Cedar Summit Summerstone Playset Review

Cedar Summit Summerstone Playset from the front, with children playing

There are so many playsets and backyard playgrounds to choose from - and they all look enticing. How do you ever work out which one would be right for your family?

In this review, we'll focus on the Summerstone playset from Cedar Summit and try to answer any questions you have so you can make the best decision.

More...

What does the Summerstone playset offer? Is it right for your kids? ...for you? Would it be a good purchase? Hopefully, the information you find here will be useful.

You can use the table below to skip to the section that interests you most. Or scroll down a bit to read the whole review.

If you prefer to get over to Amazon right now, just click here!

Summerstone swing set features

This playset has just about anything you could wish for (except for monkey bars). Swinging, climbing, sliding, creative play - your kids can virtually have it all!

The main part is a two-story clubhouse fort with a gabled roof. At its highest point, the roof is a lofty 72in (6ft) above the deck floor. There's a door and lots of delightful windows, and from the front it looks just like a real little house!

The upper deck is almost 5ft off the ground (58in to be precise) – this is a good average height for a play set - much better than a 4ft deck, which kids will outgrow far more quickly.

There's an attached swing beam with two single swings and a two-person glider. That means four kids can enjoy swinging all at the same time!

Then there's the 12ft spiral wave slide - a speedy way to get from the top deck back to earth.

Downstairs is a cafe table, shaded by the porch balcony above, with a bench where your kids can enjoy a snack, set up a store or a puppet show, or just spend time drawing or reading.

The floor area of each clubhouse is 72in x 38in - that's including the balcony on the top and the picnic area below. Big enough for little'uns to have fun.

The ground floor clubhouse has a real working door, too. It's about 43in high, which is a pretty good height - just about viable if ever you should be invited in! It has a magnetic latch, so it's easy (and safe) for small fingers to open and close.

There are two ways to get up to the upper level of the clubhouse. Kids can choose to go up the built-in ladder or climb the rock wall. Then they can go out on the covered porch and zoom down the spiral slide. Don't be surprised if they want to do it over and over again.

What does it look like at the back?

See clearly what the Summerstone is like from all angles. It's not easy to get an idea of what happens at the back or the sides when you just have a photo of the front view!

What does the set include?

  • The Summerstone comes in five boxes, which contain everything you need, except tools.
  • It includes all the lumber and all the parts, including the window panels; swings and glider; slide; hardware (screws, bolts, brackets, hinges etc).
  • Seven ground stakes to anchor the playset securely to the ground.
  • Instruction manual.
  • The only things you will have to provide are the tools to put it together. You can find a list of all the tools you'll need in the user's manual.

How much space will it take up in my yard?

The dimensions of the assembled playset are L18ft 1in x W10ft 9in x H10ft 10in. ASTM recommends a safety zone of 6ft on each side. That allows room for swinging, landing from the slide, and running around.

According to Cedar Summit, you need a total clear area of approx 30ft x 26ft.

What preparations do I need to make?

Before you start assembling the Summerstone playset - in fact any playset, it's crucial that you prepare the area where you're going to put it.

First you'll need to find a clear area in your yard that's big enough for the ASTM safety zone. Make sure the overhead area is clear, too. If there are any overhanging branches, you'll want to remove them.

The playset needs to go on solid ground - not concrete or asphalt. If the ground isn't level, you'll need to take the time to level it. Don't take shortcuts here. It will save you a lot of aggravation later.

By the way, if you're planning to cover the area with mulch, wait until after the playset is set up.

Read the instruction manual and set out all the parts.

How hard/easy is it to assemble?

The Summerstone is pretty easy to put together if you're good at following directions – just takes time! The user manual has detailed instructions to guide you. There are also helpful videos at the manufacturer's website. And if you're still stuck, you can call customer service and they will help you.

While you're setting everything out, check that the parts are numbered correctly. Occasionally users have found some parts were mis-numbered (and if you begin to build before sorting that out, chaos is sure to ensue!)

Be sure to read the instructions carefully before you start, and as you go along. Don't just look at the illustrations, or you will be sure to miss something important.

You should plan on two to three days to finish the project - depending on your level of expertise. If you have a lot of experience with this kind of thing or if you have a lot of helpers, you might be able to finish sooner. Just don't rush it.

Make sure that you have all the necessary tools before you start, too. There's a list in the instructions. The boards are pre-drilled, so you won't have to worry about that. But do yourself a favor - use a power drill to insert the screws. There are over 100 of them!

Can it be taken apart and put up again?

Maybe - but definitely not recommended. It's probably possible to take the playset apart and put it together again in a different location, but it's not designed for this and it wouldn't be easy.

If this is important to you, there are other playsets that would be more suitable. (I shall return with some suggestions soon!)

