Creating a Tea House for the Children

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Why have a simple house for the children to play in? Let your imagination roam to create something special, like a tea house.

I found myself in a situation where I had to cut down large limbs from a few trees. I did not want to throw them away, but I was not sure what to do with them. We had inherited this plastic house for the children, which was placed in one garden corner. I did not care for it much, but my wife was attached to it for a reason unknown to me. One day, I spotted my older daughter in this house. She had become too big for it. I hatched my plan to create a new structure for her, and the lumber from the tree would be my frame. I did not have enough for a log cabin. I thought of creating something more in the realm of fantasy, so I hit upon the idea of a tea house.

    Alright, maybe this does not quite look like a tea house, but the house is a nice place for the girls. I rummaged around finding scraps from other projects to build this structure. For the logs, I stripped them of their bark, and I made mortise and tenon joints to connect them. Other pieces of scrap lumber made up the rest of the frame. The roof was first a nest of branches that I was thinking of adding spaghnum moss. I went with bamboo fencing over the branches though. I did buy a few fence boards to fill in some of the walls. They were on sale, so I spent $12 on this project. I had red paint left over, so the frame was painted red. Green awning fabric was left over for two walls, but I may paint this or fill in the space with another material. The green and red is too much like Christmas. Otherwise, I think that I found scraps that helped complete the fantasy. The best part is that the girls helped to build the house.
   The plantings became an adventure. This part of the garden does have sun in the early morning, and late in the afternoon. Being that this space is for the girls, we had to find flowers, or at least plants with interest. My favorite is the kolanche with orange flowers. Amongst the ferns, these flowers pop. My daughter picked the bromilead. The tea house is not complete. I hope to add shoji screen style windows. Maybe a bead door or another screen. The two girls are already playing in this home, and we can let it evolve. The garden will evolve as well. This area also contains my outdoor cooking space. The grill is there, and I am working on a type of Lorena oven. I have a dais with a chair where I can read. (I used the red paint for the dais to connect it to the tea house). Then there is my work shed. The girls play while I either work in the shed or on cooking. I read to them in the chair, or I can read while they play. I created a sculpture from scraps. I think that the piece references an Asian feel, but we added Mexican pottery sculptures by the door of the tea house. For a space that was so empty a few years ago, it has become a hub of activity.
    I admit the tea house concept was more my idea than my daughters. The younger daughter cannot communicate such desires yet. For the older daughter, everything is a castle for a princess. Maybe I could have made this more castle like, but I am justifying my tea house on the grounds of expanding their play. I will just keep telling myself that fact till it sticks. The nice thing about this house is that I can reasonably fit inside of the house. They always wanted me in the old plastic house, which made for a tight fit. What kind of fantasy can you create?  

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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