The Complete Playhouse FAQ – All Your Questions Answered!

We know that loads of you have questions about Wooden Playhouses – spanning from building your own to decorating one that you already have. We also know that there can be lots of conflicting answers out there on the internet. That’s why we’ve created this: The Complete Playhouse FAQ.

Inside this FAQ, you’ll find the answer to every single playhouse question on every single topic that’s out there. If there’s something you don’t know or aren’t sure about when it comes to wooden playhouses, this FAQ will have the answers.

But that’s not all. We’ve taken this opportunity to give you as much playhouse information as possible

We want you to be able to find everything and anything you want or need to do with outdoor playhouses quickly and easily. Inside this post, you’ll also find links to all our playhouse guides, posts, and ideas. We’ve left no stone unturned – if it’s got the word playhouse in, you’ll find it here!

Find the information you’re looking for by scrolling down, or use the navigation bar above to find the section you’re looking for.

Either way – go and get your playhouse questions answered!

BillyOh Gingerbread Junior Tower Playhouse
BillyOh Gingerbread Junior Tower Playhouse

 


Choosing and Buying a Playhouse

If you’re interested in buying an outdoor playhouse, finding the right one for you, your garden, and the children who will be playing in it can seem daunting. True, there’s a lot to consider and loads of options to choose from. 

If you’ve found that you’re struggling to decide, then worry no longer. To help you out, we created The Complete Guide to Choosing A Playhouse Series! 

Log cabin playhouse inset on red graphic
Part One: Size and Shape

In this four-part series, we go through everything you need to know about picking out the perfect playhouse for you. We cover choosing a playhouse to fit your garden, picking the right features, and even getting the best value for your money.

Clicking the image above takes you to the first part, but if you’ve got a general idea, but want help in a specific area, then follow one of the links below.

1: Part 1 – Size & Shape

2: Part 2 – Features & Flair

3: Part 3 – Budget & Value

4: Part 4 – The Finale (including a step-by-step example on picking the right playhouse).

We also have a shorter and sweeter look at picking out a playhouse in 7 Considerations When Choosing a Kids Playhouse. Pick the one that suits you best!

A General View

Or if you’re interested in a general overview of playhouses of all kinds, then you can find our Playhouse Ultimate Guide right here. We cover all aspects of playhouses, whether that be wood or plastic, giving you all the information you need if you’re considering buying one. 

Check out the answers to all your choosing or buying questions below!

Generally, it is always cheaper to build your own playhouse. However, due to the busy nature of modern life, you may not always have the time or energy to be able to do this. While you might be paying a little bit more if you buy a playhouse, if you buy from us at Garden Buildings Direct you’ll always get great value for money.

We believe the best playhouse is the magnificent BillyOh Lollipop Junior Tower Playhouse. The Lollipop Junior Tower combines the fun and games of a tower and slide playhouse, while still providing kids with tons of space inside. It’s the complete playhouse package!

You won’t usually need planning permission for a playhouse unless it’s extraordinarily big! Planning regulations state that no garden building should take up more than 50% of your outdoor space and can’t have a maximum height of more than 2.5 metres. If you’re concerned, it's always best to check with your local planning authority.

You can build a playhouse up to a maximum height of 2.5 metres. This is what planning regulations for outbuildings state. If you want to build one any bigger, you’ll have to contact your local planning authority.


The Benefits of a Playhouse

Playhouses have a huge number of benefits for both you and especially your children. We already know that active children who spend time in playhouses and outdoors will grow up with a greater appreciation for nature.

On top of this, they can help encourage physical activity, promote independence, and aid in the physical, mental, cognitive, and social development of children! All while giving you some peace and quiet!

The benefits don’t stop there, however. There are too many to list here, so we’ve lumped them together in one useful place so you can discover all the scientific benefits of a garden playhouse. Simply visit Why a Playhouse Can Help Your Child’s Development to read more!

Children playing and developing
Why a Playhouse Can Help your Child’s Development

Don’t just take it from us, though!

If you prefer to hear about the benefits of a wooden playhouse from those who already have one, then we’ve got you covered. In our Playhouse Customer Spotlight Hub, you can find a wealth of reviews from our satisfied customers who all love the benefits of their new playhouse.

Gemma, for example, brought one of our Lollipop Max Towers and hasn’t looked back since. Her family have been impressed with it and she wasn’t afraid to tell us.

Lollipop Max Tower painted Turquoise with seaside decorations
Gemma’s Lollipop Max Tower

“I think we got the perfect one to fit our space. The kids still absolutely love it!”

You can discover Gemma’s story, along with many, many others at our Customer Spotlight Hub. For all your other questions on the great benefits of playhouses, consult the FAQ below!

The truth is that kids can do whatever they want in a playhouse, as it gives them a private space to express themselves and learn independence. While leaving them to their own devices might sound like a recipe for disaster, it can really help their own cognitive development to have a space they can call their own.

