Choosing the Right Playset
5 must knows before purchasing your children's backyard playset!
We've all been there - we've all spend hours researching and scrolling through vivid and amazing images of the most extravagant backyard playsets on the market. The more and more we search, the more we become frustrated and confused. Often times this leads to an impulsive purchase just to stop the pain... Like anything other purchase however, if you go into it with a proper plan of action, it will allow you to turnoff the noise of every playset company on the market trying to shove their advertisements through your email inbox, Google feed, and social media posts. Being one of the many frustrated parents who made an impulsive and regrettable decision is what led us to create a company that prioritized the most important aspects of such a decision. The following tips are a part of the framework that we use to design, build, and install projects for our client's in order to turn their children's dreams into reality. Hopefully these useful tips will help you focus your journey and allow you to get to creating memories vice waiting for "next weekend."
The worst sound in the world is a crying child. All we want to do is to comfort them and find a way to immediately take away the pain and make them feel better. We'd swap places with them in an instant if we could. As we comfort them, we begin to analyze the situation and start to feel a tightening pit in our stomachs as we realize that they may be hurt because we purchased a playset that was not safe. Maybe it was the result of our own DIY installation blunders. But then again, what do we consider safe? After all, they're playing outside on an elevated apparatus, which can be inherently risky by itself. Therefore, we like to look at several elements before deciding which company to work with such as wood size and quality; types of connecting hardware; projected longevity; UV rating; component thermal conductivity; tensile strength; protrusion and entanglement hazards, and overall structural integrity and design.
"Crush and shear hazards are found in locations where parts move against each other or a fixed part such as a fulcrum on see-saws, suspension bridges, track rides, swings, swirls, and roller slides." – Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI)
Ordering and Delivery Process
This is what makes or breaks most of the companies we work with. There are a lot of talented and skilled craftsmen out there who can design and build anything. Similarly, there are many current companies who can get you just about anything you desire. However, where most fall short - as evident in customer feedback reviews - is in the ordering and delivery process. The main complaints we observe are a cumbersome and difficult ordering process; unfavorable customer service representatives; significant backorder delays; expensive hidden delivery fees; deliveries just to the curb of the residence; broken or missing components that are hard to replace; mold and mildewed components. Researching this process and the customer reviews on not just their website, but also their social media pages, will provide you a peace of mind that you're working with the right type of company.
The YouTube videos and company websites can make it seem simple to install your backyard playset - and for a savvy or experienced contractor it may be. However, for the majority of us, we get frustrated just trying to assemble a small gift or Lego set during the holidays. Therefore, it's important to find an installer that not only understands construction codes and regulations, but also one that is familiar with the brand you choose. What may be advertised as a 8-16 hour 1-2 person job we have found can often be 2x-3x as long. And no one wants to spend 2-3 weekends assembling a playset while the kids keep asking if we are done yet... Find and speak with potential installers to ensure you find one that meets all of your needs - it's well worth it in the end.
A sometimes afterthought in designing a playset for the backyard is the surface area. Most install right on top of their grass, and usually don't have any issues. However, to increase the safety rating, you should highly consider adding in a padded surface in the forms of engineer wood fiber, woodchips, pea gravel, sand, or rubber mulch to name a few. Additionally, an often overlooked consideration is the pitch of the ground surface area. Are you on a slope or have multiple ruts and hills in your desired installations space? Then leveling and resurfacing your installation area may be a desired approach well in advance of delivery.
"Temperature, UV rays, and climate conditions can effect the shock absorbing properties of playground surfacing. " – National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA)
Warranties provide that warm comfort blanket which tells you that you will be ok is something goes wrong with your purchased item. But there are many things to look for and consider in a company's warranty. Check items such as term length; component coverages (different for accessories versus the structure); who owns the warranty (the company or a third party), claim submission process; and reviews from prior customers to learn how the company handles claims.
Create lasting memories
Children's playsets are all about providing a vehicle to foster and develop your child's physical, emotional, social, and creative abilities. Therefore, care should be taken when choosing a company that is going to meet your needs and help you get to creating life-long happy memories sooner rather than later. Feel free to reach our if we can be of any assistance in helping your decide, or to schedule a Design Consultation with one of our Staff Experts. Happy playing!