Swingset is Almost Complete!

We spent most of the day Saturday and Sunday working on my daughter’s swingset. Monday morning, my husband and I moved 6 cubic yards of mulch. The project is 90% done. We still need to install landscape ties and finish spreading the mulch. We were lucky to have such wonderful helpers with the construction – my parents and our next door neighbors (who have a son the same age as my daughter). The kids were great entertaining themselves and mostly staying out of our way.

The swingset instructions say that it will take 10-12 hours for 2 people to assemble the structure and an additional 2-3 hours to assemble and attach the slide. These numbers must be the time for experts with a perfectly level surface. It took us 16 hours and for most of that time we had 4 adults working. It was definitely advantageous to have 2 teams building. 
Parts spread out in our garage
We started by inventorying the contents of the 6 boxes to make sure that we had everything that we were supposed to. In hindsight, we should have used post it notes to label parts with their part number so they would be easy to find later instead of having to remeasure them since there were many similar sized boards or boards that were only distinguishable based on predrilled holes. These differences were only visible in the parts list, so we had to keep referring to that. Another option would be to organize the parts needed for each step in a pile complete with the hardware.
The instructions were available on the website as a pdf, so we had an extra printed copy. With 2 teams it was useful to have 2 books. It also was helpful to have one in the back where assembling and another in the garage with the parts.
Introducing dinosaurs to
the new playhouse
Step one and two of the instructions were for the bench and the rock wall/ladder to be attached later. My dad and my husband started with step 3 building the structure. My neighbors and I started on the rock wall/ladder (and took turns checking in on the kids). Rather than going back to do the free-standing bench after finishing the ladder, I looked in the instruction book and found several steps where there was some assembly of parts prior to attaching to the main structure. So, my partner and I took on those tasks so the other team could just attach them directly to the structure. Even if you had only one extra person, some of these items could be assembled by just one person.
Loves the slide sections
Our work on Saturday was cut short by rain about 6p. By this point the floor and railing were mostly installed on the second floor. The playhouse below was starting to take shape so the kids were glad to have a chance to get into the playhouse. The set has a twisty slide and the slide segments were also a huge hit.
Twisty Slide is the BEST!
On Sunday, we were lucky that the weather held out as long as it did. We did have a few times that we had to pause for leveling or to move mulch into the swingset area. When the rock wall/ladder was attached, we needed to place some much under it in order to meet the proper angle. The swing bar required more leveling because our yard is not flat. We could have adjusted by changing the A frame angle, but felt that the required angle was too tall. We built up the area for the posts using patio leveling sand. We also had to dig out some extra sod for placement of the slide. These tasks added to our installation time, but were not strictly part of swingset assembly.  We had just placed the last ground stake when the tornado sirens went off, so the kids did not get to play for very long (they had tested the slide out as we put in the ground stake.
Monday morning my husband and I were back working, by ourselves this time, laying landscape fabric and moving mulch. We have 7 yards of mulch around the set right now, but still need to insert the landscape ties and distribute it evenly at a sufficient depth in the fall zones. My dad and I purchased the ties this afternoon and will place them later this week when the weather cools down. We’ll also spread the mulch then. We also need to get the pea gravel for the sand box. I stopped at the nursery and they said they’ll have it for me tomorrow. It was her number one request in a sandbox, so I really need to get that part done. Later this summer or next year we also plan to add some shrubs, perhaps Arborvitae next to the house to block the view of the swings from the street.
Completed – minus the landscaping
Overall, I am very happy with this set. I love the look of the cabin and think it will get extra use like a tree house as my daughter gets older. I found the installation relatively straight forward and feel like it is a quality set. One regret I have is that I bought black mulch like I have in my flower beds. My daughter’s white shirt (and our driveway) are stained from the mulch which was quite wet from all the rain. I think it just needs to dry out (today probably helped) and then a few good rains to wash away the excess color. 
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Ann Arbor with Kids is your go-to source for Ann Arbor Family Fun. It got its start in an activity list that I was compiling for the playgroup I ran at our church. When my daughter started preschool, the other moms were thrilled to hear about my list. I decided to take the list public in 2009.

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