How much does it cost to build a playground?
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Build a Playground Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
A backyard playground provides a great way to entertain your children at home. Backyard playsets come in all shapes and sizes, from simple swing sets to elaborate imagination stations complete with climbing walls and playhouses. They fit into most yards, and many are customized to meet your child’s needs. With so many variables, there is a wide range of associated costs.
The national average is between $500 and $5,000 to build a backyard playground, with most homeowners spending around $2,500 to build wooden playground with swings, a slide, and a climbing area with shade and mulch for the ground. At the low end of the spectrum, you can spend about $375 on a basic plastic playground. At the high end of the spectrum, you can pay up to $10,000 for an elaborate custom playground structure with a rubber surface.
Cost to Build a Playground
|Build Playground Cost|
|National Average Cost||$2,500|
Cost to Build a Playground by Quality Level
The cost range to build a playground ranges from $375 to $10,000 depending on the type of playground, the complexity of the play structures, accessories, layout, size, surface materials used, and labor. Many playgrounds are sold in an easy-to-assemble kit. Others are made-to-order by a skilled construction team.
|Playground Quality||Average Costs (Materials and Labor)|
|Basic||$375 - $1,000|
|Wood||$500 - $5,000|
|Custom||$7,500 - $10,000|
The cost of building a basic playground averages $375 to $1,000 for labor and the play structure. The price varies depending on the equipment and time needed to assemble. This is usually a pre-fab swing set kit that includes a swing, slide, and climbing bars. However, different kits come with other equipment. The surface cover is usually mulch or grass. A basic playground features a swing setup loved by parents for its simplicity. They are usually fabricated from metal tubing, plastic, or a combination of both. A basic playground is an excellent choice for someone who does not want a permanent playground in their backyard. Some companies that sell playgrounds offer free assembly.
The average cost to build a wooden playground ranges from $500 to $5,000, depending on the complexity of the design and the equipment used. The playset is typically fashioned from wood and includes swings, a slide, and a climbing area with a shade canopy. The sets are premade and easy to assemble. It is typically built on a surface of mulch or grass. However, artificial turf or rubber mulch can also be used, increasing the price to the higher end of the spectrum. A wood playground is aesthetically pleasing and considered permanent.
A custom backyard playground can cost around $7,500 to $10,000, depending on the playground equipment, size, surface, and material used. Backyard playground equipment is available from numerous box stores. However, a custom built playground is uniquely fashioned to fit your yard. You can choose from a multitude of options and sizes when designing a custom playground. A custom-built playground is more costly because it takes time to manufacture. Then, after arrival, the pieces must be assembled. Manufacturers offer many options. You can start with one of their basic kits and add on later. You can opt to have a construction crew fashion a custom playground from scratch in your yard. The surface material used varies from grass to poured rubber and largely depends on your vision of the perfect custom playground. A custom playground is often designed to complement the home and landscape.
Cost to Build a Playground by Location
The average cost of a backyard playground or an indoor playground ranges from $375 to $10,000, depending on playground equipment, surface material, and size. Many people opt to buy plastic play equipment for indoor playgrounds because they are not exposed to the elements. However, elaborate indoor play structures are similar to their outdoor counterparts, constructed from either metal or wood.
|Playground Type||Average Cost (Materials and Labor)|
|Backyard||$375 - $2,000|
|Indoor||$500 - $10,000|
The cost of an indoor playground ranges from $375 to $2,000, depending on size and equipment. An indoor playground is ideal for locations with inclement weather conditions such as harsh winters or excessive rain. Many families opt for an indoor playset because they lack sufficient outdoor space. Parents and babysitters like the containment of an indoor space because they can easily keep an eye on the children.
Typically, an indoor swing set and other equipment might be smaller than outdoor versions. However, indoor playground equipment prices are often lower due to its size and the materials used. It is rare for an indoor playground to be fashioned from costly wood. Instead, they are usually made from hard plastics or metals, which are more affordable. Indoor play equipment is easy to assemble, so it can be handled as a DIY project or hire a professional to assemble it.
Background playground costs vary drastically from $500 to $10,000, depending on the type of play equipment and surface materials used. Most playgrounds are positioned in the backyard for safety. Most backyards are fenced and provide the perfect play location for a child/children. Unlike an indoor playground, the playset equipment can be as large and elaborate as space allows. One thing that can cause a spike in cost is the added expense of leveling the ground or adding surface material.