Playhouses are great for kids. They do a great job of helping children develop in many aspects of their life, providing social, cognitive, and physical benefits as well as developing their sense of independence and their personality - all by encouraging them to partake in imaginative play. Find out more here.

A playhouse is good for pretty much any age - from two up to twelve. As soon as they can walk, they’ll love a playhouse! It lets them play in a safe environment, encourages physical activity, and most importantly lets their imagination and brain bloom. You can read more here.


Playhouse Building, Assembly, and Installation

Buying a kids playhouse is one thing, but buying, assembling, and installing one is a completely different ball game. If you’re stuck with any of these, then look below for the answers you’ve been searching for.

Build or Buy?

BillyOh Lollipop Junior Tower Playhouse with Red Garden Buildings Direct logo
Build Your Own Wooden Playhouse: The How and the Why

When it comes to playhouses, and just garden buildings in general, build or buy is a question as old as time. It’s not easy to choose between the cost-efficiency of building or the time you’ll save by buying – but it’s best to make the choice when you know all the facts. 

Where do you get all the facts, I hear you asking. Well, you’ll get them all at Build Your Own Wooden Playhouse, The How and the Why. There, we explore everything from the tools and materials you’ll need to build a playhouse to the process of installing a playhouse you’ve brought.

Speaking of Playhouse installation…

BillyOh Peardrop Junior Playhouse
BillyOh Peardrop Junior Playhouse

Our post 7 Things You Need To Plan When Installing A Playhouse gives you some handy tips if you’re about to assemble or install a new playhouse. It’s worth checking out!

We also have a fun guide to Growing Your Own Playhouse if you want to take a slow, steady, and cheap approach to making a children’s playhouse!

FAQ

And, of course, we’ve answered all your questions below!

While the price depends on the materials you buy and the effort you put in, you can expect to spend somewhere in the area of £350-£800 to build a small to average-sized playhouse. Anything bigger, and you’ll start to paying more. The money you spend is also tied to your woodworking skills - if you’ve got good skills, you’ll spend less time and money on the build.

A playhouse that sits on the ground should have a base. A base will keep it stable and stop groundwater from damaging the bottom of the structure.

 

However, tower playhouses - the ones that stand on a platform - don’t usually need a base unless the ground underneath is either unstable or uneven.

If you already have the right tools, installing a playhouse from one of our kits should cost nothing but a few hours of your time. Once the playhouse kit arrives, simply follow the instructions in your digital manual to quickly put easily put your playhouse together. And, if you have any problems, you can always contact our attentive customer service team.

Start by finding plans for a playhouse or drawing up plans of your own if you have the expertise. Gather your materials and tools, then select the place you want to put the playhouse and install a base if you need to. Start by constructing the frame, then add cladding or wooden boards to the frame. Finish with fittings, roof beams and boards, then roofing felt. You can find more information on the process here.

Only put a playhouse directly on grass if it is a tower playhouse. If it is not a tower playhouse, meaning it does not sit on an elevated platform, then you should install a base or foundation for it to sit on. Having a playhouse sit directly on grass can cause long-term damage to the wood.

There are a number of options for playhouse foundations. You can build a wooden base, an eco-fit base, a concrete base, or a waterproof membrane base. Find full information on all of the above here. To build a wooden base, measure the dimensions of your playhouse and then add an extra 10cm on all sides so there is overlap space. Construct the base with structural strength in mind - the base needs to be strong enough to support the whole weight of the playhouse, so add enough beams to hold it up.

You should put your playhouse on firm, level ground where it won’t be susceptible to flooding. It’s also a good idea to put it away from any trees, bushes, or big foliage as these could damage the playhouse in extreme weather.


Playhouse Decoration

Have you recently brought a traditional playhouse, and are looking for some decoration tips and ideas? Or maybe you’re looking to spruce up the one you have? Decorating your playhouse requires nothing but an idea, time, decoration, and a few coats of paint!

If you’re struggling to find an idea to begin with, then you can find a great range of them in our guide 20 Imaginative Ways to Decorate Your Playhouse. 

Painted pirate playhouse and red graphic with Garden Buildings Direct Logo
20 Imaginative Ways to Decorate A Playhouse

We focus on giving you ideas that will help spark imaginative play in your kids, which (as you probably know by now) is great for their development. From a Fairy’s Cottage to the inside of an Interstellar Spaceship, picking a theme for your decorations should be fun, not a struggle.

If you’ve stumbled upon this during the spooky season, feel free to check out our Halloween-specific decoration guide.

If you want a bit of inspiration then check out our Customer Spotlight on Josie’s BillyOh Pirate Playhouse, where she decorated her playhouse in a pirate ship theme. Frankly, it looks awesome!

Pirate-themed billyoh playhouse on bark
Customer Spotlight: Josie’s BillyOh Pirate Playhouse

Oh – and, yes, we’ve answered all your questions too!

You don’t have to treat a playhouse before painting it, but if you can it’s always better to! Treating the wood of the playhouse will give it added durability and weather resistance, extending the life of the building and ensuring you can use it for longer. If you buy a playhouse from us here at Garden Buildings Direct, all our models come with a 10-year guarantee that covers it against rot, decay, and insect infestation.

