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How to Anchor a Swing Set: A Step-By-Step Guide

17 Jan 2024
Four kids playing on an anchored swing set.

For children, gleefully swinging back and forth on a swing set can bring immense joy.  

But as a responsible parent or guardian, ensuring the safety of your swing set is crucial. While swing sets can bring plenty of excitement, they can also be dangerous if you don’t take the right precautions.   

One of the precautions for ample swing set safety is to properly anchor your swing set and we’re going to tell you exactly how to do that today. 

At gobaplay, we believe in the concept of safe outdoor play: Our other brand, Springfree Trampoline, is noted for being the safest trampoline on the market, and we are applying those same safety-first principles to swing sets and other fun backyard equipment.  

In this article, you will learn why anchoring a swing set is a must, the steps on how to anchor a swing set and the different kinds of swing set anchors you can buy. 

All swing sets and climbing domes come with anchors for free!  

Why Anchor a Swing Set? 

If you want to keep the children who use the swing set safe, you must anchor it. If you don’t, it’s very likely it will tip, and a serious injury could occur.   

This is based on research, live examples and is a clear part of the ASTM Standards which are designed to keep the users of playground equipment safe.  

Around 50,000 children go to the emergency room every year because of an injury on home playground equipment, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, making anchoring a swing set a must for child safety. 

There are multiple reasons why anchoring a swing set is important, including: 

  • Provides extra stability to the swing set to prevent tipping or swaying, which can cause falling injuries. 
  • Adds more resistance to the swing set, helping the structure uphold against sudden impact.  
  • Helps the swing set hold up under inclement weather conditions and heavy winds. 

Standards say your swing set should be anchored, as it will mitigate the chances of a serious injury due to an unsteady structure.   

3 Steps to Anchoring a Swing Set  

Now, let’s get to how to anchor a swing set to the ground:  

1. Find the Right Anchors 

First things first, you’ve got to find the right anchors for your swing set. The types of anchors you need will largely depend on the type of swing set you have (wood or metal) where you place the swing set and what surfacing you put underneath it.   

Some of the hardware you can use to anchor a swing set includes:  

  • Metal swing set anchors 
  • Swing set ground anchors (Most common!) 
  • Wooden swing set anchors  
  • Corkscrew swing set anchors 
  • Rebar swing set anchors 
  • Metal pipe strap clamps 
  • Cement or concrete anchors  
  • Large hex screws  
  • Tent stakes 

It’s imperative that you find the right place to put your swing set before starting the anchoring process. We recommend finding a level area with no slopes that are at least 6.5 ft from any obstacle, such as a fence, garage, house, overhanging branches or electrical wires.   

Example of a swing set using ground anchors, which will be the type of anchors discussed in this article (courtesy of American Earth Anchors):   

Swing set ground anchors.

2. Install the Anchors 

Let’s go over how to anchor a swing set on two commonly used surfaces, grass and artificial turf.   

Both of the methods below describe how to anchor a swing set without concrete. Some larger swing sets require concrete or cement, but we will not be speaking to those types of swing sets in this article. 

How to Anchor a Swing Set on Grass 

Grass is one of the more common surfaces where you will find a swing set and anchoring a swing set on grass is usually pretty simple. Here are the steps:  

  • Buy a set of ground surface anchors (you find them at retailers like The Home Depot) if your swing set does not come with anchors. 
  • Screw the anchors to the interior of the swing set’s legs, using a 45-degree angle. (You can use a drill, screwdriver, hammer or another compatible tool to complete this). 
  • Use a rope, chain or other type of hardware to attach the swing set’s legs to the anchors (as shown in the picture below). Note that not all swing sets require this – our gobaplay Single Swing Set does not! 
  • Check to make sure the swing set is secure before using.  

Example of a swing set anchored to grass, courtesy of SportsPowerSwingSets:  

A swing set anchored to grass.

If placing your swing set on grass, it’s recommended to use soft surfacing underneath the swing set to safeguard against hard falls to the ground. Rubber mats for playgrounds can be used if you don’t want to install extensive surfacing—like rubber mulch—under your swing set.  

How to Anchor a Swing Set on Turf  

Artificial turf (like you would find on many football fields) is another common surface used to place a swing set, and the process for anchoring the swing set is similar to grass:  

  • Buy a set of twist-in long ground surface anchors. 
  • Screw the anchors to the swing set’s legs, using a 45-degree angle.  
  • Attach the anchors to the legs of the swing set using a bracket, wire, chain, rope or other hardware. 
  • Ensure that the swing set is safely secured.  

Just like grass, taking a fall on turf may still lead to an injury. For further protection, using additional surfacing like a shock-absorbent mat is recommended.    

The downside to using turf is its expensive to install and putting holes in the turf can ruin it if the structure is not permanent. You may want to consider using sandbags as an anchor method if you have turf.  

There are multiple surfaces on that can be put under a swing set including loose-fill materials like rubber mulch, wood chips, engineered wood fiber, sand and pea gravel.  

If anchoring a swing set on a non-grass or turf surface, make sure to consult your swing set’s manual or manufacturer to find out the best way to anchor the structure on your specific surfacing.   

3. Check the Anchors 

Lastly, you will periodically want to inspect the anchors on your swing set to make sure they are soundly in place.  

Another good way to test the swing set’s effectiveness is to watch for any tipping or swaying of the swing set while in use. This will be your cue that the anchors may need to be replaced or re-installed.   

While anchoring a swing set helps to prevent tipping, it also might leave hardware like chains and cuffs exposed. Make sure that your child understands where the anchors are to avoid tripping over them. 

Here is an example of a swing set anchored to the ground, courtesy of Woodplay Playsets:     

A father pushing his son on a swing set anchored to the ground.

Where to Buy Swing Set Anchors  

You can find heavy-duty swing set anchors at various retailers across the country, including Amazon, Bunnings, etc. While standards don’t require that a swing set come with anchors, some will come with anchors included like ours do.   

Again, the type of anchors you buy will depend on the type of swing set you have and where you’re going to place it. Once you have figured that out, look through verified consumer reviews and see which anchors are the best swing set anchors for you.  

Swing set anchors usually won’t break the bank: You can expect to pay around $15-$40 for regular ground anchors or stakes.   

However, if anchoring a larger swing set that requires more materials (brackets, straps) you might pay $100+ for the materials.   

3 Common Swing Set Anchor Questions  

Before wrapping it up, let’s summarise what we’ve covered so far and touch on some things we might’ve missed with three frequently asked questions on how to anchor a swing set:  

1. Do you need to anchor a swing set? YES! Anchoring a swing set prevents the structure from tipping or swaying during use. ASTM Standards say you must anchor your swing set as a safety measure. Anchoring a swing set also provides extra protection against heavy winds or severe weather. 

2. What is the easiest way to anchor a swing set? This will depend on the type of swing set you have and where you want to place it, but twist-in-ground anchors are likely the easiest and most efficient way to anchor a swing set. 

3. How do you anchor a swing set without concrete? A swing set ground anchor kit will normally be more than enough to anchor a normal-sized swing set if it’s been installed correctly. Larger swing sets may require concrete to anchor, however.  

 

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