Attending Glee, the leading garden and leisure industry show, was a great opportunity for Nathan Dodd to spot trends and anticipate products that will come onto the market in the near future.
Now that the sun shows signs of emerging from behind the clouds, David Coton's children are itching to play outside, here he reviews a selection of playhouses that will entertain your children and their friends throughout the summer.
Timber playhouses of various sizes and specifications will enthral any child, holding their interest for hours. All are manufactured by leading companies to high standards with safety in mind.
Rowlinson are particularly adept in creating imaginatively shaped and designed structures that are the perfect play environment.
Their Hideaway House has four styrene safety glazed windows to create a bright internal environment that has a mezzanine, the finish is an attractive honey brown, there's a verandah and even window boxes.
The garden will be alive to the sound of children playing if you have a Swiss Lodge playhouse. It has a beautifully scalloped sloping roof, tough tongue & groove floor and waterproof mineral roof felt. Inside the children will enjoy climbing the short ladder up to another paly area. The Playaway Lodge exudes the same high quality workmanship.
Hall's Fantasia Playhouses are again substantial and well designed structures, attractively constructed with tongue & groove throughout. The cute door with its diamond window leads through to a roomy, pleasantly light, interior, so it's up to the children whether they want to play inside or out.
More modest in ambition is Forest's Parsley playhouse, with a stable door and the verandah attractively surrounded by a picket fence. Similar to other playhouses, this is a very safe environment built and certified to high standards.
Plum Products' Role Play House is imaginatively designed to encourage children to play inventively. There are colourful themed panels depicting a post office and ice cream parlour to stimulate role play and interaction amongst budding character actors.
Finally, the Premium Aventure Playhouse is elevated with a robust timber play deck and supports. It's reached by way of a wooden ladder, and a heavy duty wave slide is ideal for a fast escape.
Everyone thinks that it's better for children's health and well-being for them to play outside rather than stare at a computer or TV screen from an early age, and these playhouses provide them with an excellent opportunity to play, interact and learn.
With only a few months' training under her belt, GardenSite's own Flori Bosnigeanu took part in this year's Great Birmingham Run, raising over £500 for the city's Children's Hospital.
Create a Halloween party in your house or garden with ideas and suggestions from David Coton that will keep your children and neighbours thrilled and spooked on the 31st October.
Looking for some advice on how to decorate your garden for halloween? David Coton has some great ideas to help you create a horror themed garden to scare your neighbours and any trick & treaters who come to your door.
To grow the biggest, scariest pumpkin in time for Halloween isn't easy as they take some time to mature and prefer a warm climate. To have the best chance of success Martyn Loach recommends sowing seed indoors during April and then planting out in late May or June.