Cedar Summit Playset (Or, what I bought with that advance)

(Edit May 2014 – I get a lot of hits on this blog post by people looking for info on the Cedar Summit Play Set. If that’s you, keep scrolling down. You’ll see our pics and experience putting it together. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about our satisfaction with the playset, and I’ll get back to you. We’ve had it for three years now, and it’s still going strong, despite some VERY heavy rain seasons, and pretty hard use by my boys. Nothing has faded or cracked, and the swingset still seems as sturdy as the day we put it together.)

So I got my advance check a few weeks ago. We set a big chunk aside for Uncle Sam. Another big chunk is going towards some major home repairs. (Does anyone remember the saga of the flooded basement from last fall? Or the major roof leak? We’ll rant about homeowners insurance in a later post.)

Here’s me with the check. Please pardon my trashed house. I didn’t even want my husband to take this picture, as we’d been doing yard work all morning, and I was completely disgusting.

I probably should have spent some of that money on a housekeeper.


My husband is amazing.

My husband did buy me a tee shirt for my novel. I can’t tell you how excited I was that he did this for me. (Don’t judge the belly. I’m 20 weeks pregnant.)

Anyway. I wanted to buy something fun with SOME of that money, and we have a nice backyard, so we decided to buy a play set. My stepson is 14, and way too cool for play sets, but I told him he could sneak girls out to the clubhouse. For some reason he thought that was hilarious.

Anyway, with a four year old running around and another boy on the way, a swingset was the way to go. We did a lot of research on play sets like Rainbow Play Systems, Cedarworks, and WoodPlay. (I say “we” like my husband did more than smile and nod when I showed him what I was looking at. That’s all right. I was saving him for the heavy lifting.) Anyway, I didn’t want to drop $5,000 on a Rainbow play system. (No, I’m not kidding.) After looking around and reading reviews, we decided on the Cedar Summit Play Set from Costco. It only cost $999. The downside? We had to put it together. (Again, I say “we” like I had anything to do with it.)

I wasn’t even going to do a post about this, except maybe a picture, because I don’t want to bore anyone, but when we were assembling the damn thing, I found a few blog posts about other people putting it together, and hearing their mistakes and recommendations was incredibly helpful.

So here you go.

These kids look entertained.

This was the picture from the side of the box. Don’t throw this away. If you’re a woman, you will want to keep looking at this picture while your husband is cursing at bolts. If you’re a man, you’ll want some motivation that all this hard work will eventually lead to something.

The climbing wall / ladder combo.

One of the first things to be assembled was the rock wall / ladder combo. Pay close attention to the instructions if you’re doing this yourself. The picture in the book is upside down, and my husband wasn’t too thrilled when I mentioned that I thought he and his dad had assembled this backwards. (They had.)

Cue cussing. And 8pm drilling.


Fort supports

I think the caption covers it.
My husband accidentally snapped a bolt (or two) by hand cranking the bolts in the corners. Be careful.

Coming together.

At this point, we realized we should probably move the fort into the yard before it got too heavy. Two pages later in the manual, it says you should move it into the yard after installing the floor for the upper level.





The floor, installed!

Nick wanted to play at this point. I didn’t want to have a heart attack, so I went inside for an antacid when my husband set him up there to stand.

He looks almost as happy as those photoshopped kids on the box.

Luckily Mike got a picture of it, so I can see it after the fact.

Nick wants to know when the hell this thing is going to be done.



Seriously, Mike would come in the house at 8pm every night (after working a full day, then spending three hours on a play set), and Nick would cry, “But, Daddy! You’re not done! Go back outside to finish my swingset!”)

I’m trying to remember why we bought this thing again…



Roof coming together…

It was starting to look like a playhouse at this point…



Shh. This was after the ladder / rock wall was rebuilt.








The fort was fully assembled by Wednesday night. (We started on a Saturday.) All that was left was the swing bar and swings, plus the “crows nest” and the slide.

Of course Nick wanted to play at this point, but there was still a huge opening where the slide was set to go.


Two brothers, waiting on the third.

We still let the boys sit up top for a picture.



Slide coming together!

From watching my husband and father-in-law get this thing together, I take it the swing bar was a pain in the you-know-what.

But Nick sure seems to love it.
The instructions say the slide takes two people three hours to assemble. We came home from work and my father-in-law (who was amazingly helpful in assembling this entire thing) had put the whole thing together himself.

The finished product!

Now, if we could only get our whacko neighbors to stop blasting death metal all evening, it might be enjoyable to sit outside and watch Nick play on this thing.

We started this project last Saturday, and it was completely done last night. So one full week. My father-in-law worked on it during the day while we were at work, and my husband worked on it at night. Neither is a professional architect or carpenter, though both are great at reading directions.

What I’m saying is that the label on the side of the box that says “12 hour installation” is a load of crap.

That said, it looks beautiful. It’s extremely sturdy, and it’s going to last a long time.

Nick woke up at 5:45am and wanted to go play on his swingset. I’d call that a success.

This playset made writing the whole book worth it.


If you want to know what the playset looks like one year later, I’ve done a new post. Just click here.

21 thoughts on “Cedar Summit Playset (Or, what I bought with that advance)

  1. Two questions:
    1) Why didn’t they make stuff like this when I was a kid????
    2) Does anyone make stuff like this for adults? I would SO buy one. πŸ™‚
    Note: growing older doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with growing up.

  2. Congrats on the advance, the T-shirt, and most of all, your new playset! (I mean, your son’s new playset, of course.) It looks super. Your house looks adorable and so do you! πŸ™‚

  3. It is wonderful on what creativity and the right set of tools can create. I carve small wooden figurines with kershaw knives.

  4. Love the blog about the swing set! I install wooden playsets for a living & the first on I did of the Panorama was a bear. After doing about 20 of them last year I finally got it down to about 9 hours start to finish, now, of course, they changed it to a new model this year!

  5. Would you be able to tell how wide just the fort part is of this structe? If so, could you please e-mail me the info. We are thinking of buying this, but modifying it to just have one swing on it because of the space we have, so we were wondering how much extra room we would have to play with after we put the fort in place. Thanks!

    • Linda, I’d be happy to email you the info, but you didn’t leave me your email address. πŸ™‚ The fort is about 8′ wide, and the slide goes about an additional 3′ beyond that. There are several warnings against modifications, however, because of the balance of the structure. I have no idea whether shortening the swing bar would affect your play set.

    • Did you ever purchase this and make the modifications? We were thinking of getting without the swingset part and wanted some feedback.

  6. Thank you for the information on the playset. I’ve been eyeing it at our Costco and it is now on sale for $799! Glad to know the challenges of assembly and your opinion of the quality.

  7. I came across your post after looking for general info on play set (I recently purchased and assembled a similar set from SamsClub). I rarely -if ever- comment but (after just finishing assembling our recent purchase with 3 young kids eager for me to finish and wife watching from a distance), I found this entertaining. Thanks for that! Congrats on the newborn and good luck with your books.
    – Mary’s husband.

  8. curious how this is holding up for you? i love the price point buy have was told by a handy man it may not be a long lasting play set. but I really love the design!

  9. I enjoyed your post. We are hoping to get the current playset at costco for my almost 3 year old after we give birth to our baby. Something big and exciting for him while the new baby gets all the attention. Do you know when costco typically puts the instore playset on sale? I have been eyeing the coupon book and nothing so far.

  10. How has this set held up over the years?

    I know this is an old article – I just bought this exact set yesterday, knowing full well what I was getting into (I’m not at all “handy).

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