This summer my amazing parents came out to build Eli a giant play structure. It was an amazingly generous gift of labor and time and I could not be more appreciative. However, when I hang out in my backyard and watch Eli play, I wonder what it would have been like to go the store bought route and not have killed my parents’ bodies for 4 days.


Pros of DIY:

Cost: $650 for everything; more than I was hoping it would be, but not horrible.

Flexibility: We had a rough spot to build a play structure, up a hill and around a tree. We needed to be able to adapt to our surroundings instead of have them adapt to us.

Individuality: After watching Eli on playgrounds for the past couple years, I knew what things he liked the most and which things required a bit too much guidance for relaxing on my part :).

Cons of DIY:

Labor: So so so much labor. We (my dad) spent the equivalent of three days on this thing. Lots of driving back and forth, teamwork and just plain hardwork.




Lack of knowledge: My dad is  a very skilled builder and wood worker. When building something for littles, you really want it to be safe and strong.

Resale Value: The ability to resell this structure after Eli outgrows it is fairly nonexistent.  Not only is it cemented deep into the ground, but it is tailored to our space.

Pros of Store bought:

Less Labor: Way less labor, comparatively, almost no labor.

Less Work in general: Doesn’t need to be planned or thought out, it is ready to go and put up.

Expertly Created: Created with the highest level of safety and designed for children, no questions about whether or not this is right for your kids.

Cons of Store bought:

Pricey: We built a fairly large playset and a similarly sized set would run about $2000 dollars. What?!

Unneccesary attachments: Since we went so big, most sets that size have monkey bars and other things that Eli can’t use yet.

Still need labor: Storebought playsets require a level plot of land and still need to be set up. You’ll spend a day setting it up and that’s after you’ve cleared the space for the set.

.  .  .  .  .

For us, DIY was really the only way to go. We needed something to fit our space and something that wouldn’t break the bank. I’m so happy with how it turned out and can’t wait to have more kids crawling over that beast of a playset!

Do you have one in your yard? Did you build it or buy it?