Your kids have hit that age when they are excited to be outside and stay outside until late in the afternoon. Depending upon where you live (and your access to a park nearby, the size of lots in your neighborhood, the price of real estate), you might be limited on the dirt needed to hold the big playsets. We have taken the time to pull together a little swing set that should fit just about any backyard.

We have quite a few reviews that you can find in our library, and we continue to add more to them every day. Please check them out and let us know if you’d like to see more. For this article, we’re focusing on the best swing sets for tight spaces.

The Backyartisan's Short List: Best Small Backyard Playsets

Backyard Discovery Lakewood Swing Set Best Looking Small Playset
Backyard Discovery Bay Pointe Swing Set Fun Vibes Small Playset
KidKraft Cloverdale Swing Set Tight Tube Playset
Gorilla Five Star II Space Saver Swing Set Best Heavy Duty Small Swing Set

Backyard Discovery Lakewood Swing Set

Best Looking Small Playset

Backyartisan Rating: 3.4 stars

The Lakewood Swing Set is really functional, hitting across 3 swing positions (an acrobat bar, too!), and providing a little bench for a clubhouse. The slide runs perpendicular to the swing crossbeam, keeping the installed zone to only 11.5’ x 14.5’, easily accommodating a 30’x30’ play area. We also happen to love the greens and brown natural color scheme, too.

Where It Shines:

  • Under $1,000
  • Three swing positions
  • Clubhouse areas on ground level and fort level
  • Great color scheme

Where It Could Improve:

  • A-frame styled upright post is our favorite for security
  • Rope used for swings, not the most durable option

Backyard Discovery Bay Pointe Swing Set

Fun Vibes Small Playset

Backyartisan Rating: 3.2 stars

The Bay Pointe will catch your eye and hone your beach vibes with this color scheme. This playset hit a lot of the boxes for your child’s first playset. Rock ladder, two swings, chalkboard, pseudo-private clubhouse area, the classic wave slide – you get the picture. We think your kids will enjoy it. Be warned, though, you might be taking it down and getting something more age-appropriate within a couple of years.

Where It Shines:

  • Very affordable price point
  • Fun color scheme
  • 24’x24’ use zone at most

Where It Could Improve:

  • Don’t expect much longevity at this price point
  • Children will outgrow it fairly quickly

KidKraft Cloverdale Swing Set

Tight Tube Playset

Backyartisan Rating: 4.0 stars

Anyone who has read our reviews knows that we love the tube slides. They are difficult to put together, add a significant amount to the price, but are just so darn fun to spin around. The Cloverdale gets the beloved tube slide in the tights of spaces, with an overall use zone under 29’ x 27x.

Where It Shines:

  • Three swing positions, including a glider
  • Tube slide included!
  • Great up and down fort clubhouses

Where It Could Improve:

  • Don’t love the A-frame upright post
  • Color scheme is a little cheesy
  • The photoshopped product pictures make it look larger than it really is

Gorilla Five Star II Space Saver Swing Set

Best Heavy Duty Small Swing Set

Backyartisan Rating: 3.8 stars

The Five Star II gets you a lot of the things you need at just about the lowest price that Gorilla Playsets will go. You’ll get the beefy wood and accessories that Gorilla typically employs at a size that should fit in just about any backyard. The installed dimensions are 13.5’ by 10’, so this really does fit that tight space.

Where It Shines:

  • Sturdy wood roof option
  • Brand is known for its durability
  • Very tight space

Where It Could Improve:

  • High price point matches its stability
  • Redwood Cedar is very red

How We Picked the Small Playsets on This Short List

Shipping & Receiving Process

If you've ever bought a playset before, you know that the shipment process is a pain in the you know what. You have to deal with freight or LTL shipping, set up appointments, take inventory of all the parts when they arrive, and probably most importantly, factor in the shipping costs into your budget. For smaller playsets, you'll be dealing with fewer boxes, but it can still be a hassle. All three manufacturers on our list have decent or great shipping experiences, despite the overall hassle of receiving a bulky playset. You can read our guide on receiving a playset shipment for more information on this part of the process.

Installation & Setup

Once you take inventory on all the parts after they arrive, it's time for the fun part (sorta) - assembling your playset. Most of the small playsets on our list should take you less than a weekend to put together. Remember to prep your backyard appropriately, choose your spot wisely, follow the instruction booklet, and grab a neighbor of your spouse to help you out - this is definitely a two-person job. You can also hire professional installers if you want, although that will cost you extra. Read our guides on DIY playset installation and finding professional playset installers for more info on how to choose.

Stability & Durability of Materials

Even with smaller playsets intended for younger children, stability, durability, and overall safety are a huge factor that you need to look out for. In our reviews, we look at the joints, hardware, wood and plastic thickness, wood finish, max weight allowed, and ongoing maintenance requirements. All the tiny playsets on this Short List scored average or above average in durability. The Backyard Discovery playset we mentioned above isn't incredibly durable, but is certainly secure and a great value at the price point.

Play Elements

The swings, bridges, ladders, forts, slides, and other social and solo play accessories are what make or break a great playset. And there's a limited amount of space to work with on these small playsets, so every feature counts. Don't expect more than one slide or two swings on the compact sets, although we really like the creativity that some of the brands have with fun features like tube slides and forts on two separate levels.

Price & Value

Of course, we can't forget about price, and not just price, but the value you're getting for your dollar. Everyone has different budgets, so we wanted to provide recommendations across the spectrum that we think hold great value. In addition to base cost, we also looked at shipping costs, installation costs, and the warranty for each playset. You should be able to escape for under $2,000 for most smaller models. We have full writeups on expensive playsets vs. cheap playsets if you want to read more about our thoughts on price.

You can check out our complete guide on how to buy a backyard playset for more information on all of these criteria.

Recap: The Best Small Playsets


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