There’s a good chance you’ll be using your backyard more than ever this summer, so our very own Cottage Coach, Adam Holman, has three simple DIY projects that will turn your outdoor space into an oasis for your whole family.
Check out the video below to see all three of the builds come to life, and read on to learn how to to build the sandbox and climber set, which is perfect for keeping kids active all summer long.
Here’s what you’ll need:
• Deck blocks 4
• 4x4x8 cedar 4
• 2x8x8 cedar 4
• 2x6x8 cedar 7
• 2x4x8 cedar 17
• 4×8 ½″ plywood 1
• Railing balusters 15
• Deck boards cedar 11
• Wall climbing holds
• Rope 15′
• 3″ Deck Screws
• 1 ¼″ Deck Screws
• 2×6 Joist hangers 6
• Outdoor wood glue
• Play sand
• Mulch or wood chips
• Limestone screening
• Landscape fabric
Before you begin, don’t forget the first step whenever you’re working outdoors: protect yourself against mosquitoes by using OFF! Deep Woods for 8 hours of protection.
Step 1: Find level ground.
It’s essential to find—or create—level ground. This will ensure that the playset is structurally sound. If your ground isn’t level (like Adam’s), you can level it by piling (and packing) limestone screening and laying down concrete deck blocks to act as the foundation.
Step 2: Lay out your 2x8s.
Once you have your foundation, lay your 2x8s on the concrete blocks, making sure everything is level. This will be the frame for your playset, so measure corner to corner in an “X” to ensure it’s square.
Step 3: Attach your 4x4s.
Using four-inch deck screws and exterior wood glue, attach your 4x4s to the corners of the inside of the frame. These will be the vertical beams for your structure. Apply wood glue on the inside and your screws on the outside to get the best alignment.
Step 4: Attach your upper frame.
To attach your upper frame, measure four feet up from the bottom of the post. Your 2x6s will be attached to the outside of the frame, so be sure to measure them accordingly. To make sure they’re perfectly level, you’ll always want to work from the bottom up to keep your measurements consistent. Use a clamp to hold your 2×6 in place.
Step 5: Add additional support for the floor.
Use 2x6s as joists, and attach them to the inside of the frame using joist hangers.
Step 6: Lay deck boards as your flooring.
You’ll be measuring and cutting your deck boards to fit inside the frame. Be sure to work from the centre outwards. Use your jigsaw to cut the end deck boards in the corners to fit around the 4×4 posts. Cottage Coach tip: To lay your deck boards right-side-up, look at the grain at the end of each board and make sure it’s “smiling.” If the grain is curved upwards, this will help water run off and prevent weathering.
Step 7: Attach your railings.
This step will require you to climb on the structure. Double-check the structure to make sure that it’s secure, and then climb up to attach your 2x4s on top of the post as a railing. These should be flush with the top of the 4x4s.
Step 8: Add railing balusters.
Attach railing balusters around the outside and backside of the playset for additional sturdiness and safety. One additional tip: leave some space on one of the sides so that your kids can climb through.
Step 9: Attach your rock climbing wall.
You can use deck boards or plywood for the rock-climbing wall. This build called for half-inch plywood with a 2×4 frame for extra support. The frame will be as simple as outlining the plywood on the underside and attaching two cross beams. The angle of the wall will depend on the length of the plywood and the level of challenge you want to create. The steeper the angle, the more of a challenge it will be for your kids. Attach the plywood with deck screws at the top, inside, and outside of the structure.
Step 10: Add your climbing holds.
Your climbing holds will be spaced out by eye. Depending on how old your kids are, the holds can be spaced farther for an additional challenge. Bolt them to the plywood for extra support, and then give it a climb! If it’s sturdy enough for an adult, it’s sturdy enough for your kids.
Step 11: Add a rope.
If you want to give your kids another way to reach the top of the playset, you can add a rope to the climbing wall. Drill a hole into the deck board at the top and feed the rope through. Secure it with a knot, and you’re ready to climb to the summit.
Step 12: Make your sandbox.
As the final step, lay landscape fabric under the playset. This will minimize weeds and contain the sand. Pour in your sand, and you have yourself a sandbox. For a final touch, lay additional landscape fabric around the outside of the playset with mulch chips on top for a beautifully finished look.
This weekend build will give your kids a beautiful playset that’ll keep them busy all summer.
For more DIY builds from the Cottage Coach, check out these projects: