DIY Network

How to Build a Swing Frame and Tower for a Playground

Add some fun to a backyard by installing swings and a tower to a playground.

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Step 1: Build a Ladder

Build a ladder that will support the monkey bars that come out from the end of the playset. The ladder will also be the end support for the structure.

Note: The hardwood rungs are built so they fit all the way into the ladder.

hardwood rungs are built to fit into ladder

Step 2: Screw the Rungs Into Place

Tip the ladder over, then drive 2-5/8" self-tapping screws into each rung to hold them in place. Self-tapping screws eliminate the need for pilot holes. After one side is done, flip ladder upright and lay the other frame on top, fit the other end of the rungs into the corresponding holes. Lay the ladder back down and drive self-tapping screws in as before. To create more stability, it's smart to build an A-frame by putting two bolts through the bottom of the ladder and the 10' long 4" x 4" base plate.

screw rungs into place

Step 3: Install the Angle Braces

Attach the 7' long 4" x 4" angle braces on each side. Leave the nuts loose until entire frame is assembled. Use an electric impact wrench (found at most rental stores) to tighten everything.

install the angle braces

Step 4: Attach the Hardware for the Swings

Tip the monkey bar swing beam up on one end and lay it in position. Attach the cast aluminum swing hangers using 2-3/8" x 6" bolts. Locknuts will hold them in place. Be sure to tighten all of them once they're all on.

attach hardware for the swings

Step 5: Attach the Support Brackets

Attach the steel support brackets to the end of the monkey bars, one on each side using 3" carriage bolts.

attach the support brackets

Step 6: Attach the Ladder to the Swing Beam

Lay the top of the A-frame ladder assembly down so the two supports fit on the outside of monkey bar swing beams. Bolt the two parts together, leaving the nuts loose for now. With two people, lift the two sections so they'll stand upright. One person goes on top and the other person hands the tower end of the swing beam by resting the ends of the beam on the monkey bar support.

attach the ladder to the swing beam

Step 7: Adjust the A-Frame

Put the bolts all the way through to prevent the beam from falling back off the support. Lift the end and drop the bolts through the two pre-drilled holes in the cross support and tighten it up. Once the tower end is attached, adjust the A-frame until it's upright. Put a carriage bolt through when the holes in the brackets line up with the holes in the uprights. Shim the end of the frame and toenail a couple of screws to hold the shim.

adjusting the A frame

Step 8: Install the Tower Roof

Attach the roof of the tower by attaching the gable ends by driving in 3" screws, one through each end. Lift the first pre-assembled roof panel. Drive screws through and into the 2 x 2 to attach the roof. Attach the other roof panel on the same way.

installing the tower roof

Step 9: Attach the Roof Anchors

Attach four plastic roof anchors that tie gable ends to the four support posts.

attach four plastic roof anchors

Step 10: Attach the Roof Cap

Once the two roof panels are on, slide on the cedar roof cap and attach two screws in each end into the gable end underneath.

slide on cedar roof cap and attach to gable

Step 11: Finish the Playground

Attach the 20" walls, and the accessories. Lay down the landscape fabric. Lay rubber mulch to the depth of 4-6". An alternative to rubber mulch would be pea gravel or wood mulch.

Note: Rubber mulch is made 100 percent from recycled tires and is one of the safest ways to protect your children when using a playground.