Style and Design
A super garden playhouse for younger children, the garden hut features an open design with two windows and a doorway to the front. It's an ideal little outdoor den at a price which won't break the bank and not only that - it will add a great splash of colour to the garden. With its airholes for ventilation and the all wood construction the Garden Hut makes a superb traditional outdoor toy.
The Garden Hut is entirely constructed in FSC approved wood. It's designed to be used without a floor.
The footprint of the playhouse is 4'3'' by 3' (130 x 97cm). There's a generous 4'10'' (147cm) headroom at the apex of the roof making it ideal for growing children.
The Garden Hut is finished in a teal coloured wood wash with white wood trim prior to delivery. There's a one year guarantee against rot.
Your playhouse will arrive flat packed for easy DIY home assembly. The manufacturer grades the DIY skills necessary to put the Garden Hut together at "beginner" level.
See the details of sellers and prices given above.
Well, whether the Garden Hut is the playhouse for you will depend on just what you're looking for. Its got a nice open design which has the advantage of allowing you to see exactly what's going on inside. We think it's ideally suited for indoor use - but it will provide good shelter and shade outdoors too as well as providing children with a delightful playspace. If the open design appeals to you it might well be just the thing. Unusually, the playhouse features an exterior frame meaning the inside walls are nice and smooth.
For outside use the playhouse won't of course be wind and watertight and this is reflected in the floorless design. In general we prefer a floor in a wooden playhouse to help keep the inside dry and weeds down. A floor adds to the strength and stability of the structure too. However in this case it would really be a bit of a liability, especially for outdoor use when rainwater blowing in would just collect and increase the risk of rot. So the lack of a floor is quite understandable and shouldn't be viewed as a negative. We're not entirely sure though whether the ventilation holes are strictly necessary given the Garden Hut's open nature - but they may help to increase the circulation of air through the roof space which might otherwise be at risk of condensation and mould if kept outside in cold, damp conditions.
And this brings us to the suitability of the Garden Hut for outdoor use. The first point to note is that it's a relatively lightweight structure and although it is built to withstand the play of young children it's likely to be susceptible to being blown about and potentially damaged in strong winds. In particular, the open nature of the construction means that wind can get into the apex roof and move the building around. So if you do intend to keep the playhouse permanently outdoors you should give some thought to anchoring it securely in position for this reason. And there's also the issue of the finish. The Garden Hut is decorated with a rather delightful teal wash at the time of manufacture and the trim is finished in white. Although this is attractive to the eye, the protection it will give to the vagaries of the weather is rather limited and in our view you should give serious consideration to the application of a further finish if the playhouse is to be kept permanently outdoors in all weathers. To protect the existing colour scheme you might apply a clear lacquer or varnish finish to the woodwork at the time of assembly in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. We'd recommend you do this before you put the building together so you can easily treat parts which might otherwise be tricky to reach. The duration of the warranty against rot - one year - is a reflection of how long you can expect the playhouse to last outdoors without deterioration if left without any further treatment. And remember that the finish will require to be maintained on a regular basis throughout the life of the playhouse.
There shouldn't be any real safety issues. Window glass won't be a problem and there's no door to catch fingers or trap little ones inside. Do however check the playhouse over for damage, cracks and splinters before you put it up. Wood is a natural material and one or two rough edges often can't be avoided, no matter how thorough the manufacturing process. Make sure though that there's nothing that might cause a young child any harm before you put the playhouse up. And on this subject we don't anticipate any real difficulty. The Garden Hut is delivered flat packed in pre-formed panels and the manufacturer's estimate for the assembly time is around one hour for a DIY beginner. If you do decide to apply a further finish it will take a little longer but it shouldn't be a major exercise.
Looking at everything, we see the Garden Hut's major asset as price and pre-decoration. Properly looked after and maintained - and we include maintaining the finish in this - it will probably last as long as it needs to. It's designed for small children after all and the chances are you'll have to upsize as the years go by. If anything we think it's maybe a little lightweight for permanent outdoor use. For an outdoor playhouse it's probably worth having a look at slightly more robust and weatherproof designs such as the Mad Dash Bunny, Bunny Max or the Little Lodge. TP do a good range of more lightweight playhouses too - the Hideaway House and Meadow Cottage to mention two. All these are in the same price bracket as the Garden Hut - but none are pre-decorated. Taking all this into account we've awarded the Garden Hut 3.5 wooden playhouse stars as a pretty, nicely finished wooden playhouse with some drawbacks when it comes to outdoor use. If you like the style and design it should do the job - but there are other playhouses out there.