The good news is that you don't need a lot of specialized tools to build a backyard skate park, especially if you are building components out of wood. For the standard halfpipe or ramp, the most expensive tool required is a jigsaw. Everything else can be done with a drill, hammer or screwdriver. Before you go out and buy a brand new jigsaw, ask the neighbors. Most folks are happy to lend you an inexpensive tool for a few days. Of course, if you break it, you're buying them a new one.
Building a backyard skate park should be a group effort. Don't try to do this alone, unless you are an experienced builder with lots of free time on your hands. The basic three-foot (91-centimeter) halfpipe designed by Rick Dahlen takes an estimated 20 hours of labor to complete, but that's only an estimate. If you're building the skate park for your kids, definitely get them involved. It doesn't take much experience to hammer a few nails, and you will need the extra hands when lining up joists and bending plywood.
If your kids will be inviting over a lot of skater friends to use the finished backyard skate park, get the whole crowd in on the construction. Set aside a few Saturdays in a row for building. The best part about involving the kids in the construction is that they'll feel invested in the finished product. If they have a strong sense of ownership, they will take better care of "their" backyard skate park.
In the next step, we'll share some tips on building halfpipes and other wooden ramps.