run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Thursday 27 July 2017

Review: Redwood Lodge toddler garden playhouse

We spent two years Zoopla-ing and Rightmove-ing and trying to find and buy our family house. Luckily, sourcing and building a playhouse for the back garden was a lot simpler. The lack of lawyers' fees was an especially nice contrast...

But, because I overthink things, it still took a while. There are loads of places to buy playhouses online - some are simple, cheap shells a bit like a shed; others are more luxurious than the average London home.

In the end I picked the Redwood Lodge Playhouse. I didn't want one that overtook our garden - and this one has a small footprint of one metre squared, but since its topsy turvy design means it expands as it rises, there's plenty of playing room inside.

But there's some prep work involved. I wanted the playhouse to sit in a nook at the back of the garden, so cut down some bushes and bought these paving slabs from B&Q (big thanks to the nice staff in the Colney Hatch branch: I couldn't schlep these 9 paving stones solo!) as well as six packs of builders' sand. I roped in my kind brother-in-law, who levelled the soil, slapped down the sand firmly and then arranged the nine paving stones. You can cement in a playhouse, which is properly better long-term, but I didn't want the expense (or cement in our garden..)

The Redwood playhouse arrived in five boxes and I built the playhouse with my two nieces (aged 11 and 8) in 90 minutes: I'm no Bob the builder, this house is just super simple to erect. 

It comes in slabs, so the windows, sills etc are already incorporated and you mainly screw the four sides and roof together. You don't need a drill, just a hammer and screwdriver. We opted for the extra £40 floor, but ours didn't quite fit properly. The Redwood HQ customer support were really helpful about changing the floor, but in the end I bought cheap foam mats from Argos, and plonked them on top of the paving stones - a softer and cheaper option. 

The house looked cute, but I didn't love the primary colours... And don't like to make life tooo easy... So I spent a few of tiny man's naptimes painting the house with one of Cuprinol Garden Shades's pretty cornflower hues. 

I was going to opt for a striped look, with Seagrass, but once I finished the trimming and windows, I liked the contrast with the natural wood. The paint job was really quick thanks to Frog Tape - basically a souped-up masking tape that lets NO paint through the gaps - and Cuprinol's spray paint dispenser, which is really easy to use.

All that was left was to give the property a house number...
Put up some artwork...
And play!
Pic: Stella Lebel Photography

* Thanks to B&Q for helping with the paving stones and sand for the playhouse, and to Cuprinol for providing some lovely colours.

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