Common Questions: Playhouses

Playhouses make a great addition to gardens, providing children with hours of entertainment.

We do get a number of common questions regarding these, of which we will look at a sample in this article.

What Age are Playhouses For?

Playhouses can be ideal for a vast array of children’s ages, ranging from 1 to 12 years old. Typically, most playhouses should advise what age range they are designed for.

Plastic playhouses tend to be designed for the youngest of audiences, thanks to the rounded corners, safety catches and lightweight nature of the material. You can also obtain fabric playhouses/wigwams, which are also ideal. In both cases, these are easy to clean and work hand in hand with easily available plastic toy sets, such as toy kitchens and garages.

The more commonly seen playhouses tend to be made out of timber and are designed for older children. Whilst there is no rule to say what age a child could be when it comes to playing in a timber playhouse, generally speaking it is advised that children 7/8+ would be safe enough to enjoy these. Timber is a much harder material and could cause damage should a child fall and bang themselves; this could cause damage. There is also the possibility of splinters, etc, from timber playhouses, however normally they are designed to be as finely sawn and safe as possible to meet child safety rulings.

Do You Need Planning Permission for Playhouses?

If you are buying a playhouse from a retailer you would not require planning permission for the assembly of this, apart from in very rare circumstances, such as if your property falls within a historic or environmental area where strict rules are in place to keep all properties within the area uniformed.

Should you wish to build your own playhouse, depending on the size and specific location, this could require planning permission. If you are looking to build your own, we would advise speaking with your local authority for free advice on if planning permission may be required.

Where Should a Garden Playhouse be Placed?

Playhouses can be very flexible in where they can go, however we do have some tips on this:

  • Level Ground: Ideally completely flat, but not compulsory. The flatter the base, the easier the playhouse will go together. You’ll also want to ensure that the ground is level enough so that any opening doors, etc, don’t get caught on the ground/base.
  • Trees: If possible, try not to place a playhouse directly under trees. The reason for this is any falling branches, foliage, sap, etc may cause damage to your playhouse. It could also mean more regular maintenance is required.
  • Safety: It goes without saying that you want to ensure the playhouse is assembled somewhere safe, away from any potential hazards, such as raised decking, spiky planting or concrete. Concrete is a great base to build playhouses on, but any falls whilst playing inside and outside of the playhouse could result in injury. If you do decide to assemble a playhouse on or near concrete, we would recommend soft tiles or similar to put down during playtime, to help prevent any nasty injuries.
  • Waterlogged Lawns: Do not assemble your playhouse in part of your garden which is susceptible to becoming waterlogged during/after heavy rainfall.

Do Playhouses Need Treatment?

Playhouses will become dirty, so it is always advised, regardless of the material of the building, that it is regularly checked and cleaned.

Some types of playhouses do also require treatment:

  • Plastic Playhouses: These are easy to wipe clean and require no treatment.
  • Wooden Playhouses: Just like your garden shed, you would need to look to protect the timber using a suitable wood paint or stain to prevent damage.
  • Fabric Playhouses/Wigwams: These tend to be washable, either by hand or in a machine. Check your item prior to cleaning to see what it recommends. If being used outside be wary of UV damage. Fabric sprays are available to help protect the material from discolouring and other sun-related damage.

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