How to Create a Safe Play Zone Around a Swing Set

You’ve purchased a swing set for the kids and they’re excited to use it. Awesome! However, you can’t forget about the vital safety steps that will allow children to enjoy the swing set while minimizing risk of injury.

The two best ways to ensure maximum safety for your kids are to secure your swing set to the ground, and to cover the ground surface with a safe material.

Securing a swing set to the ground properly is essential for both safety and durability. Not only does an improperly secured or unsecured swing set pose significantly greater risk of injury for those playing, but it also greatly increases the risk of the swing set toppling over or breaking during severe weather events. In addition, a safe and soft surface around the swing set will minimize serious injury in the event of a fall.


Securing Your Swing Set With Ground Stakes

Ground stakes are included with all Backyard Discovery swing sets, and instructions for anchoring each set are included. Using ground stakes is very secure and allows the swing set to be moved or disassembled in the future if needed. Note that each swing set will require a specific placement of the ground stake noted in your assembly manual. Below is a general overview:

Grounding a wooden swing set

  1. Make sure the swing set is on level ground and the ground is solid. We recommend insert ground stakes into solid soil or clay, not loose soil or sand. Twist each ground stake into the ground alongside each recommended ground board.

  2. Using the top of the ground stakes as templates, drill a hole through the ground rail if one isn’t pre-drilled. Backyard Discovery instructions include drill bit sizes to ensure the stakes will be secure. If there is a pre-drilled hole, simply align the top of the stake with the hole.

  3. Attach the ground stakes to the boards using the supplied bolts, lock washers and barrel nuts.
grounding a wooden swing set


Grounding a metal swing set

  1. Backyard Discovery’s metal swing sets come with pre-drilled holes at the bottom of the legs so you don’t have to drill into the metal. Place the legs of the swing set into the feet, ensuring the holes at the top of each foot align with the holes at the bottom of the legs.

  2. Twist the ground stakes into the ground alongside each foot until the opening at the top of the stake aligns with the hole at the top of the foot.

  3. Attach the ground stakes to the feet and legs using the supplied bolts, lock washers and barrel nuts.
grounding a metal swing set


Laying a Soft Surface Underneath Your Swing Set

Let’s begin by stating the obvious. We do not suggest that you position your playset on concrete or asphalt. You may have space on a concrete pad in your yard, or even in a driveway, but if your child has even a minor fall, it has the potential to be very painful and even permanently damaging to their health. 

While it may seem like a fine idea to place a swing set directly on grass, it has its disadvantages when it comes to safety. First of all, the ground itself is naturally a harder surface than most absorbing surfaces. Weather also compacts the soil underneath the grass, hardening it and giving it less cushion when there is a fall. Instead, we recommend these softer, more absorbent surfaces under a swing set:


Rubber is the safest surface for your children and therefore the one we recommend, However, it is the most expensive and the least natural, meaning you’ll have the hardest time matching the aesthetic of the outdoor area. There are several forms of rubber that you can install underneath a swing set.

  • Shredded rubber is a loose fill surface that will be less expensive than mats or poured-in-place rubber. While it’s safer than mulch, chips, sand or pea gravel, you’ll still need to create a barrier around the swing set and ensure that the fill is 12-20 inches deep. It won’t need replacing often, but you’ll want to rake the loose pieces back in to the barrier regularly

  • Rubber mats are a safer but more expensive option than shredded rubber. Rubber mats are difficult to install, so you may need the help of a professional, but they’re longer-lasting than fill products and provide great safety if they’re at least 3.25” thick. They can also be purchased in a variety of colors, which helps aid in making it look like a natural surface.

  • Poured-in-place rubber is the most expensive option, but also the safest. It will almost certainly require professional installation, but is also the longest-lasting and will require the least maintenance once installed.

Sand or Pea Gravel

Sand or pea gravel is a cheaper alternative if rubber isn’t in your budget. It doesn’t offer the same level of protection from a fall, but it beats grass, and it will blend in better with your outdoor space than rubber. You will need to build some barrier around the edge of the surface play area to keep the sand or pea gravel in place. We recommend a fill of up to 20 inches for maximum support. Make sure to keep the fill loose for maximum safety.

Mulch or Chips

Mulch and wood chips are natural solutions that will blend in well with your space and are environmentally-friendly. They are relatively cheap and require less maintenance than sand or gravel because they’re less likely to blow around in the wind. However, because they’re biodegradable, they will need to be replaced every few years.

Enjoy The Peace Of Mind Of A Safe Outdoor Swing Set

A swing set from Backyard Discovery is extremely safe when anchored correctly. Our swing sets come with ground stakes and instructions on how to anchor them. Ground stakes offer security while also giving you the flexibility to move or disassemble the swing set in the future, In addition, many of Backyard Discovery’s wooden swing sets include assembly instructions supported by the step-by-step interactive BILT app. For Backyard Discovery’s swing sets, failure to use ground stakes voids the warranty.

Once your swing set is secured, be sure to lay a soft surface underneath. Kids will be kids, and accidents will happen. When they do, the type of surface they land on can be the difference between them walking it off or ending up seriously hurt.

Ready to create lifelong memories for your kids? Consider a swing set from Backyard Discovery!


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