Playhouses Posts

Tips and Ideas: Playhouses

PLayhouse IdeasA fun and safe playhouse will nourish your child’s sense of play and let their imagination run free. We’ve compiled some tips and ideas to help you make the best choice for your family.

 Choosing a Site for your Playhouse

playhouse site Playhouses are a wonderful place for fantasy and creative play. One of the most important considerations in locating your child’s playhouse is where to build it. Locate it in a convenient place where the access is good and where your kids feel totally comfortable. Unless you want to take the trouble to run electricity, it’s also a good idea to build your playhouse in a spot that receives lots of natural sunlight.

Aesthetics are important: you may choose to highlight your playhouse by making it the center of attention or create a secret hideaway by blending it into the landscape and making it an adventure for your children. Although playhouses are usually small, you should be mindful of the building’s relation to other structures that you may have on your property. Also think about the pros and cons of your preferred site in all four seasons. The surrounding foliage (and weather) can look very different from one season to the next. All of these considerations may have some impact on where you decide to build your playhouse.

Note: Playhouses are almost always under 100 sq. ft. and as such are exempt from most zoning and permit considerations. In fact, we’ve never run into a situation where someone needed a permit. If you are planning on building a larger playhouse you may want to check with your municipality to ensure that you are meeting the local zoning and permit requirements.

By the way, it’s not only your child that needs their personalized space! Check out our home studios and custom sheds for ideas on man caves and she-sheds!

Playhouse Size

playhouse siteMake sure that your playhouse is big enough for its intended use, however not so big that your kids feel lost. The true appeal of a playhouse is that it is the one thing that is designed and built to your child’s scale. If you want to be sure, once you’ve decided on a size, place stakes in the ground and outline the walls of your playhouse with a string or garden hose. This helps to give you a better idea of the size and how it will fit into your situation.

Please feel free to contact us at any point in the planning process and we will provide you with as much help as you need.

Materials

playhouse building materialsEverything we use is safe; the windows are made of Plexiglas, sharp corners are minimized, and there is no pressure treated wood whatsoever in our playhouses. Most of our products are constructed from a premium grade of western red cedar or Canexel maintenance free wood fiber siding (available in many vibrant colors). We only use the finest materials on the market, so be assured that what you get is truly top of the line we don’t mess around. Different materials create different looks so you may want to consider that if you want your design to extend or complement the architectural style of your house and other structures on your property. Click for detailed information on our materials and siding.

Playhouse Designs and Styles

playhouse design ideasBe sure to spend sufficient time browsing the playhouse styles below and our playhouse photo gallery to see what creative designs others have come up with. Let your children be part of this decision making process in choosing the style. After all, they’re the ones who will be using it. Upon taking a vote, make your final decision based on the style you feel fits into the surrounding landscape. Don’t worry about the playhouse matching your house, not every thing needs to match, and why not be a little eclectic, it’s fun for the kids and you alike!

The inside of your playhouse requires some careful thought. Shelving, hooks, drop-down counters and seats: these are the things that help to jumpstart imaginations and ensure that your children embrace their new play space right away. What ever your requirements, we have oodles of options to choose from so you shouldn’t have much trouble achieving a good fit for your kids.

The styles:

Bear Club Playhouse - From the soaring gabled roof, to its functioning windows and unique Dutch door, this playhouse begs to be played in and will provide countless hours of enjoyment for your children.

Petite Pentagon Playhouse – Designed with kids in mind; this five-sided playhouse fits snugly into a corner and provides a unique interior for a game of hide and seek. A dormer tops the hip roof, providing extra light for reading, playing with dolls, or chatting with pals.

Peach Pickers Porch Playhouse – Having your own porch as a child is a pretty special thing. This playhouse has it all – the porch adds a fun factor that can’t be beat.

A Playhouse Designed by the Kids

Imagine being a kid and trying to convey to your parents exactly what you want from a playhouse. Everything’s adult-sized and you’re rarely allowed your own space. That’s why kids love Summerwood playhouses so much. We encourage including your kids in the design of their playhouses. The little touches they add make them proud to call it their play-home. Besides, getting the kids involved means extra help during the building process, right!?

custom colorful playhouse summerwood

Playhouses are an easy backyard addition. Due to their size and purpose, you probably won’t need a building permit. But, there are a few important things to consider before purchasing your playhouse: does your backyard have the available space for a playhouse? How can you ensure safely for the little ones? Is a playhouse the best option for your family, or would a small shed prove to be more useful?

