Mrs R, Richmond, London.
We already had a climbing frame and the children used it constantly but it wasn’t pretty to look at and there were safety issues, so we were looking to replace it. We have three children – J 5yrs, H 8yrs and E 11yrs and their grandparents gave us some money, so we thought we’d use it to buy something just for them.
We found The Playhouse Company through Google, but we had also seen an advert in The Bulletin. The company provides an excellent service. They are friendly, always easy to contact and the installation was excellent too – it really is a first class service. We do a lot of Internet shopping, so we weren’t worried about that. The website gave us confidence in the company. It has so many pictures of playhouses on it that it gave us the feeling that this is an established company.
We had a special place in our garden where we wanted to put our playhouse. If you have a London garden (ours is 60ft), you think that there is no room, but it actually adds a really exciting dimension to the space. We had it installed so that we could see it from indoors, and as I look at it all the time, it was very important that it was pleasing to the eye. On Kay’s suggestion, we ended up rotating the playhouse around to give us a better view of it from the house. She also suggested having a higher platform to create two levels in the garden.
We knew we wanted a construction that would allow the children to do circuits, and it had to have a swing and a slide. We settled on a shelter style design as we thought they wouldn’t outgrow it so quickly. Our daughter, H, has special needs so we had to be careful to make it accessible for her. She has poor muscle tone, vision and hearing, so we had steps with handrails, which make it easy for her to use. We also had rubber bark put underneath to cushion any falls and this is great because it doesn’t tread mud into the house.
The value we have had from the playhouse is priceless. The children love it and are outside all the time – they take their breakfast, dinner and tea out there. They particularly like the telescope, pulley and rope ladder. The fact they can do circuits is great, but it’s the little extras and add-ons that make it really special. Richard left some balustrade for us to insert when the kids don’t use the slide any more and this demonstrated to us his long term care about his products.