Swing Set Makeover

Posted by Alisson Shea on

Everyone loves a good makeover story so I thought I would share my most recent adventure. Henley turned three in March and I won't lie, she's freakishly tall. She has outgrown her Little Tikes climber set so I knew I wanted to upgrade this summer. The problem was, I wasn't prepared to spend upwards of $1,500 on a fancy wooden swing set. It would be one thing if someone came to my house and assembled it and also played with my kid on it for that price, but it didn't even include assembly, so that was a hard pass for me.
I decided to throw it out to the Facebook world asking if any of my friends had an old one no longer being used - any condition was fine. We would pay cash (within reason) and haul it away. Within an hour I had a message from some friends that we were welcome to have theirs! FREE 99 is my favorite price.
Within a few days I had concocted a plan to have my husband pick it up. We had to cut our fence to get it in the yard (it was an easy fix) and we got rid of a dying apple tree. All legitimate sacrifices if it meant Henley had a swing set.
Swing Set Before
When it showed up, I noticed it had solid bones but was in desperate need of some TLC. It took us a day to have it looking like new. I sanded and wiped it down in the morning, painted over nap time and by the afternoon we were adding accessories. For paint, we went with RUST-OLEUM Satin Outdoor Paint in Hunter Green. It was on sale at our local Menards otherwise I would have found another option. I have not had great experiences with this brand and have already noticed in high traffic areas, it's started to break down some. 
Rustoleum Satin Outdoor Paint in Hunter Green
We replaced some of the climbing boards facing the road so they were wider and then we added colorful climbing holds for a our little ninja warrior. There were a lot of options for holds but we ended up with Happy Pie Play & Adventure from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JSlxsR and are really happy with them.

Children's Climbing Wall Holds for Swing Set

We were delayed while putting new boards on the backside of the swing set when a lady learning to ride her motorcycle decided to drive straight through the fence in our front yard and crashed in our lawn. She was ok, albeit shaken up and it only delayed us about an hour. Our fence still needs to be fixed - I'm not bitter, I swear.

There were two "open" spaces on the swing set for accessories so I looked around for fun but safe things a three year old could do. We landed on trapeze handles and a Sorbus Spinner Swing. This swing has been life changing! My Mom actually purchased one to hang from a tree at her house. We went with the 24" colorful model and while it's cute, the colors have definitely faded from the sun already. It has not affected the quality or durability of the swing so I'm not super worried but if you're looking to have a super "clean" look - you might want to opt for the all black version. Again, I price shopped and found the cheapest option was on Amazon. I purchased this swing: https://amzn.to/2SChZxg

<--new                                                  used-->Sorbus Spinner Swing 24"

You can see the fading that has occurred only 2 months into it's life span at our house but I'm not that concerned. My parent's decided to order the swivel snap since they put theirs in a tree so their swing actually spins, ours only goes front to back like a traditional swing. Henley's new favorite move is to kneel, then stand, then lay down all while it's swinging. I die every time. Max weight on this swing according to the manufacturer is 220lbs and they make a larger size for adults or multiple kids to sit on. If only we hadn't cut down our tree to make room for the swing set.

We also added some standard handles for climbing purposes and a pirate ship steering wheel that has gotten more use then I anticipated. https://amzn.to/2ywRikx 

The last touch I threw at this project was an indoor-outdoor mat for the top of the platform so when she scooted from the climbing wall to the slide, she avoided the possibility of splinters. In total, we have a days worth of time and about $95 into this project for a savings of close to $1400.

Last night while Kevin was mowing the lawn, someone stopped and asked to take a photo so they could show their wife - I was flattered.


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