Cedar Summit Play Set (One year later)

He still looks happy.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that my big purchase when I sold my first novel was the Cedar Summit Play Set from Costco. I wrote a review about our experiences putting it up. and it’s consistently my most frequently visited post. Really, I think my blog traffic would be cut in half if I deleted that post.

(I’m not even kidding.)

Because I’m a mom, and because I do think people should do their research before buying something like this, I wanted to do a “one year later” post so people would know how well it held up.

The swingset looks almost as good as it did when it was brand new. We had two hurricanes last year (in addition to unusually heavy rainfall), and there’s minimal fading of the cedar color. Even the steps to the clubhouse, which get a lot of use, are barely faded. The slide is still bright yellow, and there’s no fading that I can see. The swings, chains, and hardware all look great. There’s not a single spot of rust that I can see. There’s a slight creaking noise when my son (55 lbs) swings hard, but the set doesn’t rock or sway at all. It’s very sturdy. None of the bolts seem loose or weak.

Minimal fading.

All in all, I think it was a great purchase. Considering the Rainbow play systems were about five times as expensive, I think we definitely got our money’s worth.

(Oh, and as you may recall, I was pregnant back then. This is what the baby looks like now. I think we got our money’s worth with him, too.)

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.