Cedar Summit Panorama Playset from Costco

Move over vegetable garden and garage pavillion, there's potentially a new entrant into the currently crowded backyard at the Parrillo household.  Behold:  this beauty.  The Cedar Summit Panorama Playset from Costco.   Comes with 3 swings and a tube slide.  Nat spotted this behemoth at Costco and after doing a bit of comparison shopping at a place like Menards (more expensive, I think) and Wannemaker's (don't sell these type of things any more), it appears to be a fair deal.

It is a kit - so I'd be putting it together myself, but I'm up for that challenge.  The real issue is getting it home.  I'm going to head back to Costco to take a look to see if it will fit in Nat's car with the back seats folded down.  If not, it seems like I'll be renting a truck from Home Depot. 

Yes, the Babe is likely too small for a lot of this, but certainly NOT the swings.  We take her to the park on a regular basis and she gets a kick out of the swings.  The whole fort thing - yes - that will take some growing to use.  

My sister bought her set from Costco and is happy with it.  Anyone else bought from Costco?  Want to warn me before I pull the trigger?


  1. Hi Jake:

    My husband and I just bought one yesterday and I, too, am wondering if those who previously bought it are happy. We had someone with a pick up carry it home for us. There are 6 boxes of varying size and weight. We shall see how long it will take for the hubby to put it together

  2. Bought this playset and trucked it home in my 4 door 5.5 foot bed pickup. Hung out of the bed by a good 4 feet, but secured it all and made it home fine.

    Assembled 90% of it by myself, but took my time. Averaged 5 hours/day for 5 straight days and got it done.

    • take over the garage and open and label all boxes before beginning.

    •reference parts list on bottom of each page and gather what's needed for each step.

    •use a good cordless power drill

    •hydrate yourself

    Don't rush the job. Book says 10-12 hours of assembly time for 3 people. That might apply to professional installers, but average Joe (me) takes twice the time. The last step - slide assembly - is particularly frustrating. Just follow instructions and you will prevail.

    Very happy with the playset and is a great value for the money spent.


  3. Thanks for the tips. After shopping a bit more, I think we're going to pull the trigger!

  4. I just finished the assembly of mine (purchased two weeks ago at Costco in Memphis) and it is gorgeous. The assembly is fairly straightforward.

    Grab a Sharpie and mark all the boxes. Also mark all of the individual hardware bags with their instruction letter/number combo.

    My best advice - Watch the instructional DVD. It proved very helpful for me. That way, you will know what step comes next and why you're doing what you are.

    Use a square bit driver on your drill for the screws rather than a phillips head. The hardware strips easily with a phillips head. The square bit saved me.

    The slide is a pain. Watch the DVD and use the quadrex driver to assist. I got fairly proficient after a while.

    Great call, good luck.


  5. These have just appeared in Costco Edinburgh, Scotland. Will be interested to see how you get on.

  6. I bought one yesterday. How serious did everyone take the "30 x 30 saftey zone" ?

  7. Installer here, 30x30 is needed for kids to be safe.....serious. just remember kids falling on hard things(fences, concrete, rocks) will cause a large dentist bill.

  8. Who's the installer and how much do you charge? I bought mine today

  9. we bought one yesterday as well and are now staring at all the boxes in the garage. Wondering if we should DYI or hire someone. any idea how much for assembly and installation???

  10. I love the look of this set but am concerned about the opening of the tube slide being small. Can older children slide comfortably?

  11. We are looking at this playground but don't have room for the swing part. Would anyone be willing to measure the dimensions of the rest of the playground for me? I need to know if I can fit it in our smaller city yard. Much appreciated.

  12. It will probably be a couple weeks before I get to assemble mine but would be glad to do it if no one has by then

  13. I'm in the process of putting it together now, I've spent roughly 12 hours on it so far and have plenty to go still. Like someone above seaid, I have taken over the garage, all the boxes are open in separate corners, nuts and washers on the floor in one space and on the tool bench the screws are all laid out. I think the most important thing is to stay calm and take it step by step and do not hurry. So far the only frustrating part has been that B8 (the floor boards) are listed in two separate spots and in two boxes (2 and 3 I beleive). Other than that I've been quite proud of myself.

