Children love outdoor playhouses. These houses encourage imagination and exploration. Build one for your children and you will be guaranteeing them lasting memories. Although construction of this house will be challenging, the result of your efforts will be magical in the eyes of your child. A fanciful and well-built playhouse is a gift that will last for many years. This is why planning and proper site preparation are so important.
Seek proper building permits and necessary permissions. Most communities regulate the size and location of all outdoor structures including permanent playhouses. Some homeowner associations prohibit permanent playhouses. Check covenants before proceeding.
Draft your playhouse design with age and supervision in mind. Plan to build doors and windows to "child" scale but allow the design for growth of your children over the years. Remember to make designs that will permit you to supervise activities inside the playhouse easily too.
Determine a means of access to the second story. A vertical ladder or stair steps are common. Have an emergency escape created in your design and determine how an adult can access the second floor. Dual entrances and exits from both floors are a good idea.
Plan for safety. Do not exceed six feet of height for a second story floor. A fall from a taller second story window or other opening could be fatal to smaller children. Plan to not use real glass in any windows: Plexiglas is a safer alternative. Avoid any potential pinching or strangling hazards such as ropes and trap doors.
Prepare the building site. Remove sod and clear the ground of rocks, roots or other obstacles. Lay down tamped masonry clay, gravel or patio blocks to keep the floor of playhouse off possible wet ground.
Frame the playhouse as you would a real home. Use 2x4 lumber and attach the sidewalls to a wooden floor frame. Construct roofing joists so that water run-off will be efficient. Then cover floors, walls, and the roof with ¾ inch AC plywood. Position the "good" side of the plywood towards the interior of the house.
Install any steps, ladders, or other transition devices. Install ladders permanently so children cannot move them out of position. Then insulate walls with "house wrap" and insulation if desired. Sheath the structure with shingles, siding, and real roofing tiles.
Build exterior steps to the second floor if desired. Add banisters and railings on any second story staircases and decks. Add window and door treatments. Sash windows that open and close like real windows are fun but shuttered windows work well too. Double or "Dutch" doors are good for creative play.
Trim the outside playhouse with mouldings. Finish and seal floors and walls inside the playhouse to prevent splintering. Avoid carpeting. Paint the interior and exterior to suit. For the benefit of neighbours and home values, paint the exterior in colours that coordinate with your home and that are not too loud.
Make sure the building is sturdy and safe when it is finished.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure the building is sturdy and safe when it is finished.