Most swing sets require anchoring to be secure. Why this is and how to anchor a swing set on artificial grass is what we’re focusing on today.
There are many different types of backyards – that goes without saying. Some have traditional grass, others are covered entirely with patio stones or concrete, some have sand or wood chips or gravel, and yet others are covered with artificial grass or “turf”.
If you fall into the last group and the area of your backyard where you wish to place your swing set is covered with artificial grass, you can still anchor your swing set to the ground. Having artificial grass does not mean you need to cut out this important safety component.
It just needs to be done a bit differently.
Why Do You Need To Anchor A Swing Set At All?
It comes down to injury prevention, and overall safety for the children playing on your swing set. Unless your swing set is literally designed not to need an anchoring system (like the Lifetime Adventure Tower Deluxe, for example), an unanchored swing set tends to tip and bump and “hop” when the weight of those swinging and playing isn’t distributed evenly.
While it can feel dangerously “fun” to the kids to make the big, heavy swing set “move” by their own actions, if that swing set tips a little too far just once, the possibility for serious injuries is extremely great. Injuries for the children swinging, or for children standing nearby on the ground.
Why Does A Swing Set Placed On Artificial Grass Need Anchoring?
Often when people choose not to do the official anchoring of their swing sets with stakes, at the very minimum they are sinking down posts into the ground. Lawns that have artificial grass are more like concrete in that posts can not be dug down into the earth, without cutting into the turf. And simply placing a swing set on top of the ground leaves zero anchoring. It will feel so unsafe and wobble so much when someone it swinging that you won’t be ok allowing anyone on it.
What Kind Of Anchoring System Do You Need For Turf?
There are two types of anchoring systems: ground anchors and concrete anchors.
Ground anchors are cheaper, significantly less work, and do the job very well for swing set, so I’d steer you in this direction. Spiral or straight doesn’t matter – that’s up to your preference (think nail vs screw).
Concrete anchor systems are incredibly permanent, messy, and require large holes in the ground. Yes, concrete anchors can handle more weight and thus are more secure in the big picture, but it’s a bit overkill for a swing set. Some home owners also find that concrete anchoring systems can cause pre-mature rotting (wooden swing sets).
Can You Cut and Shape Turf After It’s Laid?
Yes! Although it is usually discouraged by installers, you absolutely can place objects on it and pierce through it however you need. As artificial grass does not grow back, however (obviously!), any mark or holes for anchoring that you make will be permanent.
Whatever you do, when you’re ready to put a hole through artificial grass for staking, always slice a cross hatch with a knife instead of jamming the stake or nail through it. This will prevent stretching and pulling, damaging the backing and sub-base.
How To Anchor A Swing Set On Artificial Grass
The first steps in anchoring a swing set on artificial grass are more thinking style steps:
- Select your swing set thinking long term
- Decide on it’s location with extra care
Moving around or swapping out a “starter”, toddler-sized swing set for a bigger set will likely mean leaving permanent marks or hole in the artificial grass. Selecting a set your kids can grow with for many years will mean getting more years of pristine artificial grass.
Think through and identify the exact layout using removable markings (masking tape?) to make sure you know exactly where you want the swing set before you get the big thing up and it’s too heavy to move much.
(If you just aren’t sure of where you want it permanently, or if you don’t want to go to a full sized swing set right away is to hang on to some extra pieces of turf when it’s getting installed. You can then swap out “marked up” pieces when your time with a particular swing set is done, or if you adjust the layout of your backyard.)
Get Started: The Next Step Is Assembly!
Use the assembly manual and any Youtube videos available to build your purchased swing set.
Time To Get The Anchors Into The Ground
Many swing sets come with an anchoring kit designed specifically for that swing set, which is definitely what you want to consider using. However, double check before you get started that the provided stakes are long enough for your situation. Many lawns where artificial grass has been laid have a layer of sand or gravel underneath it for drainage, and you’ll need stakes long enough to reach through that and nicely into the ground below. (Likely 12″ will be sufficient, going in at a 45 degree angle, but double check your particular yard as best as you can). Your local hardware store will have longer ones available, if needed.
You want to have an anchor at every leg of the swing set, and set them as close as possible to that leg. If there’s a significant gap, the ties (bolts) that secure the swing set to the anchor may become a tripping hazard.
As already mentioned, do NOT pierce through the artificial grass with the stake itself. Rather, carefully slice through the turf and backing in an X shape that is the size of the stake/anchor/rebar going through it, and no bigger if at all possible.
Once your cut is in place, go ahead and hammer the stakes in as close to the leg as possible. If they are screw-in style anchors, use a power drill, wrench, or strong arm to twist them deep into the ground. You want to stop when the eyelet of the anchor reaches the backing of your artificial grass.
The Final Step: Securing The Swing Set To The Anchors
Once your anchors are dug into the ground, the final step is securing your swing set TO the anchors, using the bolts, ties, and screws that come with your anchoring kit.
There is no difference here in how you secure a swing set on artificial grass vs natural grass, or any other playground surface material.
Your swing set’s assembly manual should advise you of where to find the holes for securing, or advise if your set does not come with them. Metal swing sets normally come with holes in the legs specifically for securing to anchors, and many wooden sets come with pre-drilled holes, or marks for such. If they do not, you’ll need to figure these out yourself. Simply line up where the anchor eyelet is, and mark out carefully the size you’ll need for the bolt and screw.
Thread the bolt through the hole in the swing set leg and screw on loosely. Once all bolts and screws are in place, go around and tighten them all. Doing it in this order (a full loose install, then a full tightening) will allow for a stable, strong installation on all sides.
Why Choose Artificial Grass For Beneath A Swing Set
Artificial grass is actually a great choice for placing underneath a swing set! It is a easier to land or fall on than wood chips or gravel, it is slip resistant, quite shock absorbent, and does not get too hot to walk on in the heat of the summer sun. It also doesn’t make grass or mud stains on kids clothing or knees, and won’t hurt little feet by causing splinters or pebbles in shoes. Insects do not start living in artificial grass and it won’t mold or rot.
Overall, it’s a great choice! And now that you know how to anchor a swing set in artificial grass, you can easily and confidently make that choice.