  14. Does anyone have measurements for the boxes? I'm wondering if it will fit in the back of a tahoe.

  15. Don't know how big a Tahoe is but. . .

    there are 6 boxes total. There are 2 long boxes. Both are about 10 feet long. 2 boxes are about 3 feet square. One is a big cube (has the slide pieces.) And the final box is deceptively heavy for its small size because it has all the hardware. Hope this helps

  16. I'm wondering if the tube slide will be too small for my 7yr old. Does anyone have the dimensions (diameter) of the slide?


  17. Longest box: 110x22x7 in
    Widest box: 43x52x5 in
    I picked one up a few weeks ago and will be starting work this week- honestly haven't even opened the boxes yet. Other installers/owners have talked about staining/sealing play set wood prior to the build to lengthen the life....any thoughts?

  18. We finished putting this up today. It was really fun putting this together until you get to the slide. The instructions for the slide are horrible and the bolts to assemble it are a bit short. I went to the hardware and got 1 inch bolts and made more headway in an hour than I did the 3 hours prior. It was just my wife and I putting it together and it took us 23 hours of steady work to complete everything. The quality is awesome. The only thing that was missing was it only came with 10 #8 2 1/2 inch wood screws and it takes about 60 of them so I had to go to the hardware to get more. Overall it was a very good experience. I will say again take your time with the slide and if you get frustrated take a break and come back.. The best advice for the slide is use the Quadrex driver to align the holes and it makes it much easier. Use 1 inch bolts (which you will have to buy) verses the 3/4 inch which come with it.

  19. Ok. Looking at this one. Has anyone found the company website. Looking for dimensions, weight limits etc. Is anyone having it installed?

  20. here's the website with dimensions and instruction videos as well !


  21. Bought it and put it together with a friend. Took us one full Saturday and two half Sundays (So two full days). But that was after I went through and put each bolt in a container with a label (took me 2+ hours to do that). Not sure what someone was talking about how it was missing #8 screws. Mine did not. Also, I would NOT use 1" bolts for slide... they will stick out too far or not be tight enough. My set went together perfectly. I am not using the swing section and the thing is still solid as a rock. Take your time! Slide is a piece of cake to understand putting together, it simply takes 2 people (or three).

  22. Hello,

    We are up in Yukon, Canada, and have been looking at this playset. Being as we would be getting it shipped up from Alberta-we would love any feed back you may have. We are wondering if anyone has had it over the winter and found it still being used lots. Has anyone checked out the ones from Willy Goat?

  23. I asked the company that makes this play set if this set is ok to have without the swing section. There answer was a BIG NO. They tested it without the swing section and said it is not safe that way. And as for the one inch bolts they will be tight enough if you tighten them down enough. Something I forgot to mention is I took a dremel and cut the extra off so nothing is sticking out. I got the idea from a company that puts playsets together as a business.

  24. We bought one, and hubby is putting it together as we speak. He is on day 4 and just getting the roof on. Not bad for a one man job! The quality is excellent and I think it was a great bargain. We needed two cars to bring it home, and the only way it worked is because my Ford has a front seat that folds down. The longest box went from the back of the car all the way to the dashboard. I went to the store and measured all the boxes first. It is very sturdy and we are pleased with it only being 3/4 way finished. Hope that helps.......I was actually looking on line to see if I could find an infant swing to swap out when I found your blog with my "Google" search. He he

  25. I would be grateful if someone could comment about the quality of the unit. I'm looking at getting a Rainbow (39E) but the cost is just too much to overcome. I've inspected the Rainbow and they are sturdy and look to age well. I'm hoping to get 10 years from whatever climber I purchase. How does the Cedar Summit stand up? Any thoughts about the company or product? Many thanks for any assistance.

  26. Someone referenced the saftey zone above. I am two feet short of the recomended 28ft (depth) saftey zone. As the actual depth is listed as 10'10" per the website, I'm guessing that the majority of that 28 ft is to provide room for kids using the swing set, and doesn't necessarily apply to the fort/side. Can anyone verify that a 25 ft depth would be sufficient? P.S. I have plenty of clearnce on the length end of the equation.

