How I went back to digging holes for a day
The Playways range of Forest playhouse climbing frames has always been really popular. Whether its a single unit model, such the Forest Playhouse climbing frame, or the 2 storey Forest Mega, or a 2 module unit such as the Forest Combo with bridge to tower, or the Forest Mega Combo, with bridge to tower and lower deck and den as well, there is something for every garden.
As is always the way with a growing business, I’m less involved in the hands on of the product now and spend more time either in the office or out meeting customers. I was therefore looking forward to going with Tom on an installation near Newport Pagnall last week. Tom is one of our workshop team and installers, and although only 22 has already become a highly skilled and a valued member of the Playways team. As we also found whilst travelling in the van, we share a taste in music.
The model we were installing was a Forest Mega Combo with Turbo tube slide.
For this installation we were lucky, the area was level, and the space large enough to easily accommodate the play centre. Often though, we have to work with slopes and awkward spaces to ensure that we make the most of the space. There can also be the consideration of neighbours and proximity to boundaries to take into account.
All installations start with assembling the frames for the platforms. This enables some fine tuning of position to take place with the customer. For all the measurements and drawings we do, there is nothing like laying it all out on the ground to see how it is going to work in the space.
Once the platforms have been positioned, holes dug and concreted in we can begin the tasks of laying on the decks and putting the panels for the lower den, house and the roofs of the tower and playhouse in place. The railings and the play activities also start to be added. This involves digging more holes (my job) and the more technical tasks of fitting the pre-made components (Tom’s job).
We’ve been adding Spiral tube slides to some of our playhouses and climbing frames. You can see the starting section for this one in situ, with the lower parts of the tube still to be added.
With the tube slide finished and the net attached this playcentre is already for use. This installation, being one of our larger units, took us 2 days to build onsite.
A particularly exciting feature of the Mega type playcentres (We use the term ‘Mega’ describe where there is a lower deck and den under the upper platform) is the ladder and hatch that goes into the upper house from the lower deck. This really does enhance the treehouse feeling, think of Dennis the Menace, Robin Hood or even Bart Simpson.
This picture shows the inside of the playhouse where the ladder comes up from the lower deck and the hatch opens, a true treehouse feature.
I really enjoyed my days out with Tom, and it was impressive to see how the installation process has become even more slick and efficient, than when I used to do it all the time some years ago. Maybe next time I’ll join a team putting one of our large playhouses or a castle!
To find out more about the Forest range of Playways playcentres visit our product pages at www.playways.co.uk/product-category/forest-playhouse-climbing-frames/