When it comes to purchasing a swing set for your kids, nothing is more important than looking out for their safety. Of course, all swing sets or playsets come with inherent risks, but there are some things we can do to help minimize it. One of them is anchoring the swing set properly.
Properly anchoring your child’s swing set is crucial, especially if it’s a standalone A-Frame set that doesn’t have much weight to it to begin with. Even if your swing set is made of wood or is pretty heavy, to begin with, it’s still a good idea to anchor it down.
Strong winds or rowdy swing set users can topple a swing over in the right conditions. And although the chances aren’t high that this will happen, why take the chance?
If you’ve just purchased a swing set and aren’t sure how to anchor it, this article will walk you step by step through how it’s done. We’ll show you some of the most common and safest methods to ensure your swing set is as safe as ever.
The Importance Of Anchoring A Swing Set
Most swing sets should be anchored due to the movement created when swinging. However, some sets claim to be free-standing and do not require anchors.
While the chances of these kinds of set flipping are slim, making sure is never a bad idea. Particularly when most ground anchors are inexpensive and require little installation time.
If your swing set included ground anchors, you should have instructions on installing them properly. It’s best to use the provided ground anchors, as using a different type may void the swing set’s warranty or not work as well.
Different Types of Ground Anchors
There are several different types of ground anchors that do the same job in slightly different ways. The most common and easiest to install are twist-in ground anchors. These are usually found between $10 and $40 for a set of 4.
We’ve included a few of the best-sellers for you to take a look at:
These kits come with easy-to-install anchors that will work for playsets, swing sets, trampolines, canopies, and sheds. However, twist-in anchors may not be appropriate if the ground you’re using them on is tough due to clay or rock directly underneath the surface.
For many of these anchors to work properly, they need to be inserted up to 18 inches into the ground.
You can either place your swing set in a different area where the ground is softer, or you can read the section below about anchoring with concrete to determine if that is a better option.
Alternatively, you can wait for a good rain to come through and soften the ground up before going through the hassle of moving your swing.
Some twist-in ground anchors are made for use with power drills, which can help get the anchors into tough soil. For best results, install the anchors in the spring or summer if you live in an area where the ground tends to freeze. You can also wet the area before installation to make it easier.
How To Anchor A Swing Set With Twist-In Anchors
First, make sure you have the proper tools ready. For this method, you’ll need the following.
- Ground Stakes
- Small Metal Bar or Screwdriver
- Ground Anchors and Included Hardware
- Screws and/or Bolts
- Fastening Chain, Wire, or Metal Brackets (if not included with anchors)
The easiest twist-in ground anchors for both wood and metal sets require no drilling into the legs. These anchors come with wire or chain attachments and a bracket around the swing set leg.
For these to work properly, you simply have to know if the bracket will fit all the way around the leg. It’s best to avoid anchors that require you to drill holes in your legs if you have a metal swing set.
Step 1: Mark The Ground
Do this by hammering your plastic or wooden stakes into the ground on the inside of the swing set legs. The stakes should be placed inside the A that the legs make on each side, no more than a few inches away.
If you’re anchoring a playset that has straight instead of slanted legs, you’ll want to place the stakes on the inside as well, to help ensure they won’t be a tripping hazard.
Once you have the stakes in place, it’s time to move the set out of the way.
Note: If your playset is too big to move, you can attempt to twist the anchors in without moving it, although this may be difficult so close to the structure.
As a workaround, you can move the anchors away a few inches, but you’ll have to increase the length of the fastening chain or wire you use to secure the legs to the anchors.
Step 2: Insert The Anchors
If you’re able to attach a drill to your anchors safely, it’s probably the quickest and easiest way to twist them into the earth. If not, you can use a small metal bar or a screwdriver through the anchor head to help twist the anchor into the ground.
If possible, it’s best to install the anchor perpendicular to the ground surface so the anchor head stands straight when installation is complete.
However, if you don’t have room to twist the anchors into the ground straight since you’re unable to move your set, a slight angle is acceptable. You’ll want to leave the anchor head out of the ground only enough to secure it to the leg with your chain, wire, or bracket in the proper place.
Step 3: Move The Set Back
Once you have all four anchors in place, you can move your swing set back into position. If you were unable to move your set, skip to the next step.
Double-check that the anchors are in the proper places in relation to your swing set’s legs. You want them to be in line with the legs and in roughly the same location on each leg.