  27. Your safety zone should extend a minimum of six foot outside the perimeter of the play system. I actually sell a very well known brand of play structure, and this is standard for safety.
    To anonymous who is considering the Rainbow. That system has a lifetime warranty on the wooden parts. So not only will you use it, your childrens children will as well. Rainbow is the leader in the industry for a reason. For those who purchased a Costco unit...just wait until you try to replace a broken or damaged part under warranty. It's unfortunate that Costco does not warn the customers about that process...

  28. Thx Pixy. I've never claimed to be a math wiz, so if the listed depth is 10'10"m and I have 25ft, I should have plenty of space to allow for the saftey zone?

    Just confused, because the website recomends 28 ft. of saftey zone on that side which would be appx. 8.5ft on each side.

  29. I bought one last weekend and was able to get all the boxes in my CX-9. I had all the seats folded (except the drivers ofcourse :) ). We had to take the contents out of the Box 1, which just has the slide parts, so it was quite easy. Now we're in the process of clearing out and leveling a playarea the size of 31'x28'.

  30. We bought this unit last week and are paying for an installer. They started at 10 am this morning and stopped at 5. They will be back at 10 tomorrow and said it will be finished early. The problem we have run into is that we are missing a deck board(B8) and it is a long holiday weekend so it won't be here till Monday. Other than that it looks good so far and Im glad we decided to hire it out.

  31. We bought this playset around mid-March. I agree with what others had to say about the installation/assembly.

    Unpack everything, divide into A B C D sections. I found this to be easy for me.

    I got to the slide and found the assembly to be incredibly frustrating. At that point I would've paid someone $2000 to put it together! jk but I never want to do that part again. The key is to use the tool provided and place in the hole of the two sections and the clamp. That lines things up pretty well. The DVD states this and it helped a lot.

    Using the correct driver bit is crucial as to not strip your screws. Invest in a socket adapter for your drill. I had all of what I needed except this adapter...bought it the next day.

    We weren't missing any parts and had extra screws, etc...leftover.

    It took me almost 1 month to put together. This was done mostly on weekends with help from the wife when the kids were sleeping or at the grandparents. My father-in-law is a home builder and provided about 8 hrs of invaluable time. Be patient, you will eventually get through all the 50+ steps.

    Once everything is up and the playground mulch is down, I'm glad it's done. The playset itself is awesome. Best playset for the $$ no question.
    I have 1 girl about to turn 2 and 1 boy about to turn 4. The 4 year old LOVES it! It's still a little much for my little girl but she is trying.

  32. Just finished last night!

    This set is definitely high quality and a good deal for the money. I know Rainbow is the leader in the industry but they are also on the top end of the price scale. This set is sturdy, safe and I feel quite comfortable that my 5 and 7 year old will enjoy it for years to come. As far as I am concerned Costco is a God send for selling this high quality set at an affordable price.

    My 7 year fits down the slide no problem :~)

    It took 3 people (2 women and 1 man) about 3 full days to put it together. The instructions and video complement each other well so read carefully and if confused refer to the video. This is very possible for the home do it yourself hobbyist if you take your time. There are frustrating steps but overall this was a good process.

    My kids came home and had "the best Easter surprise ever!"

  33. Got mine a week back. Have spend one weekend (6 hrs Sat and about 4 hours Sun) on it so far with a friend. Now on Step 21. Took all the parts out of the boxes, labeled them and have all the hardware out and labelled in a room. I am not a handyman by any means and this is not too hard. I keep telling myself that there is the satisfaction of seeing your kids use something that you built with your own hands !

  34. hello, what are people using for a surface for this playset? I'd like to use the recycled rubber chips (from costco online).

    The manual says they should be 9inches deep, this sounds like a lot, especially if playset is to be staked down 13 inches.

  35. We used rubber mulch. I made the area 27 feet across and 24 feet deep. We put it down 4 inches deep. I recieved a sample of the rubber mulch that Costco sells and there is better rubber mulch available. Plus it is very expensive compared to other companies. Try looking at Home Depot, Lowes or even Walmart carries it. We ended up buying it from Walmart because it was on sale for $4.65/bag.

  36. Hi-

    How many bags did you need @4.65 /bag ?

