playset makeover

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Today I’m excited to be posting my project for the Ready 4 Summer Blog Party!!!

PhotobucketWhen we purchased our house we were fortunate enough to have it include a playset in the backyard.  It had seen better times and definitely needed some tlc, and with Izzy wanting to be outside 24/7 I figured it was time to finally do something about it.


Now that you’ve seen the pretty, let me bring on the ugly.  Here’s what we started with.
It was sturdy and… well that’s about all it had going for it.
You see those green plastic panels on the playhouse portion?  Yeah, when we unscrewed and took them off we found loads of wasp and spider nests inside the crevices.  FREAK OUT!!!  Picture me jumping up and down from foot to foot, arms flailing in the air when I found out my hand had been practically touching a monster spider nest with a huge “friend” inside.  Ugh, I get chills thinking about it again 🙁  Not the place I want my baby girl playing in.
What we did:
Remove any broken or unsafe pieces – The plastic panels went to the curb (along with their inhabitants) and were replaced with pressure treated decorative fence slats.  We just cut them down to the correct length, slapped it up, predrilled to prevent splitting the wood, and then screwed them into place using outdoor decking screws.
Check for loose nails/screws – Look around for any nails/screws that may have slide out of place over the years and hammer/screw them back into place.  Don’t want any little fingers or toes to find those before you do!
Power wash – I thought I could get it cleaned off pretty well just by using our garden hose and attachment.  Didn’t work.  The north side of the set was covered in a green filmy moss.  We ended up borrowing a power washer from some friends, and boy oh boy did it make a world of difference!  It looked a million times better just being power washed, and if you choose to stain your playset it will make that go on much better.
Stain – What totally freshened ol girl up for me was the coat of stain.  Use an outdoor deck stain.  We went with a natural cedar.  You can tell there’s a difference in the color of the new wood pieces and the old, but it’s certainly not something that bothers me.

Spray paint – The slide and swingy thing (no clue what it’s really called) were in good shape, just badly faded by the sun.  A coat of primer, a couple coats of paint, and one to two coats of clear went on both.  Be sure to use spray paint meant for use on plastic. 
Replace old swings – I must have tossed out the extra swing when I put up her pink baby swing so I just ended up buying two new swings.  They were $25 a piece from Home Depot, and really helped update the playset.  Now I don’t have to worry about her and her friends arguing over who gets to swing in the pink baby swing anymore 😉
Top it off – You can find new playhouse tops at most home improvement stores that carry playsets, but I wanted something a little different so I ended up purchasing outdoor fabric and making my own.  Most outdoor fabric is 54″ wide – giving you just enough width to fold the selvage edges over and run a quick seam down the sides.  
I also sewed on velcro in three spots up front and three spot in back.  This attaches to the velcro that I stapled to the roof.  This will make it easy to take the top off in the winter months and put it back on in warmer months.

Fun stuff – Izzy loves watch Disney’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  So when I spotted the play telescope while looking for replacement swings, I just had to get it.  She LOVES it and says she likes spying on Ruffino (our dog) the best.  Thank God, because that would have been awkward had she mentioned the neighbors behind us 😀
Now let your kiddos free to go enjoy their newly madeover playset!
And just because I love a before and after pic!
Pin ItNow go visit Maggie at Midwestern Girl DIY and Kristin at Simply Klassic Home for more summer projects and to get involved in the daily link parties!

Midwestern Girl



  1. Maggie Massey Avatar

    absolutely PERFECT, Shelley! I can't believe the difference! And I'm so happy Izzy likes it! How could she not…? so cool…and I love the striped awning!

    Thank you so much for sharing this at our Summer Blog Party!

  2. Maria Matiopoulou Avatar

    This is an amazing Before and After project! Your playground looks amazing!

    Great work 🙂


  3. Brandi Avatar

    Amazing makeover! Of course you made your own playhouse tent…well because your Shelley and you're awesome!!! : )

  4. Randi~Dukes and Duchesses Avatar

    Your makeover is awesome! Love the new awning and I just love the telescope … those little details are what really make something great!

  5. Tiffany Avatar

    That is so adorable! You did such an amazing job freshening that up. Love it.

  6. Hyphen Interiors Avatar

    Great job! I know that was a lot of effort, but it made a huge impact! Love the results – especially the striped canopy.

  7. Kirsten Krason Avatar

    Love that black and white fabric!

  8. Jessamie Vincent Avatar

    I threw-up reading about the green plastic thing-y's…squirming in my chair, GROSS! I seriously would have just passed on out. But the thing looks freak'n awesome! Love the striped awning!

  9. Tara {The Silver Lining} Avatar

    Seriously, what a chic little playset – the black and white stripes with pops of yellow! It looks fabulous. All cleaned up and safe to play on for the summer ahead. Great job!!!

