If you’re looking for a cool, new spring project to help the kids forget about their Pittsburgh winter-induced blues, you might consider building your own playground. This may sound like a daunting feat, but can be easily accomplished in an affordable and surprisingly quick manner. Getting your kids and their friends involved provides the perfect vehicle for spending time together and you’ll all reap the benefits when it’s finished: a playground that’s loads of fun for everyone. Building your own play area is certain to be a project that your children will never forget.

1. Create a budget by envisioning the desired outcome. Will your finished product feature a simple two swing structure with a slide, a massive construction complete with rock wall, free-standing teeter totters and a sandbox, or something even more avant-garde and outrageous? Let your imagination soar.

2. Scope out the area where your playground will live. Are you going to build your playground on your own property, whether in the back or on the side of your home, or will you opt to build in the shared backyard (that is, if you live on a loop and nobody has a fence) which everyone uses?

3. Determine the size of your finished product. Many build-your-own-playground kits exist that are pre-fab and cut to size, but the more ambitious adventurers can visit their local hardware store to pick up the simple materials necessary for this endeavor.

4. Hunt for the right materials to build your playground. Once size has been determined, the following items should be relatively easy to come across:

  • Standard lumber.
  • Railroad ties, if opting for a sandbox.
  • Galvanized slide surface, if opting for a slide. Any sheet metal shop could provide this.
  • A variety of standard tools: tape measure, large screwdriver, adjustable wrench, locking pliers, coping saw and a claw hammer. An electric drill might work best if you’ll be constructing outside and be sure to include both 1/8 and 3/16 inch bits.

The wood should weather for several months, but if time is not on your side, you can always prime and paint the structure after you’ve constructed it.

5. Be creative. Seats for swings can be purchased recycled or cut from old tires. Another awesome alternative to sand is recycled tire mulch. This option is eco-friendly and much less messy than its gritty counterpart, but is generally slightly pricier. Another bonus to tire mulch is that it simultaneously keeps pests and weeds away and is incredibly low-maintenance.

The following stores provide pre-fab playground kits or everything you’ll need to get started on your own DIY playground project:

Meders Inc.
360 Regis Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15236-1417
(412) 653-7020

Hours: Mon – Sat 9 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Perfect for adding those necessary personal touches that will come after you’ve completed your project, Meder’s carries all of the lawn and garden essentials necessary to make your finished product sparkle.

Rollier’s Hardware
600 Washington Road
Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228
(412) 561-0922

Hours: Mon to Sat – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Since 1922, this family-owned and operated hardware store has been catering to the needs of Pittsburghers. Here you’ll find the expertise and experience of a friendly and knowledgeable staff to get you through even your toughest construction challenges.

Stanford Home Centers
2001 Route 286
Plum Boro, PA 15239
(724) 327-6800

Hours: Mon to Fri 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sat 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sun 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

This two-location store offers an outstanding product selection and convenience when it comes to lumber and tool needs.

Related: The Benefits Of Hiring A Pro To Childproof Your Home

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSPittsburgh.com/YourHome.

Nikki Tiani-Moroney is a full time mum of two boys, wife of a professional poker player/photographer/amateur pencil-sharpening competitor and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn’t studiously neglecting her housework in favor of a good book, she’s out simultaneously fighting crime and picking up sidewalk litter while savoring an occasional cigarette. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.