How to Create an Outdoor Play Area

If you’re a homeowner with children, an outdoor play area is something that everyone in your family would enjoy. Your children won’t have to leave home to get fresh air and exercise, and you’ll hear fewer choruses of “I’m bored.” Here are some tips to help you plan and execute a place outside for recreation and relaxation:



Safety first.

Make every decision with safety as the priority. Choose a location in your yard that is well away from lawn equipment, chemicals, grills, pools, water features, and other safety hazards. Fill in any holes and cut back any low tree or protruding shrubbery branches that could cause harm to children. Search the area for rocks, pointed sticks, or other sharp objects. Research plants and landscaping in the area to make sure there is nothing poisonous for skin contact or when ingested. Periodically inspect and maintain any playground equipment, fencing, and outdoor furniture to make sure items are sturdy and secure. For more safety tips, visit the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission Public Playground Safety Checklist for tips that could translate into your private outdoor play area.


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Think outside the box.

If your backyard isn’t conducive to a play area, consider the exterior sides of your home. Even if you have to extend existing fencing or put up a new barrier, having a play area on the side of your house instead of the back could be a workable solution.


Choose items that will grow with your children.

It may be hard to think about, but that cute (and expensive) playground equipment and fort may only appeal to your kids for a year or two. Invest the bulk of your money in things that can grow as your kids do or that can be easily replaced with something more age-appropriate. Choose swings and basketball goals that can be raised or lowered, for example. Playhouses can often be converted into gardening sheds, storage, or outdoor reading retreats.


Provide a place for supervision.

Plan to include an area for adults to sit and visit while watching children play. Choose a shady spot or create your own cover from the elements with a pergola or awning.  Depending on your area of the country, an outdoor heater may make the area more comfortable in cooler weather and extend the use of the space. Add some comfortable seating and a few flowering plants for an inviting and practical outdoor living space that adults will enjoy, too.


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Don’t forget the games.

Outdoor games can provide hours of safe, fun play for all ages and are often less expensive than playground and sporting equipment. Consider croquet sets, cornhole, ring toss, lawn bowling, bocce, and other alfresco games. A weather-resistant, outdoor storage container makes clean-up easy when it’s time to go inside.


Spend more time outside playing with your family and friends and less time on the hassles of home system and appliance breakdowns. With an HSA home warranty, you’ll get important budget protection for covered items and a reliable repair solution. When a covered item malfunctions, HSA’s friendly professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help schedule a repair. For more information, visit