Note from Lisa: I’m thrilled to share a guest post from my husband, Bryan. He’s here today to share all the details (and some of his amazing pictures) about the Canyon Ridge Playset that’s recently made its way into our backyard!
Take it away Bryan…
Let me start off by thanking everyone who has given money to our children over the past year for their birthdays. We pooled it all together (and added a little more) to purchase a play set for the back yard. And the kids are loving it. So thank you all!
Our children have been looking at, and hinting at wanting to own the Canyon Ridge Playset (by Cedar Summit) from Costco for a couple of years. Every time we walk by the display they have set up, we would hear something along the lines of, “wouldn’t it be neat to have that at our house!” And like a lot of other parents in Costco with their kids, we would walk away as fast as we could, with the children looking back.
Well not anymore.
Prepping the Site for the Playset
We spent a few hours over a couple of days re-configuring the backyard in preparation. We had to remove the old chicken run, that later served as a less then productive garden.
Now when I say it was a less then productive garden, I mean I could have let our cows in there for a couple of days, and they still wouldn’t have all the grass knocked down. My wife and I both love the idea of having a garden. But right now, we don’t have the time. Perhaps in the future.
This is where I have to pause and say thank you to my Grandpa for all of his help. Grandma and Grandpa were visiting for a week, probably to see their great-grandchildren, but we took advantage of the help (both his ideas, and his physical labor.)
Thank you, Grandpa for making this job a lot easier!
After moving the fence and other debris from the back yard, we plowed the garden and part of the surrounding grass with the tractor. Then using a snow blade (use what you have!) we smoothed out the back yard. A little handwork with a shovel finished the prepping.
We did look at other options for play sets. There’s a business in Spokane that sells Rainbow playsets. They are amazing.
And I would love to own one.
However, when the representative who comes over to talk about the sets, starts the conversation with “a lot of people have sticker shock…” you start to question going there.
Then later you realize the least expensive option they have is more than double your budget when on sale at 45% off. It was time to walk away.
I really do like the Rainbow play sets, but I learned something from Joel Salatin a few years back. In one of his books he talks about the idea that a lot of people have, that if you can’t do something 100%, you shouldn’t do it at all. And because of that idea, many people don’t do anything.
Well, we live on a farm. And if we waited to do anything, until we ready to make it 100% perfect, we would never do anything. So even though we would love to spend $8,000 (or more) on a play set for our children, we decided that the $1,000 we had saved was an option that would actually get them a play set while they were still young enough to enjoy it. I mean we didn’t even spend $8,000 on the last car we bought. That is a lot of money!
Putting the Canyon Ridge Playset Together
After getting the yard prepped, we took a trip to Costco with a few of the kids to make our purchase. Their faces were beaming!
When we got home, we unloaded and told the kids we would start construction the next day. The grandparents were still in town, so we got to work. That was a blessing.
With Grandpa’s help, I was able to get the first few steps completed. This included setting up the main tower side pieces. I could have done this my myself, but having two people saved a lot of time.
Those first few steps laid the foundation for the whole set. Having a little bit of help to make sure I got started on the right foot made the process a lot easier.
After the we finished the first day, I knew that the project would go fairly smoothly. And the I could put some of fear and trepidation behind me.
All Those Reviews!
Let me explain:
I had read a lot of reviews on this play set. Honestly, most of the reviews were very similar. “The kids love it, but it is very difficult to put together.”
One review was by gentleman, claiming to be a contractor, who said he spent 20+ hours putting the Canyon Ridge Playset together. Yikes!
Also, my father-in-law shared horror stories he had heard from a colleague about the crazy time it took to build a similar play set.
He even told me that he was planning on coming over with a glass of ice tea and a lawn chair to laugh as I struggled to build this thing. Let’s just say, I wasn’t looking forward to the construction process.
The instructions that come with the play set say it should take 10 to 12 hours, plus 2 to 4 hours to assemble the tube slide. I am not a contractor. I do not, nor have I ever worked in the construction industry. I have done a lot of remodeling around the house however. And I would like to think I do a good job. So, while I am not an expert, it would not be fair to say I don’t know anything about building either.
With that in mind, as long as you know how to read and like to look at pictures, putting this set together will not be hard.
It did take the 10 to 12 hours as the instruction suggests, and the slide did take about 4 hours. However, I did a lot of the work by myself (unless you want to count the children running off with some of the supplies while I was trying to find specific pieces) and the slide should have only taken 2 hours.
The Dreaded Tube Slide
During the tube slide assembly, I forgot how to read the directions (or maybe I was just getting cocky and thought I knew what I was doing) and had to undo/redo a few steps costing me the extra time. My wife helped with most of the slide assembly.
However, most of the construction could be completed with one person with minimal help from a second helper, at key times.
All and all, the instructions were fine. Everything was clearly labeled, and the only part that I get frustrated on was the tube slide. But again, that was my fault, and I was mostly mad at me for the extra work I created. Had I followed the directions more closely from the beginning, the slide assembly would not have been difficult.
Making the Assembly Go More Smoothly
Also, many online reviews had extra suggestions to make the project go smoother. After completing the project, I only have one suggestion. As we opened each individual bag of hardware (screws, bolts, washers, nuts, etc.) we placed the remaining items into a zip style bag. We used one bag per type of hardware. It was a waste of a lot of bags, but it really did help.
If I were to do this again, I’d go to Home Depot and purchase a small parts organizer. I’ve looked at them in the tool section before, and it would have made this project simpler. It would have saved some plastic bags too.
We completed the project a few days ago, and the kids are loving the play set. Instead of asking to play on the iPad or watch a movie, they are asking to go outside. Well, all except Simon, he just goes outside on his own.
We also moved our other swing set into the back yard to have a park-like area for the kids to enjoy. Maybe we’ll add to it over time.
Do you have a play set in your yard? Do your kids still love it? Please tell us all about it in the comments below.