“ Brand: Mercia / Product Type: Playhouse „
This was another of my Daughter's Birthday presents, a fantastic tower playhouse. This is the kind of thing that I would have given my right arm for as a kid, and even now I am a little bit jealous! Luckily there is plenty of room for both of us inside it at a push (when I am allowed to grace it with my presence that is).
I knew I wanted some kind of garden "building" for my daughter to play in, and looked at plastic playhouses which were grim, mini-yurts and Tipi's, and even a mini Gypsy caravan which unfortunately I just could not afford. After scouring and searching for a few weeks, my partner found this one and the choice was made.
As you can see from the picture it looks very enticing for a child, and the fact that it is raised on stilts and has a small ladder for access just adds to the fun. The "balcony" platform is large enough to put a planter with flowers, solar lights or a cushion, and the design means that it is perfect for dragon spotting...
We are intending to add some twisty, wonky driftwood around the outer railing to give it some more character. The space under the tower platform can be used for toy storage or as an additional den for kids to play in.
We got this a a massive discount, and having cleared my garden ready to fill with stuff for her (and a small corner for me where I can retreat and wibble when it all gets too noisy!), this not only looks gorgeous but will keep my Daughter entertained for years and years.
The playhouse came on a flat backed truck, in lots of large parts. The panels themselves were quite light to carry into the garden but the struts were all packed together and shrink wrapped - they weighed a lot. Luckily, the delivery guy was happy to move them all through the house into the back garden. We stuck them all upright against a fence and covered them in two large tarpaulins to protect them until we could get somebody to help us get it assembled.
CONSTRUCTION AND QUALITY:
The wood is pre-treated tongue and groove pine, with chunky pine legs, railings, steps and struts. Even though it is pre-treated, it will need weatherproofing or painting once assembled so that it will last as long as it should. If you think of it as a smallish shed on legs then you will get the idea, most sheds need protection. The panels are smooth and well finished on the outer surface, although the edges are a little bit rough in places. There are three good sized windows (and a flower shaped on in the front door) which are pine framed, and enclose Styrene not glass for safety reasons. This stuff is great and clear but will scratch over time so it needs to be looked after. If the Styrene becomes too damaged then it is easy to remove. It could easily be replaced with perspex sheet. The window framing is attached well on to the window but could be chiseled off if needed. We will be removing ours to paint the playhouse.
The door has a decorative flower with a clear styrene window so that a child can peep out. Of course this also lets in a bit more light to the main house when the door is closed. The roof is beautifully detailed with a wavey shaped edging to it. A small roll of roof felt is included as are the little pointy wooden finials which sit at the apex.
PREPARATION OF THE GARDEN:
You will need to prepare the ground for this playhouse. We used four paving slabs to ensure that the legs would not sink. The siting of it is also important as you will need space around it so that you can access parts of it to put it together and to maintain it. We sited ours with around 2 feet of clearance around it, and then shoved it slightly behind a large willow tree so that it is like a little "secret house".
You can either place the playhouse on soild concrete or buy paving slabs like I did, to ensure that the playhouse stays stable on the ground. This is easier to provide than a floor level playhouse/shed which will need a full concrete base.
You will need -
A spirit level for the base - unless you want a playhouse that is on the wonk.
Screwdrivers (a power one is best)
Panel pins and spanners, especially if you want to add features.
The manufacturers recommend two people as necessary for the safe assembly of this playhouse, but the handyman I got in managed on his own. Two people would certainly make the whole process quicker but I would think that anybody who could handle a drill and screwdriver could do it.
My handyman does not "do" instructions, and has also built a large intricate tree-house for his own kids, so was confident that he could do it without the leaflet. And he did... he started with the frame and legs which were sited on four paving slabs on the lawn. A spirit level ensured that everything was square, and then he put the sides together. All of the fixtures and fittings that you need are included and luckily they include a few extra bits in case you drop or lose any (we did).
The sides of the playhouse screw together into the reinforced side framing, and having an electric screwdriver makes short work of this. Everything is pre-jointed or cut for you, and the design is precision cut. Once you have the platform part up, the rest is really easy to assemble. The support batons on the sides are very sturdy and the ship lap wood is well fitted with no gaps. There are plenty of screws available to secure the house but we drilled and added a few more for durability.
The floor of the house and the roof are made from a solid sheet of compressed wood and before we attached this, we painted it with a fast drying protective coating. We painted each outer part with wood protector before we assembled it to ensure that rain would not have as much access to the joints. Due to the hot weather, the parts dried very quickly. Our final intention is to paint it up but we have not had time yet.
