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The Neat Retreat: Popular Playsets

Suzanne Oliver
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Timber-Bilt Sky Tower playset

Suzanne here, with your next dose of outdoor living. Remember, I’m not one for roughing it in the wilderness. I’ll pick cushy over coarse every time. I’m all about bringing the indoors out, while still enjoying the beauty that nature has to offer.

But as a kid, I spent countless hours outside, catching frogs and riding bikes. When I was roughly 7, my dad built me a playhouse in the backyard. Perched on four stilts, it hovered about 10 feet off the ground. He painted the little house on top a pale, buttercream yellow to match our real house, and outfitted it with a roof, windows and shutters. I made my neighborhood pals take off their shoes before crawling up the ladder and in the front door. Why sweep the AstroTurf carpet any more than I had to, right?

Hanging underneath the playhouse were a swing, trapeze bar and rope ladder. I thought it was the coolest thing around. And so did the neighborhood kids with their copycat versions. Every kid should have his or her own playset. One with a multitude of activities from swings and slides to sandboxes. It’s almost a right of passage.

I asked Ehren O’Farrow, Home Depot’s Associate Merchant for Landscape and Playsets, about consumer trends. First of all, she says, customers start thinking about their playset purchase six months ahead. So in the fall, they’re already dreaming about springtime play in the backyard. What kinds of issues do they ponder? The top considerations are the age range of their children, space availability, safety, durability, ease of installation and features.

Home Depot features Timber-Bilt by Swing-N-Slide in stores. The kits, packaged so consumers can easily load them into their cars, do not include the lumber, only the hardware and accessories. Customers then have to purchase 4×4 posts separately, as well as a slide (they’re free to choose the model of their liking — wave or tube). In stores, there are four top-selling Timber-Bilt playsets. Each one comes with a number of activities and room for a slide.

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