  37. We needed 181 bags. I asked the company that sells the brand Costco carries and we would have needed 3 pallets.

  38. Does anybody have any experience with pea gravel?? I have the playset bought but I am now trying to find a place that sells Pea Gravel or some sort of mulch for the safety zone...what are your thoughts on what would work best and not cost me a ton of money?

  39. Matt, Try seeing if there is a gravel pit in the area where you live. They should be able to bring it and dump it near where you need it. The rubber mulch talked about in this thread is the best but can cost alot. The theory is if you put the rubber mulch 4 inches or greater it protects your child from major injury up to a 8 foot fall.

  40. To Matt Kozera
    We have used Pea Rock under our previous set and
    it was fine..we just made it deeper with this set...we got ours at Lowes...2.35 a bag....all the others are sharp and small...Lowes is rounded and a bit bigger....you have to buy less and works good.
    So far we love our set....we referred to the DVD all the way thru construction....great help...we don't have the huge footprint but it is ok....the kids just don't swing to the moon...

  41. What a great play set. I purchased from Costco for $999.99. Brought it home in one trip in my VW Touareg SUV with the seats folded down and a couple straps. I am an experienced carpenter (which you don't need to be) and it took me by myself a full day and a half to put together. If you can follow instructions and take your time you can put this together. One person can do it but it will require an extra set of hands at a couple key places. Overall the instructions were amazing, the parts were already labeled and the bolt reference guide was a big help. The kit was NOT missing any parts or screws or lumber. I highly recommend this product. In the end it is very stable when put together. Yes the slide was not fun to put together but if you take your time you can get it done.

  42. Has anyone just assembled the Fort section? Cedar Summit say not to but it looks pretty stable and is staked down so looks reasonably secure on its own.

  43. 2 days 3-4 evenings. 2 people. I am totally impressed with this product. Even though the assembly is a lot of work. Very happy with the purchase and outcome. Quality of materials is awesome, I believe this product will stand up to Southern Alberta winds. Im still suprized at Costco's price point. Quality parts. Well done cedar summit!
    would recommend this product over and over.

  44. Ok a number of questions:

    1. What box are the instructions/DVD in?!

    2. What bases are people using?

  45. Husband and wife, experienced do-it-yourselfers, took about 30 hours to build everything but the slide. Still working on the slide - about 2 hours invested already. The slide is a pain. Set looks beautiful. We inserted screen into the cupola to keep birds from nesting in it.

  46. Which of the 6 boxes were the directions in? I want to preview them before i get rolling on this adventure.

  47. Just completed the build of this set. Picked it up on Friday, battled with paying someone $400 to build it as it sounded like a good idea after reviewing the instruction manual. On Saturday morning decided to bite the bullet and call my father in law to help. Neither of us are what I would consider handy/construction friendly.

    Started at 11am on Saturday, father in law left at 5pm. By that time the second story floor and rails were in. I kept working until 7pm and skipped ahead and installed the swings because so help me God, I was going to let my kid swing on it by day's end after taunting her all week ;-)

    Sunday morning built the crow's nest, roof, cupola, and finished it off by 11am. My neighbor came over to help with the slide. It's a pain, but really not all that bad.

    The entire project was complete around 2pm on Sunday (mother's day). Mom, kid, and myself were VERY pleased with the end result. In hindsight, it was a very fun, challenging and relaxing project.

    Price is very right on this unit. I'm now planning on carpeting the upstairs with marine grade carpet, and possible building up a floor in the bottom room. Also considering adding malibu/low voltage lights on the inside.

    This really brought out the kid in me.

  48. Box 6 has the instructions and DVD in it.

  49. Assembly took me about 24 hours while my wife watched our 2 and 4 year olds. Raising the roof panels was the only step requiring the assistance of a second person. Best to have a least 2 variable speed cordless drill drivers and a long 1/8 inch drill bit for the pilot holes for the 3+" lag screws.

    I stained all of the wooden pieces a darker chestnut brown color before assembly. This alone took about 12 hours. There's a lot of surface area and required close to 2 gallons of stain. I used Sherwin Williams Deckscapes semi-transparent water based acrylic stain in chestnut brown.

