Style and Design
If you're looking for a wooden playhouse in this size and price range, the Poppy would make a great addition to the garden. It's a playhouse finished in a traditional design with several windows making for a bright interior and an integral verandah to the front adding to the appeal. In addition, the quality materials employed in construction give a weatherproof and durable finish which will last many years - definitely just what is required in a child's playhouse. The price is attractive too and you will find the Poppy widely available - just check out the links above. The manufacturer has produced this promotional video (opens in a new window) which clearly demonstrates the characteristics of the Poppy and gives a great impression of just what it's like.
The Poppy is clad in quality shiplap tongue and groove on a 28 x 28mm timber frame. The roof and floor are solid sheet 8mm OSB while the windows are glazed in 2mm styrene, a shatterproof material which adds to playhouse safety. The roof is clad in green mineral roofing felt.
The Poppy measures 4'9'' x 4'10'' externally with an internal play area of 4'7'' x 3'9''. The height of the building is 3'11'' at the eaves rising to 5'0''. The door opening measures 2'0'' x 3'6''.
The playhouse is pre treated with a water based finish prior to delivery. A final protective finish will require to be applied at the time of assembly. Provided such a finish is applied and maintained the building carries a 10 year manufacturer's warranty.
Options for the Poppy wooden playhouse depend on who you buy it from - expect to find include roofing felt upgrades, a portabase, DIY decorative/protective treatments and various tools to aid assembly.
The playhouse is delivered pre treated with a factory dip basecoat ready for assembly by the purchaser. You can see a full set of the assembly instructions here (opens in a new window).
See the details of sellers and prices given above.
As a value wooden playhouse in a fairly standard 5' x 5' design the Poppy has quite a lot to offer. There's a verandah to the front with integral decking, a decent sized door with a large window which, along with the three additional windows in the front and side elevations will not only ensure a bright interior but will allow you to see what's going on inside without being too intrusive, some attractive scalloping to the fascia and generally a pleasing overall appearance which is guaranteed to appeal to younger children and brighten up your garden into the bargain!. The windows are all fixed meaning they can't be opened for ventilation on a hot day but the front door can always be left open if this becomes an issue.
The structure is nicely finished in 12mm tongue and groove cladding which has been planed smooth to help minimise the risk of splinters. Along with the 28 x 28mm framing this should give a strong, robust structure, ideal for children at play. The windows too are of an attractive design and the styrene glazing is another plus from a safety point of view. The only point with which we would really take any issue is the relatively low specification 8mm solid sheet OSB floor. We're sure the use of OSB helps to keep the Poppy affordable but we do prefer to see real wood used for flooring in a wooden playhouse. It's less susceptible to damage by moisture and is generally stronger and more durable than solid sheet. Both the similarly sized Playaway and the Kitty playhouses come with tongue and groove wooden floors showing it's not impossible to provide these in this price range. 8mm OSB is pretty much the minimum specification acceptable so we'd suggest you test it out for strength after you've attached the support bearers but before you assemble the playhouse on top. If it appears in any way flimsy it's not a big job to add some additional joists for support underneath.
Assembly of the Poppy shouldn't give rise to any great issues, although you will need to have some basic diy skills and some tools available; a hammer, a screwdriver, a Stanley type knife, tape measure, steps and a power drill with a 2mm bit would be about the minimum. A hand drill won't really be practicable as you'll need to pre drill the screw holes to prevent the risk of the timber splitting when the screws are tightened. The instructions are clear and the process straightforward - you can see a detailed assembly video here (opens in a new window) so you know exactly what's involved. Although the Poppy is a relatively small playhouse with no particularly heavy parts, we'd certainly suggest two people should undertake assembly to speed up the process as some of the steps may be a little tricky for one person alone. The wooden base used in the assembly video is the Mercia Portabase which you can buy in a 4'11'' x 4'11'' option. Have a look at our feature on wooden playhouse bases (opens in a new window) for more ideas.
Although the promotional video rather glosses over the point, you'll have to make sure you apply a final preservative and, if you wish, decorative finish to the Poppy. It's treated only with a water based dip prior to delivery and while this will be sufficient to protect it up to that point, you'll need to apply the further treatment as soon as possible to make sure the timber remains well protected. The instructions state that this should be done within three months of assembly but we'd strongly recommend you apply the finish before you put the playhouse together. It's much easier that way as you can easily reach all the areas - remember you will have to treat the floor framing and the underside of the floor itself - and the wall panels can be turned upside down to make sure the finish penetrates fully into the tongue and groove joints. And before you apply the finish be sure to check the timber for any splinters, splits, knotholes and rough edges which might need attention first. Wood is a natural material and it's often impossible to avoid some of these issues during the manufacturing process. We don't see this as a big deal - it goes with the territory of a wooden playhouse, especially a budget model.
All in all we think the Poppy is a cheerful little wooden playhouse with an attractive design and a bright interior - all let down a little by the use of a very low spec solid sheet OSB floor. It's certainly worthy of consideration - customer satisfaction is high - but we'd suggest you also check out the Tulip, the Cranberry, the Playaway and the Kitty before you opt for the Poppy. Both the Playaway and Kitty will give you a wooden floor and the Kitty has an opening window too. And if the Poppy is your choice be sure to check out our price guide above - prices do vary quite a bit between suppliers. We've given the Poppy four wooden playhouse stars.