Swing sets can provide hours of fun for both children and adults. However, to avoid them from tipping dangerously it is important that you know how to anchor a swing set properly to grass, turf, or concrete surfaces. This somewhat uncomplicated process ensures safe play.
To anchor a swing set on:
- Grass: Twist ground anchors into the ground at a 45-degree angle to the set’s feet, then secure with chains
- Turf: Use the same method as grass, but with longer ground anchors
- Concrete: Use flat floor anchors and concrete lag screws with lag shields
Correctly anchoring your swing set into the ground is vital for everyone’s safety. To ensure peace of mind while your children are at play, read on to discover which anchor is best for your backyard and how to install it.
Anchoring a Swing Set on Grass, Turf, and Concrete
There are many types of ground surfaces to place beneath your swing set, including rubber, wood mulch, sand, pea gravel, and rubber mats.
We’ll be covering how to secure a swing set to these three surfaces:
- Turf (artificial grass)
Anchoring a Swing Set on Grass
A grass ground surface is most common in at-home swing sets and provides a relatively safe landing spot with minimal impact. Many homeowners prefer grass surfaces as it is natural and requires little added set up expense.
Anchoring a swing set to grass is fairly easy:
- Purchase a set of ground surface anchors (link to Amazon)
- Screw them into the grass at a 45-degree angle on the interior of the swing set’s legs
- Once in place, use chains, straps, or rope to attach the set’s legs to the ground anchors.
Just like that, your new swing set isn’t going anywhere!
Anchoring a Swing Set on Turf
Turf, also known as artificial and synthetic turf, ground surfaces offer a clean, even look beneath any swing set. It lays level, needs little if any watering, mimics a lush lawn, and is sufficiently padded for hard landings.
Installing a swing set over turf is much the same as with grass, with one exception: you’ll want to use longer ground anchors because turf usually has a underlayment of sand or some other soft material to provide padding.
You’ll want to use ground anchors that are long enough to penetrate the turf at a 45 degree angle and have a good grip into the soil and ground underneath the turf’s layers.
Anchoring a Swing Set on Concrete
Concrete is not recommended as a swing set ground surface as it can cause serious injury if anyone were to fall onto it. However, concrete provides the best foundation for anchoring and stabilizing most play structures.
Concrete is rarely used as the actual play-surface underneath a swing set. However, if for some reason you will be installing a play structure like a swing set onto concrete, then here’s how to do it:
- Purchase a set of flat ground anchors that fit each of the four legs of the set
- Place the swing set with anchors attached in the place where you’d like to secure it
- Pre-drill all necessary holes into the concrete
- Tap lag shields down into the pre-drilled holes
- Use lag screws to fasten the anchor to the concrete through the lag shields
Once again, we strongly recommend not installing a swing set or other play structure on top of bare concrete. The risk for injury is very high. At the very least, cover it with play mats or other soft materials, like poured rubber.
Using Ground Surface Anchors
There are basically two anchors available to keep your swing set from tipping over when in use: twist-in and flat ground anchors. They are simple to install and can be easily replaced if you decide to move or disassemble your swing.
Twist-in ground anchors are most common for swing sets and can be hammered or twisted (screwed) into the ground or concrete base. Then it is fastened to the swing with either bolts or screws.
Check out these options of ground surface anchors (link to Amazon)
Some twist-in anchors resemble corkscrews in varying lengths and shapes and most have an opening through which the anchor can be attached to the swing.
Many twist-in devices can also be fastened using:
- Metal straps
- A screw through anchor and swing holes
- Anchors with string and a screw attachment
Flat ground anchors work best for attaching your child’s swing set to concrete. You will find these anchors at most public places like parks, amusement centers, schools, etc., as they provide a more solid foundation.
Most ground anchors (flat or twist-in) are made from weather and rust resistant stainless steel, provide stability, and will last a long time.
Always use the manufacturer’s recommended ground anchors provided unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Only use replacement anchors direct from swing set manufacturer or one close as possible to the original.
Installing Ground Anchors
Ground anchors can be easily installed in no time at all. Here’s how:
- Place swing set evenly and clear from obstruction
- Mark location of legs
- Insert screw type ground anchor either by hand, hammer, or metal rod
- Attach swing set legs to anchors
- Cover hardware with bolt caps or other cushioned materials
Do this for the remaining swing set legs or any feature that requires anchoring.
Where Ground Anchors Work Best
Ground anchors are mostly preferred to fasten wood or synthetic material swing sets over metal swings. This is because metal is a harder surface, thereby making it more difficult to attach the anchor to.
Wood or synthetic swing sets should not be affixed to concrete to prevent damaging the set. Here, metal swing sets are recommended. Never use ground anchors if your play set does not need them.
Do not use a ground anchor in a surface that is too soft or unstable. Test the soil with a stake and hammer for stability. Secure area with concrete to prevent sinking. If you cannot drive a stake into the soil, it will likely support a ground anchor.
Anchors are usually included with the swing set and can also be purchased separately at your local Home and Garden store.
Carefully follow manufacturer’s installation guidelines to prevent play set damage or bodily injury.
Tools Needed to Anchor Swing Set
Anchoring you swing set to the ground is usually a simple matter and doesn’t require many tools other than a wrench, a hammer, a shovel, and a drill.
You might also need a tape measure and a post hole digger depending on the size and scope of your project.
With your swing set you will find an anchoring kit with anchoring plates, stakes, screws, nuts, bolts, and bolt covers for connecting the anchor. Make sure that you have all the tools needed before assembling.
Remember these safety rules when anchoring your new swing set:
- Keep all tools and materials in an easily accessible location away from small children and pets.
- Always wear safety goggles and gloves.
- Never leave tools unattended and always store unused materials away safely.
Remember This When Anchoring Your Swing Set
Always anchor your swing set with the correct parts. Twist-in anchors will sufficiently and safely secure it to most ground surfaces. Following the above instructions will keep your swing from falling over.
To anchor a swing set to:
- Grass: use corkscrew ground anchors, then attach with chains or ropes.
- Turf: same as grass, but use longer anchors to ensure a good hold.
- Concrete: use flat ground anchors along with lag shields and screws.