YellaWood® Outdoor Building Project Plans

Build a Playset

Estimated Cost: $$$$

4

Total: 18 hours

Untitled document

This playset calls for a slide and 2 swings and features a sturdy frame, 2 ladders, and a crow's nest peer-out point with a raised platform.

It is an outdoor fixture that will last and have the whole family spending more time outside.

You'll start with the construction of the A-frame supports, then move on to assembling the main skeleton. After that is raised, you will attach floor joists and install decking, and clad outside walls.

Make sure to take proper safety precautions including always wearing gloves, goggles and a dust mask when you're cutting or sanding.

Before you get started, please read our info on safety, fasteners and building tips.

Before building, please consult our Terms of Use.


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  • (6) 1 x 4 x 8' YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine
  • (8) 2 x 4 x 8' YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine
  • (5) 2 x 4 x 10' YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine
  • (1) 4 x 4 x 8' YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine
  • (10) 4 x 4 x 10' YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine
  • (15) 5/4 x 6 x 8' YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine
  • (16) 5/4 x 6 x 10' YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine
  • (1 lb box) 2 ½" star-drive decking screws
  • (1 lb box) 3 ½" star-drive decking screws
  • (1 lb box) 1 ⅝" star-drive decking screws
  • (10) 6" FastenMaster TimberLOK
  • (16) 4" FastenMaster TimberLOK
  • (8) 2 x 4 joist hangers
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  • A. See plans for diagrams of cuts.
  • B. All measurements are approximate.
  • C. Cut stock in the sequence of steps because many dimensions are directly measured and will vary based on actual stock and construction.
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Miter saw
Miter saw
Table saw
Table saw
Circular saw
Circular saw
Handsaw
Handsaw
Driver
Driver
⅛" counter-sink drill bit
⅛" counter-sink drill bit
Forstner bit
Forstner bit
Clamps
Clamps
Carpenter framing square
Carpenter framing square
Mallet
Mallet
Measuring tape
Measuring tape
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Instructions

arrow arrow arrowStep 1: A-Frames

  1. 1

    We'll begin by making three jigs. See the diagram to the right for the necessary information. The first one you'll make is a Marking Jig for the tops of the 4x4 beams.

  2. 2

    The second jig is the Top Beam Spacer, used to align the top of the 4x4 beams during assembly of the A-frames. See the diagram to the right for the necessary information.

  3. 3

    The third jig is a Spacer Jig that will be used for spacing the A-Frame side planks and ladder cladding. See the diagram to the right for the necessary information.

  4. 4

    For the Marking Jig, take a 4x4 (part [A]) and measure 102 ¾" on each post. Use the marking jig to inscribe the cut lines. Then flip part (A) over and mark the other side too.

  5. 5

    You'll need to do this to all 8 posts, marking both sides with cut lines. Next, cut on the inscribed lines using a circular saw to half depth. Flip the wood and cut through the remainder.

  6. 6

    If desired, use a belt sander on the cut surfaces to smooth out the faces.

  7. 7

    All four A-frames share the same basic structure, so you’ll repeat steps B1 - B6 four times. Use the top beam spacer jig and lay out two of the 4x4 posts into the A-frame position.

  8. 8

    Measure 51 ¼" from the bottom outside corner and mark this on the post. Do this on both posts.

  9. 9

    Align the top of part (G) to the two points you just marked. This will set the angle of the A-frame. Be sure the top beam spacer is still in place.

  10. 10

    Countersink part (G) with a half-inch Forstner bit.

  11. 11

    Make sure the edges of part (G) are flush with the outside of the 4x4 post, and then secure it with 4" TimberLok screws.

  12. 12

    Finally, attach part (B) to the 4x4 posts using 3 ½" screws. Keep the top beam spacer in place. Repeat steps B1 - B6 three more times to make the remaining A-frames.

  13. 13

    We'll focus first on the two outside A-frames. Flip over two of the assembled frames and attach a second part (B) to the tops of them. Keep the top beam spacer jig in place for this.

  14. 14

    Flip them again and install cladding planks (C) through (F) onto the 4x4 posts. Place the spacer jig between each plank. Use 2 ½" screws. Begin at part (G) and move up toward part (B).

  15. 15

    Use 2 screws at the end of each board. Make sure the angled edges on the cladding are flush with the 4x4 post. The completed A-frames should look like the photo above.

  16. 16

    Each of the two inside A-frames are unique. We’ll start by cutting notches into the ends of part (R). These will allow proper positioning of the crow’s nest side walls.

  17. 17

    Using a handsaw, cut a ½" deep by 3 ½" wide notch at each end of part (R).

  18. 18

    Next, we will create the crow's nest walls. This assembly is created separately from the A-frame.

  19. 19

    Attach parts (H) and (M) to vertical post (R). They should set into the notches at each end. Attach with 2 ½" screws.

