We've created this guide as a general overview of the installation process.
Review the Manual
The first thing to do is skim through the manual of your swing set and familiarize yourself with the way it's organized. The manual will tell you how to assemble the swing set, but will also contain a lot more detailed info about preparing the play area, tools, parts, safety, etc.
Prepare the Play Area
Prepare the area where you'll install the swing set. We'll call this the “play area,” which includes the swing set itself as well as the safety zone around it. The play area should be located in a level area of your yard. This is very important to ensure that your swing set is stable when it's complete. You'll also want to locate your swing set with a safety zone away from any other structure or obstacle such as a fence, garage, house, tree, laundry lines, or electrical lines. Most manufacturers recommend that this safety zone is 6' from the swing set on each side as illustrated below.
If you plan to use mulch or other loose fill material as a safety surface, you'll typically want to install the swing set first so it's sitting directly on the ground. Check your manual for specific recommendations for installing loose fill safety surfacing. You can also check out our guide on swing set safety surfacing.
Before you start assembly, unbox all the parts and lay them out. Then find the parts list in the manual, and check and make sure there aren't any missing or damaged pieces. Once you've inventoried everything, find a hard surface to organize and familiarize yourself with the hardware.
Now it's time for assembly. We've found that it's helpful to have one copy of the manual for each person helping or at least a separate parts list to refer to. That way you can keep your page on the step that you're on and still have a reference to the parts list without having to flip back and forth.
Level the swing set
It's very important to make sure that the swing set is level when it's complete. We've found that it's helpful to get it leveled and squared up once the main corner posts of the fort are assembled. This makes it easier to keep the floor boards and railing square as the installation progresses. Once you've completed the installation, make sure the finished set is leveled up, and make adjustments as necessary.