For over 35 years, Backyard Discovery has sold various high-quality outdoor and patio furniture and equipment, including swing sets, playhouses, slides, pergolas, gazebos, and more. They offer several different options, excellent customer service, and even installation assistance for their products.
The Tuscon Wooden Swing Set is perfect for a lot of backyards. It’s reasonably priced and comes with excellent features. It’s durable, rot-resistant, and offers many different play options. The Tucson swing set is similar to their Belmont design but in a different color and with a few added elements.
The Backyartisan's Verdict
We rate our products on a five-star scale. The categories show our rating and the weight of importance given to each. Keep in mind that 30% of the weight applies to the playset before use, 45% to the use of the playset, and 25% weighs the value of your purchase.
We’ve considered all pertinent factors and compared this set to similar sets within the same price range. The overall rating is the weighted average of all the factors.
Shipping & Receiving
Be sure to check out our article about shipping a playset. You’ll find relevant information and tips for simplifying the process. A lot goes into shipping equipment as large as outdoor playsets. The manufacturer does cover the shipping cost on this particular model, but there are several other factors to consider.
Our Tuscon verdict: People generally have a good shipping experience with Backyard Discovery. The Tucson swing set is one of the smaller ones, so that shipping will be simple. You can expect a total of 3 boxes, equalling a little over 200 pounds.
From start to finish, the shipping process aims to be hassle-free and done as quickly as possible. Many satisfied customers have even reported having received their shipments early.
For this reason, we give Backyard Discovery a rating of 5 for shipping.
Trucking Company Appointments
The Tucson swing set is packed in fairly large boxes and ships via LTL freight. This method gets used when your standard delivery options are not sufficient. You’ll need to schedule a delivery time and plan to be home when the shipment arrives. This shipping method is more complex than the usual method, but this is the best method and very cost-effective.
Making appointments with trucking companies isn’t fun, but it s the most efficient and cost-effective way to ship these playsets.
Dealing with Pallets
Pallets are necessary for this shipment because the boxes are over 7 feet long. The downfall here is that you will most likely be responsible for accepting and disposing of the pallets. Some companies will offer to keep them.
The shipper may offer liftgate service, which is not necessarily needed. The largest box weighs about 137 pounds. Forego the liftgate if you are capable of hopping onto the truck to remove the packages yourself or preferably with help from a friend.
Unboxing and Taking Inventory
This playset comes in three boxes, so there shouldn't be much hassle. Be sure to inspect the pallet and condition of the boxes. Inspect the shipment for any visible damages and take plenty of pictures. If you’re satisfied, sign off on the delivery and proceed to remove your packages.
If you have any problems with the purchase, contact the retailer and inform them of the issue right away before signing for the shipment. Unless the product is severely damaged, go ahead and accept, noting anything wrong.
Box Weight and Dimensions
- Box 1: 91 ¾“ x 21 ¾“ x 6 ½” Weight: 134 lbs.
- Box 2: 46” x 21 ¾” x 3 ½” Weight: 37 lbs.
- Box 3: 46” x 21 ¾” x 3 ½” Weight: 41 lbs.
It is possible to unload these boxes alone, the heaviest weighs 134 pounds, but I’d recommend enlisting the help of a friend or a few friends if possible.
Installation is one of the most crucial elements of owning this playset. This portion of the process requires a legitimate amount of work but is well worth it. Be prepared and know what to expect before you begin assembly.
Even if you are not a professional handyman, the instruction manual is a perfect guide to successfully assembling the playset. I am barely intermediate but accomplished installation just fine.
Backyard Discovery does provide contact information for companies that will help with installation, and some sellers offer installation apps that provide step-by-step instructions.
Properly putting the Tucson swing set together is essential for your child’s safety. You’re going to want to make sure that everything is in order and properly put together before the kiddos give it a try.
Check out our article on playset installation for planning and essential tips.
Our Tuscon verdict: Installation of this playset takes an estimated 7 hours for two people with intermediate handyman skills. It can be done b one person alone, but I’d highly recommend enlisting some help if possible. Remember that the process will require a good amount of elbow grease.
We find 7 hours to be above average for installation time of a playset of this size, giving it a 4-star rating.
The tools required for installation are fairly basic. You’ll need a claw hammer, a level, open-ended wrenches in various sizes, a carpenter square, ½” deep sockets, and an electric drill. The drill needs a Phillips head attachment and drill bits measuring ⅛ and ⅜ in inches.
In addition, a tape measure, a ruler, and a step ladder will also be helpful.