    The playset is stable and the kids like it. But it is definitely lower quality than a Rainbow playset. A properly maintained Rainbow playset will last multiple generations. Because of lower quality and smaller dimension wood, this one will probably just survive our children. But who really needs/wants a multi-generation playset? Something new and better will replace these in 10 years.

  50. Does everyone really think u need a rubber floor/area? We'd planned to just install it 'on the grass'.

  51. very happy with the look and quality of this playset, It took my uncle and I 2 full days to finish, but the kids and wife love it. A comparable set at my local play set store would have been about 3K installed, saved alot of money by DIY. I suggest having a cordless impact driver with a socket adapter and a hex key adapter, plus a regular cordless drill for the pilot holes.

  52. We bought ours from Costco.com American Made and very easy to put together.


  53. I just enterd the panorama fray this week and am two days into construction. I am curious as to whether most people are building the unit in place or have been building it in a garage or driveway and then moving it to its final site. I want to do as much as possible out of sight as my daughter will explode if there is a half built swing set she is not allowed to play with. I am assuming that 3 or 4 guys could pick it up and move the unit. Any advice?

  54. (new to the thread)

    We recently finished putting this together and ended up making 1/2 the garage the staging & assembly area as one of the other people on this thread suggests. There are a number of sub-assemblies that you build and then attach to to the larger structure. If you follow step-by-step, there is never an assembly too large that two people can't carry to the site.

    Our lessons learned:
    1.) It takes longer than the estimate on the directions (2 people 10-12 hrs for the structure/ 2 people 2-3 hrs for the slide assembly). I did this over 4 weekends w/ my father-in-law & brother-in-law and we've probably got nearly 25-30hrs into it. I would think you could do it closer to the estimate on the directions if you've done it before, but this was our first (and probably last :) ) playset.

    2.) Get Driver Bits to replace use of Allen Wrenches. We didn't have this for the first two weekends, and it really adds a lot of time w/o the driver bits.

    3.) Pick the materials before you start each step - every time we didn't do this, we ended up having to re-do the step.

    Hope this helps -

  55. I purchased it at Costco and paid to have it assembled. Very strong and cute. Lots of fun activities in one play structure. My 2 yo granddaughter loves it! Especially the swings. Great purchase. Would highly recommend.

  56. Can anyone suggest a reputable installer in Michigan, Oakland County?
    We bought the Panorama few weeks ago from Costco but cannot find all those hours to do it ourselves. Thanks in advance.

  57. I'm a day and a half into mine and i just realized one of my long corner posts in warped and i can't continue. This after i already had the floor together and one whole 2nd floor side done.

    So annoyed.

  58. I just bought this kit today and I had no idea how long this would take. I worked on it for 4 to 5 hours today and have the super structure up (all by myself as I couldn't persuade anyone to help me since everyone I know would just pay someone to assemble it) ... working on the side panels on the lower fort area still. It was overwhelming when I opened the boxes, but it's been fun and gratifying so far. I'm tempted to order another drill/driver ... but I'm trying to resist.

    We'll see how long it takes to finish this beast ... I think another 3 to 4 days at least, working 4 to 5 hours per day.

  59. Some tips:
    1) Get the hex drive bit / drill and throw the allen wrenches in the trash. There are something like 100+ of these wafer bolts and there's no medal for using the allen wrench at the end.

    2) Have some clamps on hand if working on your own. They help hold pieces in place (another set of hands) and also bend warped pieces into place while you slide bolts through.

    3) Pay close attention when a step asks for pieces E14 or E16. These boards are identical except for a slight position difference in the pre-drilled holes. Either will work where E14 is needed, but only E16 will work where it's requested. Take it from someone who had to switch them out steps later :)

    4) Keep the single fold out parts list with your parts stash and the instructions out by the work area. Always pull all the parts (listed on the fold out) for each step before starting the step.

  60. American Made? When I enter my serial number at the CedarSummit website, it shows a made in China date of 11-10-10. Installed 100% by myself, including slide, used a ladder to hold up swing assembly while fastening. Roughly figure 25-30 hours of labor. All complete, nothing broken, mis-labeled or misplaced. Kids, 7-4-4, love it. Looks great in yard.

