The Playhouse Project

We moved to a new house a year ago and not a week goes by that the kids don’t say they miss having the play set in the back yard. Finding myself recently unemployed, I decided building a playhouse would be a great project to take on. I admit it, I like power tools and was excited about the challenge.

My first step in the project was to search online. I started on Pinterest and found several playhouses that looked simple enough. You can find my playhouse project board on Pinterest. I took characteristics from a number of websites, but by far, the house I was most inspired by was the Modern Playhouse created by designers in San Francisco. I found a lot of pictures of different designs and even a few how to websites but never found any detailed plans that I wanted to build. It was clear I was going to have to design something myself.

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Modern Playhouse Design by designers in San Francisco


I started off thinking that I could use recycled materials, wood scraps, and remnants from construction projects. I wanted to save money as well as reduce waste (of course). After grabbing the first load of wood through my local Buy Nothing group, I realized this was going to be challenging. I consulted my contractor friend who agreed that piecing together remnants was going to take much longer and impose limitations on my design. I decided I would try to use some of the wood I collected but also acknowledged I needed to buy some (or most) of the materials.

My first step was to determine where the playhouse was going to be sited in the yard and then I drew up design plans based on some key considerations including size limitations and maximizing light. When planning dimensions, I was limited to something 50 inches wide because of the location and I wanted something tall enough for my eight and five year olds to enjoy for years to come. Because the playhouse was going to be in a shady corner of the yard, I wanted to fill the playhouse with as much natural light as possible. I used the holes element from the Modern Playhouse design and changed the roof to clear polycarbonate to allow the light in from above. Another design component was incorporating a counter/window. One of my kids favorite things to do in our neighborhood is to play in the playhouse at our local nursery, Swansons, and pretend to sell coffee and lattes from the window (that’s Seattle Kids for you).

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Playhouse design under development

I spent approximately three weeks building the playhouse while the kids were at school. I had help from my local lumber store cutting the plywood to size. My local hardware store helped with troubleshooting issues with saw blades, stripped screws and more. I have published detailed plans, a materials lists, and step by step instructions that can be purchased from my Etsy site. I also had a little help from my husband and my kids, but primarily I was able to construct this on my own (hurray for moms who build)!

I will be adding more details to my website eventually, but for now I was just so excited to share the results. The finishing touches are some of my favorite as parts of the project. The kids wanted the playhouse to be blue. We compromised with a blue door.

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The Playhouse Project by GarbageTruckLove

My kids liked the bench and pillow elements of the Modern Playhouse design so we incorporated those as well. I used leftover stain from the garage and an old bench cushion.

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Floating bench makes for a great hiding spot as well as place for storage.

My husband requested a chalkboard inside. He and his friends enjoy decorating the garage walls with their own chalk musings and drawings. Using chalk board paint on the walls, I created a designated spot where the kids can create their own images and document their musings.

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Chalk Boards in the Playhouse


We are all excited to have this new addition to our home. The kids ate dinner in there last night and were quick to get to playing! I added a few final touches to the landscape including a round stepping stone at the entrance. I also surrounded the structure with rocks to help with drainage on those wet Seattle days.

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Rocks, a round stepping stone, and stoppable plants were added to the landscape.

Wrapping up the playhouse project, I couldn’t help but feel emotional and think of my dad who passed away in November. He taught me everything I know about tools and building things. He was ninety and still working at the hardware store before he passed away and will always be an inspiration. I know he would have been so proud of my creation.

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Gift ideas for your garbage truck lover

Looking for the perfect gift for your garbage truck lover? I have pulled together a list of some of my favorites that have been big hits at our house. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Get creative and enjoy.

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1. Garbage Truck Driver Vest and Gloves

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There are lots of vests to be found on amazon. I bought one with Velcro so my son could get it on by himself. Prices vary from $5-$10.


Gloves- I bought Toysmith gardening gloves for $6. The colors vary and make sure you get the right size. Size small works for my 4 YO.


2. Recycle Garbage Bin

For $5 you can get your child their very own recycling bin. My son loves to collect the garbage that can be recycled and even puts it out on the curb every once in a while. Get the small bin!

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3. Garbage Truck Puzzle

The Ravensburger Waste Collection puzzle is fun addition to your collection of garbage truck items and it’s only $6 on amazon.com

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4. Bruder Garbage Truck

When you are ready to commit to garbage truck love, an investment in a Bruder Garbage Truck is a great choice. There are a number of models available and when buying them new, they can be over $50. Check craigslist or your neighborhood mom’s list to get one used. The trucks come with garbage cans. I recommend this for ages 3+.

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5. Playmobil 123 Garbage Truck

If you are note ready to commit to the Bruder and have a younger garbage truck lover in your house, I recommend this toy by Playmobil 123. Designed for 2-4 YOs. Available in your local toy store and on amazon.com for $12

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6. Make Your Own Custom Garbage Truck

See my post from a few months back on how to make your own garbage truck out of recycled materials. Its a great product to do together as a family.

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WARNING!! Shameless Self Promotion Below!!

7. Keep Calm It’s Garbage Day Shirt

My son gets so excited on garbage day. I was inspired to create this tshirt. Available in green and blue and even in adult sizes! $18.99 on etsy.

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8. Reduce Reuse Recycle Shirt

My latest tshirt design. Available in navy, green, and purple. $18.99 on etsy.

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9. Hurray, Hurray It’s Garbage Day- A book about garbage trucks

I’ve written a book and self publishing it. There are lots of great pictures in the book of garbage trucks from our neighborhood and our travels. I hope you enjoy it. The book is 8×6 hardcover and $12 on etsy.

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Starting up!

Tiger on the garbage truck prowel

I’ve been sharing my son Ben’s obsession with garbage trucks for going on two years now. I am launching this blog to put pen to (virtual) paper and share all the fun experiences we have had along the way and share our opinions about all of the great (and not so great) products out there for all those garbage truck lovers.

Mixed in are some crafty ideas for parents of garbage truck lovers. I’m a crafty lady with limited resources and definitely not a perfectionist so I’ll be sharing my successes and my failures.

In addition to reading my blog, you can follow me on Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/GbageTruckLove/