A lot of the play areas we build for our customers are custom playhouses and climbing frames where the garden play area is fairly limited. In our experience this does not mean that there isn’t a solution that provides a range of climbing frame activities and even a playhouse as well. Most of the playhouse climbing frames we create have the playhouse on top, some, such as the Forest Mega have a play den at ground level as well, but ocassionally we have to put the den under the deck rather than on it.

There is a complicating factor in designing climbing frames for small gardens in that the town and country planning act of 2008 says that structures within 2m of a boundary should not be above 2.5m in height without planning approval.

By placing the playhouse at ground level we are able to satisfy this criteria and still retain all the activities and features of a comprehensive playhouse climbing frame.


In this garden in North London there was a very useful 5m x 5m space available. There was the minor problem of the Rhubarb growing in one corner, but a bit of internet research showed that Rhubarb can be relocated without suffering too badly from the trauma.

As is almost always the case the customer had a wish list. On it was a Playhouse, a swing, a climbing wall, definitely a fireman’s pole. It should also have a telescope and a steering wheel. When I showed her our new birds nest swing that item also made it onto the priority list. I’m sure at the initial stages the list was a certain amount of tongue in cheek, but when we presented the customer with our first drawing it was clear we’d taken her requirements seriously. We’d also managed to squeeze monkey bars and an scramble net onto the climbing frame.

The only other minor detail was that she wanted a trampoline as well. We showed her the Springfree trampoline and explained that springrfree trampolines are the safest trampolines in the world and that assumed equal priority on the priority list as well.

Emma climbing frames

We often get asked about surfacing for play areas, and there is much that could be said about this some other time. In this case the customer was having imitation grass over a shock pad for safety. This is why the pictures show bare earth. I’ll be going back and taking more photos.

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