How to Design Your Custom Playhouse

All grown-ups were a kid one day. The problem is that not everyone remembers it. Getting a wooden playhouse for your kids is exactly the moment that you will remember as when you were a kid yourself!

While the market of outdoor playhouses is extremely vivid today, sometimesyou just can't find the one for you. Your bundles of joy definitely deserve the wooden playhouse of their dreams, something unique that will become a part of their happiest childhood memories. That is why getting your kids a custom outdoor playhouse is a great idea!

But sometimes, it is easier said than done. If you don't have too much experience in design and construction, it may be pretty hard to come up with a custom outdoor playhouse that will be unique, comfortable, and safe for your kids at the same time. Don't forget that it should also be very easy to maintain and fit your backyard as well.

Through years of experience in designing and building high-quality wooden playhouses, our team came up with an ultimate, foolproof guide to custom playhouses. In this article, we shall share our tips to building a truly unique wooden playhouse for your kids easily, whether we are talking about a hut in the woods, a princess's palace, or a supervillain's lair.

What Kind of Outdoor Playhouse Will Fit You?

Before you start designing your custom wooden playhouse, it is essential to understand how big the playhouse should be and where exactly you are planning to place it.

The design of your kids custom playhouse will, in many ways, depend on its placement and the available space. You definitely don't want to block the view for you or your neighbors entirely or sacrifice the beautiful rosebush or give up the dreams about a swimming pool for a playhouse.

Careful planning is the key to a successful design of a custom outdoor playhouse that won't make you or your kids compromise on the comfort, beauty, and potential of your own backyard.

Now that you have the measurements, it is time to determine which type of outdoor playhouse you are going to build. Once you want to get the most of the available space and have active kids who love the outdoors, playgrounds, and sports, it may be a great idea to get an elevated tower playhouse, similar to DIY Kit Little Tower. It is easy to customize such an outdoor playhouse adding swings, monkey bars, slides, and other elements to it. You can place a sandbox under an elevated wooden playhouse or turn the ground area into a small garden, parking lot for bicycles, etc.

If the size of your backyard allows you to put a classic 8x8-feet outdoor playhouse, you can make it two-storey, build a miniature cottage with a tiled roof, add a terrace, a small gazebo, or a small tower with shooting holes. The only limit is your and your kids imagination. And here we come to the next crucial step.

"Creativity takes courage."
- Henri Matisse

Let Your Kids Design Their Playhouse

Getting an outdoor playhouse is a perfect opportunity to provide your kids with their own small universe, a safe space where they can let their imagination go, reveal their creative potential. Why not start with the design of the custom wooden playhouse itself?

Make sure to consult your kids before you start planning the actual structure of your custom wooden playhouse. Some kids would want to have their small garden with flower boxes and seedbeds. In this case, you may want to build a wooden playhouse with a wide sunny terrace where plants will grow best.

Another kid may dream of a science lab, where they can spend all their free time, so the outdoor playhouse should be spacious enough to contain all the equipment and materials, have good insulation, and have wide windows for ventilation. In general, we at WholeWoodPlayhouses build all out outdoor playhouses with windows that can be opened, also for playhouses that will not become science labs. It is always nice o be able to let fresh air in!

An artistic kid will need enough place for the workshop and storage of all the paint, canvases, brushes. A kids playhouse that will serve as a home theatre or a fashion house may need a separate room or covered space where "actors" or "models" would change during the show.

The idea is that before actually planning the structure of the playhouse, you should ask kids what they are going to use it for and what do they generally expect from their outdoor playhouse experience.

The same is, of course, true for the color palette and decorative elements. But we shall cross that bridge when we get there.


Two boys reading books on a terrace of a white wooden playhouse by WholeWoodPlayhouses

Arctic Nario

Wooden DIY Playhouse Kit painted blue in a backyward by WholeWoodPlayhouses

Little Cottage

Yellow wooden playhouse with a white roof in a backyard with children running around it by WholeWoodPlayhouses


The Universal Receipt of a Custom Wooden Playhouse

Although the idea of designing a custom outdoor playhouse may seem pretty overwhelming for someone who may have no experience in such things, there is a basically foolproof recipe for a perfect kids playhouse.

Those are the details that make every object unique and original. A new body design can make two technically similar vehicles look different. Such elements like sleeves, buttons, collars, and pockets turn ordinary clothing into designer pieces; The same is true for a wooden playhouse.

There are several elements you want to concentrate on if you want to easily create a unique custom playhouse for your kids:

  • Doors;
  • Windows;
  • Terrace;
  • Roof.

Playing with those elements, their shape, size materials, and, of course, color, you can create a princess palace, a toy hospital, a Batman's Cave, or any other construction on basically the same basic playhouse foundation.

