Eco-Friendly Outdoor Play Sets for Every Budget
Who doesn't remember the glorious days of being a child and swinging like a monkey from the bars on a play set? All kids love going to the park to play, but it's awesome when you can bring that joy (and exercise) to your own backyard. And today, there are tons of options that go far beyond the play sets of the past with seemingly infinite ways to customize and configure. There are also plenty of options for parents who care about the planet. Check out these 6 eco-friendly outdoor play sets for every budget.
Kid’s Creations produces high-quality redwood and cedar playsets, always with sustainable forestry in mind. The company’s wood suppliers must meet strict eco-friendly criteria, including harvesting lumber from their own lands and reforesting the harvested areas, protecting forests from wildfire and pests, and complying with forestry and environmental laws. These criteria ensure that the suppliers grow much more redwood than is needed for harvesting. Kid’s Creations actively seeks eco-conscious solutions and recognizes the importance of being committed to a sustainable and renewable forestry.
Kid’s Creations playsets are offered in the $1,000-$2,500 range, with the more expensive Premier sets in the $2,500-$7,000 range. Customizable options and additions are also available.
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Of the companies we reviewed, Cedarworks boasts the largest selection of products as well as the largest price range. From outdoor products (like swingsets, playhouses, backyard and patio furniture) to indoor products (like inside-playsets, playbeds, playhouses, toys, and furniture), Cedarworks undoubtedly has something for everyone! You can even fully customize Cedarworks playsets; the company offers both Design-Your-Own and Design-With-Us options, leaving room for infinite possibilities as you design a unique playset perfectly fit for your children, with or without the help of Cedarworks design experts. Cedarworks focuses on minimizing its environmental impact, implementing the Cedarworks Re-Cedaring Program, a program through which the company donates thousands of Northern White Cedar seedlings to environmental organizations and woodlot owners. So far, they’ve donated more than 500,000 seedlings through the program! In addition, each customer receives a cedar seedling as a gift with every playset purchase, so they can help the environment by planting their own seedling. And on top of those efforts, Cedarworks also donates 10% of profits “to organizations that benefit kids and the environment.”
Cedarworks sets are absolutely gorgeous and endlessly creative. Plenty of swingsets are available in the $1,000-$10,000 range, with the more lavish sets ringing in at as much as $30,000-$50,000. Yes, we may have drooled a little as we browsed through these incredible sets on the totally dreamy Cedarworks site. And by simply entering your email and zipcode (they won’t send you any emails--we checked!) you have full access to all product pricing.
The outdoor swingsets come in three beautiful sets. The Play-a-Round collection offers three models between $2,000 and $3,500. The Frolic collection boasts over 20 models between $1,200 and $8,000 as well as eight more models for $13,000+. Finally, the Serendipity collection boasts luxury playsets from $10,000 and up.
RAINBOW PLAY SYSTEMS INC.
To build its playsets, Rainbow uses 100%-certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative redwood and cedar, and plants five trees for every tree harvested. Rainbow is intent on not wasting materials. At the factory (the largest playground factory in the world), discarded wood materials are reused in production or recycled in some way, such as using a wood-chipper to turn it into mulch. Fun fact: Rainbow Play Systems built the playset near the White House for Barack Obama’s children, Sasha and Malia! Prices range from $2,000 (during sales) up to $10,000+.
Woodplay playsets are built with redwood, a naturally decay-, disease-, and insect-resistant wood, so no harmful chemicals are needed to protect the set. In addition, the wood for the sets is “responsibly sourced from sustainably managed forests.” Woodplay offers a limited lifetime warranty on its wood playsets, a major selling point for many Woodplay customers.
The price of Woodplay sets is slightly dependent on which area of the U.S. you’re in--and which unique set you could dream up, since Woodplay sets are fully customizable with near-endless add-ons! So visit their site to find your local showroom where you can learn more about your options and pricing.
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If you’re looking for an eco-friendly playset that’s not made of wood, believe it or not, there is an option for you. Play Mart Natural Playground equipment recycles milk jugs and other plastics, turning them into plastic lumber to build the main structure of their sets. Some playsets recycle over 20,000 milk jugs! The manufacturers at Play Mart pride themselves on using as little water, energy, and non-recycled materials as possible in the playset production process, focusing instead on efficient reuse of waste products. In addition, Play Mart recently began the Take Back Program, meaning they recycle the plastic from old sets when the sets need replacing!
A quick look at their pricing sheet (you’ll need to request one to your inbox) shows us plenty of playhouse options in the $650-2000 range, and plenty for $2000+. The mini-playsets (more backyard appropriate) are gorgeous as well as more industrially-designed than others we viewed, and they chalked in on the more expensive side; Play Mart playsets are generally in the $3500-$11,000 range.
While Backyard Discovery lacks the Go-Green mission statement of the other companies we reviewed, the relatively lower price spectrum is noteworthy indeed. According to Backyard Discovery, their sets are designed “with the utmost safety in mind, allowing you and your child to get years of enjoyment out of the playset with the confidence they're getting plenty of exercise, fresh air, and developing their imagination!” One excellent part of choosing a Backyard Discovery set is that all prices include shipping charges; some even include installation charges!
At Backyard Discovery we found plenty of playhouses between $250 and $600, as well as numerous playsets in the $500-$6000 range; the beautiful Odyssey sets are in the $1200-6000 range. The company also offers sheds and patio products, like pergolas, swings, benches, picnic tables, and basketball hoops.