I recently started pioneering in my garden. Many people know the techniques of using ropes and poles from scouting (if you don't know them: it's easy!), but no one seems to take it beyond scouting. I have introduced pioneering in our family as an alternative to buying a playground, which turned out to be a cheaper, more flexible and educational choice over a pre-built kit.
Below are some details of my kit, which cost less than €200! (compared to €1200 for a decent playground kit)
I got my poles from a local wood wholesale (belgo-garant.be). They're impregnated pine poles, milled to a round and smooth surface. You could work with anything from bamboo over rough branches to garden poles for your projects, I prefer these.
For my kit, I got 8 poles for each of 4 lengths:
The poles cost me €180.
I got polypropylene rope (hopper.be) from our local scouting shop.
You'll need a few hundred meters of rope. The rope is cut to pieces of a bit over 6 meter and melted at both ends with a lighter.
For my kit, I got
The rope cost me €20.
With this kit you can build a lot of different playgrounds and other constructions. If you're unfamiliar with pioneering, it's really easy! IMHO, you'll need to learn 4 techniques to start. Though, there's more where these came from (animatedknots.com):
Here's some sites with free books
There's a lot more out there (google.com)
Here's the a setup in our garden. I built two tripods (4m poles held together by 2m poles), constructed a bridge (3m) with railing (4m) and some steps. There's also a swing hanging from the second tripod. Thanks to Tom and Dirk for helping me working toward this version.
Here's a second one. Two 3m tripods and a 4m quadpod (interesting lashing!) with a bridge and a bunch of climbing poles.
Here's a third, slightly different setup. I made two rectangular frames with diagonals for stability. I added a waterslide and simple bridges into our climbing trees for more fun. To be extended as I still have a bunch of poles that weren't used int his construction yet.
That's just a few of many, many possible constructions. Just search around the net for some pioneering projects (google.com) and let your imagination go!