A balance beam can be a cool addition to your yard, especially if you have kids. And what best way to do it than building it yourself! Don’t worry, it’s not as much work as it looks and you won’t need to break the bank either 😉
Here’s how you can build this fun little balance beam:
– 16-24″ diameter log
– 6″ Heavy-duty flat head screw (or log bolts) (one for each log attachment)
– 4x4x8 varies
– 1 bag of gravel per stump
1. Cut the log
Find a nice solid log ideally 16”-24” in diameter and cut them into ~16” tall stumps. You’ll need minimally 2 stumps, but 4-5 stumps is way more fun if you want to zig-zag them.
2. Space them out
Layout your stumps in any fashion you prefer. I suggest between 4’-8’ spacing between stumps and zigzagging them.
3. Add the gravel
After you get your layout set, remove them and add about 2-3” of 3/4” gravel in the desired location of each log extending 2-4” outside the diameter of the log. This can later be covered with mulch or plants. Use the gravel to roughly level out the log as well. Raising the log on gravel will keep the log from rotting out in the soil.
4. Level the logs
Place the stumps back on top of the gravel and roughly level them out and recheck your desired spacing from log to log.
5. Notch the stump
Lay the 4×4 from one stump to the next. It should be inset into each log roughly 4”. Use a pencil to trace the inset mark out on the stump where the 4×4 will sit. Remove the 4×4 and then use a chainsaw to cut 5-10 cuts between the inset marks. Then use a hammer and a chisel to remove the slates/chips left and to square out the corners.
Repeat on the other stumps as needed.
6. Attach the beam
Take the 4×4, cut to the appropriate length if needed, and drop it into the notches on each stump. Use a 6” Heavy-duty flat head screw centered on the notch out area to secure the balance beam to the stump. Make sure to set the flat head so it’s level with the top.
Repeat for each stump attachment
7. Add plants (optional)
Now that you have your balance beam set consider dressing it up with some surrounding plants. I suggest using plants that regrow easily if they are fallen on or trampled such as ornamental grasses. Also topping the area off with 4-6” of mulch can offer and nice landing surface and good for the plants too!