  61. We started building yesterday...got through step 25 with my father in law and I. We'll be posting pictures as we go.

  62. Bought this last weekend in Los Angeles. Building it myself as most of us are on this thread. "Dad is it done yet?" NO! Its not to bad of a build. Really looking forward to the FREAKING SLIDE assembly. Just read the direction carefully and pull the parts lay them out for each step. I can see the hex bit for a drill being handy. But, a 5/16 socket for a drill is needed more I would think. Have fun and good luck. It's all for the little ones that will dig it once it's complete.

  63. My father-in-law and I put it up in 7 hours Saturday and 7 hours today. Looks great, highly recommended. But it was hot today.

  64. Looking forward to seeing the pics as you build it. We are working on our safety zone right now before we build...

  65. We bought this back in March and it took my husband 3 weekends to put it together. The kids love it and have been playing on it for a month now. Tonight we noticed the whole structure seems to jerk a bit when two kids are on the swings. Also the whole structure jerks when someone goes down the slide. Anyone else experience this? We took the swings off tonight until we can take a closer look at it. It just seemed like the whole thing was swaying a bit. It did not look safe to me while the kids were swinging.

  66. To poster above. Make sure everything is level and stakes are driven in the correct positions. We prepared the ground at the fort area with bricks on the corners (level with ground) and under the sway boards then made sure everything was level before placing the fort there.

  67. one question, as i am almost done. i put the large roof on but it does not line up very well. when facing from the crows nest or other platform, the right side always overhangs more than the left. is this normal? it seems strange as all else is square, the posts and all.

  68. I have bought this set and am starting work on it tomorrow. I figure 12 guys can do it in 2 hours just joking. Actually to those who are asking where it is made it is Canadian made ( I live 30min from where they are made)

  69. Can anyone comment as to the quality of the wood?? We were thinking of getting a kit where you buy your own wood, but this set is amazing and the price isn't too bad either comparing to similar ones. We were also looking at a few models from Toys R Us, but, again, are worried about quality. Any information would be great~

  70. Actually these are made in China. The company is in Canada but the products are made in china. The reason I know is I called Costco's customer service and they told me the info

  71. I would say the quality is pretty great, we did not get from ToysRUs or Walmart because we didn't like how rikkity they seem where a this is VERY stable.... my brother in-law who is probably at least 150lbs tested the swing & slide.....

    However there is no way I would ever give this a five star rating.... simply because the assembly is HORRIBLE..... it took roughly 80 man hours total.... it took my husband & I over three hours just to unpack & label all the parts.... NONE of the parts were labeled with the ABC 123 labeling indicated in the directions.....the bags of screws weren't labeled with the letter/number indicators in the instructions either.....and the directions are really hard to follow.....I put EVERYTHING together in our house & I even had some trouble when I went out there to see what was taking so long.... some things had to be re-done but it still would have taken waaaaaaayyyyyy over the 15 hours for two people that is the top estimate to put this playset together.....

    Anthony did you screw the two pieces of roof together?

  72. For those who are putting in a safety zone, did you build it first and then put the mulch/gravel around it, or did you build it and then dig out dirt around it? We made our safety area (dug down about 6 inches and also put a wood border that stands up about 5 inches) and are building it now inside it, but just realized that when we put in 9 inches of pea gravel, the door won't open! We clearly didn't think this through. Just curious how others built with the safety zone? Playset first and then fill, or what?

  73. Once you get it installed ... it is fantastic. Extremely solid, well made, looks great, and my son loves it. You won't find a better set for the $999 price.

    That being said ... the assembly took alot longer than advertised. I spent approx 3 hours labeling all parts (I can't believe they weren't labeled already) and approx 22 hours with 2 additional helpers over the weekend. I can't imagine how long it would have been if I didn't label the parts first!!!

    I thought the directions were fine, but you have to be very careful to pay attention to the locations of the pre-drilled holes. There are a number of pieces that fit multiple ways, but if not done correctly ... you will be taking it apart and fixing it at a later step.

    I recommend picking up a right angle screwdriver attachment for your rachet. It will keep you from using the horrible little tool that comes with the set. There are a number of little bolts that you can't use your power drill. The angle is too tight.

    Overall ... I think its a great set. Just get a few buddies to help, label the parts ahead of time, and plan on it taking all weekend to finish.

