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Wooden Climbing Frames

Capital Play is one of the largest retailers of quality wooden climbing frames in the UK, many of which are on display at our Display Site in Surrey. We sell popular quality makes including Cedartree and Home Front.

A visit to our display site is well worth it as your children can try-out the climbing frames and our in-depth product knowledge ensures that we can advise you as to which system best suit your needs.
Wooden Climbing Frames
Home Front Wooden Climbing Frames Cedartree Play Systems
Climbing Frame Buyer's Guide

Buying a wooden climbing frame can all be a bit daunting – what options are there, what make and size should I go for, will it last, what accessories should we get?

We hope this quick guide will help you as we feel that we are well placed to advise you: We are not just an ecommerce site. Since 2001 we've been involved in all aspects of wooden climbing frames. We've met with all the major British manufactures and have selected only those makes that we feel represent unquestionable quality and value for money.

Knowing what our customers want we have worked with Home front and Cedar Tree to help design many new products. Importantly too we have spent many a day assembling climbing frames for our customers so know each product inside out.

We have Climbing Frames on display - by having a sizeable indoor display site you have the opportunity to see the towers in the flesh and we are on hand to talk you through your options and advise you as to what will work best for your children.

Home Front     Cedartree
Home Front Wooden Climbing Frame     Cedartree Wooden Climbing Frame
What is the difference between Home Front and Cedartree?
Before looking at the differences, it's worth considering the similarities:
  • Modularity and Choice. Both manufactures offer a modular climbing frame system, so you can firstly choose which size and style of tower works best and then add from a sizeable array of accessories. You end up with a unique combination of tower and accessories that works for your family, your garden and your budget.
  • Quality Materials and Craftsmanship. Cedar is one of the toughest timbers available and has a built-in preservative which means that it will not rot. Cedar Tree offer a 15 year guarantee against rot or decay whilst the redwood pine that Home Front use is guaranteed for as long as you own the climbing frame.

    As well as using a quality timber, both manufactures use plenty of it! Unlike budget play systems, the timber used for the legs of the towers is a generous 4” x 4” whilst swing arms are 4 “ x 6” thick, ensuring that the towers are very durable.
  • Pricing. There is very little to choose between the two makes. Although Cedar Tree is about 10% more expensive than Home front, their prices include assembly whilst with Home Front assembly is an optional extra, which ironically equates to about 10% of the cost.

In terms of how the two makes differ:

  • Appearance. The pine that Home Front use is a yellowy light brown colour, whilst Cedar is a beautiful mix of browns, reds and yellows, a combination that many customers of ours adore.
  • Choice of Towers. Cedar Tree offers a playhouse on stilts option, their Tree Den range incorporates a fully enclosed den with balcony. This is one of our top sellers as the combination of an enclosed playhouse and balcony offers something not available through most other manufactures. Though Home Front towers can be enclosed under the main platform, they do not offer an upper level enclosed den.
  • Self-Build Option. As mentioned above, all Cedar Tree prices include assembly whilst with Home Front it is an optional extra. If you're looking to stretch your budget as far as possible, the Home Front self-build option is worth looking at as it will make your chosen system that bit cheaper than the equivalent from Cedar Tree

Other than their appearance, there is very little to choose between the two makes. They are similar in price, similar in size and will last as long as each other.

The question of appearance tends to be an overriding factor for many customers as visually they do differ and this is purely a matter of personal preference.

Climbing Frame FAQ's

1. Do I need safety surfacing?

2. What surfacing options are there?

3. How much space do I need?

4. What size should I go for?

1. Do I need safety surfacing?  

This is a question that is often asked. The simple answer is that if your wooden climbing frame is situated on an average lawn and does not have a Critical Fall Height of over 2.0m, you do not need Safety Surfacing.

Grass is deemed to have sufficient impact absorbing properties. Critical Fall Height is deemed to be the maximum height from which a child can reasonably deemed to be able to fall from. So on an average play tower, with a platform height of 1.5m, the Critical Fall Height is deemed to be 1.5m. The tower might have a roof that is 3.0m tall and a swing arm at 2.4m and though a child could climb on to the roof or on to the swing arm, this is not deemed to a regular occurrence and hence not deemed to be a factor in the Critical Fall Height.

When purchasing a wooden climbing frame always ask the manufacture or retailer what the Critical Fall Height is.

2. What surfacing options are there?
Wet Pour Play Bark Rubberised Tiles
Wet Pour Play Bark Rubberised Tiles

If you have ever been to a council run play-ground, it will use wet-pour, which once laid, looks like soft rubbery tarmac. This is a very good surface, but be warned it is expensive and as a result is seldom used domestically.

Bark is the most commonly used material for use at home as it is relatively inexpensive and does not look out of place in the average British garden. There are many different types of bark. What you will ideally use is ‘Play-Grade bark’.

To be deemed ‘Play-Grade’ the bark must be chemical free and the individual bits of bark not small enough to present a choking hazard. Play-Bark is more expensive than other types of bark, but it is worth the investment. For domestic usage, we recommend 6-8 inches of depth for the average wooden climbing frame.

Rubberised tiles have the distinct advantage of being able to be laid straight on to most existing surfaces, saving time and money. These tiles, sometimes known as Grass Mats are available from various sources and will typically be 1m square or 1.5m x 1.0m. If ordering also check how thick they are. Standard thicknesses are 16mm and 22mm and expect to pay around £20 per square meter.

You can lay these tiles yourself and you can choose to use them solely in the most important areas eg around the immediate vicinity of the swings. For most domestic wooden climbing fames, 16mm is more than adequate..

3. How much space do I need?
Whatever the dimensions are of the frame that you buy, bear in mind that you need a safety-zone around your climbing frame. For home as opposed to commercial use in a play-ground or at a school, there are no hard and fast rules, but as guidance the following safety zones should be allowed for around pieces of play equipment.
  • At the end of slide – 1.5m
  • At the front and back of a swing – 2.0m
  • At the bottom of climbing-walls, cargo nets etc – 1.5m
By a ‘safety zone’ we mean an area free of a hazard such as a tree, brick wall or concrete path, something that could harm a child. So your first task is to decide what is the total area of your garden you're prepared to give over to your child’s play area?

4. What size should I go for?

When considering ‘size’ we are not necessarily considering the length and breadth, but the height, the height of the swings, the slide etc. One of the biggest mistakes that mum and dad make is to buy a climbing frame that has a low platform height and consequently a low roof height.

Though there is a certain appeal to this as this will be cheaper and look less opposing in the garden, if the climbing frame is too low, the slide will be shallow and the climbing elements not over challenging.

Although there is no such thing as an average child, they all differ in terms of their physical coordination and bravery there is no reason that a 3 year old child should not play safely and happily on what we deem to be ‘full-sized ‘ wooden climbing frames (please though always refer to individual manufacturer's recommendations ). The critical dimensions to look out for are:

  • Platform height – 1.5m
  • Swing arm height – 2.4m
  • Overall height – circa 3.0m
If your proposed purchase meets all of these measurements your child will have a play frame that they will find challenging until they are a teenager. Many manufacturers make ranges that are far smaller and lower than this and though they are more than adequate for 3-8 year olds, they will soon lose their appeal as your child gets older. So, although the climbing frame may look big in a brochure or website, always check the dimensions.