Thanks to the Internet, there are plenty of sources for both inexpensive and free backyard skate park construction plans. In a 2009 article, Popular Mechanics featured the free halfpipe diagrams and detailed building instructions of Rick Dahlen, the DIY dad we mentioned a couple of pages back. Dahlen's plans, which you can download here, are for a 3-foot (91-centimeter) high skateboard halfpipe or a 4-foot (1.22-meter) high inline skating halfpipe. We'll talk more about building a ramp or halfpipe later on.
If you don't mind dropping a few bucks for professional skate park construction plans, try a site like EasyHalfPipe.com, where you can buy detailed plans for a four-foot halfpipe. For a reasonable price, you receive a DVD video guide, large blueprints and a step-by-step instruction manual. RampHelp.com has inexpensive professional plans for halfpipes, fun boxes (raised rectangular wooden obstacles for grinding) and launch ramps (big air!).
When it comes to buying wood and other material for building your backyard skate park, don't skimp. Spend the few extra bucks per 2x4 to get quality boards, screws, concrete and other construction materials. When buying plywood, for example, make sure the sheets don't have any large knots in them, because those will be the first areas to crack. If you built your halfpipe to sit on the grass or another potentially wet surface, buy treated wood for the base.
If you suffer from sticker shock at the hardware store, take an alternative approach. Think if you have any friends in the construction or contracting business who can buy material with a contractor's bulk discount. Or see if a local contractor won't sell you spare 2x4s for a cheaper rate.
If you're building your backyard skate park for your kids and their friends, you can get them into the fundraising spirit. One group of kids printed and sold T-shirts to build a neighborhood skate park. Yours might mow lawns or wash the neighbors' cars for a donation to the cause.
Now it's time to build! More on the next page.