Rosie takes the Swinkler for a test drive.

DIY Swing Set + Sprinkler = Swinkler!

 

Three years ago mother nature decided our swing set was in the wrong spot – the wrong yard, actually – so she moved it for me… right into the vacant lot next door. Apparently she also took issue with the fact that it was upright and in one piece because when she set it back down she made sure it was sideways (and in a million pieces). I should mention: our yard gets a good breeze.

If you’ve raised reckless morons, I can’t help you.
Let’s get this out of the way: this idea is predicated on kids old enough and smart enough to use it responsibly. The end goal is something no more or less dangerous than a Slip ‘N Slide. Accidents happen, so build – and watch – responsibly.
Put a little time in upfront and you’ll end up with kid-friendly surfaces easy on bare feet. And for this project, there will be bare feet.
So when I finally replaced it, I scrapped the cheap, brittle, imported “wood” sets like our original and went the DIY route. I purchased the plans, slide, swings, tarp, and hardware for this set from Plan-It Play. After a load of lumber – real, pressure-treated lumber – from Lowes, I was in business.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the swing set build itself. The Plan-It Play directions are ridiculously accurate and easy to follow. The cut list was perfect with only a negligible amount of scrap remaining. Take your time. Give the pressure-treated wood enough time to dry before assembly (or at least before sealing it). And route and sand everything. Put a little time in upfront and you’ll end up with kid-friendly surfaces easy on bare feet.

And for this project… there will be bare feet.

Swing Set, Meet Sprinkler

Garden hose, cut to fit, mounted with galvanized pipe saddle mounts.
Garden hose, cut to fit, mounted with galvanized pipe saddle mounts.

Working with actual lumber means a structure strong enough to build onto. El Cheapo Set #1 – made from only the finest Chinese cedar newspaper cedar – would’ve split the moment an extra screw was unboxed three houses down. But this platform is strong enough to literally hold the entire family.

The basic idea is this: run garden hose over the swings (to mist down) to the slide (to power the water slide); add a sprinkler head on the side of the swing braces (to cascade a shower over the yard), and add valves between each feature (to turn them on or off individually, depending on water pressure).

I spent about $20 on a good-quality garden hose, $5 on mounting hardware, and $10 on two sprinkler heads (one to shower off the side, and one above the slide to terminate the hose and feed the splash pool – both are pictured below). To mist the swings I used the smallest drill bit I had to gently puncture the hose.