Playsets are a big investment, and with all the types of playground equipment available, choosing the right one for your outdoor space can be overwhelming. Whether you’re looking for a simple, freestanding playset for your backyard or a custom multi-tower playset for a commercial space, we’ll help you find the best playground equipment for your needs!
The Difference Between Residential & Commercial Playsets
While the purpose of your space may guide the type of playground equipment you need, there are a few key differences between residential and commercial playsets to consider.
Residential playsets are the perfect option for families with children. A great playset can transform even a small backyard into a place where imaginations run free.
With a wide range of standard playsets and huge collection of customizable accessories available, the possibilities for your residential playset are endless. Vinyl playsets are splinter-, stress-, and maintenance-free, and can grow and evolve with your children to support their needs for physical activity and stimulation in the years to come.
From schools and daycare centers to parks and stadiums, we have a commercial playset for every space. Made of durable vinyl, commercial playsets provide a safe environment for hundreds of kids to play and grow with no risk of splinters! Commercial equipment is built to last and won’t rust, bow, or decay over time with no maintenance other than a quick wash with a hose in high-traffic months.
All Swing Kingdom commercial playsets are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, so every child can play, explore, and grow without restriction. While commercial playsets are typically larger and more complex than residential options, they come in a variety of colors and sizes to suit every space, and can also be fully customized!
Types of Playground Equipment
The best playground equipment caters to the ages of the children who will be using it. That’s why we have a wide variety of equipment to fit every space, budget, and child.
Free Standing Structures
Our range of free standing structures is a great option to maximize fun in a small space. They can be positioned nearly anywhere, require minimal space, and are fun for all ages. The balance board and swing beam provide hours of play and motor skill practice. After a long day of fun, a picnic table or hammock in a shady corner of the yard is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Many residential and commercial playsets include towers in addition to traditional swing beams. Towers add dimension to the overall appearance of the structure and provide additional areas to customize with add-ons like slides, ladders, rock walls, and cargo nets. Adding a canopy or roof can provide a shady spot for kids to take cover from the sun.
For children with big imaginations, a playhouse can be the perfect place for hours of pretend play. While they may be child-sized, playhouses have features that resemble your own home. They’re perfect for children who like to mimic their parents by playing house.
Slider windows with screens offer fresh air, while shingle and siding options allow your children’s playhouse to look right at home in your outdoor space. Attach a raised playhouse to your playset to create the ultimate place to play!
How to Choose an Outdoor Playset
With all of the options available, it can be difficult to find the best playground equipment for your space. Here are five things to consider when looking for a playset that will prove to be a great investment for years to come.
1. Determine Size, Space, and Location
Size & Space
The perfect sized playset will maximize fun without taking up the whole yard — and will allow for plenty of open space to play as your children grow. Check the minimum size guidelines suggested for your particular playset, but consider allowing extra space to run, play sports, and even to expand your playset over the years to come!
You may also need to account for a variety of clearances around your playset. Many homeowner’s associations have guidelines for how close your playset can be to:
- Your home
- Property lines and fences
- Sheds and other structures
- Trees and branches
- Electrical wires and clotheslines
- Pools and water features
Consider installing your playset in clear sight of the house for easy parental supervision, and if possible, place it in a shady corner to prevent harmful sunburns, as well as hot slides and swing seats. Taking extra care in choosing your installation spot will maximize the use of your playset and help give you the best bang for your buck.
2. Choose Your Construction Type and Color
Safety is the utmost priority, and playsets should be manufactured with only the best materials. A playset is a huge investment and should last the test of time without falling apart or becoming a safety hazard.
When it comes to playsets, there are pros and cons to every construction type. Here are a few things to consider before choosing a construction type for your playground equipment.
Wooden playsets are a classic choice, due to their aesthetics and durability. The lumber used is typically pressure-treated to prevent rotting and assist in controlling pests. However, wooden playsets can be a high-maintenance investment as they need to be re-stained each year so that the wood does not fade and split.
Metal playsets are popular for their strength and resilience to long-term play. They are commonly finished with a powder coating to keep rust at bay. One downside of metal playsets is that they can become extremely hot in the summer months, and can cause burns to children’s skin.
Vinyl playsets are five times stronger and four times more flexible than traditional wooden playsets. They’re sturdy, long-lasting, and don’t rust or cause splinters like wooden and metal playsets do. Furthermore, they require virtually no maintenance — simply hose them off in the spring and summer, and they will stay in perfect working order the rest of the year.
A playset will be a focal point on your property, and should ideally match or complement the rest of your landscape. Luckily, all types of playground equipment come in a variety of colors to suit any color palette.
Match the color or undertones of your playset to the siding and finishes of your home and any other yard fixtures, like gazebos or sheds. If your house has white or cool-toned siding, opt for a white-based color palette with a complementing cool tone like blue or green. For houses with warm-toned siding, almond playsets with green, red, and yellow accents will work best. For a more traditional look, wood-grain options can offer a nice contrast to both cool and warm-toned homes.
3. Consider Age Range
Age Appropriateness and Safety
When selecting your playset or adding accessories, always keep the children who will be using the playset in mind. Playhouses and baby or infant swings can delight even the youngest children, while elements requiring stronger motor skills, like trapeze bars, rock walls, and cargo nets are more appropriate for older children. While there are a variety of guidelines to help you find the safest playset for your children, but at the end of the day, you know your children best.
Tower Deck Height
When looking for the best playground equipment for your children, it’s important to consider how it can grow with them over the years. A playset with a deck height of at least 5’ will prevent your children from outgrowing it immediately. A taller deck (6’-9’) or multi-level deck can provide more adventure and excitement for older children, as well as younger children with close supervision.
Lower deck heights may be appropriate in some commercial settings like preschools and daycares where the playset will not need to grow as the children age.
It’s also important to know the weight limit of the playset and accessories you choose. There are a number of reasons you may need a playset with a higher weight limit:
- High volume of children (commercial uses)
- Older children / children with older siblings
- Younger children or children with special needs who may need an adult present on the playset
Growing Your Playset With Your Children
Get the most out of your playset with a huge variety of accessories and add-ons! As your children grow, you can transform your playset to help them further develop motor skills. Choosing a playset with multiple towers of varying height can provide safety and stimulation as your children get older.
As your children grow from toddlers to preschool or kindergarten age, consider switching out infant swings, open slides, and ground-level playhouses for exciting options like tire swings, enclosed slides like Sidewinder or Tunnel Express, and tower-level playhouses.
As your children grow further, consider adding on additional towers, rock climbing ramps, and monkey bars to help them develop their motor skills and find a sense of adventure.
4. Consider Personality and Interests
Put children first when choosing a playset. Would they prefer a quiet nook for tea parties and pretend play, or are they training to be the next ninja warrior? Whatever their interests, choose a playset that reflects their needs and helps them develop new skills.
A great playset can become the neighborhood watering hole and can help children grow socially as well as physically.
5. Take Your Playset for a Test Drive
While you may be picking up the tab, at the end of the day, the best playset is the one that children love! Getting them involved in the process will ensure that you choose the best playground equipment for your family, school, or neighborhood. Have the kids draw or write about their dream playset, then sit down with the Swing Kingdom design center and build a playset that everyone can enjoy!
You can also use the dealer map to find your nearest Swing Kingdom dealer and let your kids test out their new playset before you buy!