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Playground footers

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Joful, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    So, I'm faced with moving one of these behemoths, which the previous owners left behind for us, and the wife wants in a different spot in the yard.

    Backyard Rainbow Sunray Wooden Swing Set1 large.jpg

    I'm taking the opportunity to replace some damaged components, re-stain, etc., but with regard to preparing the new site, I'm finding very little (actually nothing!) information. It would almost appear folks are just setting these things right on the grass, with no piers, footings, etc.

    Looking under mine (I have not moved it yet), it appears the six cedar 4x4 posts which make up the legs of the main part, are sitting atop 4x4 pressure treated pilings driven into the ground. It seems to me that if I just set it on the lawn, particularly an area that tends to get wet this time of year, it's going to slowly sink, and perhaps list (it's much taller than it is deep).

    The actual move won't be much of a problem for me, but I am confused about site prep. I do want to avoid creating a large gravel or mulch area, and would prefer piers sunk directly in the lawn, if any structure at all is required.

    Opinions? Experience?

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  2. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    I like the idea of pilings as you described, just do not set them in concrete. use #8 limestone it will compact tight and allow drainage around the posts. also some sort of anchor to the pilings so the set cant slip off of them. it will also be easier to level six points them grade the whole area so it sits flat.
  3. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I dont have any advice but will watch to see what you end up doing. My wife wants me to get one of these for our kids in the next year. I have noticed the same you have - most folks seem to have them just sitting on the grass and after 5 years of use or so put an add in craigslist for somebody to buy it and come take it away.
  4. mithesaint

    mithesaint Feeling the Heat

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    I built something similar, but a bit larger than that, and just set it on the grass. No major/obvious settling yet, but it's only been there for 2 years so far. I have pretty heavy clay, and had no desire to dig any sort of footing, and I can't see anything sinking into this heavy soil.
  5. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I will need to check out the limestone. I had in my head the option of just digging two trenches the length of the swingset, filling with crushed stone, and leveling that. It would drain well, but with kids swinging on the set, I figured it would eventually work itself down into the crushed stone. That's when I started considering two poured footers, in the same two trenches.

    After thinking about it some more, the plan I'm favoring is to dig two trenches (front and rear wall of main playhouse portion), pour in crushed stone, and then set to railroad ties horizontal in the trenches on the crushed stone. Backfill around it, so the ties are just an inch or three above grade. Set playhouse on railroad tie foundation. The outriggers for the actual swingset beam can sit right on dirt, or on a pair of pavers. The previous owners had that portion just on the dirt, which seemed to work well since the mid-1990's.
  6. dougstove

    dougstove Member

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    "The outriggers for the actual swingset beam can sit right on dirt, or on a pair of pavers. The previous owners had that portion just on the dirt, which seemed to work well since the mid-1990's."

    Depending upon how high/heavy the swinging goes, will the outriggers lift off the ground?
    Should they be tied down?
  7. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    Ours didn't have the square tower on the end, just a slide and small square platform.
    The outriggers never lifted off the ground like the tubular metal one it replaced did. ( only an inch or two )
    I was just able to lift it up an inch or two and move it over a couple inches mowing the grass so I wouldn't have to weed wack.

    I would put pavers of some sort under the posts too, whatever it takes to make mowing easier.
  8. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    I would just set it on pavers set on a couple inches of packed paver base & flush to the ground. Some L-brackets on the posts & pavers to keep it in place & resist tipping from a swinging load of older kids.

    Trenches, concrete piers..... is over-kill on this to me. Kids grow-up fast (unfortunately?) & you'll be taking it all down one day.
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I like the way you think, midwestcoast.

    dougstove, this set actually came with an anchor for each leg, which consists of a metal screwing flange welded to a length of rebar you hammer into the ground.
  10. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Mine sits directly on the ground. It has settled maybe 1/2" since I put it there 3 years ago. I wouldn't overthink this. Toss a patio block under each corner, if anything at all.
  11. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

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    Bet I could get on top of that fence by jumping off the swing.

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