We could all use some more sunshine in our lives. Scrolling through Instagram on the back porch doesn't count as outdoor time, however, so how do you get the family back into the fresh air? Try enticing them with a custom-designed swing set. You can get pre-made kits, but many don't include the expensive cost of lumber. It may be a better idea to design a play area that perfectly suits your space and family's needs. With the right design, you can even adapt your DIY swing set as the kids grow.
An arbor is an upright structure, like an archway, constructed with two or four support posts. They are often decorative garden accents providing shelter and shade with flowers or vines climbing their trellises, but they can be more minimalist, as well. Create a dreamy swing set by hanging a couple of swings or a bench from a trellised wooden arbor. Add your favorite climbing plants to complete your green oasis, or build a simple wooden arbor with just two posts for a cleaner look.
Baby's first swing might be an automated rocking machine, but their second should be a fun introduction to playground fun. Build your child's first play swing using small cuts of lumber and some strong rope, leaving the metal chains for older kids. You can also use decorative outdoor upholstery fabrics to make a softer seat, though it shouldn't stay out in the sun for long periods, as this will weaken the fibers. Make sure you test the swing for safety and secure every knot before letting your child enjoy the thrill of flight.
If you have enough room in your yard, consider building a clubhouse with an attached swing set. It's a smart alternative to a treehouse if your yard doesn't have build-friendly trees. Use the structure as reinforcement for the A-frame that will support the swings. If this is your first DIY swing set, don't be afraid to use prefabricated brackets. They ensure a sturdier build while still allowing you the freedom to create your own aesthetic.
Don't let apartment living keep you from building a custom swing. Create the perfect perch for your kid with a few crafty supplies. Cut a sheet of thick plywood for a seat, and cushion it with batting, foam, or recycled fabrics. Wrap the platform seat in a fun upholstery fabric or corduroy, and run thick cord or rope through holes in each corner for hanging. A finished platform swing is a helpful tool for all children, but especially those with disabilities, and brightens up any play space.
A memorable image in classic cinema is a swing hanging from a big tree in the front yard. A solid piece of wood and some sturdy rope are all you need to DIY this sentimental swing. Be sure to choose a limb that isn't too close to the sidewalk or house to prevent any accidents. It's also important to choose a weather-resistant rope or cord, and check it seasonally, to ensure your swing is safe for years to come.
Sensory boxes or bins contain objects of varying textures, colors, and sizes. Touching or using them helps children develop primary skills and creative minds as they explore their senses. A DIY sensory bin swing enhances the experience by adding movement and height. Drill some holes in the top of a large plastic bucket, using a strong rope to suspend it from a tree or sturdy beam. Choose objects from nature to add to the bin like soil, dried leaves, fresh grass clippings, and bright flowers. Let your child feel the joy of swinging while they make tactile discoveries.
Don't throw out that pergola or A-frame when the kids grow too old for a classic plastic swing. Repurpose the support structure for a DIY adult relaxation area, replacing swings with a bench seat or chair hammocks. Empty the sand from the sandbox and plant a vibrant flower garden. You could also create an oasis in your yard with a few pavers, a fountain, and a zen sand garden.
Similar to a garden arbor, a pergola is a structure with four or more support columns and a roof of beams. Pergolas are a more decorative showpiece in your yard, intended to display your colorful climbing flowers and vines. If you already have one, consider hanging a couple of hammock seats or a DIY platform swing from your garden pergola. Add a couple of hanging planters for an extra pop of color.
Even when building a child's play area, you might consider the aesthetics of the structure. Some DIYers prefer clean lines, but adding a bit of flair to your swing set could improve its style and functionality. Fill the triangle space at each side of the A-frame with slats for rock climbing or a bench. You can also mount planter boxes to the siding and use the area for a flower or vegetable garden.
There are few things more nostalgic than an old tire hanging from a tree branch in the yard. Loop a weather-resistant cord through the center of a tire and suspend it vertically. Alternatively, you can attach eye bolts to one side of the tire and hang it horizontally from chains. If you have a foursome of used tires, paint them in contrasting colors and arrange them in a large grouping. Renters can get in on the action too, with a rustic indoor tire swing painted in white. Just make sure you find a wooden crosspiece sturdy enough!