Backyard Playground Surface Cost
Installing a backyard playset directly on your lawn costs $0.50 to $14 per sq. ft., depending on the playground flooring cost. Grass makes an ideal surface for playgrounds, but it needs to be mowed and maintained. Swing set flooring and landing areas below slides and swings often wear down quickly unless a mat or other landing surface is placed there. Several different materials are available to create safe playground surfaces for your yard.
If you use a different surface material than grass, you need a border or ledge to contain it. All playground materials should be regularly inspected and modified or replenished as needed to keep them safe.
|Material||Cost per Sq. Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Mulch||$0.50 - $1|
|Pea Gravel||$0.90 - $1.50|
|Artificial Turf||$2 - $6|
|Sand||$4 - $8|
|Rubber Mulch||$6 - $12|
|Poured Rubber||$8 - $14|
Mulch averages $0.50 to $1 per sq. ft. Gardening or landscaping mulch may be used as ground material for backyard playgrounds. It is inexpensive, easy to source, and comes in several colors. However, it may leave splinters and is a choking hazard for young children. It tends to migrate, so it needs a barrier to keep it contained. You need to add to it yearly to replenish and keep the area deep enough.
Playground Pea Gravel
The average cost of pea gravel ranges from $0.90 to $1.50 per sq. ft. Pea gravel was once used extensively in many community playgrounds. While you may purchase it for a backyard playground, it has several drawbacks. It easily migrates and is a choking hazard for young children. It tends to leave scraped knees and bruises because it is not as soft as other materials. However, it is a low-cost option that is readily available.
Artificial grass or turf used for playgrounds averages from $2 to $6 per sq. ft. It is a good option for homeowners who want the look of grass in their yard without the upkeep near the play structure. Artificial grass is soft and not likely to be a hazard like other materials. It does not require a barrier to hold it in.
The average cost of sand ranges from $4 to $8 per sq. ft. Sandmakes a good base for playgrounds, provided it is at least 12 inches deep. Keep in mind that you want to purchase play sand. This is the same sand used for sandboxes, which is fine enough not to contain rocks or gravel that cause injuries. Sand needs a barrier to keep it in place because it migrates easily. You may need to add additional sand every few years to keep it deep enough.
Rubber mulch is a newer material that averages from $6 to $12 per sq. ft. It has become a popular choice for playgrounds. The rubberized mulch is made from recycled tires and other materials. It is eco-friendly, but depending on what it was recycled from, it might contain chemicals that cause sensitivity in children. It easily migrates and is a choking hazard for small children. It comes in many bright colors and provides a soft surface for play.
Poured Rubber Playground Surface
The cost of poured rubber runs from $8 to $14 per sq. ft. If you have a very large play area of 1,000 sq. ft. or more, poured rubber may be a good choice for you. Poured rubber is a springy material that is fairly low maintenance, makes a good landing area, and does not present a choking hazard. However, most manufacturers only pour 1,000 sq. ft. or more at a time. So, it is not always the best material for a backyard play area.
Playground Equipment Cost
The price of playground equipment ranges from $100 to $4,000, depending on the item. Creating a backyard playground means anything from putting in a two-swing set and a free-standing slide or creating an elaborate structure with climbing walls, towers, multiple swings, slides, and accessories. This means that it is possible to create a backyard play area on nearly any budget or for most yard sizes.
There is a wide cost range, and many playsets are available at discount outlets or overstock sellers for less. You may also have custom sets built to your exact specifications for a higher price.
|Equipment||Cost (Material Only)|
|Sandbox||$100 - $500|
|Slide||$100 - $1,700|
|Swing Set||$100 - $3,000|
|Jungle Gym||$200 - $1,100|
|Playset||$350 - $4,000|
Sandboxes are a common addition to backyards that range from $100 to $500. The cost depends on the material they are made from, such as plastic or wood. Sand to fill the box is roughly $8 per bag. They are simple boxes made of wood or something more elaborate with shade and benches.
Slides are attached to a deck or the side of a swing set or are completely freestanding. Their cost ranges from $100 to $1,700. They can be short for small children or tall and winding for older children.
The cost of a swing set ranges from $100 to $3,000, depending on material and size. Swing sets are almost always made of either metal or wood, with a few vinyl or plastic options available. They come in multiple sizes, but they all have a similar starting cost. Wood swing sets containing multiple accessories and options usually cost more. These costs are only for the swing set, not for playsets that contain swing sets as part of the setup.
|Swing Set Material||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Plastic||$100 - $500|
|Metal||$100 - $1,000|
|Wood||$100 - $3,000|
Jungle gyms range in cost from $200 to $1,100, depending on size and materials. They are common climbing structures added to backyard playgrounds. Jungle gyms attach to larger playsets or can be freestanding. They come in many sizes and configurations, with some being elaborate and designed for older children. Others are smaller and made for younger kids.
