These amazingly inventive backyard playhouses are inspiring to the young (and the young at heart).
A pretty paved walk leads to this classic playhouse, made all the more endearing with sweet details such as turned porch railings, matching window boxes, and gabled dormers.
Windows built into small-sized play spaces keep corners from feeling dark and unwelcoming. In this dainty structure, a window seat and an octagonal cutout in the roofline flood the interior with light.
Children's need for play hasn't changed all that much from the past century, as the winning design of this playhouse, circa 1929, proves.
Lacy trim, a miniature Dutch door, and a pseudo chimney and shutters supply plenty of kid-friendly charm. To help small structures fit into their surroundings, outfit playhouses with colors and details drawn from nearby buildings.
Playhouses can employ as much, or as little, creativity as the builder desires. This pint-sized version plays it fairly straightforward -- a small covered porch, a Dutch door -- but a few extras, like a curved archway and mini shutters, give it flair.
Most structures like this playhouse employ shutters, window boxes, porch railings, and windows, or some combination of the four; this one has it all, dressed up with a pretty pastel-inspired paint scheme.
To eliminate the need for a separate floor surface, this quirky playhouse was sited on a wooden "bridge" between two raised beds.
Part playhouse, part children's book fantasy, a treehouse gets dressed up with whimsical details. In place of a standard stairs or ladder, the design integrates an old tree trunk as a "first floor."
Relying on detail and material can help playhouses resemble small-scale replicas of larger homes. This petite version showcases standout accents, including stucco and stonework on the corners and chimney.
Landscaping and ornamentation should be integral design elements in a playhouse. A stone edging outlines the approach to this pretty purple structure, and a profusion of pink blooms picks up on the color scheme.
An off-the-shelf playhouse design gets a customized touch with some painted flourishes. Vines and flowers dress up the roofline, and make-believe clouds flit through the door panels.
Clever design strategies can help solve potential site problems for a playhouse. This setup has the structure's front door at the top of a small rise in the yard; the house was then elevated, with a slide out the back.
This square playhouse was built with straightforward 2x4 framing pieces and vinyl siding, but clever details dress it up. A weather vane caps a faux chimney, a vent maintains air circulation, and accents including a dinner bell, mailbox, and address numbers, offer real-life extras.
Complete with its own fenced-in mini yard, a playhouse re-uses forms, materials, and colors from classically designed barns. Inside, soaring ceilings give way to a loft, and a rope out front calls playmates to "dinner."
Use no-fuss materials, such as a tin roof, and simple construction methods and a playhouse leaves children's imaginations room to run wild. Skip the troublesome electrical wiring in favor of a solar- or battery-powered light, and install a mailbox for special deliveries.
A delicately detailed playhouse sits on what could be a difficult slope in a backyard corner. A painted trellis covers the incline, and workable shutters shield the windows during inclement weather.
A few shrubs soften the landscape outside this traditionally styled playhouse. The simpler the materials and finishes, the easier the upkeep; here, a layer of mulch around the bushes and building eliminates the need for mowing.