Home Improvement : Play Structure Pleases Parents and Kids

Here’s an outdoor play structure with something for everyone. For kids, it’s a treehouse, clubhouse, fort, hide-out and jungle gym all rolled into one. For parents, it’s a sturdy playhouse with a safety-conscious design and a clean, unobtrusive look.

The beauty of this project is in its simple and functional post-and-platform layout. The structure overall stands a little more than 10 feet tall and is 6 feet square (not including the ladder or slide). The floor is about 4 1/2 feet off the ground.

In addition to the smooth hardwood slide and gently inclining ladder, the play structure features two sandboxes (one underneath and one at the end of the slide for soft landings) and a gable roof with a weatherproof canvas top.

It’s a pretty big job, but it uses standard lumber--mostly 4x4s 1x8s and 1x6s of fir or redwood--and basic tools. All but a couple of the wood cuts are straight cuts.


Lumber prices vary from state to state, but the materials used in the project shown here cost about $400. Since similar play structures sell for $2,500 to $3,000 in stores, do-it-yourselfers who are willing to put in a couple of weekend’s worth of work can save a bundle.

The Outdoor Play Structure plan, No. 839, is $6.50 and includes complete step-by-step directions with 15 photos, traceable patterns, exploded diagrams and a shopping list and cutting schedule. Many other indoor and outdoor do-it-yourself projects are pictured in our catalogue, which is $3.95. Prices include sales tax, postage and handling.

To order, clip this article and send it along with a check of money order to Steve Ellingson, c/o The Los Angeles Times, P.O. Box 2383, Van Nuys, Calif. 91409-2383. Be sure to specify plan number, and allow for about four weeks for delivery (for first class mail, add $1 per item).

For more information on today’s project, call (800) 828-2453.