Ease and Timeframe of Installation
Backyard Discovery suggests setting aside at least 7 hours for total installation. Be sure to add a little more time just to be on the safe side. Keep in mind that the time should be broken up into increments of a few hours at a time, so plan to spend a good day and a half to two days with the help of a friend.
Please note that being organized and planning things will help things run smoothly. There are severely small pieces of hardware and multiple tools required. Have a suitable workspace ready and be prepared.
Quality of Directions
The owner's manual is very well written and easy to understand. They include lots of pictures, which is a plus for me. The manual contains step-by-step visual instructions. The parts and tools are all pictured and labeled clearly.
The manual could use more color. The instructions kind of run together, making it a little hard to distinguish between sections. But each section is clearly headed and outlined to help you out. There is no table of contents that would assist with finding specific topics.
Overall, the directions are easy to follow, and the manual provides loads of extra tips and tricks to get the job done. Just keep things organized, and you’ll do just fine.
The manufacturer recommends a safe play zone of roughly 21 to 30 feet around the structure. That ensures the playset is at least 6 to 7 feet away from any other standing structure. The set is about 9 ½ feet tall with a safe play height of 16 feet. The maximum fall height is around 6 feet.
Even though these are the recommended measurements, it's always good to allow for extra space when possible.
It is also important to note that the playset should be set on level ground.
Stability & Durability
Backyard Discovery just isn’t your choice when shopping for heavy-duty options. With the Tucson being one of the smaller, less expensive sets on the market, I’d say you can expect average durability. The set includes a sufficient amount of hardware to ensure a stable and sturdy build.
Here’s where you’d consider the notion of “more bang for your buck.” It’s priced at $750 so you shouldn’t expect a heavy-duty, lifelong fortress.
I’ve found it simple and effective to add additional screws for increased stamina.
Our Tuscon verdict: The Tucson swing set gets a 2-star rating for average stability and durability. You can expect to get a few good years of play with normal wear and tear. We’ll discuss the actual parts and how to construct the set. Generally, being one of the less expensive models, this is not a heavy-duty playset.
But don't be fooled! This playset will hold up to its promises as long as you adhere to all guidelines.
Joints & Hardware
With an average rating on stability and durability, the Tucson comes with sufficient hardware to provide the expected resilience. It includes a variety of generic nuts, bolts, many screws, and washers to provide sturdy connections.
The screws range from 1 ⅛ to 2 ½ inches long, and the primary bolts are about 5/16 of an inch thick. The hardware will provide sufficient connections. At this price, the joint and bracket hardware is fairly standard.
Most of the wood beams on the Tucson swing set are 1 inch or thinner. Once again, this set is not one of the heavy-duty options. The swing beams are the thickest at 2 x 3 inches. That’s not so great. Most heavy-duty swing beams are 4 x 4 inches to give you an idea of the difference.
I would like to see some thicker beams, but that's not very likely at this price. The included hardware and construction make up for the thinner boards. There are several nuts and bolts that keep things in place just fine.
The only plastic element is the slide. It breaks down into three pieces for shipping ease. There is the main piece and two side panels. The slide measures 8 feet in length and requires ½-inch screws to secure it to the slide brace. It requires many screws to attach the main portion to the sides.
I like this slide model because it’s sturdy and long enough for the kiddos to enjoy a good trip down. Since it’s constructed of three separate segments instead of one solid piece, it may not last as long as expected.
Wood Stain & Finish
This swing set is 100% cedar with an excellent stain and finish. The wood looks smooth and natural and has been laboratory tested to withstand breakdown from rot and water damage. I would like to see a darker finish on play sets with this particular color scheme.
The wood will need care and attention over time to maintain its shine and smooth texture. Check out our section on caring for wood finishing.
Backyard Discovery recommends that only children use the play set. We recommend a maximum of 150 pounds per child for areas used for individual activity. One hundred twenty pounds is the maximum for areas where multiple children will play. They suggest that only nine children play at one time.
With this being one of the smaller playsets, it is wise to follow manufacturer recommendations for weight limits strictly. Don’t expect it to withstand extra weight.
Your playset will last longer with reasonable care and maintenance. The manufacturer recommends periodic maintenance before, during, and at the end of each play season. This maintenance would include lubricating all metallic and moving parts, tightening all hardware, checking protective coverings on bolts and other equipment, and removing certain parts when not in use.
When not in use, certain parts, such as the swings and trapeze bar, should probably be removed. Extreme temperatures can cause damage if left out and unused for too long.
You can also check out our checklist for maintaining a wooden playset.
