I'm going to admit that as a kid I loved to fantasize about having a lovely wooden Wendy House in my garden. But I have never has a garden large enough sadly, so I had to make do with squeezing myself into the garden shed, avoiding the lawnmower, the rake and my Father's wrath!
Even when my own kids were small enough for a playhouse we never had space for a beautiful wooden playhouse, so to this day I'm still fantasizing about a little garden hideaway.
So here are some fantastic and drool-worthy outdoor playhouses. All of them are made from natural wood so could be left in their beautiful natural wood colour, or painted to create a fairytale house, a pirate den or a country cottage. Think of your playhouse as a blank canvas to use your creativity on.
Some of these playhouses, which would be suitable for both boys and girls, feature two storeys, a loft, a veranda and even a slide from the top storey. If you are not that handy yourself, many of the suppliers will build your playhouse for you, usually at an extra charge.
Playhouses are wonderful for encouraging imaginative play, as well as giving the kids somewhere to shelter from both a shower of rain or the heat of the sun. Or maybe it could be used as a quiet spot to read a book. You could even take in a small table and get on with a spot of work. You might love it so much yourself that the kids will be lucky to get a look in!
This chalet-style Dream Playhouse from Garden Chic could almost make you believe that you were on holiday somewhere in Scandanavia.
When you buy any playhouse it will be delivered in it's natural state. You could paint this beautiful little cottage in pretty pastel shades, but I would keep that wonderful knotty wood visible myself with just a coat of varnish.
If you have ever dreamed of a home with genuine old-world charm, how about this Tudor Lodge Playhouse from Garden Chic.
You can have all the joy of a tudor-style building without the pesky listed building status to contend with.
Build the kids their very own command post in the garden with the Command Post Kids Wooden Platform Playhouse from Buy Sheds Direct which stands roughly 90cm above the ground.
It arrives unpainted so you can create your own design to camoflage it make it stand out, the playhouse is built exclusively in the UK from FSC®-certified timber. As an optional extra you can also add a wavy slide for extra fun.
This imposing garden playhouse, the Shire Lodge Playhouse with Large Veranda from Garden Chic, has a large loft section inside which creates the veranda section where you can sit outside.
The delightful classic styling is the perfect backdrop for a pretty painting scheme such as the pink and cream shown here
For a spectacular playhouse with both height and a balcony, the Highview Hideaway Playhouse by Rowlinson from Original Organics will not fail to impress.
With windows to let in lots of light, it stands around 80cm from the ground. It has a stable style-door a ladder is included to climb up into the playhouse and there is lots of playspace inside too.
With the sweetest little loft windows and its own veranda, the Traditional Swiss Cottage 2 Storey Playhouse from Shedstore is a larger size wooden outdoor playhouse which will bring you the spirit of the alps - alphorn and lederhosen optional.
Sit on the porch to shelter from the weather or play inside for hours.
If you lucky enough to have a really big garden and are therefore looking for a really big playhouse, the Mercia Snowdrop Cottage Playhouse from Buy Sheds Direct is HUGE.
Two storeys high, the second story of this desirable property is accessed with an internal ladder providing tons of space to play in.
The perfect little cottage to set out on an unexpected journey from? The Shire Cottage Playhouse from Garden Chic is supplied unpainted but I just love this dramatic colour scheme, which would make this a real feature of the garden.
Many of us fantasise about living in a country cottage; if that is your dream you can live it even in suburbia with the Rowlinson Country Cottage Playhouse from Garden Chic.
With its stable-style door, dormers, shuttered windows, decorative chimney and included window boxes it will bring the countryside atmosphere into your garden all year round.
Yeah Hah! The rustic barn-style Doodle Playhouse from Garden Chic will allow you to live out all your dreams of farming - or at least you can imagine you are in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Admittedly it won't be large enough to hold livestock, but your kids will love it.
The two storey Windsor Primrose Playhouse with Veranda at Amazon has lots of room for the kids to run about, with a proper upstairs to sit in, accessable by a ladder, cosy enough for reading or a bit of homework if the Wi-Fi will reach that far.
One of the more unusual designs of playhouse that you can buy for your garden is this Castle Play Tower by A1 from Garden Chic. History buffs, fans of knights in shining armour and of dungeons and dragons will relish the chance to play out their fantasies in this two storey playhouse.
You van just imagine a little bit of the days of yore, played out, right in your back garden.
Enjoy a hint of the Wild West with this Wigwam Childrens Playhouse, which is another more unusual idea for a fun playhouse for your kids.
In the style of a Native American Teepee, this wooden house has a window and closeable door. It has a smaller footprint than many of the more extravagent playhouses, being just a little over 1m square.
The Redwood Mansion Wooden Playhouse by Big Game Hunters genuinely looks like something out of an old-fashioned cartoon, with it's deliberately skew-iff door and window. It also includes a chalk board and a working letterbox.
Little Eco-warriors will love this Discovery Hideaway Playhouse by Plum which encourages messy play and getting back to nature. The roof is designed to be turfed, it includes a planter, a mud kitchen, a system for collecting rainwater and it's own bamboo wind chimes.
Here's what's new on eParenting