Looks attractive in a backyard
Feels very durable and safe
Keeps kids entertained for hours
Setup is difficult
Only one color option for the wood
More expensive than other sets
Backyard Discovery Skyfort II Residential Wood Playset
We purchased the Backyard Discovery Skyfort II Wooden Swing Set so our reviewer could put it to the test with her two young sons. Keep reading for our full product review.
Kids and parents will love the Backyard Discovery Skyfort II Wooden Swing Set for the hours of engaging fun it provides. Designed to accommodate up to nine children at a time, the playset features activities to entertain and challenge a diverse age group. To really get the full scope of this product—and see if it’s worth the investment—we gave it to one of our testers who has two sons, a toddler and a 5-year-old. She assembled it in the backyard, where her kids and their friends played on it for weeks on end. She evaluated aspects like its sturdiness and durability, as well as each of the set’s individual features based on entertainment value and usability for children of different ages. Read on to see why she was satisfied in nearly every category.
Design: Innovative, fun, and safe
“The material is all top-notch and high quality,” reported our tester, who was a fan of the construction from both a safety and visual standpoint. “Not only is it fun for the kids but it's a gorgeous structure we don't mind seeing out our windows. The green trim on the playset is a really nice touch and elevates it from the standard swing set,’” she explained. Our tester did wish for additional color options, like a lighter brown or grey. However, the stain used is chemical-free and safe for both children and animals.
Another important aspect of a playset is how it will stand up over time, and our tester thought highly of this one’s construction. “The materials feel incredibly durable,” she said. Made from 100 percent cedar, the playset is designed to be rot-resistant as well as highly resistant to natural decay. All of its plastic components are also UV-resistant. Backyard Discovery ensures its products meet or exceed the toughest ASTM playground safety standards. “We love that the set feels safe and sturdy,” our tester noted. “Nothing sways when the kids are on the swings or climbing into the clubhouse.”
Standing at 271 x 200 x 149 inches, “the size of the actual structure is fantastic and leaves space for lots of kids to play together at the same time,” according to our tester. One of the standout features is a raised clubhouse complete with a roof, windows, covered entryway, a crow’s nest, and a lookout balcony. There’s also a lower deck, a three-position swing beam with two belt swings and a swing glider for two, a 10-foot wavy slide, a shaded sandbox, a rock climbing wall, and monkey bars.
Beneath the upper clubhouse sits a picnic table for four. Specifically, our tester was impressed with the sandbox: “The sandbox underneath the structure is a really neat addition to the playset. It is nice that it isn't too big and is also shaded,” she said.
Not only is it fun for the kids, but it's a gorgeous structure we don't mind seeing out our windows.
Entertainment Value: Hours upon hours of fun
The many different areas of the playset are what make it such a valuable investment. In fact, our tester reported that her children enjoyed playing on it multiple times a day—the clubhouse was the biggest hit. “Our 5-year-old loves the little balcony with the play telescope!” the tester raved.
Another important element is the fact that it can entertain multiple kids and a variety of ages simultaneously. “The older kids love the clubhouse and monkey bars, while the younger ones love climbing the small rock wall and using the swings and sandbox,” our reviewer revealed. The slide is crafted to be speedy, and the monkey bars are challenging to help your child build strength.
Age Range: Your kids will grow with this set
The manufacturer’s recommended age for the Backyard Discovery Skyfort II is from 3 to 10 years. Our tester noticed that it was definitely better suited for her 5-year-old than her toddler, especially since there isn’t a baby swing—which she thought would make a nice addition. That being said, there are many aspects of the set that aren’t restrictive of age, such as the shaded sandbox or the picnic table. On the other hand, the monkey bars offer a challenge ideal for older kids.
“The monkey bars are particularly high, making it hard for our 5-year-old to navigate,” explained our tester. “The drop down is probably around 10 feet, way higher than the standard monkey bars at playgrounds.” But with imagination in mind, the clubhouse and swing set can provide endless fun for children for years.
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The older kids love the clubhouse and monkey bars, while the younger ones love climbing the small rock wall and using the swings and sandbox.
Setup: It’s a major project
It’s worth noting that “assembling the playset is not easy,” according to our tester. The total weight of this playset is 702 pounds, and it’s shipped in four heavy boxes, which provides a challenge. “The delivery man couldn't carry them on his own to the backyard and had to leave them at the end of our driveway,” our tester said.
Before you set it up, you’ll need to make sure the ground is extremely flat and cleared of all large rocks and trees. Backyard Discovery also recommends providing a 6-foot perimeter around the swings for safety.
“It took three very handy friends about 10 hours to put this together,” our tester recalled. “There are so many pieces and tools required to assemble.” Backyard Discovery does offer an option that includes professional installation, but it costs $800 extra.
Nothing sways when the kids are on the swings or climbing into the clubhouse.
Price: A significant investment in a product that’s built to last
While there are plenty of less expensive playsets on the market, the Backyard Discovery Skyfort II (MSRP $1,699) isn’t the priciest option, either. Depending on the size of your yard, the number of kids you expect to be playing on it at any given time, and the number of years you hope to use it, the high price tag is easily justified. Essentially, you’re getting a premium playset built to last—and the price reflects that.
Competition: More fun for your buck
Backyard Discovery is a big-time name when it comes to playsets. Check out our list of the best swing sets, and you’ll see the brand has several popular options in a variety of sizes and price ranges. Compared to the Backyard Discovery Prestige Wooden Swing Set, the Discovery Skyfort is quite a bit more expensive, but on close examination, the extras seem worth it. The more budget-friendly option has the same quality build and durability, but its main feature seems to be the swings—which limits the entertainment value considerably.
A model by another brand, the Lifetime Adventure Playset, has similar features as the Skyfort II, but it’s missing the monkey bars, sandbox, and “fort”-like clubhouse. More compact options like the Big Backyard Magnolia Wooden Play Set are great if space is at a premium, but because of the lack of climbing wall and monkey bars, as well as the elementary design, kids will most likely outgrow this set more quickly than the Skyfort II.
Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best outdoor toys for kids can help you find what you're looking for.
If you’re looking to purchase a long-lasting piece of playground equipment for your yard, the Backyard Discovery Skyfort II pretty much has it all. Yes, it’s an expensive item that requires a good deal of space and time to install, but its quality design, usability for a variety of ages, and entertainment value are well worth it.
- Product Name Skyfort II Residential Wood Playset
- Product Brand Backyard Discovery
- SKU 6113
- Price $1699
- Weight 702 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 271 x 200 x 149 in.
- Manufacturer Recommended Age 3-10 years
- Maximum Children 9
- What’s Included wood, hardware, swings, slide
- Not Included sand
- Warranty 1-year on parts, 5-year on wood for rot and decay