wouldn’t have had so much trouble lining up the holes on either side of the beam.
The important measure is for the holes that will go THROUGH the beam, not the distance they are on top of the beam (though that is important as well).
Consider getting a longer beam for the top to have more space between swings. If your kids are anything like mine, they often go crooked and crash into each other. A bigger top beam can prevent SOME of that from happening.
Don’t get frustrated by minor wood splintering when the bolt comes through the other side of the beam. It has not been an issue at all for the structural integrity of our set. However, If you measure properly and the bolt comes through easily, you’ll probably have no splintering at all.
Make sure you have a socket wrench!!
You’ll need help from 1 or 2 adults to get the swing set standing up straight.
The Steps (Loosely)
1. These are the components fresh out of the box. Not of lot of pieces so not too intimidating.
2. This was the hardest part: Measuring for the hole locations. Holes that will be going 6 inches through a solid wood beam. I drilled a hole on each side but wish I had a super long drill bit that would have given me a nice, lined up hole to drop the bolt into.
3. Here is a good example of my main frustration. Due to my poor measuring skills, I was often hammering these long bolts through the wood beam and praying it would meet up with the hole of the other side. It rarely did. 🙁
4. This is my triumph picture! After MUCH hammering and cussing, I finally got all of the bolts into place and was able to mount the swing hardware to the top bolts.
5. And, my new favorite tool, the socket wrench! This is my husband’s wrench and I was SO thankful that he had it. If not, I would have had to use a regular wrench to securely fasten the bolts. It just wouldn’t have been efficient and probably not even tight enough.
6. Another shot of the best wrench ever! This thing really saved the day. Don’t try this project without a socket wrench!
7. Done! All that’s left is to hook the swings on to the bolts and turn that sucker upright. I needed my husband’s help to get it standing up straight.
8. There she is in all of her glory. The kids really love playing on this DIY Swing Set and it gets us outside more than we’ve been in months. (And don’t worry about our poor falling down fence. That was courtesy of Hurricane Irma.)
You Can Do It!
This Eastern Jungle Gym DIY Swing Set really gave us exactly what we were looking for. Don’t doubt yourself and just go for it! Seriously, it only took me about 3 hours from beginning to end. You can do it! If you try this project, or a similar DIY swing set, please comment below and let me know how it went!