Doors for a Custom Playhouse

Are you building a classic cottage, a Wild West Saloon, or a Hobbit cave? You would be surprised how much a door may impact the overall look and atmosphere of the playhouse. That is why the door design should be among the first things you think through in your custom wooden playhouse.

Should they be swinging in both directions for easier access? Maybe the door needs a window to let more light into the kids playhouse? Or maybe vice versa, the outdoor playhouse will be a photo lab, and therefore the door should be as secure as possible?

Once again, the design of the door mainly depends on the future purpose of the custom wooden playhouse. Although different door materials are possible, we recommend wooden doors (even if it is a glass-door in a wooden frame) for wooden playhouses.


Wooden playhouse in pink with white roof and terrace with balloons in a green garden by WholeWoodPlayhouses


 White and blue Outdoor Playhouse with white roof and white and blue flower boxes on green lawn by WholeWoodPlayhouses

Playhouse Cornflower

Gray Color Wooden Playhouse With Open Windows, Whitw Flower Boxes and Black Roof By WholeWoodPlayhouses

Boy Cave

Windows for Your Custom Wooden Playhouse

Windows are another element that can change the "face" of your kids playhouse entirely. Round windows can turn any playhouse into a lighthouse or a fisherman's hut. You cannot imagine a princess palace without large Empire-style windows that lead directly on the terrace. A superhero's lair or a fort would vice versa, need narrow windows.

Any way you look at it, windows are not only a crucial design element of your perfect custom playhouse. They are also crucial for your kids safety while they spend time in their outdoor playhouse.

Make sure that the windows are made of safety glass that won't crack and break. It is also best to design windows that can be opened and closed securely to provide necessary ventilation or block the drafts when kids have fun in their outdoor playhouse in winter.

Custom Playhouse with a Terrace

A terrace may not seem like a crucial element for an outdoor playhouse. But it can also play an important aesthetic and functional part in the design and therefore become crucial, particularly for your custom playhouse.

As we have already mentioned, it is hard to imagine a fairy tale palace without a terrace. The same is true for a Wild West Saloon. A terrace can be a perfect waiting area for a doctor's office or a display place for a shop.

If your kid is planning to grow plants in the outdoor playhouse, a terrace would be a great place to put flower boxes with sun-loving flowers and crops. It is also perfect for tea parties, stargazing, etc.

A Perfect Roof for a Custom Outdoor Playhouse

Last but not least is the roof. In fact, the roof of your playhouse carries several functions at the same time. It is not only another element that can define the style of your custom kids playhouse, but it is also crucial for the safety and maintenance of your kids playhouse.

There are 3 main things you will need to consider planning a roof for your wooden playhouse:

  • The shape. Just like with windows and doors, the shape of the roof determines the whole image of the playhouse. From classic cottages with triangle roofs to wooden playhouses with tilted roofs that make them look pretty whimsical, from castles with enamelled roofs to fishermen's houses with a round cover – the roof will create the look. However, make sure that the shape of the roof corresponds to the laws of physics and that water wouldn't collect there (if you are not sure if your new roof design will last the test of time or heavy rain, give us a shout and we can check it for you!);
  • The material. Metal is the most common material for outdoor playhouses roofs due to its long durability, light weight and the possibility to paint it in any color that you wish. Nonetheless, maybe your design fits better with wooden shingles or some other material? A good rule of thumb is that if you can have a material as your house roof material, it is definitley fitting also for your new outdoor playhouse!
  • The color. The roof's color will play a crucial role in the design of your custom outdoor playhouse. Especially if we are talking about flashy whimsical designs, however, keep in mind that not every material can be colored, and choose a color and paint that you will be able to maintain with time.

Playhouse Snowy Owl

Playhouse Arctic Auk

Now you know all the essential elements that will let you easily design a unique custom outdoor playhouse for your kids. The key is to work together, search for inspiration, brainstorm the ideas and develop the final design together so the wooden playhouse will be special for your kids and realistic for you to build.

If you are not sure if you want to do all of it from scratch, then visit our custom playhouses webpage for inspiration and do not hesitate to contact us to bring your dream design to life!

Building a custom wooden playhouse is a thrilling and bonding experience for the whole family. It will bring lots of lifetime memories and teach you the skills that your children will cherish and pass to their own kids in the future.

"To stimulate creativity one must develop childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition."
- Albert Einstein

Written by WholeWoodPlayhouses


Blue and white Outdoor Playhouse with white Flower boxes and the round top window in a backyard by WholeWoodPlayhouses

Playhouse Bluebird

White and Black Wooden Playhouse with natural color fishbone door, wooden terrace with white railing on green lawn by WholeWoodPlayhouses

Playhouse Grand Farmhouse

Outdoor Playhouse Plum with white flower boxes, wooden terrace and red herringbone door by WholeWoodPlayhouses

Playhouse Plum