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Breathing New Life into an Old Swing Set

I started contemplating fixing up the dilapidated swing set over a year ago, and now I can finally (finally!) declare success! As a refresher, here’s the swing set the way it’s looked since we inherited it with the house:

Swing Set

And here’s how it looks now:

Finished Swing Set

Really just a fresh coat of spray paint in one of my favorite colors took the frame from ugly to awesome:

spray paint before and after

And I ordered the swings/chains, “rings”, and rope online. It was a bit of a gamble to get them all the same shade of yellow since I got them from different sources, but I think I got it pretty close! The painting and ordering actually happened months ago, and Dakota was loving it even before we got all the elements set up.

In progress

The reason why it took so long for me to declare victory was the slide.

Slide detail

I spray painted the plastic part of the slide a while back, and though the bright yellow started to chip off a little, (shoulda used primer!) it still looks pretty good. What took me forever was that I wanted to build the ladder out of steel pipe. After a few false starts I ordered the T connectors and custom length pieces of pipe (for the rungs, since I wanted to use the existing holes in the plastic slide) online. The shipping was a bit high, and I’m sure I could have found someone local to cut pipe for me if I had tried. But it’s hard to beat the ease of ordering exactly what you need from your computer, while wearing your PJs. 🙂

Once I had everything, it was pretty easy to connect all the pieces of pipe and slide them into the existing holes. And then I spray painted them to match and declared victory! The slide is pretty solid and doesn’t need support from the rest of the structure at all.

Swing Set Done

Sadly Dakota will probably be outgrowing this thing pretty soon. Since we aren’t cementing it into the ground or anything she can’t swing very high before the whole thing starts rocking. On the plus side we can always reuse all of the elements on a larger (wooden?) frame if we want to keep the DIY fun going.


Just Some Flower Pots

The front door/patio is still pretty boring at the moment, and I wanted to bring in some flower pots to sit on either side of the front stoop. There isn’t a whole lot of space between the step and the railing on the right, but I eventually found some inexpensive plastic pots that were the right size. Unfortunately they were a pretty boring color:

flower pots before

Matte black with some silver “highlights” so it looks a little more like metal and a little less like plastic. And there weren’t any drainage holes in the bottom, which I fixed right away.

I picked out some “outdoor” spray paint… it claimed to be all-surface but recommended a plastic spray paint primer if I wanted to use it on plastic. Easy enough! A couple coats of primer and a few of spray paint, and the hardest part was waiting for them to dry between coats. Behold:

flower pot after

Oh, yeah, and I picked up chrysanthemums to actually put in the pots. They have so many great color options… these were labeled “bronze”. Nice. And I loooovvveee the blue spray paint color. I may have to buy more if my swing set refurbishing makes it as far as the painting stage. Here’s the patio withe the new flower pots:

patoi with flower pots

They’re a little low and small looking, but you can see that with the space I had to work with on the right I couldn’t have gone much bigger. And I didn’t want something tall and skinny, so these are just what I wanted. They’re so cheerful once you get up onto the patio:

flower pots

The biggest problem is that the doormat is looking rather dingy in comparison. Sounds like I should go find a new doormat! 🙂

I have bigger things that I still want to do to the front patio: Paint the door red, switch up the columns and railings for something all geometrical and fancy, tile the concrete… But I fear commitment and I fear screwing up. So in the short term I’ll just keep adding fun decorations when the mood strikes.