  74. Some of the playsets from Toysrus and walmart are made from the same company. What makes this playset better is they use 4x4's for corner posts rathers than using the smaller 2x4 posts used on there other sets. Over all I would say this set is ok but if I had to do it all over again I would have bought something different. I have had mine up for 6 weeks and the finish has already faded and the coating has started to peel off from the swing chains. I am thinking I might somewhat take it apart and return it to Costco and spend the extra money and get something that will last longer. And yes the instructions are horrible

  75. I am the least handy guy in the world and with much time and patience, succeeded in assembling the Panorama. If I can, you can too! It was well worth it, nothing comparable at even twice the price. I am going to make observations of the process while the details are still fresh in my mind so as to help others attempting this.

    I started this project at the beginning of May and just finished last Wednesday working evenings, weekends, and taking a couple Fridays off. 90% my own labor/10% family. I knew it was going to take much longer at the outset so I wasn’t troubled. I didn’t use power tools, being a bit of a masochist and also wanting a good workout. However, if you use a power drill it will cut the time down drastically.

    Nine years ago we got another playset from Costco (same price and inferior quality to the Panorama) and I was too lazy to do it right. I paid someone to build it and while he did a decent job, I didn’t prep the yard properly. I didn’t construct any safe zone, just put it right on the lawn and due to its unevenness the set always wobbled when the kids used the swings.

    So this time I cleared out the entire garage and took the first week sorting out the parts and staining the wood. I used Olympia cedar stain (rated 3-5 years) for the first gallon of stain and it looks beautiful. In the interest of saving a few bucks I bought a gallon of Behr cedar stain for the second gallon and regret it. Doesn’t look as nice and clearly will come off a lot faster.

    I assembled steps 1-15 in the garage except the longer bottom board of the SW Wall Assembly (step 12), making sure everything was level and square the entire way. I broke one of the ladder rails by hammering in a t-nut too hard, but we called Cedar Summit and they mailed us a replacement for free with no hassle.

    I then spent the next 2-3 weeks leveling down a 12’x24’ play area. I rented a Bluebird sod cutter to cut the first couple inches away, then starting digging down with a shovel and removing the earth until it was level. After a lot of blood, sweat, and blisters the job was finally complete. Then we laid down black plastic tarp (found in the paint section at Home Depot)on top, using landscaping staples to secure it.

    After we moved the fort outside, the assembly went a lot faster. I did have problems with the roof support assemblies (steps 27-29): for some reason they didn’t come together like they should. This was even after taking great pains to ensure I had everything properly spaced, level and square up to this point. I had to cut about 1” off of the short roof support assembly to get it to come together correctly. Not ideal, but hey it worked!

    We also had a bit of trouble getting the door installed properly into the door wall panel (steps 36 & 37) but finally managed to get the hinges spaced just so.

    The slide assembly is a bit of a bear, but no more so than the rest of the playset. I had to use a 1” pan bolt to join one set of clamp rings instead of the ¾” one (steps 50-52) because it just wasn’t coming together close enough.

    The pan bolt and nut removed in the video (step 54) is NOT the correct one to remove, you’ll figure out the correct one when you get to step 55. Minor annoyance, but still, the video should match up with reality; it would have saved me some time.

    Finally, even with the flange assembly flush to the crowsnest the slide buckles slightly on the inside sides no matter what I tried. Going to look at the display model at Costco I was pleased to see the same issue. Not a big deal, but if you’re trying to be a perfectionist and get it right, you will waste a lot of time thinking you’ve done something wrong with the slide assembly.

    I bought six 4”x6”x12’ Mendocino redwood boards at Home Depot to outline the 12’x24’ safety area and used three 12” rebars per board to secure them.
    (continued below)

  76. (continued from above)

    We purchased 8 tons of sand @ $15 a ton and paid $50 for delivery: much cheaper than mulch or any other solution we investigated.
    It took ~7 tons to fill the area and I have the last ton in a corner of the yard to use to replenish as necessary.

    All in the all I didn’t have any major problems with the parts or instructions. I did find that the board measurements were a little off (e.g. a board would measure 5.5” wide instead of 6” as listed) but they were off consistently so no biggie. The video was a great complement to explain difficult steps.

    Even with all these issues, the playset is an resounding success!

