How to Make A Kid’s Hobbit Inspired Garden PlayHouse

Hayden Regina is the creator of the Hobbit Houses at
Fernwood Botanical Gardens in Niles, Michigan. He shares how he created a set of charming little garden playhouses from simple materials that cost around $250 each.  

Who doesn’t want to imagine life in The Shire living like Frodo and Bilbo? Or at least pretend for a little while….- Rochelle

A DIY Hobbit house is a whimsical and unique project that can bring the charm of Middle Earth to your backyard. From creating a round facade to using natural materials like stone and wood, building your own Hobbit house allows you to unleash your creativity and imagination. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can create a cozy and enchanting retreat that will transport you (or your kids) to the Shire.

Place yourself in the mind of a five-year-old.

The imagination and creativity of a child are often lost as people grow older. Many still call me a child at the ripe old age of 18, and maybe the truth is why I wanted to design a Nature Adventure Garden at Fernwood.  

My idea is for a garden to entertain the thoughts of children. I want to draw them back outside and away from the television and video games.

A series of serendipitous events left me as the final designer of the newest addition to the Fernwood Gardens. Although there were many ideas, the one that stuck was the hobbit-inspired garden playhouses. Each playhouse cost around $250.00 in materials and took a total build time of about 8 hours.

A hobbit playhouse in English is a whimsical outdoor structure inspired by hobbits’ homes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels. These custom-built playhouses often feature round doors, curved roofs, and earthy tones to create a magical play space for children to explore and imagine themselves (Middle-earth style).

I wanted to keep each garden playhouse as simple as possible to create so I re-purposed easily found parts. The base is an extra large doghouse. This is a prefab, cedar house that only requires a drill to assemble.

Using a premade doghouse kit as the internal structure of the hobbit house makes the project easier to build.


  • Large doghouse (we used The Stable Wood Pet House by Merry Pet, I recommend a size Large)
  • Sheet of plywood (1)
  • Box of decking screws (1)
  • Spray can of foam sealant (1 can)
  • Heavy-duty tarp or sheet of plastic (1 at least 8’x10′)
  • Staple Gun
  • Spray paint of choice
  • Light fixture of choice
  • Hand saw

Assemble The Garden Playhouse

Put the four walls together and cut a groove out of the back peak to run an extension cord for a light fixture. Once the cord is in place, put the roof on. It takes about twenty minutes to assmble a beautiful new doghouse for a child!

Yes, a doghouse for a child (or an adult). 😉

Ready for installation – dug into the garden, the freestanding hobbit house will be even more intriguing after it is installed in the small hills of a garden landscape.

Create the Garden Playhouse Facade

Measure out the exact size of the front of the house, door, and roofline onto the plywood.

This is where having the mindset of being a five-year-old comes in handy. Play with different free forms or geometric patterns until you decide how you want your hobbit house to look. What you draw on the plywood is the face of your house – so get creative!

Use a jigsaw to cut out your pattern.

Attach your hobbit facade to the front of the doghouse using the decking screws on the corners, doorframe, and roofline of the house.

Fill in gaps with spray foam sealant.

It is time to paint! I wanted to stick with a natural weathered look, so it took around 5 colors of spray paint in different applications to achieve the color of each house. The color and technique is up to you.

Feel free to modify the facade to give your shire (hobbit community) it’s own character.

Install the garden playhouse

Place the hobbit house in its final location in your hobbit garden and make sure it is on level ground.

At this point, take the tarp or heavy plastic and wrap the back three walls and bottom.
Use the staple gun to secure it to the house.

You are going to build up the soil around the house to create a mound. If you are short on fill dirt, you might consider using styrofoam or rocks stacked against the house to fill the space.

Create a faux mound on top of the house (it is actually real dirt, just not naturally in a mound shape). Cover until the top of the house is under about six to eight inches of dirt.

Use plants to secure the soil. Once a plant’s root system is established, the soil will hold in place and not fall over the peak.

You can choose any type of plants you want – but grasses tend to be a good choice because of their extensive root systems. I used Sporobolus heterolepis for the grassy look.

The last step is to personalize your house.

Secure the lights to the top of the ceiling and decorate away.

And to anyone who thinks the doghouses are small — They fit full-size adults.

Learn how to build your own cozy Hobbit house with this DIY guide. From choosing the right location to constructing the unique rounded door and earthy walls, find step-by-step instructions and inspiration for creating a charming and eco-friendly home straight out of Middle Earth.

For questions or a more detailed explanation, you can contact me here.


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  1. Kate says:

    Oh I LOVE this! I’d love to make one for my chickens, as they’re bantams & mixed breeds, perhaps this would make them look a little larger?!!? Looks amazing- great way for dog owners as well to settle kennels into their garden.

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