Garden Play Area

9 Materials
9 Hours

This spring I just couldn’t resist painting up this kids playhouse and adding some Pinterest inspired character to it! It was as simple as changing the layout, adding a few coats of paint and some accessories to add some character!

Two years ago we bought this playhouse for our kids to create a play area behind our garage for them. I wanted to change the layout and reposition it and it was time to get out my paintbrush. There is only so long that I could have left this alone for!

Due to bad weather and using the pockets of time that I had to get this done I painted it in sections. I used a dark grey outdoor paint for the roof and white outdoor paint for the rest of the structure.

I applied two coats of paint which had to be within 8 hours of each other. So for this reason also it was easier to paint in sections.

Once the playhouse was ready we prepared the ground to move it back into place. This just involved levelling it out with more soil and then the concrete blocks that were used to secure it were moved also for its new position.

We took landscaping fabric and layered it over the soil. This was to prevent the bark chippings from getting mixed up with the mud underneath.

Once the bark was in place over the fabric we secured the slide and the ladder. Now it was ready to be decorated!

I bought this bell from eBay. It’s pretty loud and I’m not sure my neighbours will appreciate it but I thought it would be a fun detail!

I found this welcome sign on eBay also. I added some white paint to the border as I thought it would look more finished that way and nailed it to the front board.

I also purchased two solar lanterns to hang either side of the front. I attached these to the wood with screw in hooks. And finally I bought solar fairy lights to hang around the edge for the finishing touch.

The finished space. Once again I’m blown away with what a difference a little white paint can do. Adding the other details has added some character in and also hopefully made it more fun to play in. Also just changing the layout from how it was positioned before has made a huge difference to the finished look and function of it. Eventually we want to add some planks of wood to the bottom level. This can be used as a sandpit but we decided not to just because it’s in a small area and not so easy to access. Instead we thought it would be more fun for them to have a lower floor too.

I did spend a bit on this project, mostly on the accessories. But it would have been very affordable if I had just stuck with two cans of paint! I don’t love the bright slide but that’s how it came and there really isn’t a whole lot I can do about it. And after all this is a piece for my kids to have fun playing on and they love the updates too!

I hope that this project inspires you that you can make even a kids play area your own and more suited to your style.

To see more of this and other projects follow along on Instagram!

~ Rachel ♡

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Frequently asked questions

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  2 questions
  • Anne Anne on Jun 04, 2021

    I hate to be a Negative Nan on this well-intentioned project; but, as a mom of 5, grandma of 14, great-grandma of 7, and babysitter to many for over 5 decades, I see a number of hazards in this play area. Am I the only one? First and most important, how do you watch the kids when they're behind the garage? I don't know about your family; but, let's say you have a 4 year old and a 6 year old. It's going to be impossible to keep them both within your range of vision every minute behind the garage. Move it into an open area where you can see them both when one gets bored with the playdeck and goes to another area of the yard. Moving it will also avoid a pretzel-bent entrapment between the ladder and garage wall in a fall or a scramble to be first one up. Staple the light strings securely to prevent any possibility of fingers, hands, feet, or necks getting tangled in the loose cords. Have clear space and air circulation around the structure to make it less inviting for snakes, spiders, wasps, rodents, etc (some who really enjoy hiding in mulch and corners) and to make it easier for adult inspection. Eventually, although you would never think so, somebody will figure out how to get onto the playhouse roof. From there, it's an easy move onto the garage roof or over the fence. Trust me on this! To help keep their interests more "grounded" you could cover the bottom section with layers of newspaper and fill it with washed sand (the kind ants can't mound); I never met a little kid who couldn't spend hours in a sandbox! A simple tarp makes a good kitty-proof cover for overnight...a must-have. Our kids had a treehouse and swingset. When our grandkids were growing up, we had a 20'x20'x6'h playdeck with swings, slides, stairs, a lattice-walled playhouse, and a 20'x10' sandbox under it. It dominated the center of our backyard, built around a tree. The lattice playhouse was cute and purposeful; you can see all the way through lattice walls to the yard behind them. You've started your kids on a path to some great memories! Their imaginations will run wild. Savor every moment; it goes by so fast.

    • Cherie Cherie on Jun 06, 2021

      I agree with you Anne!

    • Rachel | mapleandgrey Rachel | mapleandgrey on Jun 07, 2021

      Hi Anne, thanks for taking the time to write your comment. I appreciate your concern but I actually just built a seating area right opposite this so I can sit and watch them play! And you can see the rest of the garden from this one spot since it isn’t overly large which is why we decided to make use of this space. We don’t have snakes or dangerous spiders here but we do have cats which is why I decided against putting a sandpit in the bottom, although it would be fun.

    • Kathy Kovacev Kathy Kovacev on Jun 11, 2021

      You are not alone. I was thinking the exact same thing. I also am a mother of 6, grandmother of 10, and 2 great grandchildren. But other than that the house is adorable, but definitely put in a safer place and in plain view.

    • Rachel | mapleandgrey Rachel | mapleandgrey on Jun 12, 2021

      Thanks Kathy, glad you like the improvements! Even if I moved the house into the middle of the garden I would still not leave them unattended on it, so I opted for making use of this space

    • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 15, 2021

      Just because the playhouse is located in a corner, do not assume that young children enjoying it will not be supervised.

      Also, older children do not need to be constantly watched.

  • Michael Michael on Jun 04, 2021

    Relegating the children to a hidden corner of your garden is, well. unsafe, and to be honest, poor parenting. How if a child falls and is injured, perhaps even unconscious. What then? You can't see them in that dark and visually blocked corner.

    • Teresa Teresa on Jun 04, 2021

      I agree 100%

    • Susana Soler Susana Soler on Jun 04, 2021

      I suppose that this playhouse could pose a hazard to younger kids but I think that it would be a great little club house. I remember playing endless games of Monopoly on a secluded porch where we were hidden from view. We need to give our children opportunities to feel independent.

    • Mobust Mobust on Jun 06, 2021

      totally agree with both Michael and Anne.

      Sadly, you need to anticipate EVERY crazy thing a kid (or worse, a group of kids) might do.

    • Rachel | mapleandgrey Rachel | mapleandgrey on Jun 07, 2021

      Thanks Susana! I wanted to create a space where they could play and feel they have their own area as well as utilising the available space in our garden. They love playing in it and of course are supervised at all times!

    • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 24, 2021

      Do not assume that as the playhouse is located in a corner of the yard, that the children enjoying it will not be supervised. Also, you do not know the ages of the children in the household, their level of maturity, or their ages. Older children do not need to be constantly watched.


Join the conversation

4 of 20 comments
  • Michelle Lynes Michelle Lynes on Jun 12, 2021

    Pretty cool idea. I’d consider instead of the ladder a climbing wall. Also since it has fence all around and the garage wall putting a post in and hanging a fan to stir the air. Love the bell!!

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 16, 2021

    Painting the playhouse white injects life to the structure, and the fun green colored slide is very inviting!