Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds
Slides are some of the most popular outdoor play equipment available. Perfect for play dates with friends, slides can be used by children as young as two! But what do you need to consider before making a purchase? Read on for everything you need to know to find the perfect slide for your garden.
- Type and shape
- Age restrictions
- Safety and standards
- Multi-activity apparatus
How to choose the perfect slide
Up there with the top three most popular outdoor play equipment on the market, no playground would be complete without a slide. Once limited to parks and playgrounds, slides are popping up in gardens across the UK. But what kind of slide should you go for? As it goes, there are a number of different types all of which vary in terms of their structure and the shape of the slide itself. Here are some of the most common models:
- Freestanding slides (regular or with waves) accessed via stairs or a ladder;
- Slides combined with a climbing frame and other play equipment;
- Tunnel slides;
- Built-in slides.
When it comes to installing in a garden not all types of slide will be suitable. In fact, basic slides or those attached to climbing frames will probably be your only options unless you have a huge amount of space to work with.
In terms of material, your choice basically comes down to wood or plastic. You decision will also be influenced by the overall size of the structure. For example, small slides for young children are most commonly made of plastic while slides attached to climbing frames usually feature a combination of metal and wood.
Safety standards for slides
Before the fun begins, you will need to make sure that your slide conforms to all appropriate BS standards.
The use of a non-slip system over the ladder or rungs is mandatory. It is possible to add your own non-slip tape to the rungs to secure the equipment.
Another important element to consider is the handrail along the stairway. Remember: the higher the slide, the greater the risks involved with falling.
The spot where your child launches onto the slide should also be examined carefully. The entrance to the slide itself must be equipped with handles or a bar in order to help your child change position and to guarantee stability.
No matter which slide you choose, the slide itself is designed for use by just one child at a time. Side bars or guide rails offer an extra safety guarantee. To avoid the risk of hand injuries, choose a model without openings.
A frame with a wide base will offer greater stability. Most importantly, make sure to follow the instructions with regards to securing your slide to the ground (via fixing plugs) or even burying the legs into the soil.
Finally, the slide exit zone must be kept as clear as possible to avoid any accidents on ground level.
The best natural shock absorber is grass. Slide accidents are more serious on hard surfaces such as asphalt or gravel.
Slide age categories
Slides all vary in terms of the length of the descent as well as the slope gradient, shape and any equipment surrounding them.
Children aged under two are too young to be able to coordinate their movements properly. Nevertheless, you can help them discover the joy of slides by holding them as they go down. The most appropriate type of slide in this case will be about 1-metre in length to allow an adult to supervise and help the child down the slide. Slides made for those aged 2 to 4 mustn't be higher than 1.10 metres.
From the age of 3, the size of the slide can increase to over 2 metres. This type of equipment is suitable for children up to the age of 9.
Based on how old your children are, you should also consider that the fact that they will grow and may quickly outgrow a basic slide.
The best option? A climbing frame that comprises both a small and large slide to suit children of all ages, as well as their friends.
Freestanding or multi-activity slides
Slides can be the source of a lot of excitement meaning they'll usually keep your kids occupied for a while. However, to stop them getting bored, you can invest in a multi-activity climbing frame comprising, for example:
- A swing set
- A trapeze bar
- A rope
- A tunnel
- A playhouse
Some models can be fitted with a water jet for a fun activity for kids when it's hot outside.
Multi-activity climbing frame
Assembling a children's slide
Before you start assembling the slide, you will need to choose a clear space on a flat surface. Be sure to install the slide away from any tree roots, borders or ponds.
Once the box is open, take the time to ensure you have all the correct parts and make note of the various assembly steps. Top tip: to make sure you don't lose any screws or bolts, remember to grab a container before opening any sachets.
Two people will be required to handle any large parts.
A chair can be used to keep parts raised during the different steps.
When securing the feet, it is essential to bury them in the ground as this will ensure the safety of your children – especially for larger structures.
Once you've done all that, it's time to get sliding!
Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds, 107 guides
With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish. I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.