What's it made of?

Cedar Summit Summerstone playset is made from Cunninghamia Lanceolata - commonly known as Chinese cedar or China fir, though it's not a fir, or a true cedar. It's actually a cypress. The wood is quite soft, but naturally resistant to bugs, fungus, rot and decay in general, which makes it a good option for outdoor structures.

The wood is kiln-dried to remove extra moisture. The idea is that by doing this the wood stays flatter and straighter, so it's easier to work with. The wooden parts come pre-stained to protect from the elements. The non-wood parts are made of sturdy plastic.

The wood will get some surface cracks and minor warping over time. But Cedar Summit say that's normal and it doesn't affect the strength of the wood.

It will also start to weather somewhat, mainly from moisture. Fading from exposure to sunlight is normal, too. But you can always re-stain it to restore the color.

Cedar Summit point out that you may notice the wood sways and bends a little, once the playset is assembled and in use. This is a natural occurrence and not a cause for alarm. They say that a movement of up to 6in is normal and safe.

If you find the movement exceeds this, they suggest you contact their customer service (or Customer Experience Team, as they call it).

What about maintenance and cleaning?

You should apply water repellant or stain once a year to protect the wood and keep it looking good. It does come pre-stained, so you won't have to worry about it for a while.

The user manual recommends that you check the connections regularly during the play season, when it's being used a lot – to make sure the bolts and attachments are still firmly in place.

The manual suggests doing this once every two weeks. If the Summerstone is getting really heavy use and the kids are on it all the time, I'd say there's no harm in checking even a bit more often.

How many children can clamber on at once?

According to the manufacturer, you can have up to 10 kids between the ages of 3 and 10 using this playset at the same time – though that might be a bit crowded! The maximum weight limit is 110 pounds per child. So that's about 1,100 pounds altogether!

How long is it likely to last?

Cedar Summit make their playsets to last for years with average use. They come with a five-year warranty on the lumber and a one-year warranty on all the other parts.

Note: that the warranty is non-transferable. So, if you sell your house and leave the playset, the new owners won't inherit the warranty.

What's good about the Summerstone?

  • Nice big two-level clubhouse.
  • It will look great in your yard. The framed windows, faux stone siding, and flower boxes give it a nice touch.
  • Made from wood, which looks attractive and traditional.
  • It's generally well-made and sturdy – as long as it's put together properly.
  • The instructions are well-written and easy to follow, so you can assemble it yourself.
  • It's big enough to accommodate up to 10 kids at once.
  • The slide isn't super slick, so it's fun and safe to go down.
  • The slide has a bend - much more exciting than going straight!
  • From what I've gathered while researching this review, the customer support department seems responsive and helpful – which isn't always the case in every organization! (Cedar Summit HQ is based in Ontario, Canada, under the umbrella of its parent company, Solowave Design.)
  • Kids love it!

And what's not so good?

  • You have to assemble it! But that's the case with most play systems. If you really don't feel confident (and are able to pay the extra), you could get someone to do it for you.
  • Made from wood – which needs more maintenance than man-made alternatives, but it's a natural material, and looks good in an outdoor environment.
  • The wood is a softwood and can dent quite easily. But if you handle with reasonable care, it should be fine.
  • The magnet on the door is strong and the littlest kids might have a hard time opening it. You could put a piece of duct tape over the latch to make it easier.
  • Some people have complained that some of the boards came cracked or warped. If that happens, contact customer service and they'll send you a replacement.
  • Lots of screws and bolts in different sizes. Would be easier if they were simplified, so fewer sizes used.

Who is the Summerstone playset best for?

  • Someone with a yard to fit it, first of all - you'll need to have a clear 30ft x 26ft space.
  • Adults (and kids) who like the traditional little wooden house look.
  • Kids who want a lot of fort / club house space as well as all the other stuff.

...and who is it not for ?

  • Kids over 10 years old. It's not for babies and young toddlers, either. The manufacturer recommendation is for children aged between 3 and 10.
  • If you don't have a 30ft x 26ft space for it in your yard, then it's not going to work for you. You'll need to find a smaller model.
  • Little monkeys who need monkey bars!
  • Parents who want something completely maintenance-free.

What's the verdict?

If you're looking for a mid-range wooden playset with a pretty fort/clubhouse and don't need monkey bars, this could be it! Like all wood, especially softwoods, it needs some maintenance - but with reasonable care it should be around for your kids to enjoy for some years.

Where can I find it for sale?

At the time of writing, it looks as if there are only two retailers that carry this playset: Sam's Club and Amazon. It costs a little bit less at Sam's Club, but you have to be a member to buy it there.

If Cedar Summit's Summerstone sounds like the right fit for your family...

...you can check out the current deals on Amazon here!

Leave a Comment: