DIY Backyard Climbing Wall


diy tutorial backyard climbing wall kids atomik

Living in the city, with a relatively small lot, we are trying to get super creative with fun activities for the kids in the backyard. We decided to build a climbing wall on the side of the garage! It’s 16 feet wide by 7 feet tall, so it’s short enough for safe use! we are also adding rubber mulch and will bring out an inflatable mattress as needed.



backyard climbing wall  diy tutorial

hunter on climbing wall

Here is how we built our climbing wall. If you choose to build your own following my instructions, you do so at your own risk 😉



  • Miter Saw
  • Drill
  • Stud finder
  • paint supplies
  • Level


Step 1: Find Studs on your garage wall, you want to find the edges of the studs then measure out 3/4″ from each edge. this is where you are lining up the 2/4’s so that the stud is center on your 2×4’s.

finding studs on side of garage for backyard climbing wall

Step 2: Using the Bronze Star Heavy duty exterior wood screws #10 3 1/2″  and the star bit that comes with the screws, grab your level and drill and start screwing up the 2×4’s on the wall, where you marked the stud lines. Use the level vertically to make sure your 2×4’s are level. I put a screw every 6-8″ I had to make some cuts to go around the window, I just used my miter saw to do this.

stud framing up for climbing wall kids

Step 3: Put up the plywood using the bronze star trim head exterior wood screws #9 x 2″ I used the same ratio putting a screw in about every 6-8″.   I also trimmed out the top with the 2×4’s to make it a nice clean line 😉 use your miter saw to make any cuts to the 2×4’s that you need.

plywood all up and secure for background of climbing wall

Step 4: Paint! this part was so much fun! I’m soooo NOT NOT NOT a painter, I first rolled a coat of primer to make it more of a clean surface to paint on.   I just printed out some inspiration images and did my best to sketch out a skyline, have fun with it! be whimsical, it’s much more fun than a boring plywood background.   Ward and I had a blast at about 10 at night, drinking wine and finishing up the painting.

starting to paint skyline for background of outdoor backyard climbing wall

climbing wal painting background done

Step 5: Spray 4 coats of the Rust-Oleum semi gloss clear coat to seal in the painting. let this set dry then move onto the final step!

Step 6: Attach the climbing holds! We just did totally random, a mix of large and small holds from Atomik. we will make any adjustments as the kids play with it over time, but just start by doing a totally random pattern 😉

ready to mount the climbing holds

backyard diy climbing wall screw on holds atomik tutorial

Happy climbing! I’ll start updating post as I get pics of the kids climbing. let me know if you have questions!


Participating in these fabulous Link Parties! From Dream to Reality Craft o Manic Mondays


38 thoughts on “DIY Backyard Climbing Wall

  1. You totally are amazing. You can do just about anything…furniture maker, designer great cook and mom… I LOVE U (I’m the mom)

    1. Did you let the treated plywood dry out before paining it? If not, did you have any problems with the paint blistering or anything? I just got my plywood up on the shed and my father said to wait up 5 or 6 months before painting it and putting on the rock holds. I hate to wait so long!

      1. Hi Amy,
        I haven’t noticed anything more than general wear from being outside year round. We’ve had it up for a year officially and I see some spots where the paint is fading a bit, but I don’t notice blistering or peeling or anything. Worst case, I’ll just paint it again or touch it up :)we had a crazy wet winter, so I think it’s weather pretty darn well 😉

  2. Pingback: DIY Gym - Bob Vila
    1. Hi Amy, it cost is about $200 for the wood and screws as we got pressure treated plywood and 2×4’s and then another $700 for climbing holds. Make sure to look on eBay as there are often used climbing holds. For kids you definitely want large holds vs the small ones 😉

    1. Great question. Reach out to the climbing. Holds manufacturer to ask what they recommend, I used atomic climbing holds and they have great customer service

  3. This is awesome! I really want to do something similar on the back of our garage for our kids. Might be a dumb question, but I’m not much of a climber myself, do you need to drill holes in the plywood to attach the holds? Also, how weather resistant is it? We live in MN so looking for something that can stay out in the winter.

    1. It’s been outside in Seattle for 2 years! I didn’t pre drill, I used exterior screws so they don’t rust and I used plywood that is chemically treated to last outside… Then we painted the mural over that with exterior grade paint… Then put the holds on 😉

  4. Hi Lindsey!
    I’m working on a piece for Red Tricycle, about amazing climbing walls for kids, and we’d love to feature your creative post. I’ll mention your blog in the copy, link back for the tutorial and provide full photo credit. Feel free to email me with any questions at Thank you for your time.


Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear!