Our Almost-Black Painted Playset!

July 30, 2020

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This week, we worked on a 3-day playset refresh in our backyard and we’re all so excited with how it turned out. Our girls are always playing on this playset that was left here (and possibly built by) the previous owners. We gave the playset in our last house a refresh to match our home and we thought this would be a fun opportunity to try out a potential paint color, too!

Here’s the playset before:

And now!

In addition to paint (we went for Benjamin Moore Graphite–the front contender for our exterior color!), we also reworked a few existing pieces.

The A-frame front came up short, exposing the bottom, but covering a cute balcony area up top. So, we took it off, flipped it and made a straight cut and reattached it leading up to the balcony–to make a cute rock climbing wall.

Half of the base was a sandbox and the other half was…a rotten piece of wood (I’m sure it was cute in its day!) so we decided to just make it one big sandbox since that’s Polly’s favorite place to play. We surrounded the base with fresh, pressure treated wood to really define it.

When we painted our last playset, we used a roller and brush and it took a solid week to paint all of the nooks and crannies. This time we used a paint sprayer (this one!) for the primer (an exterior wood primer is essential!) and paint and we primed one day and painted two coats the next, with the active painting time only about an hour.

Besides paint, a gymnast bar (to replace the baby swing) and fresh sand, limestone climbing holds were the only other thing we purchased for this project. The stone we’re incorporating on our exterior is also limestone so I thought it would be another way to tie the two together. Plus, they really beat the look of the plastic ones and our girls feel so cool climbing!


A few months ago, I had ordered a few small samples of Annie Selke rugs to test out on our stairs–still deciding on that oops. They are indoor/outdoor and I decided to lay a couple in the playset for extra comfort and cushion, along with a couple older outdoor pillows–which kind of makes this officially a clubhouse too, I think.

I was worried that our youngest, Polly (3 on Saturday!), would struggle with the rock climbing wall, but she zoomed right up and made herself at home on the balcony.

The summers are shorter in Idaho, but I feel like we just bought ourselves another two months of outdoor play with this refresh.

Have you painted your playset? We’d love to see! Drop a link in the comments and we’ll share a few favorites on Instagram! You can see our last DIY painted swing set here!


PAINT COLOR: Benjamin Moore Graphite
Gymnastic Bar
Limestone Rock Climbing Holds


What do you think?

  1. Abby says:

    How do you think the paint will hold up to the outside elements? Are you worried about paint chipping/peeling??
    I would LOVE to do this exact thing but I’m debating on staining vs painting?? Thoughts??

  2. Brooke Bullard says:

    Looks. So. Good!

  3. Jamie says:

    The acrylic latex I have for our garage says not to thin and not to use with a sprayer. :/ Did you just use it as is with the sprayer?

  4. I love how the black makes it fade into the scenery a little more. Looks gorgeous!

  5. Veronika says:

    Hi, it looks dreamy, and I love the addition with the climbing stones, but isn‘t the black hot to touch and play in?

  6. Nicolette says:

    Looks so good! I do have 2 questions though about using black paint for exterior projects like this and how it attracts heat. Now that you’ve had it for a few days painted like this, do you feel like it gets overheated from the summer sun to the point it might be too hot for little hands? And with the home exterior being dark and attracting heat, does that at all raise your utilities bill by making the house need extra cooling to regulate the temperature or does it seem unaffected? We would like to do a dark exterior but are concerned about that with how hot it can get in the summer months sometimes.

  7. Caroline says:

    Gorgeous, thanks for sharing! I am also loving that striped pillow in the fort area, would you mind sharing where you got that? Thanks!

  8. Kate says:

    This looks so good. Have you thought about using chalkboard paint on the underside of the climbing wall, just to add another play element?

  9. Lyda says:

    HA! This is exactly what I’ve been planning to do with our playset. BUT I’m going to have to sand it first and I don’t currently own a paint sprayer and I’m pretty sure I’ll be on my own doing the whole thing so it’s going to take me some time, but this was my vision, haha! Thank you and great job!! (Ps. my youngest turns three next month, happy birthday to yours! :)

  10. Nicolette says:

    This turned out so well!! I dont mind the green slide at all either! I think it blends in nicely with all the greenery.

  11. Bethany says:

    Would have never thought to paint a swing set (almost) black. Looks amazing. Clubhouse vibes for sure!

  12. KTV says:

    It looks great! I know you mentioned the color but could you share what kind of paint you used? Was it a stain or a paint for outdoors?

  13. Karen says:

    Looks amazing!

  14. Colette says:

    Love the refresh! Hard to follow with so many ads but beautiful playset!

  15. Ann says:

    How did you attach the rocks to the wall?

  16. This is so dreamy — the power of paint!!

  17. Katie says:

    Has anyone built something similar to this and wants to share their plans? We move frequently and would rather build than spend $$$ and have to leave behind or sell for a lot less!

  18. Nicolette says:

    Love the color! I have a question though, with it being black, does it feel like it gets hot very quickly? I would be worried that with the heat attraction in the summer they would burn their little hands climbing it. Also, with having a black exterior, does it raise the temperature inside the house substantially enough that it raises your utilities bill to combat the extra heat in the summer? We are looking to do a black exterior when we build but it is a concern of ours with doing something like that.

  19. Brittany says:

    I am so glad you guys did this! I have been wanting to do a makeover on my wood play set, and now this gave me the motivation. What type of primer and paint did you use? Was the paint an outdoor acrylic?

  20. Yes, we did almost the same exact thing last summer! We got a used playset for free from a friend-of-a-friend and gave it some love with an almost-black outdoor paint. And we love it!

    This post has the before/after:

  21. Theresa says:

    I love this refresh! Did you have to do any other prep for the wood before you painted it? Like sanding or scraping? Or did you go straight for the exterior wood primer?

  22. Claudine says:

    I can’t believe Polly is already 3!
    The play set looks wonderful and your changes will really make it so much more fun. :)

  23. Brenda says:

    The playset refresh is fantastic, and I love the limestone climbing rocks! Brilliant way of trying out the house exterior color!

  24. L says:

    The clubhouse is an A Frame! ????

  25. Sophia says:

    What a dream! With each project you’re convincing me more and more that I need a paint sprayed!! Love love love this makeover ????????

  26. Julie says:

    This might be a silly question but do you need to cover the sandbox in winter or can you just leave as is? Love it!

    • Julia says:

      We just put a tarp and rocks in each corner in the winter.

      • Amy says:

        Another question on the sandbox logistics! Do you have any issues with cats finding their way to it? I’m nervous about an open sandbox. Also how old did your girls start playing with one? Mine is 15 months. Thanks!

      • Julia says:

        We don’t have cat issues here but it could be because Willow is in and out all day long (and we live in a pretty rural area). I think 15 months is a great time for a sandbox!

      • Amy says:

        Awwww! Thank you! xo

  27. Michelle says:

    This looks so good. I started painting my kids’ playground white but I’m sort of digging this graphite color. Did you use an exterior paint?

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