We don’t have the biggest house so space is at an absolute premium. We have used the space in the best way we can but we’re still missing a proper play area for Archie. Due to his Autism he needs a little space just for him, a sensory room and playroom so as we don’t have space inside we decided to go for building an outdoor playroom..
Building a room outside of your house is definitely one of the more ambitious home DIY projects you can undertake, but one that tends to be rewarding. For some, it might mean putting together a toolshed that can subsequently serve as a place to do other DIY jobs. For others, it might mean constructing a garden shed that can become a handy place for storage and organisation. In our case, it’s an outdoor playroom for Archie!
We’re lucky that the hubby is amazing at DIY, he has done some amazing projects in our house but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have a little knowledge of construction know-how. Then again, even a job like this can be done if you take the right steps to prepare and use whatever guide or instructions are relevant to your specific project.
We didn’t want to take too much space in the garden as we still wanted outdoor space to relax and for Archie to play so it really had to be considered. If you’re going to do something similar then there’s a number of steps you really need to think about.
1. START WITH A BLUEPRINT
Trying to build a shed, playroom or other outdoor structure simply from a vision in your head probably isn’t going to go well. It’s definitely a good idea to have a plan along with a blueprint or set of instructions for that plan. Fortunately, such blueprints are actually pretty easy to find online. What Shed, a guide for garden buildings, actually has a lot of different suggestions for everything from playhouses to outdoor storage sheds. It amounts to a great resource if you have an idea but you’re still looking for a starting point. Just think of it like buying instructions for a really big, more complicated LEGO set.
The hubby did his research then got back to basics and created his own set of drawings based on what we needed and the space available. To make the most of the space he decoded to go for a sloped rather than pitched roof which he extended past the external walls to create an extra usable area.
2. CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT INVENTORY
Having just seen a playroom go up, I know that without an adequate collection of tools we would have been in a little bit of trouble! If you’re a regular DIYer like my hubby this probably won’t be an issue, but it’s still a good idea to consider that you’ll need more than a hammer and nails. For organisational purposes, the selection of trade tools at Screwfix can provide a helpful overview of what comprises a well-stocked toolkit at home. For instance, you might come across anything from a power drill to a levelling tool and realise it’s something you don’t have handy that you’ll need.
3. GATHER YOUR MATERIALS
This is a quick one and probably goes without saying, but it’s wise to double check to make sure you have your building materials before you get started. As we were using a lot of reclaimed wood for the external cladding, mainly from old palettes we had to make sure we had enough before starting to make sure all the wood was similar in colour etc.
In additional we bought wood for the structure, slates for the roof & second hand window & door, in addition to all the screws, nails, and the like. But whatever your materials may be, it’s frustrating to get halfway through a project and realise you need more of them.
4. FIGURE OUT ELECTRICITY
This is a step a lot of people don’t think of in advance, and sometimes it’s not necessary. For a particularly small structure or one that’s meant to let in a lot of natural light, electricity might not be a primary concern. But for others, it’s a good idea to think in advance of how you’re going to get lighting (or possibly even heat!) into the building. Country Living, in a list of DIY tips for backyard designs, had an interesting and simple idea to hang string lights in outdoor areas.
You can also go about a more involved process and rig up electrical outlets. It’s best to figure out your plan before you really get building, however, as doing so after the fact can leave you with limited options. We decided not to have electric to the playhouse as it added an unnecessary cost, instead we bought battery powered sensory lighting instead
5. WORK OUT A SCHEDULE
Finally, while it’s not vital, I’d recommend setting a schedule to try to keep your work on pace. It’s just easy to let a project like this drag out longer than it needs to. When you’re working outside and the elements can come into play, it’s just nice to get things done as quickly as possible.
The hubby had to work on the playhouse on weekends due to his work schedule so he made sure he started the job when he had weekends free to get the structure up s quick as possible. The interior isn’t complete just yet, we still need to buy some accessories & decorate but some toys are in and Archie is already loving playing in his new playhouse.
What do you think? How amazing is Archie’s playhouse, and how amazing is my hubby? Especially considering it only cost us about £150 because the hubby saw some fab potential in old wood.