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Ask A Carpenter: Tips For Building A Kids’ Play Area In Detroit

April 19, 2013 9:00 AM

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When it comes to creating a play area in your yard for children, it takes a bit of time and thought to make sure you are doing it right and making it a safe place. By spending a little time before you begin, the finished job will look better and add to the enjoyment of the little ones it was built for.

Mat Vivona
Father & Son Construction
5032 Rochester Road, Suite #100
Troy, MI 48085
(800) 380-8888
www.father-son-const.com

One of the best-known construction companies in the Metro Detroit area is Father & Son Construction, and with a motto like, “no job too big, no job too small,” they are the perfect people to talk to about what needs to be done when you want to create a kids’ play area. The advice Mat Vivona offers covers areas that most people would never think about, from installing play equipment properly to making sure you are following all the rules in your given community.

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1. Checking Local Ordinances

As odd as it may sound, putting in a play area may require that certain ordinances in the community are followed. Check to see if any permits are needed for the type of installation you are planning and make sure that all safety distances, such as those from fences or overhead wires, are followed. Even though some of the regulations may seem odd, they are there for the safety of everyone involved.

2. Subdivision Rules

Not only do you have to make sure that all local ordinances are followed, but in some locations, there are rules that must be followed in the subdivision. An example that Mat gives is that in some communities, even replacing decking needs an okay before the job is done. A large play area may not meet with the subdivision rules, so check first. The last thing you want is to put up a great play area and then to get a letter in the mail from the subdivision board saying the play area is not allowed.

3. Lay Out The Area

No matter how big or small a project is, you need to plan it all out before you begin. Pick an area in the yard where you would like to site the play area and then make sure it falls within all of the ordinances for your community. Once you have set out where to put the play area, stake it out so you can then begin working on the section. You will want to remove about four inches of topsoil in the entire area so when all the gear is installed, you can then fill this with a soft surface for the children to play on (see tip number 5).

4. Installing The Equipment

Putting up a swing set is not as easy as just setting it up, Mat says. Some installations require that metal anchors be used, while in others, the gear may need to be cemented down. The only way to be sure is to follow all of the manufacturer’s directions and never take shortcuts. As Mat points out, you are creating an area for children and the number one issue is to make sure it is safe.

5. A Soft And Safe Surface

Children tend to fall down every now and then and this is why you need a soft and safe surface in the play area. Matt recommends rubberized mulch which is made from recycled tires. Since you removed the top four inches of soil in the play area, you can then put down a permeable fabric weed block to stop unwanted plants, and then add four inches of rubberized mulch on top. Not only will this offer a safer surface, but it will add a truly professional look to the project.

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Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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