  20. 20

    Be sure the angles at each end of parts (H) and (M) match the angle of the A-frame.

  21. 21

    Using the spacer jig, lay out the remaining parts (N) through (Q). Align them so that their edges are flush with the edge of part (R), and then attach them with 2 ½" inch screws.

  22. 22

    Flip the assembly and position it on the A-frame. Support the overhanging edge with blocking during this step.

  23. 23

    Align part (M) with part (G), then attach using 4" TimberLok hardware. Next, with the top beam spacer in place, attach part (H) using 3 ½" screws.

  24. 24

    Attach parts (N) - (Q), starting with (Q). Use the spacer jig for placement. This completes the Inside Left A-frame.

  25. 25

    Attach parts (H) and (M) to vertical post (R). This is similar to step 19, but reverse the orientation of these parts.

  26. 26

    Be sure the angles at each end of parts (H) and (M) match the angle of the A-frame.

  27. 27

    Using the spacer jig, lay out the remaining parts (I) through (L). Align them so that their edges are flush with the edge of part (R), and then attach them with 2 ½" screws.

  28. 28

    Flip the assembly and position it on the A-frame. Support the overhanging edge with blocking during this step.

  29. 29

    Align part (M) with part (G), then attach using 4" TimberLok hardware. Next, with the top beam spacer in place, attach part (H) using 3 ½" screws.

  30. 30

    Attach parts (I) - (L), starting with (L). Use the spacer jig for placement. The angled edges of parts (I) - (L) will be flush with the back edge of the A-frame, creating a walled-in piece. This completes the Inside Right A-frame.

arrow arrow arrowStep 2: Main Beam

  1. 31

    Next we’ll need beams (S) and (T), as well as part (V). This piece will help stabilize the structure during assembly.

  2. 32

    On the rear posts of the Outside Left A-frame and the two Inside A-frames, make a mark at 50 ½" from the bottom edge of the post.

  3. 33

    Mark the center of part (V) and the center of the rear post (A) on the Inside Left A-frame as well. These marks will help position part (V) during assembly.

  4. 34

    With an assistant or two, lift the Outside Left and Inside Left A-frames up.

  5. 35

    Connect the two frames by installing part (V) using the marks you made to help position the board. Use 3 ½" screws.

  6. 36

    Drop in part (S). Align the end so that it's flush with the outside edge of part (B) on the Outside Left A-frame.

  7. 37

    In the center of this beam, drill and countersink using a ½" Forstner bit. Then fasten the parts together using 6" TimberLok screws. Do this on the reverse side of the A-frame as well.

  8. 38

    The center of the Left Inside A-frame, part (A), should be 46 ¾" from the end of the beam. After confirming this measurement, fasten the pieces together.

  9. 39

    Raise the Inside Right A-frame into position. Attach part (V) using your reference marks as guides. The outside edge of part (V) should be flush with the outside edge of the A-frame.

  10. 40

    Top Beam (S) should end at the midpoint of the Inside Right A-frame as shown. Countersink and attach using 6" TimberLok screws.

  11. 41

    Next, position part (T) vertically with the Outside Right A-frame on the ground. Insert part (T) into the A-frame, then countersink and attach using 6" TimberLok screws.

  12. 42

    Tip the assembly into position with the end of part (T) butting up against part (S). Countersink and attach with 6" TimberLok screws.

  13. 43

    Install the additional part (C) to the outside of the Inside Right A-Frame using 2 ½" screws. The angle brace (U) will butt up against this piece.

  14. 44

    Attach part (U) using 3 ½" screws. There are two of these braces you'll need to install, one on each side of the swings.

arrow arrow arrowStep 3: Ladders

  1. 45

    Position and install the bottom rung, part (X). Attach using 2 ½" screws at the end of each board.

  2. 46

    Using the 3 ¾" spacer jig from before, continue to install parts (X) up the A-frame. The top edge of the top rung should be slightly below the top edge of part (G).

  3. 47

    Repeat this process for the ladder at the back of the inside A-frames.

  4. 48

    Finally, install part (W) on the front of the crow's nest using 3 ½" screws.

arrow arrow arrowStep 4: Floor Joists

  1. 49

    The joist hangers will be mounted to the cross frame supports (G) and (M). On part (G), make a mark 2 ½" in from the edge. This is the center of the joist hanger. Also mark this on part (M).

  2. 50

    Install these joist hangers at the first marks using 1 ½" screws. Use a scrap 2x4 block during this step. The top edge of the 2x4 should be flush with the top of parts (G) and (M).

  3. 51

    Now mark 45 ⅞" away from the first set of joist hangers (center to center). Do this for each cross frame support and install the second set of joist hangers on parts (G) and (M).

