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A playhouse can be a really fun and useful addition to the garden, especially if your kids love to play outside. Not only are playhouses great for kids to spend time in but also for a little bit of extra storage. When buying a playhouse, it can be tricky to know which to go for; which will you get the most use out of? How long will it last? How do you set it up? We’ve got you covered with our handy children’s playhouses buying guide.

Fort Sandpiper Playhouse

Playhouse Features

Having a playhouse in your garden is a great place for the kids to play and express their imaginations. Playhouses are designed with kids in mind, so they are a safe space for them to enjoy themselves. We have a variety of styles of playhouses, all of which come with different features and additions; some have two levels whereas others even have integral garages. With different options for cladding, including painted options for a pop of colour, you’ll be spoilt for choice so it’s important to understand which options are best for you.

Choosing your Playhouse

As with the majority of outbuildings, the choices you make regarding purchase, aesthetics, materials, accessories and durability will all depend on the intended purpose of the building as well as the placement and location. First and foremost, therefore, it is best to decide on a purpose before making your purchase as there can be multiple uses for a playhouse that you may not have thought of.

Hideout

Children love building dens and hiding out in them; it is a space they can feel cosy and the idea of having a hideout is really fun to them. We’d all love to have a little place to escape to and relax and kids are no different. Playhouse’s make a great space for a little hideout where kids can relax, watch films or read books. If you plan to use your playhouse in this way, you may need to consider things such as electricity unless you don’t plan to have electrical items in there. Having the playhouse closer to the main house may therefore be necessary.

Wendy House

Many playhouses come with additions which make them great for playing house; with separate dining and living areas as well as a mezzanine for a bedroom. Kids can have hours of fun letting their imagination run wild, playing with dolls or friends. If the intended purpose is for the playhouse to resemble a miniature home, you may want to consider some of the additions mentioned above such as integral garage and mezzanine.

Playroom

As the name would suggest, playhouses are great as a separate space for children to play. It gives you a place designated to playtime which means the main house is a little tidier and their room is specifically for sleep. All of which can be beneficial for you and your children. If this is the case, the kids will probably keep most of their toys in the playhouse, so it needs to be big enough to store them.

Arts and Crafts

If your children are into arts and crafts as many are, having a playhouse could be a great way to create a designated space for this. Keep the mess out of the main house by creating a craft area in the playhouse. Keep all the supplies in there and set up a little table for them to do their crafts without the worry that their going to ruin something in the house.

Storage

Generally, if you’re purchasing a playhouse specifically your main purpose won’t be storage as we have a number of other more suitable options for this however you may want to use part of it to store toys or art supplies so if this is the case you may want to consider a larger playhouse or one with an integral garage or potential storage space.

Types of Playhouse

Fort Thornbill Playhouse

At GBC we have a variety of playhouses in different sizes, colours and styles with different additions and accessories. We can categorise our playhouses into three main sections. 

Two-Storey Playhouse

Two-storey playhouses make great mini homes in your garden for children to play in. With larger models offering integral garages and multiple windows. Beautifully crafted, these larger playhouses make a great addition to the garden. With different options in terms of additions, colours and designs you’ll be sure to find something which appeals to both your kids and fits your garden aesthetic.

Malvern Playhouses

Our collection of Malvern Playhouses are constructed with quality materials so you can ensure your children have years of fun ahead. With various options for coloured accents you can personalise your playhouse to your tastes. Whether you opt for a larger playhouse or smaller cosy playhouse, there is one thing for sure; it will provide endless entertainment for the kids.

Fort Playhouses

With a variety of different styles, colours and sizes available; our collection of Fort playhouses are perfect for kids. Choose the style which best suits your garden; with traditional Georgian windows and beautiful craftsmanship these playhouses make a great garden accent.

Advice for First Time Buyers

Malvern Lodge Playhouse

Positioning

The intended use of your playhouse will likely dictate the best positioning for it. If you need to have electricity that reaches your playhouse you may want to position it closer to your home; similarly if you think you may need to carry heavy objects to and from it you don’t want it to be too far away. As your kids will likely be in their quite often, you don’t want it too hidden or far away otherwise you won’t be able to clearly see them.

