Friday, May 2, 2014

The Play Set... {Outdoors}

It was worth every effort.

Okay, maybe that's easier for me to say since I just delivered coffee and timbits and ordered the pizza. Here are the real heroes who put in every effort (+ two friends who arrived later). Big thanks to you, family and friends, we might still be out there pulling out our hair if it wasn't for you.. 

Our plans for a play set began a few months ago. We were blessed with two small children in the Fall of last year, and they are on the go to say the least. They love visiting parks with play equipment, and they spoke frequently of a former home that had swings and a slide that they really enjoyed. We can't possibly replicate all of those enjoyable former experiences, but we always felt that this was something we could accomplish, a slide and swings, and the children would be so blessed by it.

In fact, the first time we ever laid eyes on our children (whom we'll adopt in the Fall), they were swinging on this tiny swing set at their foster home. Giddy, smiling, happy.. 

My handyman compared the cost of doing this project from scratch versus buying a set to assemble. Also weighing the time he could afford, between a full time, physical job and a young family, and we decided it may be best to shop around for a play set that just required assembly. A friend brought our attention to a this play set being sold at Costco. We researched Cedar Summit (the company) online and were happy with the quality and price of their product. With regards to the set we wanted, we read a lot of the reviews and the only criticism was the length of time to assemble the slide. Plus, it was nice to see that in-store the play set we chose was listed $300 less than the asking price online.

So we pulled the trigger, bought the set, and stored it for several weeks. It went up this past Saturday along with the shed build. 

The instructions and reviews don't lie. This is really a day long project. It estimates 15 hours of assembling for a two man crew. The handyman began unpacking the boxes and organizing the hardware at 7:30am and the build and clean up wrapped up at 5pm. So, a 9 hour day, breaks included, for a crew of six (three of whom were in and out).

The plan all along was to have the shed build done, so we could see where to put the swing set that wouldn't make one or both structures feel crowded. The shed build was quick on Saturday morning and gave us a good visual. Of course, the play set could always be shimmied in any direction. But right now, we're happy with where it's landed. 

We decided on approximately 7' from the closest shed wall, and 5' of space to the left (between the slide and fence), and nearly 5-6' of running room behind the structure. It's been completely adequate. Plus, we plan to move that hydrangea bush that is crowding the slide and preventing a running path for the kids. That corner was originally a garden when we first moved in, and we've been slowly scaling it back. And of course, that old shed will go too. 

The reviews were right, the slide was challenging to assemble and it took at least two hours to put together. But otherwise, the handyman said everything came together really well. It was a tiring but positive experience. 

A few thoughts post-assembly are:

1. Be organized and arrange for help. It may even be best to start small in the beginning. The handyman began before anyone else arrived and organized the small hardware on the table on the deck. When his first helper arrived, they organized the larger pieces. So by the time the full crew arrived they could get right into building.

2. The directions are great - follow them. There was a bit of confusion with the some French speaking pages weaved among the English version (an error by Cedar Summit), but otherwise the instructions were easy to follow. The handyman never watched the CD provided, it's not really necessary.

3. There are extra parts and pieces in the end. So you shouldn't need to sweat a few misplaced pieces.

We decided to surprise our little ones, and so they spent Saturday (the day and overnight) at family's. This was one of our best ideas. The backyard was not child-friendly, and the full day project may have been gruelling for them (and us). Instead, on Sunday, we brought them home and using tea towels we blindfolded them in the car. They were so excited.

On the count of 'three' they took off their blindfolds and had these incredible smiles. Our youngest son went straight for the slide, while our daughter went for the swings. They played on it for hours (even our nephews, who were visiting, got in on it). And, I'm so grateful to say (after all that time and effort, you know) that they have played on it every day, even on the gloomy overcast days we've been having lately.

Our family gives it a big thumbs up..

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. Your input is beyond valuable to me... I look forward to reading it.