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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Backyard Playground?

Average Cost
(wooden playset with swings, slide, and climbing area with shade and mulch for the ground)

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Backyard Playground?

Average Cost
(wooden playset with swings, slide, and climbing area with shade and mulch for the ground)

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A backyard playground is 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 on a wooden playset with swings, slide, and climbing area with shade and mulch 1 for the ground.

Playground Costs

Cost to Build a Playground
National Average Cost$2,500
Average Range$500-$5,000
Minimum Cost$250
Maximum Cost​$10,000

Updated: What's new?

Build a Playground Cost by Project Range

Simple metal swing set with DIY installation
Average Cost
Wooden playset with swings, slide, and climbing area with shade and mulch for the ground
Custom-made imagination center playground with poured rubber surface below it

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 2. 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.

Backyard Playground Surface Cost

It is always possible to install your backyard playset directly on your lawn. Grass makes an ideal surface for playgrounds, but it needs to be mowed and maintained. Landing areas below slides and swings often wear down quickly unless a mat or other landing surface is placed there. There are several different materials used 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.

Playground Surface Cost Chart Playground Surface Cost Chart

MaterialAverage Cost per Square Foot (Material 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 for Playground Surfaces Cost

Gardening or landscaping mulch 1 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 also 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. It costs between $0.50 and $1 a square foot.

Pea Gravel for Playgrounds Cost

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 also 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. It averages $0.90 and $1.50 a square foot.

Playground Turf Costs

Artificial grass or turf 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 also does not require a barrier to hold it in. Artificial grass for playgrounds costs around $2 - $6 a square foot.

Sand for Playground Cost

Sand 3 makes a good base for playgrounds, provided it is at least 12-inches deep. Keep in mind that you want to purchase play sand - the same sand 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. It costs $4 - $8 a square foot 4 on average.

Rubber Mulch Cost

Rubber mulch 1 is a newer material for playgrounds made from recycled tires and other materials. It is eco-friendly, but depending on what it was recycled from, it might contain chemicals that children are sensitive to. It easily migrates and is a choking hazard for small children. It comes in many bright colors and provides a soft surface for play. Prices range from $6 - $12 a square foot.

Poured Rubber Playground Surface Cost

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. It costs around $8 - $14 a square foot.

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Playground Equipment Cost

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.

Playground Equipment Price Playground Equipment Price

EquipmentCost (Material Only)
Sandbox$100 - $500
Slide$100 - $1,700
Swing set$100 - $3,000
Jungle gym$200 - $1,100
Playset$350 - $4,000

Sandbox Price

Sandboxes are a common addition to backyards. They are simple boxes made of wood or something more elaborate with shade and benches. They are made of plastic or wood and cost around $100 - $500. You need to purchase the sand 3 separately, at roughly $8 a bag.

Playground Slide Cost

Slides are attached to a deck or the side of a swing set or are completely freestanding. They can be fairly short for small children or tall and winding for older children. They have a cost range of $100 - $1,700 on average.

Swing Set Cost by Material

Swing sets are almost always made of either metal or wood, with a few vinyl 5 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 cost more on average.

These costs are only for the swing set, not for playsets that contain swing sets as part of the setup.

Swing Set Prices

Swing Set MaterialAverage Cost Range
Plastic$100 - $500
Metal$100 - $1,000
Wood$100 - $3,000

Swing Set Installation Costs

Swing set assembly and installation costs between $100 and $300 if you hire a professional. Some smaller sets are designed to be put together DIY and do not need professional installation or assembly.

Jungle Gym Prices

Jungle gyms are common climbing structures added to backyard playgrounds. They are found attached to larger playsets or can be freestanding. They come in many sizes and configurations, with some being fairly elaborate and designed for older children. Others are smaller and made for younger kids. They cost between $200 and $1,100 on average.

