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By The Makers Of Springfree Trampoline.


How Much Space Do You Need for a Swing Set? (IMPORTANT)

30 Nov 2023
Two little girls playing Pattycake on a blue swing.

Choosing the perfect spot for your swing set is a crucial decision that impacts both safety and enjoyment.  

But how much space do you need for a swing set?   

We will use our expertise at gobaplay to delve into the essential considerations for determining the right space for your swing set.  

After reading this, you can breathe easily knowing that your children will be safe in a securely placed swing set.   

3 Factors That Affect a Swing Set’s Space Requirements  

Multiple factors affect how much space you need for a swing set. Here are the three major ones to evaluate:  

1. Swing Set Type 

The type of swing set you choose plays a crucial role in determining space requirements.   

The two main types of swing sets are wooden and metal swing sets, and each type has specific structural considerations that influence the swing set’s footprint. 

Wooden swing sets are often bulkier and may have a more extensive footprint compared to their metal counterparts. The construction of wooden sets typically involves larger, solid beams for the frame and robust support structures.  

Wooden swing set, courtesy of Lowes. 

A wooden swing set with multiple features. 

Metal swing sets are known for their more compact and streamlined construction. The use of metal tubing or poles in their design allows for a lighter and often more modular structure. They are an ideal fit as a swing set for small spaces.  

Four kids playing on a metal swing set.

gobaplay Metal Swing Set. 

2. Safety Zone Requirements  

Swing sets generally need a safety zone of at least six feet around the structure, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. However, this can also be model-dependent and large swing sets may require more clearance space.  

For example, our gobaplay Single Swing Set (a mid-sized swing set) requires 79 in (about 6.5 ft) from any structure like a fence or garage. Here is an illustration of the type of information to look for before choosing a spot for your swing set:   

Diagrams depicting the swing set space requirements for gobaplay.

You should note the space requirements listed by your manufacturer before installing your swing set.   

Note: It’s not just the space around the swing set that’s important. You also must ensure that the space above the swing set meets the required clearance space. 

This is because your kids will be swinging high in the air, and a low-hanging branch could be a safety hazard.     

3. Swing Set Accessories/Features  

The presence of swing set accessories and features can significantly influence how much space is needed for a swing set.   

When incorporating elements like slides, monkey bars, and climbing walls into the design, it's essential to consider their spatial impact.  

For example, slides extend horizontally from the swing set’s structure, meaning you will need to account for the length of the slide when assembling.    

Multiple kids playing on a large Backyard Discovery wooden swing set.

Photo courtesy of Backyard Discovery.  

How to Choose a Spot in Your Yard for a Swing Set (10 Tips)  

A swing set’s clearance space is vital to contemplate before finding the perfect spot for your new backyard addition.   

However, other (often overlooked) factors deserve your attention before finalizing your decision.  

We have crafted 10 expert tips to aid in your journey to maximized swing set safety:   

Tip #1: Select an area with level ground to ensure the stability of the swing set.  

Tip #2: Take note of your swing set’s space requirements. This should be specified by your manufacturer.   

(Make sure to also take note of overhead obstacles like branches and power lines!) 

Tip #3: Prioritize a shaded area, especially for metal swing sets. The sun can make the swing set hot and uncomfortable for your kids.   

Tip #4: Consider a spot that is visible to allow for supervision. Accessibility is also important, so opt for an area that is closer to your house (if possible).   

Tip #5: There might be certain spots in your yard that get waterlogged easily. You certainly don’t want muddy shoes running through your house, so consider the drainage of your area!  

Tip #6: Be mindful of the future growth of trees or other plants in the area around your swing set. What might be an open space now could be overshadowed or crowded in a few years.  

Tip #7: Check with your local homeowner’s association or municipality and see if they have any specific regulations for playground equipment, as this can be another underlying factor.  

Tip #8: Be a good neighbor. Try to find a spot that won’t cause too much noise or block any scenic views for your neighbors.  

*Tip #9: ALWAYS prioritize safety over aesthetics.    

Tip #10: When in doubt, consult a professional swing set installer.  

This is a good example of a swing set placed in a safe area, courtesy of Family Handyman: 

A wooden swing set located on soft surfacing and safely away from impeding structures. 

Once you have chosen a spot for your swing set, you can then decide what to put under your swing set. Soft surfacing, like rubber mulch or wood chips, might be required for larger structures.  

FAQ: How Much Space Do You Need for a Swing Set?   

We’ve covered a lot so far, but you may have some lingering questions about where to place your swing set.  

To ensure that we have addressed everything, here are answers to common questions about swing set space requirements and assembly.  

1. What Is the Minimum Space Required for Swing Set?   

The minimum space required for a swing set is at least six feet around the structure, as outlined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

However, you may need more clearance space depending on the size and design of your swing set. 

2. How Far Apart Do Swings Need to be on a Swing Set?  

Swings on a swing set should be at least two feet apart to prevent collisions and provide enough room for each swing's range of motion.  

3. Where Should a Swing Set be Placed in a Yard?  

A swing set should be placed in a yard on level ground with adequate clearance from obstacles like fences or low-hanging branches. Also, take note of the swing set’s sun exposure and its visibility for adequate supervision!  

4. Is it OK to Put a Swing Set on Grass?  

Yes, it's okay to put a swing set on grass, but proper ground preparation, such as leveling and adding a safety surface (like a shock-absorbent mat), is essential for safety.   

5. What Is Best to Put Under a Swingset? 

The best material to put under a swing set is a shock-absorbing surface like wood chips, rubber mulch, or play sand to reduce the impact of falls resulting in potential injury.   

How to Anchor Your Swing Set (Full Steps) 

To recap, you’ve learned: 

  • The minimum amount of space needed for a swing set and where to look for your model.  
  • The main factors that affect a swing set’s clearance space.  
  • 10 expertly crafted tips for choosing the best spot in your backyard.  
  • Answers to common swing set space/assembly questions. 

You should now be set to install your swing set, and the laughter and smiles of your children can begin!  

But before the fun can begin, there is an absolute, must-do, safety measure you need to take. Every backyard swing set MUST be anchored for optimal safety.   

We have detailed step-by-step instructions on how to properly anchor a swing set. Click the link below and take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your children!  

Check it out: How to Anchor a Swing Set: A Step-By-Step Guide 

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