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A Playhouse for the Children

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Gardening Flowers Garden Play Playhouse

Children love to have a space of their own, an area where their imagination and creativity can have free reign. As it's often difficult to accomplish this indoors because of limited spaces and stainable surfaces, a playhouse for the children is a nearly perfect solution. Playhouses are available in a wide variety of materials and sizes, with options ranging from pre-fab kits to completely assembled cottages. When it comes to assembly, you can opt to do it yourself or stand back and watch the craftsmen do all the work.

It seems that nearly every parent wishes their children would spend more time outdoors. A garden playhouse provides your young child a place where pretend play is the rule. At the same time, parents can take a short break with peace of mind, knowing that their children are safely engaged in the security of the home garden. As youngsters grow into youth, the garden playhouse reveals it's truly versatile nature, as it can become a place where they can escape the pressures of adolescence and "chill" on their own terms.

Playhouse Construction Options

Traditionally, playhouses were constructed by children themselves using "found" materials scavenged from the surrounding neighbourhood. Around the world, whether they were American treehouses or Australian Cubbies, the structures were rarely meant to last more than a single summer. But today's garden playhouses have evolved into stylish, long-lasting retreats that may take the form of a log cottage, a medieval castle or even a multi-level, multi-function building.

At the high end of the scale, it's possible to work directly with a manufacturer to produce a bespoke playhouse of yours (and not forgetting of course your child's) dreams. Bespoke manufacturers incorporate your ideas and deliver a playhouse for the children that is made to measure and one of a kind. But what if you don't have a spare couple of thousand pounds lying around for this? What are the options for parents on a budget?

The good news is that manufacturers have created a dizzying array of choices when it comes to a playhouse for the children. Almost every conceivable style and price is available. Cost savings are either achieved by making the playhouse smaller or using manmade materials. Small plastic playhouses designed for toddlers can be found for under £100, although they will have limited life and usefulness. You can also find some DIY options at a lower cost, with reasonable wooden playhouses available for as little as £150 or so.

Playhouse Safety

One of the main benefits of a children's garden playhouse is the safety and security it offers. Children are able to play freely within the security of their own garden. It would be tragic if the playhouse itself represented any sort of danger to their health and safety. That's why you need to confirm that any playhouse you purchase or construct complies with relevant safety standards. Any manufactured playhouse should comply with EN71-1 European standards for children's toys and should bear the CE mark. If you build the playhouse yourself, try to minimise sharp corners and make sure that all wooden surfaces are sanded. Multi-level structures should be surrounded with impact absorbing material.

Planning Permission

Generally speaking, a playhouse for the children won't require planning permission. That's because they are normally considered temporary structures. The general guidelines require a height of less than four metres for a building with a ridged roof or less than three metres for a flat roof. You are not allowed to locate the playhouse between your dwelling and the main highway. Floor area must be less than 30 square metres and should be located at least five metres away from your house. As always, you should consult with your local planning authority, especially if your dwelling is listed or located in a Conservation Area. In most cases this can be accomplished with a phone call.

Almost half of all parents in a recent survey on outdoor play indicated that their children don't play outside as often as the parents would like. An increasing number of adults have cited concerns about the safety of public parks. A playhouse for the children has the potential to address these concerns. It provides a play area that entices children outdoors while meeting the security requirements of the parents.

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The Government website says that any platform more than 30 centimetres above the ground requires planning permission.wer
wearq - 13-Mar-11 @ 10:51 AM
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