How Much is the Average Cost of Playground Equipment?

Playgrounds are not the same as they were in your grandfather’s day. Back then, they did not have to worry about base cover or a lot of fancy equipment. Basic metal constructed swing sets, monkey bars, wood and steel teeter totters and other equipment was cheap and easy to install.

Things change. New regulations have come into existence, attitudes have changed and what your grandfather played with as a child is not the same playground equipment your children are playing with.

If you are installing a playground in your backyard then you should read this article carefully. It outlines the costs involved in building your own playground set for your children and their friends.

Average Cost of Playground Equipment Per Child


The usual playground equipment cost is around $1,000 per child. So the average playground equipment cost is between $5,000 and $60,000. Larger playground structures can cost up to $150,000.

Playground Cost Per Square Foot

The cost per square foot is usually reserved for the base cover material you intend to use. Whether it be sand, rubber or artificial turf, etc., you need to figure out the square footage of your yard you intend to cover.

Then you multiply that figure with the cost per square foot of the material you have chosen. Rubber tiles and PIP are the most expensive coming in at $12 per square foot. Sand and wood mulch cost about $1 per square foot. The good news is grass is generally free.

Which material you choose to use depends on your preference, your budget and any government regulations governing playgrounds installation and use.

Cost for Playground Installation

Of course this depends on a lot of factors. A simple swing set if you have it installed professionally can cost you as low as $100 to 180 dollars. If you want an elaborate wood swing set and playground, then you are looking at about $1800.

Then if you go all out and have a very special swing set and playground installed, you could spend up to $12,000. The experts say that you should budget about $1000 per child.

Where you fall in those cost estimates depends on the type of material you are using and the design complexity.


How Much Does Fitness Playground Cost

You can be looking at spending a large amount of money here if you are going to install a fitness playground for your teenagers or yourself. It will run you into the thousands of dollars just for the equipment alone.


But if you are installing a child’s fitness playground, then you are in better luck. You still have to install a good base or just use your grassy yard, The good news is that the children’s fitness equipment is very inexpensive.

You could get away with paying less than $1000 and install it yourself.

Backyard Playground Equipment Cost

A basic two seat metal swing set can cost you less than $200 and you would not need a large amount of base material to cover the safe zone. Yet if you want something better, then you can look at paying between $800 to 5,000.

Then if you do not want to install it yourself, you are looking at up to $900 for professional installation. Your costs are going to depend on where you buy the playground equipment and if the m=stores includes installation or not.

School or Community Playground Cost

Like every other playground option, the cost for a school or community playground depends on a number of factors. Size, design, number of features, the size of the base material and installation expenses all influence the cost of the playground.

Even if you wanted to do your civic duty and be generous by donating the playground, you still face a basic price tag of between $8,000 to 150,000. That may be more than some people want to pay.

But there is a lot of good news. Different companies offer steep discounts, between 50 to 70% off, for playground equipment that is being installed at a school. The news gets even better. Game Time is offering up to $25,000 in funding for schools who purchase eligible playground equipment.

You will need to check with the companies to see the details for those discounts and funding requirements.

Playground Canopy Cost

Sometimes you can get away with using a cheap tarp you can pick up at any home improvement store. Amazon also has a lot of low cost canopies for playgrounds although they may not cover every feature on the play set. These will cost you less than $30.

If you have a large area play area that you want covered, then you are looking in the neighborhood of $2,000 more or less.


Playground Climbers Cost

Children love to climb. Yet, it is not that safe to let them climb the different trees in your yard or neighborhood. That is why you may need a playground climber. These features help your child learn how to climb safely and keep them low to the ground.

Depending on the model you want, you are looking at about $500 to 3,000+. It is possible to find cheaper climbers but you may need to question the quality.

Playground Carousel Cost

Your child should experience the thrill of a merry go round. Merry go rounds are very popular. Installing one in your backyard playground is not that difficult. But you may not like the purchase price.

Of course, every playground equipment retailer is different but you can figure on spending between $500 to 6,000 on a merry go round.

Playground Castle Cost

Some castles can be made a part of or are a part of a variety of play sets that are available today. Their cost is folded into the total cost of the play set. But you can find little playground castles that are sold individually and their cost range on average between $440 and 500.

You may want to go large and stand out in the neighborhood. Then you are looking at thousands of dollars in purchase price, safety features and possibly base cover.

The Cost of Playground Swings

When your children are still tots or toddlers, you can get away with buying a plastic swing set for as little as $50 and go up from there. If your children are a little older a good metal swing may set you back $100 or a little more. It will depend on where you buy the swing set.

But if you want to give your children the ultimate play experience then you are going to be paying about $700 and up for a nice play set.

