Rene, a local mama, is in the market to buy a new playscape. She’s looking for some recommendations and reviews. Tell us what you like about your outdoor playscape and where you bought it. If you had to buy one all over again, what would you buy that’s different from the one you currently have? Are there any special features that your child(ren) absolutely love on their playscape?

Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

5 Comments on Playscape

  1. We just purchased a playscape from Costco and my girls, ages 6 and 4, just LOVE it. It is the perfect size, has 2 swings and a tire swing, a covered “treehouse” portion, rock wall and slide. It has an enclosed area for sand, but because it’s so messy, I opted to not fill it – now it harbors weeds, but the girls pretend it’s a garden. Gotta love the imagination. BEWARE – it took FOREVER to assemble. All the pieces were there, and because we work full-time, we opted to hire 2 very handy firemen to assemble, which still took 12 hours and not all the aesthetic pieces were put on per our request because it was getting dark out(like the steering wheels and periscope). All in all – extremely happy with the purchase and getting someone else to put it together! Best of luck in your quest.

  2. we purchased a used playscape a year or so ago, and it started out being a great investment. our daughter has kinda lost interest in it, and we’ve found it almost impossible to keep fire ants out of the area around it (b/c our yard backs to a greenbelt and the playscape is close to that part of the yard, regular treatments do not work).

    now that our son is old enough to use it, i am regretting the slide that’s on it (it’s too steep and fast for our 1yo), and i’m kinda regretting the “used” aspect of it…the wood is decaying faster than we expected, and the playscape needs a lot of attention to stay safe. another feature i’m regretting at the moment is that the playscape has some monkey bars on it…this is fine until we have a playdate with an older or more capable child who can use them…then we have the liability of our 4yo trying to use them even though she’s not able to do so safely yet.

    the best features of the playscape are the swings and the little playhouse underneath the slide platform. there’s also a climbing wall on the playscape, and that’s been a great, attainable challenge for our 4yo. if we could find a way to stay on top of the ant problem and easily maintain/update the playscape when the wood needs attention, we’d be golden.

    all in all, we’re glad we have it. no matter how much the kids ignore it, it comes in pretty handy when we need to get outside but are ill/contagious and can’t just head over to a crowded park to play.

  3. We shopped around for a playscape that was lower to ground and had a mostly enclosed area around the top portion to prevent our then 3 year old from taking a “leap of faith” off the side. We visited several of the playscape dealers in the area, and just could not bring ourselves to spend a couple of grand on a toy that may not hold any interest after a few months (see above comment). We did find one company that had better deals and and quality equipment, (Backyard Adventures), but with the nearest dealer outside of San Antonio, we knew the cost of getting it here was too high. Then, on a lucky trip to Toys R’ Us, we found a Backyard Adventure series that was both low to the ground and safe for little ones. We had not been happy with the quality at TRU prior to this, but we recognized the name as one we liked. To make things even more attractive, they were having a weekend sale on playscapes (as they do every May), and we got the set at over 50% off!
    We have owned the playscape for a couple of years now, and it is still a hit with our little one and her friends. As with nearly all outdoor wood equipment, we have had to treat it with waterproof stain (only once) to try and preserve it. It has taken a beating, and shows some wear, but it has def. earned its keep!
    Rock walls, slides that aren’t crazy fast and swings, both the saddle type and regular are a hit. Ours also has a picnic table and a place for a sandbox beneath the treehouse that offers great shade.
    Wish I could share the exact model, but it is now discontinued. Do check out Backyard Adventures at local dealers (much cheaper). You can get a list on their website:

  4. We bought our set for our 2 year old at Backyard Adventures. They have a local dealer (off 620)and the sales person came to our house to talk about what we wanted and offer any advice. She also measured our backyard to make sure what we wanted would safely fit. We really decided to go with Backyard Adventures because they are a company who have been around a long time, have sales offices nationwide (ie, future support) and we could modify and grow the playscape as our daughter grew to keep the playscape fun and exciting for her.
    Our daughter loves it, and we are very happy with the quality. It is very sturdy…much bigger timbers used than on the discount sets bought at Costco. I have a friend who bought their set (a Rainbow lower quality set from Costco) and I can really tell the quality difference. Her set cost about 1/3 the price of ours, but again…I plan to change and expand the system as she grows, and the costco version cannot be changed. Also….WE like to play on the set with her, and the playscape can definately take the adult use.
    We accept there will be future maintenance, but that is true with anything you buy.
    Nothing but good things to say about Backyard Adventures!
    Hope this helps!

  5. Thanks all. Backyard Adventures sounds like the group to check out. Since I was very worried about the existing playscape being unstable until I can get a new one…I had a trusted carpenter come over to add lumber reinforcements. The carpenter said, “I don’t know if you HAVE to reinforce this, if you want to be really really safe, you can.” I said, “Hello, I’m a mom, when don’t I want to be really really safe?!”

    Thanks moms!

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