How to Build a Playhouse

This guide tells you how to build a playhouse for your kids that will keep them entertained for years to come. There's nothing better than a new playhouse in your backyard to inspire a child's imagination and get them outside in the fresh air for some active play and fun.

This step by step guide will give you the basics on building a playhouse without using a prefabricated ready-made kit. This is the perfect way to get your kids involved in a project and allow them to help you build their brand new playhouse. You'll probably find by getting them involved in the build, they're more likely to appreciate the finished design and want to spend even more time in it.

Choosing playhouse plans

Whatever your building skill or knowledge, it's always a good idea to invest in a good set of plans. If you are just learning how to build a playhouse or an experienced builder, never consider starting a build without some kind of plan to work from. You'll be able to find a plan that suits exactly what your child likes, whether that's a castle design, pretty cottage or activity playhouse.

Good playhouse plans should also come with a detailed materials list, telling you the quantities and specifications of all the materials and hardware you'll need to complete the playhouse. Have a good think at this stage about any accessories you might also like to add, such as furniture for the inside, paint and a picket fence and garden out the front. That way you can keep on top of your budget and make sure you don't overspend.

Playhouse foundations

You'll need a good strong base for your playhouse, to give it plenty of support and protection. It's best to lay a concrete patio or for extra warmth underfoot you can use a wooden decking.

Make sure you position your playhouse away from large trees and hedges but also in a place you can keep an eye on your children from the house. You don't want them tucked away behind a tree or shed. Good soil drainage is also an important consideration.

Siding and Walls

Unless you buy a plastic kit, you'll find that most playhouses are built from pressure treated non-toxic timber. It's important to make sure that any wooden parts of the structure are properly planed and sanded, to avoid splinters and injury. Also make sure your design has all the edges rounded off, once again for safety reasons.

Your timber cladding will also need to be treated with non-toxic stain and paint, to protect the playhouse from the elements. This will need to be retreated every few years, which makes a perfect time to restyle the playhouse to suit your growing child. They'll probably want to get involved in the new colour scheme and help you paint and style it to their liking.

Constructing a playhouse roof

If you're worried about how to build a playhouse, one area you need to pay particular attention to is the roof. It's vital for waterproofing the building and without it your playhouse could suffer from rot and moisture damage from the rain. This could weaken the structure and make it unsafe for kids to play in.

One of the most practical finishes for a playhouse roof is to use shingles. This gives it a lovely country cottage style finish and helps to protect it from the weather.

An apex roof is also a common feature of playhouses, which helps to enhance rainwater run off and protect it during the winter.

Playhouse customization

The sky really is the limit when it comes to customization. There are so many ideas on how to build a playhouse that your child will instantly fall in love with. Here are just a few:

  • Give them a wall to decorate with their own mural. This is a great way to get their creative juices flowing and allow them to take ownership of their playhouse. They could each choose an internal or external wall and really give it their own personal touch.
  • Add window boxes and shutters for a country cottage look. You could finish this off with a white picket fence and garden out the front and let them learn about planting their own vegetables, herbs and flowers.
  • Allow the playhouse to grow with your child. They're not going to want pink flowers or castle turrets for too long. Once they hit their teenage years, you could show them how to build a playhouse again and create a place to hang out in the garden with their mates.

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