Playhouse Styles & Placement

Summerwood offers three standard playhouse models to choose from, The Bear Claw, The Peach Pickers Porch, and The Petite Pentagon. These can be left as is, or customized to your, and your child’s content. When considering where in your backyard it would be best to place your playhouse, consider whether a rectangular, or 5-sided shape would best suit your space (read more about our space-saving 5-sided buildings for grown ups: “The Catalina: Our 5 Sided Corner Building”).

The mini-porch space is the highlight of our Peach Pickers Porch model.

The mini-porch space is the highlight of our Peach Pickers Porch model.

Playhouse Safety

Like all Summerwood structures, our playhouses are built according to the highest standards and building code regulations. Playhouses can also include Plexiglas windows, or no glass at all to ensure that the children are free to cast spells and slay magical dragons without concern. Keep in mind as well that you may want to be able to supervise from afar while the children are at play, so when considering where to build your playhouse, ensure that you have a good vantage point.

summerwood playhouse custom

Long-Term Considerations

Although the children may love and appreciate everything miniature, it may not be the right option for your family in the long term. Summerwood structures are built to last, so it’s important to consider whether or not a playhouse fits your present and future lifestyle. If your storage needs are met, and you believe a playhouse will be thoroughly enjoyed for years to come, it could be the perfect backyard addition. However, a small shed may also be able to serve as a playhouse for the time being, and later function as a storage solution. A playhouse is constructed with the children in mind, so although it may be the perfect size at the present time, your family may outgrow it in due time. The design experts at Summerwood are happy to help you make a selection that will serve your family for years to come.

A Five-Sided Corner Catalina, adapted to function as a playhouse until they're all grown up.

A Five-Sided Corner Catalina, adapted to function as a playhouse until they’re all grown up.

Kids are more likely to take care of their playhouse if they're involved in the process.

Kids are more likely to take care of their playhouse if they’re involved in the process.

If you’re just starting to consider the addition of a custom backyard playhouse, don’t forget to take the opportunity to treat the kids like your personal design consultants. Have them join you at our Custom Design Center. It’s an intuitive “drag n’ drop” tool that they’ll love fiddling with.

Sharon of Brampton, Ontario did just that. “We talked it over with the kids, and then we talked to Summerwood. They were very helpful and knew the product inside out. We showed the kids the design online. They ‘approved’ it.”

Contact Us:
Check out our website: www.summerwood.com
Email us: [email protected]
Call us toll-free: 1 866 519-4634

Don’t forget to play…

Beat the Joneses: Construct The Best Playhouse On The Block

Cedar-peach-pickers-proch-playhouse-idea-summerwood (1)Kids today spend far less time than they used to playing outside and dreaming up imaginative scenarios to act out. In fact, a recent study revealed that less than 25% of kids play outside at least seven times a week, as their parents did during their own childhood years. Furthermore, a lack of pretend play opportunities can actually stunt cognitive, social and academic development. What kids often need is a little encouragement to head outside to play on their own. One of the best types of encouragement is their own playhouse structure, especially if they had a hand in choosing the theme. You can skip the cookie cutter playhouse designs in favor of a custom solution with one of the following imaginative themes.

Supermarket

Kids love to practice their commerce skills by arranging their toys for sale and collecting paper scraps as money. You can bring their imaginative storefront to life by creating the playhouse in a supermarket theme. Have your kids imagine up their ideal storefront with a cute name, shop colors and product lineup. Decorate the exterior with their chosen color scheme and sign. Line the interior walls with shelves and construct a front counter with a cash register, scale and scanner. For an open storefront, provide market stands your kids can use to display some of the wPetit-Pentagon-Playhouse-playhouse-summerwoodares outside.

Ancient Castle

With just a couple extra tower structures, the Petite Pentagon playhouse will instantly transform into an ancient castle. Coat the exterior in a layer of light or dark gray paint, and then brush on thin black lines to create the illusion of individual stones. Encourage your kids to create their own flags and banners to adorn the top of the castle walls. If you want to go all out, you could even surround the castle with a shallow custom pond in the shape of a moat. Remember to create a strong wooden drawbridge that can keep dragons out of the keep and provide safe passage over the moat.

Farmhouse and Barn

The Peach Pickers Porch and Bear Club playhouse styles are perfect for a farmhouse and barn design, respectively. You can set up the Bear Club playhouse as a barn by using a traditional red and white paint scheme. Add a diagonal cross brace across the top and bottom sections of the Dutch door to authenticate the design. Give your kids free rein when selecting the stain or paint for the farmhouse exterior. The covered verandah and plantation shutters lend an air of authenticity to the theme.

