Skip to Content

Our DIY Playhouse: The Deck

Build a small DIY playhouse for your kids. This week we cover how we built the deck with sandbox.

I’ve wanted to give my kids a DIY playhouse for way too long. They love playing outside and I know they would love it even more with a place just for them.

But I kept putting it off because our yard is small. We only have a tenth of an acre (ouch) with a 23oo sq ft house on it. I try really hard to fit half an acre of fun into our small yard but a playhouse just seemed like it would take over the space.

Well, I decided I just needed to build a playhouse and I am so excited we are finally doing it!

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

I have been drooling over the Handmade Hideaway from The Handmade Home for a few years now. How wonderful is that fort!?! It’s everything that kids dream about. I can only imagine how much imaginative play goes on in that hideaway.

I have wanted to give my kids one for the so long, but… tiny yard! So I keep trying to not want to build a DIY playhouse for our kids.

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

Even though I thought our yard was too small, I spent a year dreaming and measuring and planning… and measuring some more. I sketched out ideas, and even the beginnings of a plan.

But then I thought it would be too big. Or take over the entire yard. So I measured and planned and measured some more. Then I put the idea to rest (or so I thought).

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

As the snow started melting, the kids were playing out in the yard more and more.

They would spend hours in our tiny yard together. They would drag all kinds of toys outside, create forts or spaceships or castles. They even dug holes in my not so fabulous patio area (which is just road base right now).

Even though our yard is small, they loved it. So finally this spring I decided it was time to stop planning. Our kids needed a place to play, we have a yard so the kids can play! So I designed the perfect small playhouse…

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

Now that it is finally happening, I couldn’t be more excited. Maybe even more excited then the kids (and they are really excited).

I am so excited to finally give our kids a special place that is all theirs. Somewhere they can play for hours and hours, with no TV or tablets or computers. Someplace to let their imagination fly. Someplace for them to be kids!

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

And I am also super excited to share the entire process with you. Even though this is not a little build, it is relatively easy.

No fancy tools are needed, so far we have used a saw (could be circular or miter saw) and an impact driver. Except when I pulled out the drill to fix a little mistake I made. And the rest of the plans should only use these tools as well.

I will also be sharing our supplies total with you so you can see the total investment as we go. I know we will be saving so much money over store bought playhouses and swing sets, but this is not a cheap build.

And most importantly, I hope to maybe inspire you to someday take on a DIY playhouse too! So let’s get started!

 And don’t miss the rest of the posts in the series. Click the links below for the rest of the playhouse build.

THE WALLS || THE RAILING || THE SLIDE & CLIMBING WALL || THE ROOF

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

How to Build a DIY Playhouse Deck

Tools:

Supplies:

Printable PDF Plans

Get all 5 posts in one easy to follow PDF! Includes complete supplies and tools for entire playhouse build.

Button to purchase printable PDF plans for the DIY playhouse.

Building the deck is easier with 2 people. My husband helped me get the base built and leveled, then I added the joists and deck boards by myself.

It took us 2 hours together to get the base built, in place and leveled and it took me 4 hours on my own to finish everything except adding the sealer (I still haven’t done that because it was super windy).

To build the base, start by cutting the 4×4 boards in half so you have (4) 4′ boards. Then cut the 10′ 2×8 board and (1) 10′ 2×6 board in half so you have 2 5′ boards of each.

Attach one of the 2×8 boards on the bottom of 2 of the 4×4 boards and one 2×6 board on the top using (2) 4″ Trex screws on each edge. Repeat so you have 2 of these.

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

Next cut the 8′ 2×8 boards and (2) 8′ 2×6 boards to 7′. Join the two sides together with the 2×8 boards on flush to the bottom and the outside of the 5′ boards and the 2×6 boards at the top with the 4″ TimberLOK screws.

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

At this point we moved the deck in place and got it leveled, which was a mistake. You want to add the joists first in case you cannot access the back of the deck like me.

I was able to use my drill to pre-drill holes into the 2×6 boards. Then with a wrench managed to get in between the fence and the deck and manually drive in the 4″ screws. It wasn’t too hard, but definitely not as easy as doing it before the deck was in place next to the fence.

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

To add the joists, cut (2) 10′ 2×6 boards in half so you have (4) 5′ boards. Space the boards evenly between the outer boards. They will be about 16 1/4″ apart on center.

Secure so they are flush with the top with 4″ screws.

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

Now it’s a good time to position and level the deck. Our yard is pretty sloped so we had to dig out about 4″ at the one end. Dig and level, dig and level until everything looks great.

Luckily I had my hubby for this part because the deck is HEAVY! Two people could move it easily, but to do that on my own it would have taken me forever.