Planning Permission

Outbuildings fall under permitted development which means generally they don’t require planning permission. Playhouses should be included in this and therefore you don’t need planning permission but if you’re unsure you should always check with your local council. Usually, planning permission will depend on size and position. These are some of the rules for permitted development;

  • The overall height, including the roof, should not exceed 2.5 IF the building is within 2 metres of the property boundary. If it is outside the 2-metre boundary the eaves height should not exceed 2.5 metres; with a pent roof it can reach 3 metres and with an Apex roof 4 metres.
  • The internal dimensions should not exceed 30m².
  • It should not take up more than half the area of the land surrounding the house and should not be at the front of the house.
  • It cannot be a self-contained accommodation.

If you think any of the above apply to you, you may need to apply for planning permission, so it is best to speak to your local council. There are also rules if you’re property is a listed building or sits on designated land; speak to your council if this is the case as they can advise on next steps.

These rules are true for England and Wales; for NI and Scotland rules may differ slightly.

Safety

As with anything that is going to be used by children, safety is a priority which is why our range of playhouses come with various safety features as standard. Both Malvern and Fort playhouses are CE certified.

Malvern playhouses come with acrylic windows, piano style hinges, rounded edge framing, rounded bargeboards and magnetic catches all to make sure that they are as safe as possible. Similarly, our range of Fort playhouses also have acrylic windows, they come with extended door hinges, rounded edge framing and roller catches.

We do everything we can to ensure the safety of our playhouses but there are a few things to bear in mind when they are being used; wherever possible there should be adult supervision but also make sure that you can see your children at all times when they are playing in the playhouse. Place it where it can be easily seen from the house and isn’t blocked by trees or other obstacles.

Foundations

As with all garden buildings you will need to have a strong, level base prepared prior to the installation of your building; the same goes for playhouses. It is recommended that the base be constructed from slabs, concrete or heavy-duty decking. Having a strong base ensures the longevity of your building; the better the base the less likely it is for moisture to inhabit your playhouse.

All our playhouses come with the option of installation, so you don’t need to worry about installing it yourself; all we ask is that you have a base prepared. If you are unsure on this, you can contact us for advice.

Product Care Information

Malvern Playden Playhouse

Looking after your playhouse is incredibly important to ensure its longevity and appearance. There are a number of things to do and look out for in your playhouse to make sure it is well maintained and be aware of when it may need an update.

As we mentioned, the base is key to the longevity of a playhouse. A strong base stops moisture damage and warping. Once warping occurs your playhouse will need replacing as it cannot be reversed. A solid base is one way to prevent warping as it prevents moisture from the ground from seeping into the structure.

Generally, you also need to ensure the cleanliness of the playhouse. It can be easy to forget about cleaning it especially if you don’t venture inside yourself, but cleaning prevents insect infestation. Bugs love wooden structures, so infestation is likely if you don’t make sure to get rid of cobwebs and dust every so often. 

FAQ's

How safe is a playhouse?

All our playhouses come with various safety features as standard and full, specific, product safety details can be found in the product descriptions. We do all we can to ensure the safety of our playhouses and we advise adult supervision whenever possible and that you keep in mind that playhouses should be easily visible from the house so you can keep an eye on the kids when they are in there.

What age are playhouses suitable for?

Playhouses are not suitable for those under 36 months and for those over adult supervision is essential. In terms of maximum ages, it is advised that a weight limit of 50kg be acknowledged for two-storey playhouses.

How long will my playhouse last?

The longevity of your playhouse will depend on how well you maintain it, and as mentioned the quality of the base. If you keep up to regular cleaning and have a strong base it should last through childhood and beyond.

How do I install a playhouse?

With all our playhouses we offer optional installation, so you don’t need to worry if you’re unsure; all you need to do is a have a base ready for us on arrival.

Do I need planning permission?

Playhouses come under permitted development so don’t need planning permission generally, but it is a good idea to check with your local council if you’re unsure after checking the rules.

Now you’ve got all the information on choosing the best playhouse for you and your little ones, shop playhouses at GBC now.

Posted by Matt Jordan

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