Remember that you will pay about 20% of the cost of a heavy-duty playset. You can expect this particular model to last about 20% of the time of a heavy-duty playset. As mentioned before, that is about three years.
This section will lay out the diversity of the playset. It comes with a few different options that your child can enjoy by themselves or with a friend. The set includes swings, a trapeze bar, a slide, a climbing wall with rocks, a mid-level fortress with a covered roof, a picnic table with a canopy, and a sandbox.
Our Tuscon verdict: This set offers a few more options than you’d expect at this price. Most playsets in this range don't usually come with much more than a set of swings, a climbing area, and a slide. The picnic table and trapeze bar are some cool added features.
For the price, I’d give it a solid 4.
Ups, Downs & Acrosses
So let’s discuss the options of directional play. The Tucson doesn’t have activities like a monkey bar, so that’s pretty limited.
The up-and-down play happens on the rock ladder that leads to the covered fortress. It’s a nice sold ladder with several sturdy “rock” elements that kids can grab onto for better grip. Going up and down should be a breeze.
Then there is the slide which offers downward play.
The swinging option on this playset is adorable. You can mount up to three swinging options, that includes a trapeze bar. Even though the crossbeam is not super sturdy, it will bear the weight of three children playing at once.
There is also an option to add a baby swing for toddlers and infants.
Social Play Accessories
The picnic table and sandbox area are great added features. They offer places for kids to sit and relax while socializing with friends. A picnic table is an excellent place for dramatic play. Most other playsets at this price do not have these features, so I feel it’s a definite bonus. The sandbox can also be filled with dirt or wood chips.
Solo Play Accessories
Kids can pretty much enjoy all areas of this playset solo. There is no seesaw or other element that requires a buddy to operate, so we’re all set here.
Roof & Kit Options
The fortress landing is the only roofed area on the Tuson playset. There is a small canopy that hangs down to cover the picnic area. It doesn't offer a ton of shade, but it’s not completely exposed, either. These limitations are to be expected at this price range.
Price & Value
So now you’ve got a pretty good idea of what the Tucson playset offers. Considering a price tag of $750, let’s discuss how the set compares to overall cost and value.
The set is also available through other retailers at lower prices. Most likely, those retailers do not handle the shipping costs like Backyard Discovery.
Our Tuscon verdict: We’ve given the Tucson playset a 4-star rating simply because it offers more than you’d expect from a playset in this price range.
Backyard Discovery offers a one-year limited warranty on all playset parts. I like that option, seeing as though we estimate the playset to last about three years. The wood carries a warranty of 5 years against decay and rot.
The owner's manual details which parts are covered and the length of time they will be warranted. If there are any issues within 30 days of purchase, repairs are free, and so is shipping.
Overall, you are getting a good quality product for your spending. After factoring in shipping costs and the cost of production, you’re getting a great deal. Although it isn’t very big, the Tucson has many cool features, and the shipping and installment portions are not a total pain.
Backyard discovery certainly performs above average on their playsets.
Backyard Discovery offers free shipping for this playset. Shipping for outdoor equipment of this size will run anywhere from $200 to $300, so that’s a good deal. As mentioned before, you can expect to pay this amount if you purchase the set from a retailer.
Pay attention to the return policy. It is not typically free, and you’ll likely have to pay for shipping costs on returned items.
The cost of installation will total $300 to $500. This set is fairly easy to assemble without the help of a professional if you have the time, but it will take some hard work! I’d recommend paying someone if you just don’t have the time or the know-how.
As mentioned above, there is a one-year limited warranty. This has actually improved recently. The warranty guarantees that the equipment is free from defects in all parts and materials, including wood, hardware, and accessories.
The wood should be free from defects, such as rot and decay, for up to 5 years.
The warranty does not cover installation, incidental damages, cosmetic defects, vandalism, acts of nature, or improper installation.
Backyard Discovery will not pay for labor for anything outside of manufacturer damage or error.
The Tucson Cedar Wooden swing set by Backyard Discovery is a great playset, in my opinion. We give it 3.45 stars because it offers great value for the price and has some excellent perks and features that are not available on most other playsets in this price range.
The added play features are a bonus and are rarely offered on sets at this price. The owner’s manual provides excellent instructions and tons of helpful tidbits to help you along the way.
You should expect to get a good three years of fun and play before the set needs to be replaced or the kids outgrow it. You will reap the benefits of an awesome purchase with good maintenance and care.
Thank you for reading more about the Tucson swing set in this Backyartisan review! While this playset didn't make the cut for one of our Short Lists, you can check out the swing sets that did in our Best Backyard Swing Sets article.