If you are about to purchase a wooden climbing/swing frame for your children, or grandchildren, you may be wondering where to site it in the garden, how to prepare the area for installation to take place and how to reduce the possibility of injury caused by slipping, or falling from the equipment, by adding a shock absorbing surface to the prepared area.
Firstly, you should find a suitable area in the garden, which is as flat, level and well-drained as possible and be aware of the maximum area you are prepared to give over for the purpose. Keep clear of overhanging trees if possible, as they provide roosting places for birds which have a habit of leaving their mark on anything below!
Tree cover does however have the benefit of providing some shelter from the sun. A good rule of thumb is that between 1.5 and 2 metres should be left all around the frame as a running, jumping, climbing and swinging area.
The area left is the maximum footprint available for the equipment. It is also advisable to set the equipment at least 2 meters from the boundary to the neighbouring property, to reduce possible objections to your local planning authority. It is better to discuss your intentions with the neighbours before you make the purchase. Planning regulations which may apply in your area vary and should be checked if you are concerned, but climbing frames are classed as temporary garden structures, like a garden shed for example.
Your reputable local supplier of action climbing frames will be able to advise what is available to fit within your planned footprint, or design a custom play-centre to meet your specification and the children’s preferences. It is also a good idea to visit the suppliers display area to get a feel for what you are going to buy and to test its quality and appearance “in the flesh.”
Your next objective will be to prepare the site in advance of delivery and installation, to prevent unnecessary additional expenses. The important part is to check levelness of the area with a spirit level and dig out any mounds or high bumps. Use a long board standing on edge and placed in several places and all directions as a base for your spirit level. After removing unwanted soil, tamp down or roll flat and then check levels again.
This work will pay dividends as it will help prevent any torsional stresses and strains to the equipment which could cause twisting and settling of components and possible loosening of joints in use.