When painting a playhouse, you should try to use water-based paints that are non-toxic and fast-drying. Using a water-based paint ensures that your playhouse is a safe environment for kids to play in, and they won’t be in any danger if they touch the paint while it is still drying or somehow ingest it (it sounds silly, but kids are capable of all sorts of things!)

The answer to this one is deceptively simple - decorate it in any way you’d like! You can find a full list of decoration ideas here, but try to decorate the playhouse in a way that encourages the children to play imaginatively. If they have a play theme they especially like, then try to decorate it to help that. Start by painting the playhouse, then add some themed decorations, and finally bring in toys or furniture to take it up a notch!

Start by cleaning the exterior of the playhouse using a wet cloth and some soap. Make sure the exterior surfaces are as clean as possible before applying paint. You can also add a layer of wood treatment before painting to increase the durability of the wood. Using water-based, non-toxic paint, give the playhouse one coat and let it dry. If it looks faded, apply a second coat.

You should put the things your kids love to play with in the playhouse. If they have some favourite outdoor toys, or a large toy set that doesn’t quite fit indoors (like a toy kitchen), then a playhouse is the perfect place to keep them. Old furniture can also be a great idea, and can make the playhouse feel extra homely.


Playhouse Care

Once you’ve picked out your wooden playhouse, brought and installed it, and decorated it in just the way you want, you’ll want to keep it that way for as long as possible. And with a bit of care and attention, you can!

Maintaining your playhouse is the best way to ensure that it stays in great condition for as long as possible, and the good news is that it isn’t difficult! 

We’ve got some simple steps for you below to ensure your playhouse stays in top condition.

  • Wash, clean out, and ventilate the playhouse regularly.
  • Apply coats of wood preservative or wood finish to ensure the playhouse is protected from rain and rough weather.
  • Repair any damage as soon as possible, especially damage to the roof.

If you want a more detailed guide, then visit our guides on How to Care For Your Wooden Playhouse and Playhouse Aftercare: 5 Essential Steps 

Paintbrush painting wood overlaid with red graphic and Garden Buildings Direct logo
How To Care For Your Wooden Playhouse

Additional Care and Protection

We’ve also got you covered if you want to take your playhouse care to the next level. 

Take a look at our selection of guides below for information on how to Waterproof your playhouse, how to insulate it, or how to prepare it for winter. While the information is labelled for use with sheds, it can easily be applied to playhouses too.

How to Waterproof Your Shed (2021)For a full guide on waterproofing your playhouse, visit this guide. We discuss water ingress, wooden treatments, and explore all the things you can do to make your playhouse waterproof.
How to Damp Proof and Insulate a Garden ShedIf you're interested in Damp-proofing or insulating your playhouse to keep it warm and rot-free, this guide has all the info you need. Open to read about ventilation, caulking, and more.
Winter Shed: How to Prepare Your Shed For WinterProtecting your playhouse over those winter months can be a struggle - unless you've read our handy guide, of course! Read if for a range of techniques to keep it safe in spite of the cold.

We didn’t forget to answer the questions you’ve been asking either!

Maintaining a playhouse is as easy as giving it a full clean-out every year, and topping it up with a coat of wooden preservative to ensure the cladding is protected from the weather. It also helps to repair any damage on the building as soon as it occurs. Check out our full guide on caring for your playhouse here.

To make a playhouse weatherproof, give it a coat of a wood preservative or wood finish such as Protek’s Wood Stain & Protector. This coating is water repellent, meaning it will stop rain from seeping into the cladding, giving it protection from the worst of the British weather!

Protecting a wooden playhouse in winter is as easy as:

  • Waterproofing the building to stop water ingress.
  • Protecting the roof by fixing holes and removing build-ups of snow.
  • Securing the contents of the shed’s interior.
  • Oiling hinges and locks.

Check out our full guide here.

To stop your playhouse from getting damp, you should ensure that the building has enough ventilation. This will allow damp air to escape. In addition to this, try to prevent water ingress by caulking the windows, fixing any holes in the roof or gaps in the wood, and ensuring the foundations are sealed. Check out our full damp and insulation guide here.

Wooden playhouses last for a long time, and they last even longer if you look after them with proper maintenance and care. Here at Garden Buildings Direct, we’re so confident in the long-lasting durability of our playhouses that we guarantee that they’ll last for up to 10 years!

Clean a wooden playhouse using water and soap. Scrub down all the exterior and interior surfaces, and clean out any guttering or any debris on the roof. Clean the windows with water and a spray, and open the doors to aerate the inside and stop the build-up of any damp air.


Rounding Up

In this guide, we’ve given you all the Playhouse information we have available and answered all your questions too!

By now, you’ll be an expert on everything playhouses. If you’ve not got a playhouse, and want to put all this new knowledge to good use, why not browse our wide range of children’s playhouses? Simply click the button below to browse!

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