Step 4: Fasten Anchors to Legs
You can attach your anchors to your set’s legs when you’ve determined that your anchors are in the correct spots. You can do it by threading your chain, wire, or brackets through the eyehole of your anchors and around the legs.
Step 5: Secure The Fasteners (Crucial Step!)
Most anchor sets come with a fastening bracket with which you can tighten any slack in the wire or chain. If your anchors did not, you could find similar items at your local hardware store, usually for a few dollars.
It is important that you follow this step, as a loose fastener is liable to slide down or fall off the leg. The anchors only work if they’re attached and tightened to the leg.
If you want added security, you can screw the wire, chain, or brackets directly to the swing set’s legs. But keep in mind that this may void the warranty. Plus, you may have to pre-drill holes if you want to do this with metal swing sets.
With all the anchors in place and secured to the swing set, you can let the kids get to swinging!
How To Anchor Your Swing Set With Concrete
If you have a set that requires anchoring with concrete or simply want the added security it provides, you can follow these steps. Anchoring your set in concrete takes more time than twist-in anchors, but it also provides a more secure base. You won’t have to worry about it for years to come.
Tools for concrete anchoring:
- Tape Measure
- Carpenter’s Level
- Ground Stakes (4 or more)
- Wheelbarrow or Other Container for Mixing Concrete
Step 1: Mark The Position Of Your Swing Set
To do this, mark next to each leg by shoveling a bit. Or you can use a stake, being careful to mark as accurately as possible. Alternatively, you can use some good ol’ fashion spray paint to mark your spot.
Step 2: Dig Holes For The Legs
After you have marked where the legs will go, you can move the swing set out of the way. Dig holes in the marked areas that are approximately 12” deep and 8” in diameter.
Step 3: Position Your Swing Set
Once your holes have been dug, the next step is to put your swing set in place. Place all 4 legs of the swing in the holes to make sure everything lines up as it should. If your holes we’re off a little, you may need to re-dig them for a proper fit.
Once your swing set is in position, you will want to ensure its level. The best way to do this is with a carpenter’s level. If you don’t have a level, you can download a level app on your smartphone, although I can’t vouch for how accurate these are.
After you’ve verified that your swing set is level, it’s time to mix some concrete!
Step 4: Mix And Pour Concrete
For most 4-post swing sets, a 50lb bag of concrete per hole should be enough. Follow the directions supplied to mix the concrete. Then you can pour concrete into each hole, filling them to within 1 inch of the top of the hole.
Be sure not to overfill the holes with concrete. You don’t want hardened concrete sitting on top of the surface. It’s not only an eyesore but a trip hazard as well.
Use the dirt you have from the holes you dug to fill in the remaining portions of the holes. Pack it down tight, and let it sit. You’re going to want to wait at least 24 hours for the concrete to fully cure before letting the kids loose.
After 24 hours, it’s safe to say that the concrete has hardened as much as it’s going to. Now it’s playtime!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best way to anchor a swing set?
The best way to anchor a swing set is to use cement, concrete or hard ground anchors. This will ensure that the set is held firmly in place and won’t move or tip over when in use.
You can also use heavy-duty anchor straps if you don’t have access to concrete or hard ground.
2. What type of surface should I use for anchoring a swing set?
It is best to anchor your swing set on a flat and level surface. Ensure that the area is free from sharp objects that could damage the equipment, such as rocks or sticks. If you are using cement or concrete anchors, make sure that they are installed in an area with proper drainage.
3. What is the safest thing to put under a swing set?
The safest thing to put under a swing set is a layer of rubber mulch. This will help cushion any falls and reduce the impact of the swings. Make sure that you check the surface regularly for debris and replace it as needed.
4. How often should I check my swing set anchors?
It is important to check your swing set anchors every few months, or after any extreme weather events. Make sure that the anchors are still secure and not loose or wobbly. If necessary, re-tighten the anchors or replace any rusty or damaged parts.
There are several ways to anchor swing sets. The quickest and easiest is twist-in anchors with included attachments. But, for added security and a solid foundation, concrete is the way to go. If you have the time and inclination.
Keep in mind that some twist-in anchors are sold without attachments. But a quick trip to the hardware store can provide you with what you need.
Check your warranty before making any new holes in your swing set, as this may void it. Remember to tighten your anchor attachments if you use twist-in ground anchors. And to level your set if you use concrete!
I hope this article has been helpful and that you now know how to anchor your swing set properly. Feel free to check out the rest of the site for more articles just like this one. Thanks for reading!