There’s no need to go to the park to provide your kids with a great place to play. You can get the same or even better results by transforming your yard into a children’s play oasis. If you have enough space, you can put in a slide, playhouse, play tower, and other fun features. You can also provide a sandbox area and fields where the kids can run and play games.

You may be wondering whether to hire a contractor to do such a project or if you should do it yourself. Here’s a few things to consider to help you make this decision:

Assess the Situation

Take a look at your backyard and get a general lay of the land. If your yard is flat, you can install play structures without much additional grading. If most of the area is hilly, you’ll need to flatten a section. Grading an area that’s already flat can often be done with shovels and wheelbarrows.

A hilly or rough area, on the other hand, is best tackled with a grading machine. You can rent a machine or have a grading company do the work. Homeowners can rent machines from the local big-box hardware store, while contractors can get the equipment they need from a source like Neff Rental. Most homeowners can do simple grading themselves.

For the Kids

The next thing to consider is which features to add. Very young children will probably think a simple sandbox is heaven on earth. Older grade school children will enjoy something that promotes a bit more physical activity. This is where swing sets, slides, play towers, climbable ropes and other structures come in. A combination of aspects will cater to kids of varying ages.

If you buy a kit, you can assemble a large play structure in about a day – if you’re skilled at do-it-yourself projects. If you’re not, expect it to take between two and four days. If it takes you a few days, you’ll need Visqueen or a tarp to protect untreated wood in case of rain. Building play structures and other such equipment is one of those projects that can be very easy if you know what you’re doing or are generally handy – or very frustrating if you’re not.

Hiring someone to assemble your play structure can be surprisingly expensive, but it can be worth it if all you really want is a place for your kids to play and you won’t find a DIY project to be fun for yourself. Call around to see which contractor or handyman has the needed experience and can offer a more reasonable price. Often, the playhouse store is not the best source for the labor.

For the Grownups

The last thing to consider is what to do for the adults’ area. This part is usually best done by yourself. You’ll need a nice, grassy area and a bench or other seating that faces the play area. Maybe you can put in your own little backyard oasis. Make sure you choose a comfortable seat – you’ll be using it for hours as you supervise your children! Add tables and anything else you need to feel at home outdoors. It wouldn’t be fair to your children to make them come inside because you got uncomfortable or bored.

Overall, this is a good do-it-yourself project for those who have some experience working with wood and landscaping. Otherwise, it’s probably best to get a contractor for the more involved aspects while saving the simpler parts for yourself.

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