How to Level Ground for a Swing Set

Installing a swing set in your yard can provide a safe, supervised area for your children to play. Before you install your swing set, you will need to make sure the ground is level. This helps ensure that the swings operate properly, and helps prevent the swing set from falling over. The process of leveling the ground for a swing set is much the same as for a pool or patio. Depending on the size of your swing set, you should be able to accomplish this task in a weekend.

Leveling the ground is an essential step for installing a swing set. (Image: Todd Warnock/DigitalVision/Getty Images)

Step 1

Measure a rectangle the size of your swing set. Place a small wooden stake at each corner and tie strings between the stakes to form the outline of the swing set area.

Step 2

Dig out the area inside the rectangle with a shovel. The hole should be 3 to 4 inches deep to accommodate the pea gravel and sand. Place a carpenter's level in several locations along the hole to make sure the base is level.

Step 3

Fill the hole with 2 inches of pea gravel. This will promote drainage so water will not stand beneath the swing set. Drag a piece of 2-by-4 lumber along the surface of the pea gravel, and check it with a carpenter's level.

Step 4

Fill the remaining 2 inches of the hole with playground sand. Pack the sand down with the end of a 2-by-4. Drag the long end of the lumber across the surface to level the sand. Check the surface of the sand with a carpenter's level.

Step 5

Dig the holes for the swing set posts at the corners of the rectangle and install the swing set.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure

  • Wooden stakes

  • String

  • Shovel

  • Carpenter's level

  • Pea gravel

  • 2-by-4 lumber

  • Playground sand


If you are installing the swing set on sloping ground, start digging the hole at the highest point. This will help reduce the need for additional digging to level the hole.

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