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

Once everything was level, I cut the rest of the 8′ 2×6 boards to 7′ for the deck. I decided to get them sanded and stained before putting them on the deck (I also quickly stained the deck and joists). It was easier then trying to make sure I got the stain in between all the boards.

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

Then I laid out the deck boards, there was about 1/4″ between them.

I used 2 1/2″ decking screws to secure them. Use 2 screws in each joist. Some of the screws caused slivers of wood to poke up, so I gave the entire top a quick sanding and then a second coat of stain.

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

Finally, protect the deck with an outdoor wood sealer. I am planning on using spar urethane when the wind dies down. Most of the deck will actually be protected by the roof of the playhouse, but I want the playhouse to last for years and taking the extra steps to protect it will help that.

So now I am super excited for some good weather next week. I cannot wait to build the walls and install them. Then it will actually look like a DIY playhouse and not just the perfect stage for my daughter.

And now for the $$$. Here is what we have spent so far:

  • (2) 4×4 8′ boards = $19.94
  • (2) 2×8 8′ boards = $22.34
  • (1) 2×8 10′ board = $13.98
  • (13) 2×6 8′ boards = $78.65
  • (2) 2×6 10′ boards = $15.00
  • (2) 1lb boxes 2 1/2″ decking screws = $18.74
  • (52) 4″ TimberLOK hex screws = $28.31
  • Glue (already had)
  • Stain (already had a gallon from a clearance sale, only used about 1/5 of it).
  • Sealer (already had but it’s about $18 for a quart)

Total: $196.96

I also ordered a slide ($100) and pulls for a climbing wall ($20). I estimate we about 1/2 way through the total budget. If I am estimating correctly, we will end up with a DIY playhouse for about $600. That is really amazing considering the swing sets start at about $600 and they have nothing on this!

Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans

But now I need to get back to work! This playhouse is not going to build itself.

-Kati with picture of blog author Kati
Even though our yard is small, we decided we still needed a DIY playhouse. Check out how we built the small playhouse for our kids, on a budget, starting with the deck. This project was so easy and now we can see the playhouse starting to take shape. Housefulofhandmade.com | How to Build a Playhouse | DIY Swing Set | Small Playhouse | Playhouse Build Plans
8 DIY & Woodworking Hacks
← Previous
Coastal Solar Lantern Decor
Next →

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Caitlin

Friday 2nd of April 2021

Hi, I’m hoping to build this for my son! Did you secure the playhouse to ground at all such as with cement? Curious about stability with kids jumping off.

Molli Marie Bishop

Thursday 21st of January 2021

We got the plans yesterday and are planning to start the base ASAP! Couple of questions... 1. it says we should use 52 4"screws, but I only see using 48... 2. it says we need 13 boards for the deck, but the visual only shows 11...

Kati

Thursday 11th of February 2021

Hi Molli. The other 2 boards for the deck go on the front and back of the posts. Then you have 11 on top. As far as the screws, I may be including the screws I used in the next step, its hard for me to remember.

Jen

Friday 26th of June 2020

Thank you for posting!! I found this plan and started the base last night. Going 7x7ft and 5 ft tall so we can do more under it! Going to use your plan as a foundation and add some customizations.

THANK YOU!

Christopher Hilson

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

How did you print the PDF plans?

Kati

Tuesday 28th of July 2020

Have so much fun building your playhouse Jen! I am sure your kids will love it.

Ghaffar Mahmood

Tuesday 9th of June 2020

Great work on the playhouse! I'm using it as a guide for one I want to build my daughter. I plan on building this to be 8ft x 8ft so will definitely adjust the measurements and materials accordingly. Question #1: Do you think it would matter using 2x8 for the deck boards instead of 2x6?

Question #2: Do you have any overhang with the deck boards? Or did you have the 5x7 dimensions in mind for it to align perfectly?

I am trying to see between 2x4, 2x6 and 2x8 which one would be less expensive. Thanks!

Kati

Monday 22nd of June 2020

Yes 2x8 boards would be fine for the deck. There is no overhang, but you could definitely add one. just make sure the walls of the playhouse are over the base so it is fully supported.

ANGELA RUEDA

Wednesday 27th of May 2020

Hi. Thanks for the plans! I am so excited for this project!. I am already done with the platform and moving into the walls. I have a question, for the siding, do you have a link of a product i should be looking for? Ita my firstbtimw doing a project like this and when i search at homedepot, per say, i get a lot of different stuff that i dont know what to hoose. Thanks a lot

Kati

Monday 22nd of June 2020

Just make sure the siding you choose is for outdoor use and the sheets are 4x8. Otherwise, you can choose whatever style you like (or that fits in your budget).

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.