Playset Cost

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 accessories for imaginative play. They are fairly simple to start, but quickly become complex, particularly if you have one built custom for your yard. They have a range of costs mostly based 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 Prices Chart

Playset Prices Chart

Playset SizeAverage Cost Range (Equipment 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

Playset Assembly Cost

If you purchase a large playset directly from the manufacturer, the installation and setup are usually included in the final cost. When purchasing a smaller setup from a big box store, you can have it assembled for between $200 and $500. Some smaller kits are assembled DIY, but most of the larger sets require professional setup.

Swingset installed in a backyard

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Premade vs Custom-Built Playground

Backyard playground equipment is found at nearly any big box store. It may also be custom built to fit your yard exactly by a playground manufacturer. Both options have pros and cons. A premade set is faster and less expensive. There are plenty of options and sizes, and many have different accessories added over time. However, you should still invest in professional installation because otherwise, they may not be safe. Depending on the version purchased, you may also find it does not have the exact options you want.

Custom-built equipment is more costly and takes longer to arrive, but it is assembled as part of the price. And you can trust that it is done correctly by the experts. You may add the exact details you want and ensure the size and configuration fit into your space. Some manufacturers offer both options, so you could start with one of their basic kits and add on as needed.

Playground Installation Cost

Having a playset assembled is included in the cost if you purchase one from the manufacturer. Otherwise, it costs $200 - $500 on average to add professional installation.

If you also want to add base material, your installation costs are higher. Not only do you have the material cost, but the area may need to be graded 6. Then, the material needs to be poured and spread, and a barrier erected around if you use a loose fill. This adds costs of between $300 and $4,000 to your project’s cost, depending on the material type, how level 6 your yard is, and what is required to complete the setup.

Playset installed in the backyard of a house

Pros and Cons of Having a Playground in Your Yard

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.

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 in places, and the cost of maintaining the yard becomes expensive over the years.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Community Playground?

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. This means that building a community playground typically ranges from $50,000 to $150,000, including the costs of the equipment and installation.

Playground Equipment Options

If you are looking for premade backyard playsets, consider these three readily available options:

BEST CHOICE: Little Tykes Real Wood Adventures Grizzly Grotto

This is a good choice for kids who want to have many activities but do not have a yard that will accommodate an oversized set. It includes a playhouse for shade, net swing, swing set, wobble bridge, and slide. It is recommended for ages 3 - 10.

BEST VALUE: KidKraft Andorra Cedar Wood Playset

This is a good playset if you are on a budget. It is made of cedar, so it lasts longer without rotting like other woods. It contains a swing set, platform with shade, sandbox, and slide. It also has a climbing wall and a chalk wall, and for its small size, it still holds up to 7 kids at a time.

ALSO CONSIDER: Gorilla Playset with Wood Roof and Tube Slide

This is a great playset with lots of options for children as well. It includes a climbing wall, swing set with trapeze accessory, playhouse for shade, and a large tube slide. You may even create a sandbox beneath the playdeck if desired.

Our experts independently research and recommend the best products. Retailers cannot influence or pay for the placement, reviews, or ratings of products. Fixr.com participates in the Amazon Services, LLC Associates Program and other affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn commissions on qualifying purchases made using our links to retailer sites.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Playground Removal Cost

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).

Natural Playground

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, choosing 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 it.
  • 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.
  • If you choose, put your playset directly on your lawn. A base material is not required.
  • 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, and some new homeowners may have children too old to enjoy it.


  • 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 3 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 1 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.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Mulch: A natural substance derived from plant, animal, or mineral matter that is added to soil in order to make it more fertile
glossary term picture Footprint 2 Footprint: The entire area of ground covered by a building, including the exterior walls and porch or patio areas
glossary term picture Sanding 3 Sand: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)
glossary term picture Footing 4 Foot: A support for the foundation of a house that also helps prevent settling. It is typically made of concrete reinforced with rebar, but can also be made of masonry or brick. It is usually built under a heavier part of the house like a wall or column, to distribute the weight of the house over a larger area.
glossary term picture Vinyl 5 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
6 Level: (Also known as Graded) The process of evening out the ground's surface, making it either flat or sloped.

Cost to build a playground varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Wooden swing set on green lawn
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Cost to build a playground varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources