Select Page

Ultimate Play Time! 36 Outside Of The Box Backyard Play Sets

Tired of lugging your kids all the way to the playground just so they can play for a while? Think about all of that unused space just sitting there in your back or front yard. In fact, you wouldn’t really need much space at all to set up a play set for the little guys.
With a hint of creativity, a dash of patience, and a splash of handiness you can create any of these outside of the box backyard plays sets with very little materials and even less cost. Check them out! Number 27 is my favorite!

#1 Checkmate!

Source

Although this looks like something ripped right from an Alice in Wonderland book, it honestly super easy to replicate. All you need are three different colored sidewalk blocks, two of which half to be perfect squares. The chess pieces can be made from just about anything; old tires, circular discs cut from a log and then painted, old Frisbees…basically anything round.

#2 Slide On Down

Source

Okay, I will admit, this looks amazing and the kids may have to step aside while Mom and Dad have a turn. No need for complex playsets with a million working pieces. The kids would have a blast for hours with this giant slide that’s literally just placed in a dug trench.

#3 Hilly Billy

Source

If you’ve got some natural hills and mounds in your landscape, don’t’ worry about it. Use them, play with the raw material they offer and work in some basic climbing walls like this. All you need is some wood, a package of rock wall grips, and some rope.

#4 Fun You Can Put Awayy

Source

If you live in a rental property then altering the landscape may not be an option for you, neither will be installing a permanent playset. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. This list of nifty backyard games is easy to make and can be stuffed away at the end of the day.

#5 Sail Away in a Sandbox

Source

Don’t bore your kids with a regular ol’ sandbox. They’ll be entertained for hours in this giant boat sand fort. I know I would! And with those infographic instructions, it’s almost painless to build. The sail-turned-sun shade is a wonderful idea, too. Keeps the sand cool as well as the little ones.

#6 Rustic Romping

Source

What a nifty idea for the country lovers in all of us. Some parents don’t’ like the idea of the blaringly bright colors of most play set pieces, but with this cool log style playground, you can have a stylish area for your kids to play.

#7 Remember Mousetrap?

Source

Okay, admittedly, I’m not sure if this is here for the kids or for us. Either way, I want it. All you need for this life size version of Mousetrap is an old table to cut a hole in, some chicken wire, a bag of balls from the dollar store, and a few wooden dowel.

#8 Sand in Style

Source

For the handy dad out there, this is a great weekend project. Assemble a nice, roomy sand box for the kids, complete with corner seats and a sun roof to protect them and keep the sand nice and dry.

#9 Outdoor Reading Nook

Source

As an avid reader and total bookworm, I adore this idea. I wish I had it as a kid. Sometimes your children just need a little safe haven, a place to call their own where they can escape from the world and enter a new one.

#10 A See Saw for Everyone

Source

If you can operate power tools and follow instructions, then this the ultimate project to test out. A giant see saw that fits six kids? Yes, please! Room for yours and their friends as well. Keep it a natural finish or stain/paint to add some flare to the backyard.

#11 DIY Splash Pad

Source

Going to the waterpark can often suck as a parent. You can’t really go in the water without feeling like you’re breaking some sort of rule, but you have to get in there and run after your kids. So building your very own mini splash pad at home is a no-brainer.

#12 Log Style

Source

This would be a great set for grandparents to incorporate in their backyards. Nothing too flashy, and it creates a fun little spot for the grandkids to play when they visit. Beats watching the Game Show Network and eating hard candies from the metal tin on the coffee table.

#13 Parent Level: Expert

Source

This one will take a bit of skill to make but it can be done. Not only is it a cool play set, but it’s also a fort and part of the backyard landscape. It’s a whole structure in itself, like a shed or garage. But, if built properly, can be a fun place for your kids to play at any stage during their childhood. Also, you could drag out the sleeping bags and make a little backyard campout. It beats having to plan a big camping trip with little kids.

#14 Caterpillar Tire

Source

Use what you got, right? And why not? Those old tires sitting in the garage would just end up in a landfill anyways. Slap them together, paint them with some fun colors, and anchor them with some dirt.

#15 Over and Under

Source

You may not have a ton of backyard space to give up to a play set. But if you have an elevated patio then you certainly have space underneath. Turn that area into a fun play set for the kids and not give up any extra yard space.

#16 Barnyard Beauty

Source

Okay, this one looks a little more complex than the average DIY project, but I simply couldn’t pass up adding it to the list. It’s fun, incorporates tons of stuff for the kids do use, and the cute barn style theme is just adorable.

#17 Treehouse Tales

Source

Turn that lonely old tree out there into a fun fort for your kids. It doesn’t have to be super high, and can be something that they grow up with. When they’re not using it, you can store all their toys up there, too.

#18 Obstacle Course

Source

Create the ultimate obstacle course for you and the kids to enjoy together. When family or friends come to visit, this because the most epic competition, too. Fun for all ages and super easy to make.

#19 Bowlerama

Source

How amazing is this idea? A backyard bowling alley! But look closely, not only is this an easy to build bowling lane, but they’ve even cleverly constructed a way to stand the pins after every strike. Genius, I tell you, sheer genius.

#20 Sophisticated Fort

Source

There’s not a parent on the planet who wouldn’t agree to this idea. It’s stylish, sophisticated, sturdy, and doubles as a place to store all those big outdoor toys. You could even get craftier and turn the underneath area into a sandbox. Double the fun!

#21 Best of Both Worlds

Source

There’s not a parent on the planet who wouldn’t agree to this idea. It’s stylish, sophisticated, sturdy, and doubles as a place to store all those big outdoor toys. You could even get craftier and turn the underneath area into a sandbox. Double the fun!

#22 A Tire Dome

Source

If you already used up your old tires for number 14 then try your luck with a few yard sales. However, you do it, gather up a nice stack of old tires and create this awesome climbing dome. Slap some bright colors on for a pop of character and you’ve got yourself one heck of a fun toy for the kids.

#23 Obstacle Teepee

Source

Another one for the skilled craftsmen out there. This cool teepee is a great backyard play set and takes up very little room. The beauty of this guy is that it can easily be moved to a new spot.

#24 Monkey Wall

Source

More tires! Seriously, when I said start collecting old tires I wasn’t kidding. There’s tons of cool ideas like this that just about anyone can do. Stick some beams in the ground with some cement footings and you’ve already done the hard part.

#25 Classy, Cute, and Fun

Source

You can easily build this fort to match the style of your home and it makes a really cool fort for the kids. String up some lights and turn it into a reading nook for Mom during the evenings. In fact, I insist.

#26 How-to Tire Swing

Source

For those of you who are getting all sorts of great ideas to make tire swings and such, here’s a great infographic on how exactly you should be doing it. It’s not a matter of stringing up a tire around a branch (although, you probably could) but this way makes a much better, and stronger, swing for the kids.

#27 Seesaw Stripes

Source

I remember my grandpa always building things like this for the backyard. He never bought a thing, it was all hand made. And why not? We should all be doing that. It’s not a complicated as you might think.There are tons of great DIY projects out there. And with a splash of color and a few stripes, you can make it super fun to look at, too.

#28 Tire Tower

Source

See a trend happening? Apparently, tires are the ultimate DIY backyard play set tool. You can do literally anything with them. Like this cool tower, for example. Note to parents: if you decide to jump in and use this, don’t slide down the center hole…you may get stuck.

#29 All in One

Source

We actually created something very similar to this a few years ago. We built a basic sandbox and two partition walls to attach an awning overhead. I threw in a small chalkboard and a few things, the kids spent hours playing in it. The use of PVC pipes in this one is just fantastic, too.

#30 Swing Away

Source

A quick fix to keep your kids entertained without committing too much of your yard space is a T-shaped swing set. Only one cement footing needed, but by creating the T-shape you can hang two swings at once. Awesome, and everyone gets a turn. Just make sure you install the swing properly and safely.

#31 Compact Fun

Source

This idea let you set up a fun obstacle course type play set. When you’re done for the day, simply fold it up and store away under the deck or in the garage. Because it goes flat, you can slip it in just about anywhere.

#32 More tires!

Source

Okay, this is the last tire inspired play set, I promise. But it is pretty awesome. Instead of a traditional ladder, you can add this one to your kid’s set up and create a fun way up and down the fort.

#33 The Ultimate Clubhouse

Source

This handy dandy instructional DIY idea gives you everything you need to create a super cool clubhouse like this one. You’ll have to make a run to the hardware store, but believe me when I say it’s worth it. Your kids will love you forever.

#34 Repurposed Swings

Source

Either scout around the yard sales this Summer or tap into the stack of old skateboards you have in the garage, because the decks make for some pretty sweet swing seats. This idea shows you how to create a regular seated swing as well as a standing option.

#35 Elevated Platform of Fun

Source

Here we have an idea to create a basic platform and slide. But if you’re the creative type, and I’m betting you are if you clicked on this article, then you can probably imagine the many awesome things you could add to this.

Share Your Thoughts!

Did any of these ideas inspire you to transform your backyard into the ultimate playground for your family? Even just a small fix as simple as a single swing. We want to hear about it! Comment and share your own DIY backyard play sets.

About The Author

Candace Osmond

Award Winning Designer, Candace Osmond has been in the industry for over a decade. She studied Interior Decorating & Design and is also an accomplished writer and multi-published author. When she’s not typing away from the comforts of her desk, Candace can be found travelling to warm destinations, tending to her garden, or enjoying the outdoor haven that is her backyard. Candace currently resides in the breathtaking Maritimes of Eastern Canada with her husband, two beautiful kids and one slobbery bulldog.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To support our work we earn a commission if you purchase through some of the links listed below at no additional cost to you. This does not influence our opinions, but we believe in transparency so you can make informed choices. Read more here.