  4. 52

    Attach part (Z) to parts (Y) to create two "H" shaped assemblies. Part (Z) should be attached to the centers of parts (Y). Attach using 3 ½" screws. Create these assemblies on the ground, separate from the main structure.

  5. 53

    Drop one "H" shaped assembly into the joist hangers and secure the hangers to the joists using 1 ⅝" screws.

  6. 54

    Repeat this on the right side, where the crow's nest will be. Once complete, the supports for the decking are finished.

arrow arrow arrowStep 5: Crow's Nest Joists

  1. 55

    We'll start by adding framing for the crow's nest. Begin by attaching part (DD) to the back of part (W), creating a double 2x4 beam across the front of the crow's nest. Use 2 ½" screws.

  2. 56

    Now, assemble parts (BB) and (CC) using 3 ½" screws to create a center support structure for the crow's nest decking. Use two screws at the end of each board to make a square structure.

  3. 57

    Attach part (AA) to the center of the center support structure you just made. The bottom edge of part (AA) should be flush with the bottom edge of part (BB). Use 1 ⅝" screws.

  4. 58

    Position the center support structure you just made so that it rests on part (Y) and (DD). It should be centered on these parts. Attach using 3 ½" screws diagonally into parts (Y) and (DD). Also use 1 ⅝" screws at the edge of part (AA).

  5. 59

    Finally, position part (AA) so that it is centered on the back of the center support structure. The bottom edge of part (AA) should be flush with the bottom edge of part (BB). Attach using 1 ⅝" screws.

arrow arrow arrowStep 6: Crow's Nest Cladding

  1. 60

    Install parts (LL) along the back of part (P). The top edge of part (LL) should be flush with the top edge of part (P). Attach using 2 ½" screws from the outside.

  2. 61

    Repeat on the other side of the crow's nest, this time making sure the top edge of part (LL) is flush with the top edge of part (K). This will provide support for the decking to come.

  3. 62

    Next, install parts (KK) vertically, using part (AA) to help position it. Part (KK) should butt up against part (AA) at the bottom, and butt up against part (LL) at the top. Attach using 1 ⅝" screws from the outside.

  4. 63

    Attach parts (JJ) to the inside of parts (R). The top edge of part (JJ) should be flush with the top edge of part (LL). Attach with 2 ½" screws from the inside.

  5. 64

    Attach the lowermost part (EE) to the front of the crow's nest using 2 ½" screws. Align part (EE) with parts (L) and (Q).

  6. 65

    Next, attach part (FF) at the top of the crow's nest using 3 ½" screws. Align part (FF) with parts (H). Then, install the remaining parts (EE) on the front of the crow's nest, from bottom to top.

  7. 66

    The remaining parts (II), (GG), and (HH) should fit into the remaining gaps on the crow's nest.

  8. 67

    For parts (II) and (HH), the screws should be at the ends of the board and go into the blocking part (KK).

  9. 68

    Be sure to pre-drill and countersink when screwing this close to the ends of the boards.

arrow arrow arrowStep 7: Decking

  1. 69

    Position the first decking board (MM) against the posts of the A-frame at the front of the structure.

  2. 70

    Center and attach using 2 ½" screws. Use 2 screws at each floor joist location, for a total of 8 screws per board (MM). Set out the remaining (MM) boards but do not screw them in.

  3. 71

    The final board of this decking will be board (NN) which should fit up against the rear posts of the A-frames. Now you can attach all these boards with 2 ½" screws into the joists below.

  4. 72

    Install parts (OO) at the three openings of the structures. They should project slightly beyond the A-frames.

  5. 73

    Position and install parts (PP) and (QQ) as the decking for the crow's nest. Part (QQ) will sit between the posts (R). Attach using 2 ½" screws into the blocking you installed below.

arrow arrow arrowStep 8: Rear Cladding

  1. 74

    Position part (RR) on the back of the A-frame posts. Making sure the outer edge is flush with the 4x4 posts behind it, attach part (RR) with 2 ½" screws.

  2. 75

    Alternate boards (SS) and (RR) up the structure, keeping the outside edges flush with the 4x4 posts behind them.

  3. 76

    Attach all of the parts (RR) and (SS) with 2 ½" screws into the 4x4 posts behind them.

arrow arrow arrowStep 9: Finishing

  1. 77

    Ease any sharp edges with a medium grit sandpaper. Apply a finish to the wood if desired.

arrow arrow arrowStep 10: Accessories

  1. 78

    Make a mark on beam (T) 26" from the left edge of beam (T). Make a second mark 18" further in. Drill holes at these points to hold your swing hanger bolts. Follow the swing hanger bolt manufacturer's instructions for this step.

  2. 79

    Repeat this step on the right side of beam (T). After installing the swing hanger bolts, follow the swing manufacturer's instructions for how to attach the swings.

  3. 80

    Attach the slide to the decking. Follow the slide manufacturer's instructions for this step. Use approved hardware to attach the slide and swings.