Frugal Yard Crashers – Preparing the Area for the Playset

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Yard Crashers Prepping

yard crashers White Spray Pait for Play Set yard crashers

Now that we have selected our play set and befriended white spray paint, it’s time for the yard crashers to prepare the area that we have finalized. In our case, the first thing we needed to do is get rid of a bunch of grass. There are a couple of ways that you can go about this. First, you can install Artificial Grass Mandurah around the area because then you’ll never have to worry about weeds, mowing, or discoloration. It might be more costly to begin with but you won’t need to spend time gardening or pay for tools or fuel for your lawnmower. Next, you could let it live, rent a sod cutter, remove it and transplant it to another area of your yard that needs grass. Another alternative is to simply spray it with Roundup or a similar weedkiller and kill it. We chose the latter as it was easier for us to deal with, based on the location in our yard. I sprayed ours with Roundup. Once it started to brown, I took our lawnmower into that area and dropped the blade as low as it would go. As soon as I was done with that, I sprayed it a second time with Roundup to be sure it was going to be dead in a couple of days. It worked!

Yard Crashers Prepping

Once we had killed the grass, our next mission was to be sure that we kept anything else from growing in the area we had prepared. We accomplished this by installing sheets of landscape fabric. We could have used a soil sterilizer along with the fabric, but I did not want to add any more chemicals to our shallow water table. This was a 2 person project and took a lot of patience on what proved to be a windy day. I am typically not a proponent of landscape fabric because I don’t think it works. However, in this situation, we are going to finish off the area with rubber mulch, which will not provide a growing medium for weeds.

The reason that I don’t like landscape fabric in traditional flowerbeds is because over time, mulch breaks down and is a growing medium for weeds on the surface. “But we put landscape fabric down, there can’t be any weeds.” You forgot about our good friends the birds. When birds eat seed, they also get rid of that seed. When they do in the form of excrement, not all of the seed may have been digested. These seeds are “deposited” on top of the fabric that you installed. Once they germinate, they start a whole new layer of weeds in your previously pretty bed. Again, because we are using rubber mulch, the landscape fabric made sense in this application.

Landscaping Fabric Yard Crashers

Installing the Landscaping Fabric

As you install the fabric, make sure you use the fabric staples that you can buy. You can get a box on Amazon for around $12 and they are worth their weight in gold. As you lay the fabric, install a staple every 4 feet or so to keep the fabric in the ground. When you lay the next run of fabric, let it overlap about 2 inches and then stagger the staples relative to the staples you have already installed. Continue this process until you have covered the entire area. Also, it is OK for you to go over your boundary by a few inches. You can trim the fabric to fit at a later time.

Yard Crashers Finding Landscape Timber

Once we were done with the fabric, I made a landscape timber border to house our play set, trampoline and impending dump truck loads of mulch. Landscape timbers are not expensive. However, they can be tricky to buy. Most of the time you will not find two of them alike. You need to do your best to find the timbers that are not split and that have the ability to be stack on another timber and line up fairly straight. These things are pressure treated, but they are also typically stored out in the elements and put to the test.

Many times they will be warped or discolored. Try to find the most uniform timbers possible. Once we had the timbers in place, I put a thick coat of stain and seal on them. While I understand they are pressure treated, I like to be 100% certain that they are going to be protected. Further, I wanted to use a Redwood seal on them so that they would match the finished play set. Now that we are done prepping, the real fun will begin. Stay tuned for the next yard crashers post as I share the biggest time saving tips that I learned while building our play set.


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  1. jamie gonzalez says

    I love this! Thank you for sharing.

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