Backyard Discovery Sonora Swing Set and its Best Alternative
If you’ve been looking for the Backyard Discovery Sonora Swing Set, undoubtedly you’ve had a hard time finding it. The vast majority of retailers no longer carry it because the manufacturer has discontinued it. However, as of this writing (June 2016), there is still one left in stock on Amazon.
But is the Sonora swing set worth the price? After piecing together all of the info and reviews for this wooden playset that were scattered all over the net, I share my thoughts on its value. In addition, I’ll provide you with the best alternative that is available on Amazon in case that last Sonora swing set has been sold before you were able to make your purchasing decision.
What’s Included with the Backyard Discovery Sonora Swing Set?
All of the cedar lumber and hardware to assemble this playset is provided. The stamped lumber is pre-cut and pre-stained. While most of the boards are also pre-drilled, you’ll need to drill some pilot holes in a few of the boards.
Once the wooden playset is assembled, there will be a top fort area that kids can climb up to using the rock wall ladder, and a bottom playhouse area that has a built-in sandbox (you’ll need to purchase 3 cu ft of sand for it separately).
This playset also includes an 8 ft slide, two swings, a 2-person glider, monkey bars, and a 4 ft rock wall ladder.
Tools You’ll Want to Have for Assembly
Of course, putting together a wooden playset requires a few more tools than a simple Allen wrench. Before you start, it’s helpful to have the following on hand: an electric drill with a Phillips head bit, a 7/16″ and a 3/8″ drill bit, a 1/2″ open end wrench, and a ratchet with 1/2″ socket.
In addition, a few basic tools will help as well: a tape measure, a claw hammer, a 24″ level, a carpenters square, a stepladder, and a rubber mallet.
Verdict for the Backyard Discovery Sonora
The Sonora swing set is truly an all-in-one wooden playset. Young toddlers can play in the shaded sandbox, and will have plenty to grow into and enjoy when they’re older (up to around 10 years, though the weight limit is about 150 lbs per child).
Assembly takes quite a bit of time (a full day or two), but if you only have a few hours available at a time, you can break the project down into sections. This playset is pretty big (the dimensions are 18’6″ long x 11’2″ wide x 9’2″ tall) so before purchasing be sure you have adequate room in your backyard for your kids to safely play (you’ll need a full 6 ft around the perimeter).
With proper care, such as applying a wood sealant annually, the Backyard Discovery Sonora will easily last over a decade. Cedar is naturally rot resistant, and Backyard Discovery even warranties the wood for 5 years against rot and decay. They also warranty the hardware and accessories for a year.
Best Alternative to the Backyard Discovery Sonora Swing Set
The Saratoga playset is by far the best replacement for the Sonora swing set. It has all of the same features with one exception: the unenclosed sand box from the Sonora model is now an enclosed playhouse with an attached and covered activity bench!