Understanding How to Anchor a Swing Set

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
November 26, 2019
children on the swing. girls sisters swinging on a swing in the

It is important to know how to anchor a swing set before buying one for your backyard, and most certainly before allowing your kids to play with it.

Ensuring that you securely anchor your swing set into the ground guarantees that your children are safe while they have fun. It keeps the equipment from flipping over even if they get a little too excited and rowdy.

Why You Need to Anchor a Swing Set

In the United States alone, more than 200,000 children up to 14 years old get treated at the hospital each year for playground-related injuries. Of these injuries, about 45 percent are concussions, severe fractures, internal injuries, dislocations, and amputations.

The most common causes of these injuries include falls from playground equipment, being hit by playground equipment used by another child, and impact injuries.

What this data tells us is that even playground equipment that appears to be safe can be dangerous for our children.

Swing sets, in particular, could tip over due to the fast and forceful swinging motion it makes. As such, anchoring is a protocol parents must follow when installing swing sets and other playground equipment.

How to Anchor a Swing Set

Girl In White Long Sleeve Shirt And Black Skirt Sitting On 12165
Image source: pexels

Anchoring a swing set is a pretty straightforward process. However, there are two methods to do this: anchoring with concrete and using ground anchors.

Using concrete anchors is more secure than using ground anchors, but it takes more time.

Regardless of the method, the first step always involves studying your backyard to determine which spot is best for your swing set. Pick a flat area, has solid ground, and does not flood when it rains.

The second step is to place your assembled the swing set at your desired spot.

How to anchor a swing set using concrete

For this method, you'll need the following materials:

  • shovel
  • tape measure
  • concrete
  • drill
  • anchoring plates
  • bolts and screws

Here's what you do

Once you have positioned your swing set, mark the location of each leg using a shovel. Move the swing out of the way temporarily and dig holes at each marked anchor point. Each hole should be roughly 12 inches deep and eight inches in diameter.

Using a 9.5-millimeter drill bit, drill holes into the sides of your swing's legs. The hole must be one inch above the bottom of each leg.

Place an anchoring plate at the bottom of each leg. Screw the bolts or screws through these plates.

Mix a batch of concrete. Fill each hole in the ground with this mixture.

Carefully position your swing set over the concrete-filled anchoring holes. Press the bottom of each leg and anchor plate into the wet concrete.

Make sure that you plant each anchor plate deep enough. Its bottom half should be well below the surface of the concrete.

To ensure that the legs of the swing set are positioned at an even level, one person should hold each of the legs to lower them into their respective holes.

Let the concrete dry and harden for at least 24 hours.

Daughters Swings With Parents
Image source: freepik

How to anchor a swing set using ground anchors

When using ground anchors, you can either opt for a one-piece or a two-piece anchor system.

You will need the following materials for this method:

  • wooden spikes or stakes
  • drill
  • hammer
  • metal bar
  • metal auger or ground anchors
  • anchor attachments for the two-piece anchor system
  • screws or bolts
  • metal collars and chains for the one-piece anchor system
  • bolt caps

Here's what you do

Position your swing set where you want it. Mark the location of each leg by hammering a wooden spike or stake into the ground.

Then, you can hammer each spike in one of two ways, depending on whether you are using a one-piece or two-piece anchor. For a one-piece anchor, hit the stake a few inches in front of each leg.

For a two-piece anchor, hammer the stakes into the ground exactly where each leg will be. Ask someone to help you move the leg out of the way when you strike.

After that, remove the wooden spikes and insert metal auger anchors in their place. After that, twist each auger anchor into the soil, applying downward pressure. Make sure that these anchors are vertical as you twist them.

If you find it hard to twist the auger anchor by hand, you can use a metal bar. Once you have planted the auger anchors deep into the ground, you can start attaching the legs of the swing set.

If you opted for a one-piece anchor system, get a chain and slide one end of it through the eye of the auger anchor. Then wrap a metal collar around the leg and slide a bolt or screw through one eye of the collar.

Pick up the free end of the chain, slide it through the bolt on the collar. Close the collar, secure it tightly with the bolt, and put a bolt cap on the open end of the bolt. Use a drill to make sure the collar can't slide up and down the leg.

Repeat these steps on the other three legs.

Safety Swing
Image source: unsplash
For two-piece anchors

If you opted for a two-piece anchor system, place a 4-by-4 leg attachment at the bottom of one leg. Then, using 9.5-millimeter bolts, drill this attachment to the leg.

The attachment must fit over the ground anchor's exposed top. Once you place the attachment over the ground anchor, you can secure the leg in place by sliding a bolt through the corresponding holes of the anchor and the attachment.

Then do the same with the other legs.

How to Anchor a Swing Set: Tips and Precautions

Before letting your kids play, cover the base of each leg, the concrete or ground anchors, and the hard ground beneath the swings with several inches of soft material, like wood chips, gravel, or sand. This would cushion any potential fall from the swing.

For maximum safety, always check the swing set before use. Forcefully push each leg and make sure it doesn't move. This ensures that the swing set has been anchored properly.

Learn How to Anchor a Swing Set for Your Kids' Safety


Gif source: giphy

Knowing how to anchor a swing set is a must if you plan to install a mini playground in your backyard. This would give your children hours of fun, active, and safe playtime outdoors.

Have you decided which kind of anchor you want for your swing set? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Featured image source: freepik

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