For 3 years we've talked about buying a swingset.
Problem was, I wanted a nice one. One of those wood monstrosities that costs a fortune and takes a month to assemble. And every time we decided we'd do it, a reason NOT to would arise.
I mean, seriously...they're gigantic. They're expensive. They're a lot of work to put together.
This year I found a Wal Mart version for just under $400 that looked decent. Not quite as sturdy as one of the more expensive versions, but nice enough. And the website said it was sold in stores. So I asked about it at my local Wal Mart and was helped out by (gasp!) a seemingly competant employee, who checked his computer system and told me that while THEY didn't have any in stock, another local store did.
So we trekked to the other Wal Mart. We found an employee. We waited around for about an HOUR on a Sunday afternoon, while the manager got involved to check the system, make some calls and stroll through what must be a VAST storeroom - only to be told that they do NOT carry the swing set we wanted. The only ones available to us were either very chintzy, or very pricey.
THIS makes me nervous.
Matt thinks I'm a big baby, but I'm always terrified the boards will come out of the back.
This was load 1 of...20?
So we left, dissapointed. And we began talking about designing and building our own swingset, without the benefit of a kit. After all, what would we be missing out on? Pre-drilled holes? Poorly written assembly instructions? Pshaw! As if we needed those things! We are home-improvement masters! Reigning Project King and Queen!
And besides, everyone knows you're paying as much for the convenience of the kit as you are for the materials themselves. We could probably build the whole thing for much cheaper, and have it customized, to boot!
We did all this on day one! Felt really good about our progress and figured we'd be done within the week.
Not so much.
One month and around $600 dollars later (I'm too frightened to add up the Home Depot charges on my online banking to find out the actual total) the swing set is DONE. Mostly.
Honestly, it was worth every penny.
We had a really good time building it. This was a weekend project for Matt and I, and it ended up being put off several times because of bad weather (and once because of allergies so severe poor Matt was pumped full of drugs and confined to the couch with a washcloth over his eyes.) We both really enjoyed working on it when we were able to, though. Matt joked that I had to do everything he did, just to prove I could. That's not really the case, I just like using power tools and thought turning wrenches would be a good way to work my triceps! After all, it works for him :)
The swing section - done and attached! Added a tire swing later :)
It's super-sturdy. We changed plans several times - modifying the layout, the roof, the slide and the swing plan. But we always used the best materials we could buy, and it seems like it would be able to withstand a major earthquake.
There are still a few things to be done. I need to sand and stain the railing, and some brackets need to be added to the stairs. We plan to finish those things this weekend.
The railing and slide are on! Notice how cloudy it is and how the wood is soaked -
told you the weather was crappy!
It's a big hit with my kids - and the neighborhood kids, too! Tessa has made a couple of neighbor friends, and they all love to play on the swing set. The tire swing is especially popular. There are a fw additions I plan to make - I want to add a periscope and steering wheel to the platform, and just yesterday I came up with a chalkboard plan for the lower level that I can't WAIT to attempt. Still, it's fully functioning and the kids LOVE it.
Evidence that they play on it from sunup (pic 1) to sundown (in their jammies!)