The cost of a playset ranges from $350 to $4,000, depending on size and material. If you have space and want to keep your children busy for hours, a playset is a great idea. These are larger, usually wooden structures that contain multiple pieces of equipment in one. They typically have swings, rope or tire swings, slides, climbing walls, towers, shaded areas, playhouses, and may also contain see-saws, sandboxes, and imaginative play accessories. They are simple to start but quickly become complex, particularly if you have one custom built for your yard. They have a range of costs based primarily on size. The larger the structure, the more likely it is to contain many parts and accessories for play. Common sizes and their costs include:
|Playset Size||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|10-feet by 11-feet||$350 - $750|
|12-feet by 16-feet||$450 - $950|
|16-feet by 20-feet||$750 - $2,000|
|20-feet by 30-feet||$1,200 - $3,500|
|30-feet by 41-feet||$2,500 - $4,000|
Playground Installation Cost
Professional playground installations cost from $200 to $500. However, sometimes the cost of playground assembly is included in the manufacturer’s price. Another installation option would be hiring a handyman at an hourly rate of around $50 to $100. The type of playground equipment being installed also affects the cost of labor. Swing sets are relatively easy to build, but an entire custom playground takes longer to assemble and has many pieces.
If you opt for a small, simple playset from a big box store, the installation cost can be lower than that of an entire playground. These are usually easy to assemble and not overly time consuming. Most leading playset brands require professional installation due to their sheer size and complexity, and the cost ranges from $300 to $3,500 depending on brand and size. Normally, the playset manufacturing company provides a list of preferred local installers or is in contract with specific assembly companies. They estimate if the play structure needs one or two people to assemble all of the pieces successfully.
If you want to add base material, your installation costs are higher. You have the material cost and the cost for grading the area. Then, the material must be poured and spread, and a barrier erected around it if you use a loose fill. These steps add between $300 and $4,000 to your project’s cost, depending on the material type, how level your yard is, and what is required to complete the setup.
Playset Installation Cost by Brand
Big-name playset brands often require professional installation. These sets range in cost from $300 to $3,500 depending on the playset brand and size. The manufacturing company estimates if the job requires a single person or a two-person team for successful assembly. The playset companies have a list of preferred local installers familiar with their products and often contract with them to offer affordable labor prices.
|Playset Brand||Cost of Playset||Cost of Labor|
|Gorilla Playset||$300 - $6,200||$300 - $500|
|KidKraft Playground||$500 - $2,000||$300 - $900|
|Rainbow Play Systems||$7,500 - $10,000||$300 - $3,500|
Gorilla Playset Installation
The cost to professionally install a Gorilla playset is $300 to $500. Play structures cost $300 to $6,200. The Gorilla company considers the project a two-person job that takes six to eight hours, depending on the swing set model purchased and the included equipment. Gorilla provides you with a list of preferred installers for your area when you purchase one of their swing sets.
The cost to professionally install a KidKraft playset ranges from $300 to $900. The cost of the play structures ranges from $500 to $2,000, depending on the equipment purchased. The materials matter when factoring in the cost of assembly. In some cases, when you buy KidCraft equipment, the cost of installation and assembly are included.
Rainbow Play Systems
A Rainbow Play System averages $300 to $3,500 to construct and install a swing set in the backyard. Rainbow play systems cost from $7,500 to $10,000, depending on size and equipment. The price depends on the custom options you choose when you buy the set. The more elaborate the swing set, the higher the cost to install it because the complexity of the swing set requires additional time to construct.
How Much Land Do You Need to Build a Playground?
You do not need to have much space to erect a backyard play area for your kids. While it is possible to create elaborate setups that take up ½ an acre or more, it is also possible to find swing sets with a 10-foot by 11-foot footprint. Given that most playsets need some space for children to run around the structure, the smallest yard accommodating a backyard playground or playset is roughly 12-feet by 15-feet. However, if you have more space, you can create much larger and more complex structures, including more accessories.
Level Yard for Playground
Areas that are hilly or uneven might require clearing before installing a playset. Clearing an area averages $1,200 to $4,200. Site preparation is a lengthy and expensive project that adds up quickly. The area where you plan on constructing your playground needs to be level and free from obstacles.
Backyards with excessive vegetation might require land excavation which could easily cost from $1,500 to $5,000. Many homeowners opt to do their own site prep work, but it can take time and prove difficult if you don’t have the needed excavation equipment. Often hiring a professional is more time conscious and ensures that the job is completed correctly.
