Tips For Choosing Small Backyard Playsets For Small Spaces
What do you imagine when you think of your family’s dream backyard? Maybe it’s a screened-in seating area or pool, or maybe it’s an elaborate playset and space to run free.
Regardless of what you picture, space will be a determining factor. For many families, a big backyard is not always a reality, especially for those living in the city or a newer neighborhood development where a smaller backyard is the norm.
But just because you have a smaller outdoor space doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea of owning a playset! There are plenty of playsets on the market that can work for smaller spaces. You just have to know what to look for.
Using these practical space-saving tips, we’ll help you narrow your search for small backyard playsets that don’t compromise the fun.
Benefits of Playsets For Children
There aren’t many toys that can promote child development through social, emotional, and physical stimulation through play, but a playset can. They create a space to enjoy playtime, while also improving their cognitive and motor skills.
If play-based learning is important to you, you shouldn’t give up on your playset search just because your backyard space is limited.
Here are our best tips for incorporating big fun into smaller spaces with small backyard playsets.
1. Make Efficient Use of Space
Bigger is not always better, especially when your space is restricted. You can design a small backyard playset that includes many of the same play components, but the key is to think taller instead of wider.
Tower models are an efficient way to minimize surface area. Plus, they create 2 areas of play above and below the platform. Add some clubhouse walls or a lemonade stand to the bottom tower to customize the play area, or opt for a classic sandbox floor.
Aside from the tower, the play components that take up the most space are the slide and swing beams. These can extend an additional 10-14 feet from the main structure, taking up plenty of your backyard space.
Try swapping out your regular waterfall slide with a spiral slide. Where a waterfall slide may extend 8 to 10 feet from the tower, a spiral slide might only extend 3 to 5 feet.
Additionally, ask your playset provider if you can customize the swing beam. Reduce a four-position to a three- or two-position beam, or save even more space by asking for a cross beam, instead.
Reducing the size of the swing beam can save anywhere from 3-9 feet of space on either side of the playset.
2. Small Accessories ≠ Small Fun
There are plenty of space-saving, fun customizations that you can add to your small backyard playset to keep your children engaged without limiting any fun. Adding accessories to your playset helps kick-start imagination and pretend play.
From tic-tac-toe boards and rock walls to telescopes and megaphones, adding custom accessories gives you the ability to maximize entertainment options while still conserving space. Plus, you can customize your playset’s accessories based on your child’s interests.
3. Don’t Try To Do It All
We know it can be enticing to try to fit every possible swing set component onto your structure, but when you’re conserving space, the best advice is to try not to do it all.
Especially when shopping for a small backyard playset, the play components should include slides, swings, or access points that cater to your kids’ current age and abilities.
For instance, a small child who is currently using an infant swing or glider doesn’t need a four-position swing beam for their playset. Opt for a swing beam that only has 2 or 3 attachments instead. Then, as your kids grow, you can swap out the infant swings with a belt, tire, or buoy ball swing.
4. Account for Usage Space
One final thing you need to remember when purchasing any playset is usage space. While it may seem that your chosen playset will fit perfectly in your yard, you must take into account the additional space you’ll need to maintain a safe play environment.
Many of these precautions are pretty intuitive — a slide shouldn’t exit in front of a swing or a swing shouldn’t be flush against another surface. These safeguards help minimize the likelihood of collisions or injuries, and unfortunately, require additional space.
Generally speaking, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a clear space of at least 6 feet on all sides. However, certain exceptions can be made to your residential play area to help accommodate your limited space.
Our sales team is happy to work with you to determine a safe clear space based on your backyard dimensions.
Swing Kingdom’s Best Outdoor Playsets For Small Spaces
Swing Kingdom has been bringing mighty fun to backyards for over 2 decades. We were the first in the industry to combine vinyl PVC and structural wood to craft durable, high-quality playsets that last for 20 years.
While we specialize in designing and building premier residential and commercial playsets, our skilled craftsmen can customize any existing model to cater to your backyard space.
Here are some of the best small space-saving playset models currently offered by Swing Kingdom:
1. KC-1 Clubhouse
The KC-1 Clubhouse is a basic tower playset configuration that exemplifies making use of efficient space. By adding the playhouse walls around the lower tower, it creates 2 play areas instead of 1. Plus, the 2-position cross-beam extension helps trim down space on either side of the tower.
- Dimensions: 12’ Wide x 14’ Deep x 12’ High
- Space Needed: 20’ Wide x 24’ Deep
- Recommended Ages: 1-5
2. KTB-2 Turbo Tower
The KTB-2 Turbo Tower is another tower playset model that can work great in small backyards. For starters, it already uses a spiral slide to reduce extension space on one side of the tower. Save space on the other by reducing the swing beam from a 3 position to a 2.
- Dimensions: 21’ Wide x 14’ Deep x 13’ High
- Space Needed: 28’ Wide x 20’ Deep
- Recommended Ages: 5+
3. C-1 Hideout
If you’re looking for a playhouse option, the C-1 Hideout is a great small space-saving playset option. The playhouse is elevated, which allows for a climber, slide, and some lower-tower customizations to create a second area for play.
The current swing configuration is a 3-position beam, but that could easily be reduced to a 2-position if you need to save an additional 3-4 feet.
- Dimensions: 17’ Wide x 17’ Deep x 10’ High
- Space Needed: 23’ Wide x 25’ Deep
- Recommended Ages: 5+
4. SK-5 Mountain Climber
The SK-5 Mountain Climber is another great small backyard playset that packs in the fun. By reducing the width of each feature, this playset is able to utilize 3 different climbing accessories.
What makes the mountain climber unique is that it creates 3 opportunities for swinging. The 2-position cross beam creates space for swings 1 and 2, and the room beneath the tower is designed for an additional swing attachment.
- Dimensions: 10’ Wide x 18’ Deep x 12’ High
- Space Needed: 16’ Wide x 26’ Deep
- Recommended Ages: 5+
5. Free-Standing Swing Beams
If none of the above options are small enough to fit your backyard space, Swing Kingdom also offers free-standing swing options. These models might not have a tower or playhouse option, but they can be customized with new swing attachments as your children grow.
Still not sure that you can get everything you want in a small backyard playset? Our team of professionals is excited to help you find the perfect playset for your small space.
This blog was originally published on August 25, 2016. It was updated on December 5, 2023.