Hamptons-style cubbies and 'mini-me' cubbies, imitating the main house style, are in demand as parents look for ways to get their children out and out of the technology.
Polly Creevey from Aarons Outdoor Living at Strathpine says there's growing demand for cubby houses and forts as families try to create enticing and challenging outdoor play spaces.
“It’s harder to get kids outside playing in the dirt when they have an iPad inside, so parents are looking to cubby houses, swings, monkey bars and forts more than ever,” Polly explains.
“We have a variety of different options ranging from Hamptons-style cubby houses, jungle gym forts, agility-strengthening climbing tools including monkey bars, swings and large treehouse designs.”
Polly says the ‘Taj Mahal’ with Queenslander-style veranda and ‘Castle Cubby’ are the most popular designs, but there are five main things to consider before taking the plunge.
1. How long do want your child to use the play equipment? Investing in a larger cubby house built from high quality Australian timber allows them to continue to use the cubby right through their teenage years as a teenage retreat or clubhouse.
2. How much space do you have in your backyard for the equipment?
3. Are you looking for something to give your children a space of their own or are you looking for something to encourage imagination but will still allow you to see them at all times? Open-style fort cubbies are suited to those wanting to keep an eye on the kids while they’re outside.
4. What height cubby are you after? Lower cubbies are great while children are young and they can be raised later. There are five different heights, which allow you to build on uneven ground and add a slide, fireman’s pole, rock wall and more.
5. Are you wanting to match your home? Colorbond Steel can be used on the roof and colours matched to your home.
Cubby houses can be incorporated into most backyards – you don’t need a massive block to make it work.
“Our standard cubbies come in 11 different sizes to suit a variety of backyards. Our smallest Cottage Cubby is 1.7m x 1.8m,” Polly says.
“We’ve designed our cubbies with elevation kits to minimise any site works necessary. So long as you don’t have any plants in the way, a cubby with an elevation kit can be customised to suit any slope you have to your backyard.
“We even build our cubbies coming off the front of retaining walls which is great for space maximisation.”
And when it comes to design, it’s important to involve the kids so they actually use it for more than a couple of weeks.
“We love welcoming children in to have a play in all of our displays imagining their own shop, home, workshop or school,” Polly says.
“Kids love our cubby servery window which features a chalkboard, awning and serving bench.
“Our cubbies are designed to be able to suit any imagination.”
Polly says cubbies range from $2000-$15,000 for the larger boutique designs.
“The average amount that parents spend on the backyard play area transformation is around $5000,” she says.
TOP 5 STEPS FOR PARENTS
1. Choose the perfect size for your backyard
2. Add an elevation kit — there are five heights to choose from
3. Select climbing and sliding options such as a rock wall, slide or fireman’s pole
4. Encourage imagination by choosing accessories such as a servery window, steering wheels, binoculars, flower boxes, sandpit hoists, flags
5. Choose a finish — staining or painting your cubby will not only allow it to be protected, but will also create a stunning look
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