Excavation often includes digging up the soil, removing rocks, cutting down trees, and digging up roots. You may also need to replace the topsoil. The play structure must be built on level ground that will not shift in the future. The area that will host the playground needs to be clear of debris, undergo grading to create a level surface, and then be covered in topsoil if needed.
Backyard Playground Pros and Cons
Having a backyard playground is a great thing for many families. It gives children a chance to play safely without needing to travel or leave the yard. Parents and caregivers supervise from nearby or from a window inside the home. Playground equipment offers a means of expending energy for kids and getting in some physical activity.
In addition to this, COVID-19 has made social distancing a mandatory part of life. Having your own play equipment helps keep your children safe because they can play at home instead of in a public playground where they could face exposure to the virus. Families are spending more time in their homes due to regional lockdowns and to slow the spread of the virus. A backyard playground is an ideal way to keep children entertained safely at home.
Playgrounds are also the source of accidents, such as splinters and falls. You need to check and maintain the equipment yearly to keep it safe. If you do not install a surface below it, the grass tears up. The cost of maintaining the yard becomes expensive over the years.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Community Playground?
Building a community playground ranges from $50,000 to $150,000, including the cost of equipment and installation. If you have a park or open area designated for a community playground, there is a range of options for what you may do there. From equipment to surfacing, community playgrounds can be simple or contain elaborate equipment. They need to have a consistent surfacing material throughout and may require a fence with a gate for safety. They might also need benches or tables
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Every child grows up eventually, outgrowing their playset along the way. If you need yours removed, you have a few options. You may donate or sell it, instructing the recipient to remove it on their own. Otherwise, you may need to pay to have it disassembled ($200 - $500), and then hauled away and disposed of ($300 - $500).
If you do not love the idea of a playset, use playground equipment mixed with natural materials like hills, trees, and tree stumps to create a natural playground. You need professional help to design and build this - a landscaper is a good place to start. Costs begin at around $10,000.
Enclosed Play Area
If your yard is not fenced in, you may want to fence in the play area if you have small children. Use any type of backyard fencing material for this project, with wood fences costing around $3,500 to start.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- In some areas, particularly those with HOAs, you may need permission to construct a backyard playground.
- Comparison shop and pay attention to the materials. Choose those that have guarantees for the equipment’s anticipated lifespan.
- Consider your child’s needs as they grow when purchasing a set to get the longest amount of time out of the set.
- All playsets require some maintenance, including yearly inspections, replacing rotting or splintering wood, oiling chains and hooks, and refreshing the ground covering. If you purchase your set from a local manufacturer, contract with them for regular maintenance and repair.
- You can assemble your playset directly on your lawn and forego any base material.
- Playsets are the best investment for those who currently have children aged 2 to 10.
- Having a backyard playground does not increase resale value. Aging playsets become a hazard and eyesore. Many can move with you to a new location as some new homeowners may have children too old to enjoy it.
- You should obtain at least three quotes from assembly companies before picking one.
- Many playsets come with warranties. In some cases, the warranties state the structures must be assembled by a professional for safety.
- Is it cheaper to build your own playground?
You can DIY build the playground for free, but many play structures are elaborate and require specific tools and skills to complete the assembly safely. Although DIY is free, it is not always the best choice when assembling a playground.
- How much would it cost to build an indoor playground?
Building an indoor playground averages $375 to $2,000, depending on the size and material.
- How much does playground equipment cost?
Playground equipment can range in price from $100 to $4,000. High-end structures range from $4,000 to $10,000.
- How much does Lowe’s charge to install a playset?
Lowe’s contracts with local assemblers to install playsets. The price ranges from $350 to $450.
- What is the best swing set for toddlers?
The best swing set is one that grows with them. Purchase something that swaps out the seats and accessories so that they may continue using it as they age.
- How long does playground equipment last?
If it is properly maintained and repaired, it lasts decades. Expect a good playset to last through several children aging out of it.
- How long does it take to put a playset together?
The average timeframe given is up to 13 hours for DIY homeowners. Professionals may take less time.
- What should I put under a playground?
There are many choices for this from grass and sand to poured rubber. If you have small children and use a loose material where you put up a barrier so that it does not migrate, consider the choking hazard presented by mulch and rocks.
- What is the safest playground material?
All playground equipment must be rated for safety, and every playground equipment includes some risk. Because every child’s ability varies, what may be safe for one child to navigate, may not be the best choice for another child. If you have concerns, speak to the playset manufacturer for recommendations.