While your front yard is a place that welcomes visitors and friends, your backyard is the place for you and your family. A retreat for
relaxation, play and time spent together, the backyard is often a combination of gardens, toys and areas for entertaining.
You can create a special play area for your children that not only fits their needs now, but will adapt to them in the future, and
you can create this area in harmony with whatever is already in your backyard. Many large play systems mean sacrificing garden, lawn or
deck space to accommodate the features you hope your children will grow into.
If you have a small yard, or have spots you'd like to keep untouched, consider a play system that is adaptable to your needs, both
now and in the future. Unlike readymade systems, kits like those sold by Detailed Play Systems, allow homeowners to choose only the features
they want, from a basic tower to slides, climbing walls and swings.
Because the lumber is purchased by the homeowner, the cost for a full set up is much lower as well. Pre-made play systems -- that
do not sacrifice size, features, or quality -- typically cost between $2,000 and $3,000. There are cheaper pre-made sets available, but these
are usually smaller and weaker and skimp on lumber and hardware to save on cost. With a kit, you receive the plans and the best hardware and
accessories, and you get to control the lumber quality that will be used to build the set.
Karl Jessen was a dad searching for a way to bring the playground to his backyard, and was shocked to learn what a readymade system
would cost. Inspired to find a better way, he built his own playground and then created Detailed Play Systems, an online company that
provides plans and accessories so homeowners can construct their own customized fun. Select the wood of your choice using the included
Lumber Purchase Guide that makes it easy to select each piece needed for each layout.
According to Jessen, building this type of project yourself should take about a weekend, depending on the size of your playground,
the tools you have available and how much help you have. But casual do-it-yourselfers needn't be intimidated. Only basic measuring, cutting
and drilling skills are required.
The company's most popular kit, the Jungle Fort Swing Set, sells for $389.00. It features a 6 by 6 foot fort with sandbox, included
step ladder, gangplank ramp, and 3-position swing set. Slides are sold separately allowing customers to fully customize the playground kit
to their needs.
"The best part is how your system can change over time, to create the perfect playground for your children based on their
needs and interests, says Jessen. "Accessories such as periscopes, telescopes, steering wheels and specialty swings can be added on
as children grow. Or maybe they have their heart set on wave slides and trapeze bars. Whatever they love to do, from climbing to spinning,
you can create the perfect set-up."
It may make sense to have a sitting area for grown-ups near the structure when kids are small. In a few years, use that space to
attach a gangplank ramp, spiral slide or even additional swings.
"The beauty of a customizable system is that you can choose a configuration that best fits your space now, while still
leaving your options open for the future," says Jessen. A modest system will fit in a 15 by 17 foot square, but can be added on to
create a much larger structure to fit the dimensions of your yard and the interests of your children.
Detailed Play Systems is based in New Jersey, but does most of its business online and through catalogs. To order a catalog,
call (800) 398-7565 or log on to www.detailedplay.com. Shipping is available in the 48 contiguous United States.