So let’s tackle the big question, how does King Swings install our custom swing sets on less-than-level sites? In general, King Swings can install swing sets on a slope 12’’ over 20’. Anything more than that, and you will want to get your playground site leveled by a landscaping company.
“Awesome,” you say, “How do I figure if my slope is greater than 12’’ over 20’? And what do you do to ensure the set is stable if my slope is under that?”
I’ll get to that, but for those who will stop reading before the end, as long as your slope isn’t over 12’’ over 20' we can install the swing set.
Installing on Slopes
King Swings generally deals with slopes by digging down or blocking up the set. The closer to the extreme, the more digging and blocking we must do. Fortunately, the swing beams come extra long, so we can cut those to basically level.
Digging down makes sense, but what does blocking up look like?
If you have a significant slope, we will use pieces of Trex decking or pressure-treated wood to block up the swing set to stabilize it. We use these because they will not rot and because they are thin enough to make small adjustments. The weight of the swing set or playhouse will keep it on these props. The more extreme your slope is, the higher we will have to block up the swing set.
If you wish to hide the props, you can fill in dirt around the supports or hang some fake grass fabric over the supports. For example, in the image of the Galaxy below, you can barely see the supports on the bottom corners of the tower.
The longer your swing set, the more your yard’s slope will be a factor. Custom swing sets with things like bridges, ball pit blasts, and massive playhouses are more sensitive to slopes.
If your yard is slopey and you are thinking about a swing set or playhouse like Chatea or a Palace, we would like to see a picture to make sure you will be happy with the end result.
How to Measure your Slope
You have two options.
Send us a picture of your site, and we can generally tell if your slope will be an issue. We have installed thousands of sets on all kinds of slopes, and Allen, our install manager, can tell by looking at a picture if the slope is bad.
When you take a picture, if possible, catch something in the background that helps show the slope. A fence is perfect as we can figure out how long the panels are and how far they are dropping.
If we are not sure even after viewing a picture, then we may ask to do a video call and have you physically walk over the area so we can see it “in person.” Or you can get an APPROXIMATION of your slope with these simple steps. Here is a simple way to get an approximation of your slope. And in case you haven’t caught on yet, this is an approximation.
- Get two stakes or something that can easily pound into the yard
- Get a 20’ piece of string. Since none of us have strings anymore, you may have to remove all the shoelaces from your shoes, basketball shorts, and sweatpants.
- Tie the string to one stake.
- Go out to your yard and position yourself at the far end of where you think the swing set will sit.
- Pound in stake. Make sure you do not say any bad words if you mash your finger because the kids are watching and will repeat them to your significant other.
- Tie the string loosely to the stake and slide the string down as tight to the ground as possible.
- Stretch the string to its full length and tie it to the second stake.
- Pull the string taunt without yanking your first stake out.
- Run over and pound in the first string again because your dog just crashed into the string and ripped it out.
- Once you have the rope taut, loop the string around the top of the stake a few times and then pound the stake into the ground until the still taunt, is a level, straight line from stake to stake. You should see your first stake’s string at ground level and your second stake’s string a few inches above the ground.
- Measure the distance between the ground and the string on your second stake.
- Viola! You can approximate how many inches your ground slopes over 20’.
Now, you will want to leave a little margin of error when you do this because, well, you are using a string you took from your shoes, shorts, and sweats, but this will give you a guesstimate.
Below are some swing sets or playgrounds that we installed on some slopes. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words; let’s just hope these pictures are SEO keyword rich.