The walls of the house are tightly tongue and grooved and being made from shiplap, should not let water in easily. The shape of each panel is designed to draw rainwater away from the wood as quickly as possible which is obviously very important in a wooden building. Once the walls and platform are up, the next part is to attach the roof, which is then felted. The wavey edged trim is attached easily and makes the house look very sweet.
The final part of assembly is the ladder and the railings. Again this is not a difficult process as all pieces are accurately cut and finished. The ladder feels very sturdy once built and the balcony part is solid too.
All parts of this playhouse are guaranteed for 10 years.
* Raised platform playhouse
* Solid sheet roof and floor
* Tongue and groove cladding
* Balcony with ladder and safety rail
* Flower window in door with safety hinge.
* Wavey roof edging
* Three square framed windows
* Roof felt included (and all fixtures and fittings)
* Customisable design
* Supplied pre-treated with a water based timber treatment
* Dimensions: 200 (l) x 150 (w) x 262 (h) cm
* Suitable for ages 3 +
* Instructions included
BENEFITS OF A PLAYHOUSE:
One of the obvious benefits to having a playhouse for small children, is the fact that it encourages them to get outdoors and play. This has the added benefit of making them exhausted which in turn means that you get more sleep! Win/win I think. A tower type playhouse is great for all kinds of imaginative play, make believe, role playing and playing with friends. Playhouses like this one are unisex, can be painted or decorated how you wish, and last far longer than a plastic one. They also age beautifully, and look great in the garden, especially with plants growing up the railings.
The platform really does add an extra dimension of "fun" to an outdoor house, in that it becomes a great viewing platform as well as a place to hide. The underneath part makes a great den too, especially if you trellis it in sections. If your child is brave then they could sleep in this quite easily, in fact there is room for a few small kids to have a sleepover. An outdoor playhouse is a great way to get enough exercise and Vitamin D, and can be adapted as kids get older into a hangout space/den.
My daughter has this as well as a trampoline in the garden, both for her Birthday. She is sleeping very well at the moment due to the enormous amount of manic bouncing and exciting active play that she is doing. We have had picnics in the playhouse, have bat watched, have played hide and seek. She has gone in there to chill when tired from bouncing and she has taken toys in there to play with and "cook" with. We have some cunning plans for this playhouse to make it even more incredible... see the section below...
To make this playhouse even more magnificent, we intend to add bits to it and decorate it up. Being made from wood, it is easy to screw or nail on things like driftwood, flower boxes, hooks for a little hanging basket etc. If you were really brave you could add another playhouse on to the side with a platform. As the inside of the house is just bare space, we are planning on building a little raised "shelf" covering half of the floor space as my daughter would love an "upstairs". This is very easy to do because of the support batons inside the house. We are also planning on building a wooden wonky "chimney" so that it has a real magical cottage feel. My daughter has chosen cornflower blue and primrose yellow as the paint colours that she wants so that will happen as soon as possible. Once painted we will string up some solar lanterns from the wavey roof corners and twist fairy lights around the rails. We have two wooden mini-planters to attach to the house which we will fill with flowers for her.
It would be very easy to build little shelves/benches inside the house, or you can put a child sized table and chairs in. A little rug and some books makes the house very homely and cosy. If you wanted to be mega-creative then it would also be easy to fit a little skylight for more ventilation, or even a round porthole type window in the wall. Basically anything that can be tacked or screwed on can be used to enhance this playhouse.
Painting gives the house character and personalises it. You could get some matching curtains too (we are going for patchwork ones) to really finish it off. I cannot think of any child of either gender who would not love to have this playhouse in their garden.
This is still available online but you have to shop about. It seems to be an older design therefore you may be lucky like us and grab a deal. We paid £190 for it including delivery. ToysRus currently stock it at £379.99 which is still a great deal for a playhouse such as this. Playhouse prices really vary, and going by my pricing up and searching of them, I was amazed by the range in prices. Some go up to £800 for something very similar!
Had I been clever enough and not creaky and falling to bits, this is the type of thing that I would have loved to build for her myself out of pallets and pine. Unfortunately this was not possible. Customising a bought one is the next best thing though, and my daughter is thrilled with her playhouse despite it not being fully finished yet.
I consider the ToysRus price to be excellent value for the quality and design. The price that we paid was just a bonus.
A gorgeous tower playhouse which will last for years and can be adapted/customised.
Just the job for playing pirates cops and robbers or fairytale princesses your children will love this amazing playhouse set on a tower / Access is via a sturdy ladder which leads up to a veranda where there's enough room for a small chair / Its windows are Styrene-glazed - a safer alternative to glass that's also environmentally friendly / Designed for easy two-person assembly this playhouse comes with full instructions and a 10 year manufacturer's guarantee against rot.