  10. Aubrey {All Things Bright and Beautiful} Avatar

    That is one lucky little lady…it's absolutely adorable!!! Seriously, that striped awning is so stinkin' cute…and I love that you can just pull it off and wash it anytime. It doesn't hurt that the whole thing is just too cute for words (c;

  11. Hannah Avatar

    So adorable! I love black and white for outdoors!

    Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

  12. Rachael {All Things Beautiful} Avatar

    Wow, what a great job on your make over! I am seriously impressed!

  13. Laura Ingalls Gunn Avatar

    This is the BEST makeover I have seen in a long time. Well done!

    Thank you so very much for your friendship and loving support.

  14. Kristin @ Simply Klassic Home Avatar

    Wow, what a great job you did, my kids would be THRILLED to have a fun playset like this. Thanks so much for joining us in the party!!

  15. Kassi @ Truly Lovely Avatar

    Looks great!!! I want to have a playset in my yard someday!

  16. Amy Avatar

    You are amazing! We have a tarp on ours…it's ragged now. I loooove the cover you made!

  17. Christin Avatar

    That's a crazy huge project! Great job. Your talents are endless!

  18. Alexa Avatar

    Ooh great job! Love the makeover!

  19. natasha {schue love} Avatar

    LOOOVE the striped cover! It makes it much more modern and chic! Gorgeous job!

  20. Becca Avatar

    What a fantastic makeover! My favorite is the new striped top- great idea Shelley!
    I don't have kids- but I pinned it anyway, I know people would love this post!
    xo Becca

  21. Stephanie Roselle Avatar

    Hi– I see that you posted this over a year ago now, but I'm wondering if you might be able to tell me how exactly you painted the slide– which products/brands did you use– and how is it holding up? Does it still slide well after painting? I have a similar old playset in our yard that also needs sprucing up!

    1. Shelley | Crazy Wonderful Avatar

      Stephanie, I can't remember the brand of spray paint, but I picked it up at Home Depot and it was a spray paint made especially for plastic. As far as wear goes, it did get chipped a little at the bottom of the slide where she liked to dump rocks on it 🙂 The slide isn't that slick anymore, but it's not from the spray paint, it's from me going over it with the power washer at too high of a setting. It ended up roughing up the plastic 🙁 Hope this helps!

  22. Charlotte Avatar

    Amazing work! Could you tell me the exact name and type of the spray paint you used on the slide and see-saw thingy? How is it holding up? Is the slide the same as it would be new (in other words, is it still slick so the kids don't get stuck half way)? I am about to purchase someone's swing set for 400 bucks, but where I live, I have to make it look like 1600 bucks! lol Gotta love HOAs (ugh). I have to make this thing look as new as possible and don't want to make mistakes, so if you happen to remember the brand/type of spray paint I'd be forever grateful! Thanks!

  23. Charlotte Avatar

    My apologies, I did not see Stephanie's post. I'm sure I can find replacement parts fairly cheap on Craig's List. I've seen people selling just the slide, or some swings, etc. 😉

    1. Shelley | Crazy Wonderful Avatar

      No problem, Charlotte 🙂 Good call on checking out Craigslist for parts!

  24. Nettie Walton Avatar

    Wow! It was a good thing that the previous owner of your house left the playground and gave you something to tinker with. I like the transofrmation! I also bet that Izzy had fun trying out her new playground.

    Nettie Walton @

  25. Kelly Baltzer Avatar

    I read your comment about the plaatic being roughes up. What dobyoh mean by that? Did the paint come off or is only spot she put rocks where paint came off? I bought a bunch of used stuff I want to try painting but trying educate myself so I don't make it worse. Does paint rub off after sliding down?

  26. Shelley | Crazy Wonderful Avatar

    Hi Kelly! The plastic was roughed up because I went over it with a power washer at too high of a setting when I was cleaning it, prior to spray painting. The area where the spray paint got a little chipped was from where she would dump rocks on it, at the bottom of the slide. There was no damage to the spray paint from her sliding down. Hope this helps!

  27. 107581056175038342330 Avatar

    We just snagged a HUGE playset for free that needs some TLC. Going to follow your instructions but I wanted to ask how did the fabric tarp hold up over the last two years? I'm trying to decide between outdoor fabric and generic vinyl…

    1. Shelley | Crazy Wonderful Avatar

      I accidentally left the fabric cover on during winter, even though I totally planned on taking it off, and it ended up tearing in a couple of spots. I think it was due to the snow and ice 🙁 I think outdoor fabric would still work if you're good about taking it off during winter months. Awesome score on the free playset!

  28. Mahesh Kawade Avatar

    Cool post. Very informative information. I like the way you written the post. I like to buy kids outdoor playsets.
    There are many website who famous for kids toys online. Thanks for sharing such a nice post.

Meet Shelley

Hi, I’m Shelley! My belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

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