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Backyard Discovery Review

Tuesday, December 6th

2022 Playhouse Reviews

Backyard Discovery Review 4 Star Rating

Backyard Discovery

4 Star Rating
  • 10 wood playhouses to choose from (plus 40+ swing sets with playhouse features)
  • Prices range from $249 to $1,799
  • Free shipping
  • 30-day return policy, 15% restocking fee
  • Assembly available for an extra fee
  • In business for 30+ years
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB

Backyard Discovery has been making high-quality wooden playhouses, swing sets, and backyard leisure products for more than 30 years. Based in Kansas, this retailer is owned by Step2, another big name in playhouses (though typically the plastic kind).

Playhouses + swing sets = full inventory

When you look just at the playhouses sold by Backyard Discovery, you might be less than impressed with the selection of just 10 styles. We'll focus on just those items, but we invite you to also look at their Swing Set section: there are more than 40 designs there, many of which have the features you might be looking for in a playhouse.

Solid options under $300

This retailer's most affordable playhouse is the Sweetwater. At a retail price of $249, this cute model has lots of features, from a play sink, stove and cordless phone to a snack window and flowerpot holders by the front door. Shipping is included, and there's a link to check general arrival estimates; for this model, it said to expect 7-10 days within the Midwest and 10-17 days on the East and West Coasts. There were over 100 customer reviews for the Sweetwater playhouse, averaging 4.8 stars out of 5; many of them mentioned wood not being as high-quality as they expected (splitting during assembly), but most people raved about this adorable, affordably-priced playhouse.

Affordable even on the high end

On the highest end of the price spectrum, Backyard Discovery sells the Eagles Nest Playhouse for $1,799 (down from an original retail price of $2,299). This is a fantastic choice for your children to grow into, with a rock wall, full picnic table and benches, and a 10-foot wave slide. We loved looking through the customer photos in the nearly 300 reviews and hearing all the ways this playhouse has made for some treasured family memories.

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Assembly available for an extra fee

All of the playhouses here have assembly as an add-on, through a service called GoConfigure. Just look for the option in the product description; the price will change accordingly. For example, the price on the Sweetwater went from $249 to $499 when assembly was included. And as you'd expect on a much larger playhouse, the extra charge for assembly on the Eagles Nest was $1,100.

Strict on returns

You might want to see if your Backyard Discovery playhouse is available through another retailer in our review (after all, we spotted more than one of their models as we evaluated other stores). Why? The return policy here is pretty strict, much more so than than the third-party retailers who also offer their playhouses. It's understandable, because Backyard Discovery is a much smaller company than a big-box home improvement store, but it still impacts you as a customer: 30 days, you're responsible for the return shipping fees, and you'll have 15% deducted from your refund as a restocking fee.

Great brand - wherever you buy it

We absolutely recommend this brand of playhouses. They're well-built, affordable, and get rave reviews from customers. While you'll need to determine if it's better to buy one direct from their store or through a reseller, Backyard Discovery deserves to be a contender if you're shopping for an affordable-yet-sturdy wooden playhouse.

Where Can You Buy the Best Playhouses?

A playhouse can be a simple, inexpensive way to keep a toddler occupied for a few hours in a pop-up structure in the living room - or a sturdy, wooden structure that might last long enough to give your children and later your grandchildren years of happy memories. From pirates to princesses, kitchens to caves, the adventures provided by playhouses are only limited by one's imagination.

Your first consideration when buying a playhouse is where it will be used. Obviously you won't want to buy a cardboard design for use outdoors, but it could be exactly the thing for a rainy day inside. If it's going to be set up outside, you'll want to choose a playhouse that can withstand the elements where you live, from snow to sunshine, and that fits the space you have in mind.

