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What to look for when choosing garden play equipment

Raised Playhouse Climbing FrameWinter may be all around us, and when the snow is fresh and the air crisp it certainly makes some beautiful scenes.But spring is just around the corner. We’re already noticing the evenings just beginning to get a little longer each day, and already the snowdrops are forming their wonderful swathes of green and white, and the bulbs I planted last winter are poking through.

It’s at this time that many people are thinking about garden play equipment for their children and for their gardens. And if you’re going to make the most of new equipment then now is the time to be thinking about what you may want and what will work for you.

Raised playhouses, and climbing frame playhouses are designed to be amongst the best investment you can make in garden play equipment. We’ve many years of experience of designing and building climbing frames and playhouses of all sorts, and have a wide range of products and commissions to inspire you. Our experience of working for schools and parish councils means that we know about building strength and long service into our equipment, and this reflects right across our ranges.

Here are some guidelines to help in the process of choosing your garden play equipment. When we make visits to peoples gardens these are the kind of things I consider when suggesting potential play area designs.

1. It sounds straightforward, but the first thing is to think of the age of the children and how many of them will be using the equipment. As you will be aware, very young children have a habit of growing up alarmingly quickly. You should certainly be thinking about what your child may want in a few years time as well as now. And if, for instance, you want a raised playhouse, you should think about how many friends as well as brothers and sisters will be using it. We have clever ways of providing the facility for adding monkey bars and climbing walls, whilst making the raised area safe and enclosed for younger children. Older children love climbing frames as well, even into their early teens.

2.Where are you going to put your wooden garden playcentre? We can work with all sorts of awkward spaces and areas, and it may be that an area you hadn’t thought of might be ideally adapted for use as a play area. Our raised playhouses can be built into quite severe slopes, or where there is a change of levels in a garden, indeed this can make the play area really interesting.

3. You may need to give consideration to your neighbours. The planning rules are reasonably clear for the erection of playhouses (garden buildings). If the structure is within 2m of your boundary the climbing frame or playhouse should be under 2.5m tall. We are not planning experts, and ultimately a quick email to your local planning office may be a good idea, but we will advise as best we can, and will always tell you if we feel their may be a concern in this area.

4. Is there sufficient area around the proposed structure? You should allow 1.5m all around as a safety zone, but also so that you can get a mower or strimmer around.

5. Do you require surfacing? We have many options we can offer you for surfacing, particularly popular these days are artificial grass surfaces. And there are many choices that can be made here. Artificial grass can also be a fully functioning safety surface with the use of appropriate impact absorbing underlays. Please ask us for more information.

6. Do you want an all in one unit? or do you have space to spread things around a bit? We can attach swings to most of our climbing frames and raised playhouses, however, I do always recommend that if you have the space keep the swings separate.

7. Do you want a wendy house or a den for your children? One of Playways specialities is incorporating a playhouse into the climbing frame. Our platform playhouses, or raised playhouses, are a brilliant way of combining physical active play with creative imaginative play. A raised playhouse can take many forms. The Forest platform playhouse range includes simple single platform playhouse climbing frames as well as multi tower wooden climbing frame playhouses. These can have bridges, monkey bars, climbing walls and nets. There are also wonderful Damson Cottage and Otter Cottage raised playhouse climbing frames.

8. You may well find you need our expertise in advising what will work best for you, and give you and your children what you want. For our larger wooden platform playhouses and climbing frames we often like to visit you. This ensures that what you are buying will work for you. It also gives Playways the opportunity to advise any changes to the design or layout that will make sure your wooden climbing frame is not only unique to you, but will also work in your location.