There are many wonderful things about living in the North Bay: The temperate climate, beautiful landscape and easy access to San Francisco are just a few. Unfortunately, finding a nearby playground for your children is easer said than done. Keep the kids close to home by building your own playground instead. Involve your kids in the planning and building process, and the memories you build together and the skills you pass on will long outlive the playground itself.
Playgrounds come in all shapes and sizes. These days, you can even buy pre-fabricated playground sets that are ready to install. Costs range from $100 for simple sets to $2,000 and over for sets that have slides, monkey bars and swings. Listed below are a few things to consider before embarking on this project.
1) Consult with the kids: Ask your kids how they like to play. Some kids can’t get enough swing time while others love to climb or slide. Getting feedback from your kids is the best way to start planning for their outdoor play area.
2) Consider your space: Survey your available space. Before you can make final selections, you need to know what is possible given your space and budget limitations. For example, swing sets need at least six feet of clearance on all sides. Make sure you look for level areas, away from water and out of direct sunlight if possible.
3) Research and evaluate: Do your research. The Internet has many sites that allow free downloads of plans with lists of materials for your project. Go over these plans with your kids so everyone has an understanding. See what they like and adjust the plans as necessary.
4) Start the process: Bring the plans to your local home improvement store. See if they have the materials you need and ask any questions you may have. Make sure to check and double check your plans and materials list before getting started. You’ll be thankful later. Also consider laying down a soft covering of sand or rubber mulch to ensure safety in case your child falls while playing.
5) Don’t forget about yourself: Design a place for the parents. Set aside room in your plans for adult outdoor seating. You don’t want the shared time with your tots to end once the playground has been designed and installed.
Below are a few local businesses that may be able to help you get started:
Friedman’s Home Improvement
4055 Santa Rosa Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sun – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Do-it-yourselfers are encouraged and welcomed at Friedman’s Home Improvement. Friedman’s also offers a lowest-price guarantee.
Goodman Building Supply
775 Redwood Hwy
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat – 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sun – 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Goodman Building Supply is a great place to bring all of your questions about any home improvement project. Bring the kids along because they offer a free Kids Club where the next generation of do-it-yourselfers can get their hands dirty.
Mead Clark Lumber Company
2667 Dowd Dr
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mead Clark Lumber Company has been offering lumber, tools, hardware and other building products to construction professionals and do-it-yourself homeowners for the past 100 years. Feel good about building with your kids since Mead Clark donates tools to high school wood shops around Sonoma County.