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Playhouse FAQ

Playhouses are used for having fun! They are a place where children can make memories and use their imagination. They might pretend to be adults and make meals, take care of babies, and have sleepovers with siblings or friends. Playhouses often look like mini replicas of real homes and can be as simple or fancy as you want them to be. The selection available online for children's playhouses is extremely impressive.
It's not uncommon to put a children's playhouse in your backyard or playroom. As long as you have plenty of space and a good area for adult supervision when necessary, a playhouse could really go anywhere. Just make sure it's on level ground to ensure doors can open freely so that kids can play safely!
The simple answer is that playhouses should be big enough for children to easily walk in and out and play inside without feeling too constrained. Most people don't have an area in or outside of their house for a giant playhouse, so it just needs to be big enough to play comfortably. The technical answer is that some experts say playhouses should be between 50 and 100 square feet with a maximum wall height of 6 feet.
When buying a playhouse, you could either go with a wood exterior or an all-weather durable plastic. Wood is easy to paint and customize whereas plastic won't show as much wear and tear overtime like dents, paint chips, or scratches. When deciding what you want your playhouse to be made of, consider the weather in your area, how hard your kids will be on it, and if it will be inside or outside. You also might decide just based on the style.
Playhouses can be expensive if you want your children to have a mini mansion in the backyard! If you want a multi-level, fully accessorized playhouse, you can easily spend a few thousand dollars. This is definitely not necessary though. You can get a fun, long-lasting playhouse your kids will love for barely over $150. The end cost will really be determined by the style and size of the playhouse you choose.
Playhouses are most commonly used by kids between the ages of 1 and 12. But let's be honest, adults have a blast playing with children in the playhouses too! They are a staple "toy" that everyone can enjoy and they'll entertain children for hours on end. Whether you have boys or girls, playhouses are one of the most fun purchases you'll ever make for your kids.
Most retailers allow you to return playhouses within 30 days if it is in new condition. However, you'll probably pay hefty shipping costs that might deter you from deciding to send the playhouse back. If it comes damaged or has missing parts, you'll be able to exchange it for a new playhouse at the expense of the company you purchased the playhouse from.
Playhouses are built to last for years! It's not uncommon for parents to buy a playhouse for their children and hang onto it for their grandchildren to use as well. As long as it is well taken care of, your playhouse will probably be around longer than you will, and the memories too! It's a purchase that will be worth the cost tenfold.
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Continued from above...

The next factor in your decision is the age range of the kids who will be using the playhouse. A huge climber with rock walls, rope swings and a lookout tower will be the envy of the big kids in your neighborhood, but if the child(ren) in your life can't quite walk yet, it's not going to be the right fit.

Finally, are you looking for a playhouse that's permanently installed or something that can be moved - around the yard or across the country? The most long-lasting, packed-with-features playhouses usually require you to set them up with the expectation that that's where they'll stay.

There are so many places you can buy a playhouse online, from your trusted home improvement store's website to family-owned companies that have been making sturdy wood playhouses (complete with window boxes and porches) for decades. Where should you start? Follow this list to help guide your decision:

  • Playhouse Type. As we said, you may be looking for a small plastic design for a toddler or a structure that can be used by kids of all ages. While some online retailers offer both kinds, you'll usually find that it's an either-or situation.
  • Selection. How many playhouse designs does the retailer have to choose from? Are they all in stock?
  • Delivery. Will you pay for shipping? How long will it take for your playhouse to be delivered? On the custom-made wood styles, it's not uncommon for it to take a month or more for it to be made to order and trucked to the destination.
  • Refunds/Returns. It's not all that common for people to want a refund or return on their playhouse orders, but it happens (especially for the lower-priced models). What is the store's policy?
  • Reputation. What do previous customers say about the playhouses and the company's fulfillment on orders? Can you browse reviews or see user-submitted photos of the playhouses in different, real settings? Can you expect a friendly, professional response if you need to reach out for some reason?

To help you add the most fun to your basement or backyard, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular retailers of playhouses. We're sure this information will make it easy to get the cutest cabin or climber for the children in your life!

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