Style and Design
A nicely made, affordable wooden playhouse in a fantastic rocket design with everything you need to stimulate young imaginations. There's an upper play bunk accessed by wooden ladder with some useful storage space below, feature external rocket fins, porthole style windows, and a rocket style finial to round off the roof and the overall impression of space age streamlining - what more could you want. And the octagonal design means you can fit the rocket neatly in the corner of the garden if you're a little limited for space.
The playhouse is constructed in 12mm tongue and groove shiplap mounted on robust 27 x 44mm wooden frame for a sturdy, weatherproof building. The windows are glazed in virtually unbreakable styrene while the floor and roof are solid sheet with the roof finished off in roofing grade shed felt for additional protection.
The Rocket's footprint measures 6'x6' (1.8 x 1.8m). The overall external measurements are 8'3'' x 6'2'' (1.88 x 2.51m), this to include the rocket fins. The height is .6'4'' (1.93) at the eaves increasing to a maximum 8'11'' (2.72m) at the highest point. The door dimensions are 4'8'' x 1'11'' (1.42 x 0.58m).
The Rocket is delivered with a water based pre-treatment only. It is essential that a final decorative/preservative finish be applied at the time of construction and maintained as necessary to take advantage of the manufacturer's 10 year anti rot guarantee.
The playhouse is delivered ready to assemble with all necessary fittings and full instructions. You can see a preview of the instruction manual here (link opens in a new window).
See the details of sellers and prices given above.
The Rocket certainly offers something completely different when it comes to wooden playhouse design. Although nominally themed in the style of a spaceship it's essentially an octagonal building with plenty interior room which provides good outdoor play space. There's an elevated play area inside which certainly adds interest and will help smaller children to see out of the porthole styled windows. The area below can be used either as a little hideaway or as useful storage for smaller toys. The building is tall which allows plenty of headroom for growing children and - indeed - adults and the octagonal design gives you plenty flexibility when it comes to deciding where to site the playhouse. There are some attractive features too with nice wooden framing to the windows and a rocket nacelle styled roof finial. The rocket fins round off the theme although these could be left off if necessary if your space is limited.
The quality of construction is quite adequate for the building's size and style. 12mm interlocking tongue and groove cladding on a 27 x 44mm frame should, properly assembled, give you a strong stable playhouse. There's a slight disappointment when it comes to the flooring where the specification is limited to 10mm solid sheet board. We must say we do prefer a real wooden floor to a playhouse on the grounds of durability and strength - but that's not to say that 10mm solid sheet won't do the job. Just make sure you locate the playhouse away from any areas where excessive moisture collects as solid sheeting is more prone to damage and deterioration due to damp. The roof panels too are solid sheet but this shouldn't present much of a problem as long as the roofing felt finish is properly applied. One small point is that there's no way supplied of securing the door closed so you might want to have a look at fitting your own child friendly magnetic catch.
No safety worries with the usual points adequately addressed. The building features smooth planed rounded timbers and a finger gap around the door to reduce the risk of injury. The windows are styrene glazed and the raised internal area is secured by a balustrade to help avoid falls. With wood being a natural material though, it's entirely possible that you'll find some rough edges, splits or knotholes which have either escaped the quality control process or developed during storage or delivery. Keep an eye out for these and be prepared to attend to them prior to treatment/decoration.
And on the issue of treatment/decoration, it's important to note that the playhouse receives only a water based dip treatment by the manufacturer. This is largely what you'd expect for this size of building in this price range but it does mean you'll have to take care to apply a good quality timber treatment - and decorative finish if you wish - as soon as possible after you take delivery. We recommend you do this prior to constructing the playhouse. This means you can easily reach parts which might be inaccessible later - and if you turn the pre-formed panels upside down it's easier to apply the treatment/decoration right into the tongue and groove joints.
As far as the process of assembly is concerned, we don't think this will cause too much difficulty for someone with average diy skills and some basic tools. The design is a little complex though, particularly the octagonal roof, and it's likely to be quite a time consuming process. The manufacturer recommends that two adults undertake the job and we'd certainly go along with this. As a minimum you'll need a toolkit consisting of; a power drill with a 2mm bit, a Philips screwdriver (preferably powered too), a Stanley knife, a saw, a stepladder, a hammer and a tape measure. A good pair of leather or plastic builders' gloves wouldn't go wrong either to protect your hands from any stray splinters. Take a look at the instructions which you can download here (opens in a new window) and this will give you a good idea of what you'll need and what's involved.
We think think the Rocket is a great addition to the world of the wooden playhouse. Whether you fully utilise the unique rocket style or treat it just as an octagonal playhouse it's bound to be a super addition to the garden. The design gives you a great amount of playspace and the exceptional headroom means it will stand growing children in good stead for many years - and will also alllow adults to easily take part in the games. There are one or two negatives - we aren't great fans of the solid sheet floor and the door lacks a catch. But overall you'll get a good sized robust playhouse which will give decent value for money. We've awarded the Mercia or Waltons Rocket four wooden playhouse stars.