8 Ideas For An Old Swing Set

What are some ideas for an old swing set? If your current backyard has a swing set that you no longer want or need, it is likely time for a change. Perhaps your own kids have grown and you want the space for something more age-appropriate for your household. Perhaps you’ve moved into a new home without kids yourself, and are curious about what can be done with the aging set left behind by the previous owners.

Today we’ll take a look at 8 things you can do with an old swing set. And yes, metal swing sets or wooden swing sets both work equally well for most of the ideas.

Disclaimer: Most of the suggestions focus on the heavy A-frame, and what you can do with it. The accessories you may wish to either dispose of (if they are rotting or broken) or sell on an online marketplace. Did you know there’s a surprisingly good market for used swings, slides, gliders, trapeze bars, rock climbing holds, and other items (provided they are in decent shape yet of course)? Many DIYers scour these sites to locate deals on items for their home-made swing sets.

1. Reuse The Frame For A Grown-Up Swing Set

Swings appeal to almost everyone. Relaxing as you sway comfortably back and forth isn’t exactly an awful activity, is it? Now, not many teens or adults will choose to go an sit on a too-small kids plastic bucket or wooden plank swing, but MOST will be intrigued by and drawn to a beautiful ADULT swing set.

Below are a few pics of beautiful adult swing sets that all START with the frame from an old kids swing set. Why not give these a good consideration? Hanging hammock chairs, wicker basket chairs, even a lightweight 2-person bench chair – all can be hung from the frame and suddenly the swing set is appealing once again, this time to an older crowd. Want to up the “adult-factor” of this new swing set? Add an outdoor rug underneath the set, wrap some outdoor lights around the frame, toss some outdoor pillows on the new swings, and possibly decorate the base area with some potted plants.

2. Turn A Swing Set Frame Into A Chicken Coop

This is, I think, a brilliant idea… provided you’re interested in having backyard chickens! You will need to purchase some mesh netting, a simple door and hinges, and a few other items, but the triangular frame certainly gets you significantly ahead on the building process! There are so many different design ideas you can pursue even using the A-Frame as the starter for them.

Here are a few images gathered off of Pinterest.

(If you like the raising chickens idea, but prefer to buy a pre-made chicken coop, check out 8 Best Backyard Chicken Coops.)

3. Hanging Vegetable Garden (Or Trellis)

trellis garden from old swing set

If you’re into gardening, specifically growing your own produce, you’ll know that often having some structures built into your garden can be helpful. Some gardening themed ideas for an old swing set include building a trellis for plants like beans or cucumbers to grow on by tying multiple ropes (nylon string or gardening twine) from the top of the A-frame to pegs in the ground. The plants will grow up the twine throughout the growing season, making your garden neater and more organized.

You can also use the high bar across the top of an old swing set for hanging planters. Adding height to your garden this way prevents rabbits and other small garden thieves from nibbling on the produce that you’re growing. Strawberry plants, herbs, lettuces, these all can grow well in planters!

4. Focus Point In Your Backyard

Want to make the old swing set the central focus point of your backyard? If you have a green thumb, some patience, some creativity, and a knack for gardening design, you could turn your A-Frame into the frame for a truly beautiful arbor that draws the eye of everyone who steps into your backyard.

A “Swinging Arbor” by Cathy Monteraas of Montana (Hometalk.com)

5. Convert It Into A Hide-Out

When your little kids become big kids, playing on a trapeze or swinging for hours just doesn’t appeal in the same way as it used to. What DOES appeal to these pre-teens/teens? Well, often “big kids” want a space they can call their own. A hide out, a fort, a get-away. And an old swing set can be the perfect thing to use to create that sort of space for them. They can even help!

If you look carefully at the swing set frame, it’s a natural tent frame, isn’t it? There are different ways you can add walls: sew some bed sheets together to create a sheet big enough to reach the ground on both sides when stretched out, use old wood or tin paneling flats, plastic roofing sheets, or any other material you can think of that might work. This is where your DIY skills will shine!

Don’t forget something soft and clean on the ground so the kids can take off their shoes and get comfy in their new hide-out! An outdoor rug or piece of carpet, some blankets and/or pillows, perhaps some twinkly lights if you have an electrical connection close by… get your kids involved in making it special, and a place they want to be.

6. Refinish It – Make It Amazing Again!

This is the area that some people seriously SHINE. (But not me. I’m not all that capable in the “refinishing” field, unfortunately.) But I do know that it’s simply AMAZING what a good sander, some coats of paint or stain, and possibly some clean new accessories can do to refresh an older swing set.

So if you have wonderful memories of your kids playing on your swing set as they grew up, and you happen to believe that years with grandkids visiting aren’t that far away, why not give yourself a DIY project and refinish the swing set from top to bottom, and get ready to watch a new generation of kids enjoy playing on the same one?

7. Donate It To A New Family

Sometimes the reason we hang onto things that we don’t use anymore is simply because we know they are still valuable. We may not NEED the item anymore, but we feel that getting rid of it is throwing away an asset. If you’re reading these 8 ideas for an old swing set, you’re probably looking for something creative to do with your asset for yourself.

But I’d also like to encourage you to consider blessing another family with the entire thing (provided the swing set is still in a condition to BE a blessing, of course).

There are many parents (or organizations) who would absolutely LOVE to have a swing set available for their children to enjoy, but whose budgets are simply too tight to fit one into it. Ask around and see if there’s a young family who might get a few years of enjoyment yet from your old set, gift it to them, and don’t look back. Enjoy the blessing that BEING a blessing can be!

8. Call The Junk Collectors

There may be a chance that you’ve had that old swing set in your backyard now for so long, unused and neglected, that it truly is junk. The wood is rotten through in places. The metal has huge sections rusted through. The slide is fading and scratchy, the swing ropes frayed or dangerously rusted. It simply doesn’t look safe, nor IS IT safe.

At this point, honestly, just get rid of it. Literally. Call up a junk company and get it gone. You’ll be glad once it’s out of your site and your backyard is freshly empty in that area and ready for something new! Sometimes things can’t be re-purposed any longer.


And there you have 8 different ideas of what you can do with an old swing set, be it metal or new. Which one will you choose? Please share in the comments what you hope to try!

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