The Cost of a Playground Slide

Again, the amount you pay for a nice slide will depend on the age of your children. A tot sized plastic slide will be under $75. For older children a slide can be part of the play set or you can purchase one individually.

The individual costs will depend on their length, quality and design. To ball park it you are looking at spending between $200 and 800. Some can be over $1,000.

Playground Rock Wall Cost

A very basic rock wall for your playground set does not set you back a lot of money. They are listed at under $100. You can get basic rock walls included in good wood play sets which run you several hundred dollars and over $1000 as well.

If you want to go all out on a rock wall then count on opening the bank vault and taking out $3000 or more.

Playground Fence Cost

If you already have a fence, then you can skip this section. If you don’t or need to replace your current playground fence, then please continue to read. A lot depends on how much area you are going to enclose. A toddler fence does not need to fence in a lot of area so your costs will be $100 give or take a few dollars.

For fencing in larger areas, you should budget a minimum of $300. Some fencing companies use the word sets to describe one section of a fence and they have a minimum set order. Just make sure you measure your space carefully.

Playground Shade Cost

Exposing your child to too much sun is not always healthy for them. Those nasty UV rays can have their affect on your child’s health. It is a smart idea to erect a playground shade structure to help minimize your child’s exposure to the sun.

Make sure you measure how much area you want to cover first. Then decide on the design. You can spend only a few hundred dollars if you buy the posts, concrete blocks and awning material and do it yourself. If you want a professional looking shade cover then expect to pay $1000 or more.

Playground Inspection Cost

This cost will vary from company to company. There are a variety of companies out there that know the regulations you need to meet. They can do inspections for you and help you get in compliance with those regulations if you need to fix something in your playground.

The cost of the inspections depend on the size of the playground and how close it is to their office. The standard prices are between $300 and 500. The cost will go up the further they have to travel, if more tests are required and if your playground is quite large.

It is a wise move to have your playground inspected. This will cut your liability costs and maybe save you on your insurance premiums.

Playground Insurance Cost

Your kids are not going to be the only children playing on your new playground. Their friends will come over and want to play on it as well. This puts you at risk if those children have an accident and get hurt.

Some of the types of incidents that you may be responsible for would be a trip and fall, lack of supervision, children interfering with their friend’s playing, poor maintenance and more.

We cannot quote an insurance cost to you. You would have to talk to your insurance agent and give them the details they need to figure out what your premiums would be. Each insurance company should have their own criteria, terms and types of coverage, all designed for the type of playground you own, its size, risk factor and more.

You would also have to be in compliance with local and state laws as well as safety standards.

Playground Maintenance Cost

It is not just the playground base material that needs regular maintenance. Those repair or upkeep costs will depend on the type of material your lay down as your playground base.

Obviously, concrete and asphalt are the easiest base materials to maintain. Grass and artificial turf would be next and then rubber and on it goes. Doing regular maintenance is a smart move as you are protecting your child from potential injuries. It will also safe you a lot in health care costs.

The same goes for your playground equipment. Faulty equipment that is not maintained or repaired can cost you a lot in insurance, liability and other expenses. You also want to protect your children so keeping an eye on the state of the equipment is essential.

How you inspect and maintain your playground is really up to you. You can have weekly , bi-weekly or monthly inspections done by you to see how everything is holding up.

Or you can inspect the equipment and base material once or twice a year. If you find issues that need your attention, then you should repair them as soon as you can. Or if they are beyond your expertise, then you should call in a professional to do the repairs for you.

The Hidden Costs of Playgrounds

Installing a playground is like any other construction project. There are the known costs and then there are the hidden costs. The known costs usually come in the price of the base material, the price of the equipment and installation.

Hidden costs are not covered by these expenditures. Here are some hidden costs you need to factor in your overall playground budget:

  • 1 Extra labor work for tougher ground, leveling or added materials
  • 2 Adding extra base material because what was ordered was too little
  • ​3 Power tools use up electricity so expect your electric bill to go up
  • ​4 You may need to buy building permits even for a simple swing set
  • ​5 Shipping and handling costs need to be factored in to your purchase price
  • 6 You may have to pay taxes on your purchase or the improvement on your property
  • 7 Irrigation drainage and other site preparation costs will add to your over all playground budget

Some Final Comments

It is a good parenting move by some parents to install a playground in their backyard for their children to play on. These playgrounds can contribute to improving your child’s overall motor skills, balance, courage, and other characteristics.

They may also develop good social skills as they play with their friends. With all of these benefits, you are certainly not wasting your money building your own playground.

Just know the costs and be prepared for hidden expenses when you plan your budget. Then teach your children to how play responsibly on their new playground.

Leave a Comment: