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Wisteria and children are both welcome.

Wisteria and children are both welcome

Is it a garden structure with play equipment, or a play structure with planting? It could be either, and that's the point. Seattle builder Michael Hesch designed and built this seven-legged hybrid for his active daughters and gardening wife.

Hesch used clear cedar throughout. "We wanted something in the tiny garden that would weather like a fine old teak garden bench.' To extend the life of the posts, he put 4 inches of gravel in the bottom of each post hole, then poured the concrete so it came above grade and sloped away from the posts.

The trellis and swing area measures 2 feet wide, 7 feet long, and 7 feet from ground to the swing attachments. The trellis was built from 4-by-6s topped with 4-by-4s, then 2-by-3s.

The covered two-story play area measures 9 1/2 feet to the roof peak, 4 feet square. Skip sheathing over 2-by-4 rafters allows the roof shingles to be seen from below, giving the structure a rustic look. A sandbox sits on ground level, sheltered by the floor 4 feet above. Two-by-four joists support the 1-by-4 fir floorboards, which are spaced 1/8 inch apart to allow drainage.

Reached by a ladder, the lofty shelter is the site of numerous summer sleep-outs. When the children outgrow the structure, the floor and sandbox will come out and the roofed space will house a glider swing.

The children's swings have clear fir 1-by-8 seats. Dark gray inch-wide nylon webbing (bought at a mountaineering store) runs through holes in the seats and up to eye bolts in the overhead 4-by-4s.

Eventually, the unsealed structure will weather to a handsome silvery gray. To improve appearance and reduce splintering, Hesch belt-sanded away grading stamps and rounded the lumber's edges.

Wisteria floribunda "Longissima', planted between posts, twines up from the side opposite the shelter and makes its way across the trellis. Fast-growing and unfussy, wisteria recovers quickly if a climbing foot breaks a few branches.

Photo: In full swing, play structure is handsome garden focal point and trellis, too. As the diagram shows, it's supported by seven legs
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:garden children play structure
Date:Oct 1, 1987
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