Last year we bought a new home, while the details of that little adventure are better left for another post, I did want to share some of the work we have done in the backyard in order to make it a more kid-friendly place to play. Now the house was everything we could have wanted, but the backyard left a lot to be desired. There was plenty of space, it had potential, but there was nothing back there but dirt, rocks and one of the hugest piles of sand I’ve ever seen outside of Zuma Beach. The first thing on the list of things to do in the backyard was – put in a play set.
We searched around for a few weeks and ended up settling on The Grand Sequoia from Sam’s Club. They were doing a sale, $500 off with free shipping. The kids all agreed they liked it the best so we made the purchase. It showed up 5 days later, all 900+ pounds of it. This was going to be a long weekend but we were up for it.
Before we could start on the play set however, I had some ground prep to take care of. First and foremost was removing all the trees, weeds and bushes that filled the back corner of the yard, right where we had slated for the new play set. Second was to remove the hot pink/green/purple 2×10 lumber that lined the old sand box which was buried 8″ deep into the ground. We had approximately 600 sq.ft of area (or 450 cu.ft. of sand) to work with for using underneath the play set. We had to move about half of it. Thirdly I had to dig down the remaining area around the existing sandbox so as to make dirt to fill in where the sand was being removed. That took a weekend all in itself. But it was worth it.
The play set went up without too many issues. The biggest problems we had were missing screws and bolts. If you purchase this play set, or one like it, I would recommend going through every nut and bolt with the instruction manual to make sure everything is accounted for. We had to make two emergency trips to the hardware store just to pick up pieces that weren’t included. Not to mention that several screws they had included were simply the wrong length to get the job done. Fortunately I had a stock pile of enough random screws on-hand I was able to get by without making a 3rd trip to Home Depot (which isn’t exactly around the corner). To top off the missing pieces, it snowed, twice, while we were building the play set. Which is quite the feat considering I live in Southern Arizona where it only snows maybe once a year. It was pretty though, and I didn’t complain about it one bit.
Once the playset was up and completed, I had the fun of moving half that sand box to accommodate the new play location. I did it one wheel barrow at a time for many hours in a row until my back was broken. I framed the new sandbox area with a double-stacked high 4x4x8′ Cedar Posts from Home Depot (they were only $2.59 each). I held them into the ground with 1/2×12″ pieces of pre-cut re-bar that were about $1 each. I was really happy that the color of the cedar matched the playset nicely. They have just enough height to keep the sand inside and was quick and easy to put up.
So with that, the kids are having a great time playing in the new sandbox and swinging on the swings, going down the slide and climbing up the rockwall. We also bought a pirate ship’s wheel and a pirate flag from Amazon, which I still need to put up. Overall it was a fun project that I was happy to do while the weather was so cool. Here’s a few pics of the whole process as well as some cool time lapse video of the entire build-up process. 14 hours condensed into only 30 seconds. I wish we could have done it that fast!