Designing a compact playground is a challenge! All space saving playsets run into the same problem: limited space means you are limited in your options. Slides are an important part of any playground, but they can be some of the largest items on your compact playground.
So what do you do? Forgo the slide?
King Swings offers several slides that could be classified as space saving. We will go through each of them and talk about their uses when trying to design a space saving playset.
Super Spiral Slides
If you have watched any of our small footprint playground videos, you will repeatedly hear about the super spiral slide. The big idea is that it only sticks out 5’ from the tower and empties to the left or right, depending on which side of the tower you attach it.
Why is this important?
Consider the waterfall slide that sticks out 8’ from a 5’ tower and exits straight. For a safe exit, you need at least 3’ of buffer space after the slide. In general, with how our swing set dimensions work out, this extra space extends the total area of your playground.
However, since the super spiral slide exits right or left, this doesn’t increase your total area as, in general, you already have extra space planned for climbers and such going into the tower. The super spiral doesn’t add any extra space for safety buffers.
A few caveats to this rule exist. If you place the super spiral slide on the front of a tower and it exits towards the empty side of the tower, then you will need to plan a little buffer space for safe exiting. A second caveat is that a 6′ tall super spiral slide empties straight. When coupled with some clever design, using a 6′ tower and slide can be extremely space-saving.
Long story short, the super spiral slide doesn’t stick out as far from the tower as other slides and usually has its safety buffers already calculated into the set due to other pieces. This helps you design a compact playground.
For example, In the drawing below, you can see the super spiral exiting towards the tower’s back. However, the safety buffer for the swings adequately covers the exit from the slide, so you don’t need to add any extra space.
The Sidewinder may not look like a space-saver slide, but its right-angle attachment allows it to be used in unique and space saving ways.
For a 5’ tower, the sidewinder slide sticks out 3’ from the tower and extends 8’ along the tower. Using your imagination, picture one of our swing set towers with a staircase on the front of the tower and a swing beam extending to the right. We can take the sidewinder slide and attach it on the left side of the tower so that most of its length runs parallel to the staircase, thus only adding a bit of extra space.
Compared to the super spiral slide, the sidewinder slide is much faster, making it essential to have 3’ in front of the sidewinder slide. Don’t cheat in front of the sidewinder slide.
The most common use for the sidewinder is for sets that are dimensionally tight left to right but have lots of space front to back. This allows the design to have a fast slide that only sticks out 3’ left to right, where the space is at a premium.
While not a space saving playset, you can see the sidewinder and its cousin, the ball pit blast, in action on the Rocket Launcher. The sidewinder on the far left adds speed to the set without adding lots of space from right to left. On the back, the ball pit blast only sticks out 3’ and adds a ton of excitement without adding a ton of needed space in the back of the playset.
When designing a compact playground, contact our swing set design team early. They can guide you through some of the sticky points and give you lots of information on all the fun items you can attach to your custom swing set. And send us a picture of your area! That is incredibly helpful! We have found that when designing compact playgrounds, seeing the space helps prevents the mistake of adding too much fun and making it unsafe or adding too little fun.