What are Playhouses?
A playhouse (or Wendy house) is a garden building, usually made of wood or plastic intended for children to play in. They can be single- or two-storeys and provide an insulated area for children’s development and imagination to run wild whilst being in a safe and weatherproof stucture.
But a garden playhouse can be one of many different types.
Types of Playhouses
The two easiest ways to split up playhouses are by material and type (or style). Let’s start with the former.
Playhouses by material: Wood
Wood is one of the most popular playhouse building materials. This is because wooden playhouses are:
- Traditional/classic design
- Fitting with garden aesthetics (e.g. they go with wooden furniture)
- tongue-and-groove cladding. This style of interlocking panel creates a solid structure that’s weather-resistant.
Best for: Anyone who wants a traditional look or to customise their children’s playhouse.
And once you’ve picked, bought, and assembled your playhouse you can start to get prepared for further down the line. Namely, treating and decorating it.
Treating and painting your playhouse
And we don’t just mean treating it right! (Ok, bad gag – that’s on us).
For a plastic playhouse, obviously, you won’t hard to treat it with anything. For a wooden playhouse, start by checking if the timber used was dip- or pressure-treated. If it’s the latter, you shouldn’t need to apply any treatment yet (but may want to after about a year).
Dip and pressure-treated timber will protect your playhouse against insects and rot. Otherwise, before assembly, you might want to treat your playhouse panels separately with a wood treatment with UV protection and a mould inhibitor.
This is because wood can either rot in damp and cold weather or dry out and crack in warm weather.
If you want a more in-depth checklist for how to treat your playhouse – check out this guide.
But essentially, sanding (where necessary), priming, and treating timber can help extend its life. Just remember to use a transparent sealer if you plan to paint over it. Use a coloured wood stain if you want a traditional, rustic look.
And always use EN71-certified or water-based paint if you’re painting your playhouse interior.
Playhouse will also typically have gaps where windows and doors are for safety precautions. We wouldn’t recommend it, but to make your playhouse more insulated and weather-proof, you might consider caulking around these gaps. That’s if you accept the associated responsibilities and trust your children!
Your Garden Buildings Direct playhouse requires a minimum of two people and some tools to help assemble it. Following the assembly instructions provided with your order, it should only take a matter of hours to build.
You want to make sure to purchase a playhouse that your kids won’t quickly outgrow. If they’re taller, perhaps they need a two-storey playhouse. Make sure to try and maintain a scale that encourages them to use it without feeling overwhelmed.
A good way to do this is to mark out your proposed playhouse site before purchase with some strings lines. Adjust these until you find a size that your children are comfortable with.
We’d advise against placing any garden building straight onto the ground as it can cause damp and uneven pressure on the structure. However, you can build a level gravel and plastic foundation onto grass or a timber sub-floor to elevate your playhouse.
Most wooden playhouses will come with a 10-year anti-rot guarantee. Regular wood treatment can help to extend the lifespan of your playhouse.
What makes a good playhouse objectively could be things like:
- Quality of construction materials
But you’ll also need to factor in what makes a good playhouse for you, including:
- Suitability for your available space
- How the aesthetic fits in with the rest of your garden
- How it suits your children’s ages, size, and style of play
Our playhouses are not designed for children aged under 36 months. This is because there are small parts that may be a potential choking hazard. The maximum user weight for tower and two-storey playhouses is also 50kg. We recommend keeping playhouses a minimum of 2m clear from any obstructions or other structures.