The 6 biggest mistakes of a DIY installation

28 July 2015

Kids adore the freedoms and challenges posed by climbing frames and no garden is too small for a frame of some kind. If you’re planning a DIY climbing frame build, though, you’ll need to think very carefully about all aspects of your installation before even creating your design.

Check out the pointers below prior to beginning work on the DIY climbing frame build you purchase because once you get started then it’s a pain having to take apart all your hard work, or worse having to order replacement parts.

We’re in the climbing frame business and offer you the following tips to consider prior to starting work on your personal climbing frame design and build:

1. Planning

Planning, or lack of planning, will make or break your DIY climbing frame installation. Some aspects you’ll need to consider when planning your climbing frame include

  • Sourcing the best wood for the custom frame: including how it will be prepared and treated
  • The position of your frame: before you get started, measure and re-measure. There’s nothing worse than finding at the end of the build that swings go into bushes or slides are too close to fences
  • The strength of foundations: the posts in particular will have to be not just stable, but fixed in place with no movement or the frame will, in time, become increasingly less stable. Make sure, in particular, swing frames are secured in place as they will not just have to carry load, but also withstand considerable torque when larger children and adults swing on them
  • The size of wooden members: you need to provide a structure that will stand the test of time, so durability of your climbing frame constituents will be key to creating the best frame to suit your garden.

In summary, it has to be said if you’re not a particularly keen DIY handyman then building a climbing frame for kids is probably something that’s best left to experts like Gardenatics.

2. Design

The design of your climbing frame needs to address a number of issues, including safety, space, potential impact on your neighbours and the durability of your frame. If your proposed climbing frame build is too high you could fall foul of local planning regulations, so you need to consider all aspects of your design thoroughly before starting any work on the frame.

Designing a great frame that is weather-resistant and provides a host of fantastic play options for kids takes time, but if you are prepared to put in the effort to create a custom-built climbing frame for the kids in your life, you’ll appreciate the rewards offered just as you let the tribe loose on this new outdoor activity frame.

Likewise buying a ready-made climbing frame kit can be a shortcut to getting a frame in the garden, but be prepared to think carefully about the position, any geographic issues in terms of gradients, trees and boundaries. Kits only work when they fit your space precisely, because they normally only fit one way.

3. Consider the Kids

An added aspect to the design of your frame is ensuring it’s a perfect fit for kids as they mature. When you choose to build a small climbing frame for tots and younger children, you need to consider the longer term. That 3 ft toddler may become a large teenager before you realise it, so take time to plan the structure carefully.

Our view is that smaller children will play on larger frames, but this doesn’t work the other way round – so go as big as you dare.

4. Safety Aspects

There are a variety of points to consider on safety. You should think about the height of the frame and how to best protect all of the children that will play on the structure. Guard rails and netting should be planned if you’re building a tall frame. This will prove particularly essential if smaller kids or tots will be playing on the structure.

If your kids are constantly playing with other local children the frame will become the most popular playground in the neighbourhood from the moment it’s first installed, so you should consider how it can best accommodate large groups of children that are likely to be running around, climbing the frame and playing on swings, gliders or slides.

Also consider carefully line of sight from your house, particularly with younger children, as you may want to be able to see what is happening on your frame so that you can act should any issues arise.

5. Play Essentials

Work out the types of activities your kids enjoy most and gear your climbing frame to the individuals in your family. The children may like swinging, scrambling, climbing or even daydreaming in their own private den.

A custom-built climbing frame can incorporate their favourite play elements alongside new and different activities which will provide challenges and also introduce new play elements into their busy lifestyles.

We tend to find that boys prefer more active ‘assault course’ and water fight type of play. Some even use the swing frame as a football goal. Whereas girls tend to use the climbing frame for creative social play, so playhouses, cladding and accessories can come into their own.

So, by concentrating first on what your kids enjoy, you can get the right types of play setup for your family and their friends.

6. Accessories

Adding essential accessories to your climbing frame turns a good climbing frame build into an excellent play structure that wouldn’t look out of place in a playground or kids play facility. There are a variety of accessories you can add to your frame, including cargo nets, rock walls, climbing poles, secret ladders and different types of slides. You’ll need to ensure your climbing frame design meets all specifications for any accessories you plan to add to the structure.

Creating your custom-designed climbing frame and building the structure in your garden will be a rewarding job for any parent or grandparent who has great DIY skills and hearing the excited screams and shouts of the kids as they play on the frame is something you won’t forget.

Take time to plan and design the best possible structure you can envisage and your kids or grandkids will enjoy many happy hours of play and learn to push their agile bodies to extremes.

If, however, you want to get the right custom-built solution in your back garden, then speak to our helpful customer support team at Gardenatics and discuss your requirements. We will even arrange a site visit, and walk you through how we would go about building the best possible climbing frame for your garden.

Whatever the case, by going through all this thinking early, you can realise the best possible end result.



Any questions? Let us know what you’re looking for, or give us the opportunity to inspire.
Call during working hours, or fill out the form and let’s talk.


Please note: all the pins on Gardenatics are within 10 miles of the build locations, but for privacy reasons, we have not identified the exact coordinates.


Any questions? Let us know what you’re looking for, or give us the opportunity to inspire.
Call during working hours, or fill out the form and let’s talk.