Rock climbing is so much fun, and exciting, that it almost doesn’t feel like an exercise at all. Now, if you are planning to build a backyard climbing wall then it can be quite intimidating at first. But not to worry, it is actually quite easy if you know what you are doing.
For building a climbing wall, you have to decide on the size you want at first, and if it fits your backyard. It can be built on any existing wall or any type of wood base structure that is fit for taking up weight from climbers. Some things like- drills, plywood, measuring tapes, nails along with other tools and gears would be needed to build a sturdy yet, safe wall.
If you are familiar with basic construction techniques then, building this wall would not take more than 5 days for you. Visualizing your dream climbing wall is very important before you start to work towards it. It would create a mind map, which will help you along building it, as well as making a budget for the whole project.
Budget and Materials List
You can easily calculate your estimated budget from this list. This climbing wall is a safe and effective one, because of its standard size for both kids and adults. If you want something a bit bigger or smaller then, of course, you can change it as per your liking. The total amount for this particular structure would not cross more than $250, so it is quite budget-friendly.
However, the price range might differ in your area, so you should look at your nearby hardwood stores, or contact professionals to get an idea of your final budget for this plan. It is advised to add 10% extra money to your budget, just to be on the safe side.
Needed Materials (Standard Size)
- 8 feet long lumbers (Longer if you want a bigger wall)
- 2 4′ x 8’ exterior plywood
- 1 box of framing nails
- 100-150 T-nuts
- 1 box of socket-head bolts
- Exterior grade textured paint
- Climbing holds
- Measuring tape
- A note pad
- Allen wrench
- Drill with multiple bits
Instructions on Building the Rock-Climbing Wall
- The following steps are very easily described for people who want a DIY fun project in their homes. However, depending on the size of your wall, the measurements and techniques might alter a little bit, but don’t get scared. Because the size we have provided here is the standard size for both adults and kids. So, you should be good!
Step 1: Evaluate Your Space
As mentioned, before starting, you have to understand your backyard very well. Keep in mind that you cannot take up all the space available, because there are other activities people might engage in, in your backyard. Next, look for where you want the wall to be. Better if you find a space that already has an existing and strong base.
Another thing you should consider before the building is, there is going to be chalk everywhere. So do not put this in a place where it might affect your food, or goes inside the house, as it can be very exhausting to clean every day. Note: the base has to be very strong to carry the weight of the board, the climbers and the additional pressure of their body while climbing.
Step 2: Measure the Base
After selecting a place and base element for your climbing wall, you should move onto the next step, which is measurements.
Take a measuring tape and keep notes of the length, width, and angles of the base. You would need these later while building the wall. You should also follow the measurements while buying wood and plywood, so you don’t end up wasting materials.
Step 3: Frame the Plywoods
Later, for framing, you need to screw your plywood in 3-4 layers, into your lumbers that you put on top of your base. The plywood should have small gaps between so the bolts can go through the panels and do not get stuck at the bottom.
Make sure, you attach the corners as well as the centre, for a smoother finish. Take help if needed, because this is a two-person job.
Step 4: Paint the Wall
The plywood surface would be your wall, where the holds would get attached to. So, paint it however you want, with either textured or normal paints.
Many climbers like to keep it raw by not painting it, but as it is an outdoor wall, you should at least add waterproof paint or coating. Do not apply glossy paints because these are not ideal for climbing as it gets slippery.
Step 5: Attach the T-nuts
After the paint is completely dried, you have to drill the wall. The holes should be 8-10 inches apart from each other if you want them to be kid-friendly too.
A lot of people make mistakes by randomly drilling holes into the plywood, and later it becomes impossible to climb due to the placement options. Avoid doing this. Rather take time, and draw a map to place your holders.
Step 6: Set the Climbing Holds
With the help of an Allen wrench and socket head bolts, you would have to attach the holds by following the holes you have made previously.
Most holds require 2–4-inch bolts. Put as much or as little you want, because there is no limit. However, it is wise to not make it too easy, otherwise, you would get bored of the wall very soon.
Step 7: Prepare a Fall Zone
It is not essential to build a fall zone, but it sure will keep you and your kids safe when they fall from the wall.
Make sure, the area is also free of sharp and hard objects that might injure someone. There are pads available in hardware stores that you can purchase. Other options can be multiple layers of carpet or an old mattress.
DIY Wood Climbing Holds
If you want to make your own DIY climbing holds, then you can surely do it. Go to your local hardware or lumber yard store and get pieces of maple, oak or poplar hardboard of 1-2 foot, or more according to the size of your climber wall. Cut the boards into small sections that are about 3 – 4 inches as this is a standard size for wooden holders.
After you are done cutting small pieces out of the wood, sand off the corners and polish them with sandpapers. While polishing, also makes sure you are giving the cubes different shapes, which ensures a good grip with your shoes and even barefoot. Keep an eye, so the pieces don’t have any sharp outlines which can injure the climbers.
Hold one of the pieces against the wall and look for the holes you have created before. Mark the places into your DIY holds, and screw those with a driller machine. It’s best to make 3 holes, for it will attach nicely with the plywood wall. After attaching the bolts into the holds, you can now screw these into your climbing wall. Paint it if you want, and you are done!
A backyard climbing wall would add a lot of laughter and entertainment to your house. And it’ll also provide your children with an opportunity to get some exercise done without even them realizing it. It is not a difficult project to work on, so why not do it?
Maybe you’re thinking of adding a climbing wall to your outdoor playset. That might be a fun way to introduce another dimension to your playset, but some people wonder if playsets are worth it. Check out this article for more details.
Check out this video from Jenn Sends, which demonstrates that you don’t need to be an expert to attempt constructing a climbing wall.
I hope you now have a proper understanding of how to build a backyard climbing wall on a budget that is safe for everybody. Thanks for reading and best of luck with your project.