A password will be e-mailed to you.
Perhaps your little ones have been badgering you for weeks on end and you’ve finally given in. Perhaps you feel as if your garden is missing something, or perhaps you just want your children to spend a bit more time outside and away from the internet. Whatever your own personal reasons, you’ve decided to get a playhouse for your garden.

Playhouses are a great way of getting kids out and playing in the garden. They are built with safety and little fingers in mind, they can store bikes and other toys during the winter and they can encourage children to use their imagination while playing. However, you want to buy a playhouse that is safe, secure and built to last. We’ve put together a short and comprehensive list of steps that will help you choose the perfect playhouse for your property.

1. Budget &Materials
You’ll want to set yourself a budget to start off with. Obviously you want a high quality playhouse, but you don’t want to have to pay through the nose for it. With a budget in mind, you can narrow down the selection that is suitable for you and this helps save time. You will also need to look at how much space you have in your garden and where the best place would be to ‘park’ your playhouse.

When looking at materials, playhouses in general are made mainly from two materials; wood and plastic. Budget wise, plastic playhouses are on the more affordable side and plastic playhouses are colourful and lightweight. They can also be used indoors – if you have enough room – and are perfect for smaller or younger children.

For heavier outdoor play, you’ll need to look at wooden playhouses. These can range from a simple one room house, to a more extravagant two bedroom playhouse complete with its own set of windows, patio and balcony and working lights inside. Wooden playhouses are better for older children or if you have a larger family, and also tend to look less out of place in the garden; if you’re going for a more pleasing aesthetic.

2. Longevity
Do you want to buy a playhouse designed to last until they’ve just started school? Or are you looking at more of a long term investment? You will want to tailor your search depending on how much use your kids will hope to get out of a playhouse. It is no use getting a smaller plastic house if your kids are already starting to tackle the bigger climbing frames in the park. A wooden playhouse is better for kids in primary school working up to secondary school, but if you have very young children, you may have to wait a couple of years before they can fully enjoy it.

3. Features
There are your classic playhouses and wendy houses and then there are more fantastical playhouses you can buy. Why settle for just a house when you can have a cool towering castle with a turret that leads off to a slide? If you want something different with a lot of added features (a drawbridge, arrow slits for throwing water balloons at your enemies, binoculars to survey the perimeter), you’ll need to reflect this in your search. Bear in mind that these features are more common for plastic playhouses and so are aimed at younger audiences. If you want a turret attached to your wooden wendy house, you might need to look at more bespoke options.

4. Assembly & Maintenance
After you’ve bought your playhouse and brought it home, there will be ‘some assembly required’. Most playhouses come flat packed and can be easily assembled with a little common sense and DIY knowledge. Wooden playhouses are the more permanent of the two and may be a little more difficult to erect, but will hold up against the test of time and can look stunning when properly maintained.

Plastic playhouses, while less resilient than wooden houses, are less permanent and so can easily be disassembled, moved about and reassembled as needed. If you’re a family that moves around a lot or do a lot of home improvements, a plastic playhouse might be the better option. The colour of the playhouse can fade over time in the sun, and this can be hard to repair, but plastic houses are lightweight and easy to clean, which is a plus point. Wooden houses need a little more maintenance, but if you do your research and treat the wood properly, they can last and last.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer and a man experienced in the troubles a badly constructed playhouse can bring. After consulting the Hortons Group, Mike was able to provide this awesome guide to help out fellow playhouse protagonists.