Auto Shop

Add a miniature carport next to the Bear Club playhouse to create a believable auto shop replica. The exterior design should reflect the vision your kids have of the auto shop they would like to own when they grow up. In the carport, place a toolbox filled with all of the basic hand tools to give your kids the ability to repair their own bikes and wagons. Your kids can design the inside of the auto shop playhouse as a showroom or extra workshop space.

Spaceship

Petite Pentagon wooden playhouses are the perfect shape for a spaceship creation. Use metal shingles and white, gray and blue paint to recreate the iconic ship design. Add small black circles or ovals around the midpoint of the exterior walls to mimic the spacecraft windows. Inside, add a small kitchenette filled with astronaut food, flight seat rows and plenty of jumpsuits with helmets. Don’t forget the control station your little astronauts will use to pilot their spaceship around the universe.

Bringing Your Custom Creation To Life

You can use the Custom Design Center at Summerwood to custom-treehouse-kit-Summerwoodchoose your wooden playhouses’ style, size, siding, roofing and trim specifications. If you need assistance, our designers can help you select the best playhouse structure for your theme. We will also provide a quote, schedule a delivery and even help you find a contractor to construct the dwelling for you. Of course, you can always use the provided assembly video and instruction guide to build the pre-cut playhouse on your own or with family and friends. Make sure to include your kids in the building and decorating process for immediate personalization of their playhouse.

5 Organizational Solutions That Help Eliminate Tool and Toy Clutter

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With most Americans dedicating up to a year total looking for misplaced belongings, it’s obvious that clutter is a time thief. When every tool and toy in your backyard has its own space, though, you can spend much less time searching for lost items and organizing your home. Start by creating a few dedicated structures designed for holding specific sets of outdoors items. If you take the time to plan out your landscape architecture design, you can integrate organizational nooks that actually accentuate the look and feel of your property. Here are five smart structures you can use to organize and declutter your yard.

Toy Crates

Crate with utensils. Wooden box for glass made in vintage style.

In just one fun-filled afternoon playing outside, your yard likely becomes a minefield of toys that your kids left behind. Kids love to live in the moment and drop whatever they are doing for the next fun activity so cleanup is really a chore if kids don’t have a dedicated place to store their belongings. Milk crates give your kids a place to keep their outdoor toys without the container filling with rainwater and you can stack the crates or use storage hooks to secure them to the side of your shed or fence.

Playhouses
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If your kids’ clutter extends beyond the random playground ball or Frisbee set, you may want to get a playhouse. The tall roof on the Peach Pickers Porch playhouse, for example, allows kids to store their extra toys without cluttering up their own play space. Or, your kids may love to keep their toy bins on the covered verandah for accessibility during playtime. With a fun, designated place for kids to store their belongings, they’ll rarely need to be reminded to keep their dedicated space clean and organized.

Bench Bins
A garden or patio bench can double as a storage container by utilizing the open space below the seating area. You can find a storage bench premade or customize your outdoor seating to act as an organizational device. Benches allow you to keep your frequently-used gear near specific areas of your yard. For example, you can store your small landscaping tools, kneeling pads and gloves in a bench near your garden beds. Of course, don’t forget to tuck away your seat cushions in the bench to protect them from the weather and local wildlife.

Garage Shelves
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Extra shelves in the garage allow you to organize your outdoor tools and products along the otherwise unused wall space. The garage shelves can store bins and baskets you use to keep similar items together. You can also arrange the items along the shelves on their own to keep them highly visible and accessible at all times. You will need to determine the best placement and sizes for your garage shelves to keep parking and work areas open and clutter free.

Storage Sheds
sarawak-garden-shed-islip-new-york-195923-1When you just have too much outdoor gear, you may need to invest in a storage shed to hold everything. The storage shed provides both wall and floor space for your landscaping tools, garden products and outdoor recreational items. Custom storage sheds can fit in the corner of your yard, nestle up to the side of your home or stand on their own in a dedicated section of your property. The lean-to and five sided storage shed designs help maximize your storage space without taking up too much of your property. If you want the garden shed to steal the spotlight, you can customize the design and paintjob to match your house’s architecture. You can even add garden beds and planter boxes around the outer perimeter to dress up the place.

Obtaining Beautifully Designed Organizational Solutions
Once you have your landscape architecture plans in hand, contact Summerwood for assistance obtaining the sheds and shelves you need for your yard makeover. You can deeply customize the pre-fabricated sheds to meet your organizational needs. When ordering your shed, you may want to match the exterior siding, paint and trim to your home or create a brand new design. Large and small garage shelf arrangements allow you to make the most of your available space. You can determine an ideal number of shelves to purchase by measuring and planning your garage layout before ordering.