    The Panorama looks magnificent, is solid as a rock, and my kids (six ranging from 2 to 15) all love it! They’ve already camped out overnight in the fort twice this week. I’m confident it will last 10 years (at least) with proper staining and maintenance.

    Here are some pictures:


    The bottom line: a totally worthwhile endeavor. Just take your time, lay out all the necessary parts before each step, and be patient.

    I know this was lengthy, but I hope it helps others!

    Best of luck!

    -Joe Seeley

  77. slide took me an hour and a half. as someone stated earlier, use the supplied 90 degree screwdriver as an alignment tool.

  78. Just finished this today after a long day yesterday (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) building with my Grandfather helping...and a 6 hour day (6 a.m.-12 p.m.) today. Hands are sore...but this was well worth it and is really a great set.

    The real key, as others have stated,is labelling and organization. I labelled all the bags of hardware the night before we started with the labels the book uses (the labelling on the bags does NOT correspond with the manual). Then the morning of the build I layed out all the wood pieces in the order of the boxes, and referred back to the parts pages as we went. The saving grace is that the manual tells you what box each part is in...so keep them clustered together...unless you want to write on each of your wood parts. I didn't want to do this, and am glad in a way I didn't have to worry about markings on the pieces.

    The slide is the the worst part...but you see the finish line by that point and work through it.

    We built it on grass...I think it should be fine, but I will probably build a floor inside the two little "indoor" areas on the ground level.

    One big help for us was having hex and bolt tips for our cordless drills. These saved TONS of time. One thing I wished I had was a rubber mallet, but only for one or two little things...not a big deal at all if you don't have one handy.

    great set, great price, and very satisfying when you are done building it!

  79. Just purchase this today from Costco with the new lower price $799. Can someone refer me to a installer in LA area?

    Thank you

  80. We just put our set together and it had a lot of "checking". Does anyone else have a lot of cracks in their wood? Makes me a little concerned!

  81. I'M WARPING, I'M WARPING??? HELP....my husband is off to Home Depot to get some clamps but we just noticed after getting the second level on that one of the long beams is totally warped by 1 1/2 inches (and the hubby swears that he has all the long beams in their correct position) so has anyone had this problem? There is no way that the kids will last another week or two before the company can send another beam....any suggestions?
    Warply (I mean warmly), Sharon

  82. We live in rental and were given this structure as a gift. Sweet gift, I know. Anyway, we plan on moving from here within 3 years or so. Do any of you know how the structure would handle being disassembled only to be put up again at a future location? Will the integrity of the structure be compromised?

  83. Is this playset big enough for a 7 year old to enjoy? Will she grow out of it in a couple of years?

  84. I bought the display model a couple of weeks ago for 799 less 10%. I had to borrow a trailer to pick it up as they do not dis-assemble. The positive is that I didn't have to build the whole thing. The negatives were that I still had to re-build parts of it as it was put together wrong. Wrong screws/bolts used in the wrong places. Still less time than doing the entire assembly. Also some pieces were missing, including the slide exit. I went back to let them know and they were aware of that piece missing when they built the display but had forgotten to order it. They called today to let me know that the piece is in now for me to pick up. When I got there, they had ordered the entire slide and gave me the whole box in case I wanted spare parts. Inside the box was a complete slide, extra rock wall handles, plastic window pieces, and a few other parts. It is a very good deal for the price as I planned on building my own play set but after pricing things out found that this one is much more cost effective. To buy the slide alone at home depot is $589, and that is just the slide!!!

  85. Last year, I bought the Cedar Summit Retreat, the only difference is that ours had the open-faced slide. I rented a Lowe's truck to transport it. Had one of my friends help me loading and unloading. When assembling, do not remove the parts from the box. The instructions manual will tell you which box to get the part from. I assembled it pretty much all by myself and needed help only with putting up the bar that holds the swing and putting up the roof. Do not tighten the nuts and bolts too much.

    If your backyard is flat, great. If not, you will have to do some digging. Assemble the base then use it as template.

    The manufacturer's customer service is great. I had a problem with soft grip chains and they replaced it for free. The problem was for some reason dirt and bugs gets stuck on the grip and had to clean it everytime. They said it's not supposed to happen.

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