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Various types of backyard buildings exist for different purposes. A playhouse, for example, is a small structure intended for use by children for playing. A pool house is a structure used to store equipment used in the maintenance of a pool and pool area; it may also contain changing rooms, recreational space, or even living space. Other backyard buildings include sheds of several varieties, and guest houses used for habitation. The size, shape, and function of such buildings can vary significantly. Some tend to be exceptionally simple, while others may feature plumbing and electricity, as well as different amenities for comfort or luxury.
A shed is most often used for storage of yard maintenance or gardening equipment, though such backyard buildings can be used for a variety of purposes depending on how the structures are built. Heavy machinery, for example, can be stored in a shed if that structure features a concrete slab floor that can support the weight of the machine or machines. Some homeowners choose to convert sheds into workshops by installing workbenches, electricity, windows, and air exchanger units. The most basic backyard buildings used as sheds will feature four walls and a floor with no electricity; the structures are meant for storage only and are usually lightweight and light-duty structures.
Playhouses are also fairly simple structures, as they will not hold a significant amount of weight and do not require electricity or plumbing. Unlike sheds, however, the aesthetic of a playhouse can be important to suit the desires of the children who will use the structure. It must be properly built for safety as well, and the materials used in construction should be considered for safety as well as stability. Low-end softwoods, for example, can split or crack, leading to a potential danger for any children using the structure.
Guest houses or in-law houses are larger than sheds and playhouses and are usually outfitted with electricity and plumbing. These buildings must be built to local codes and regulations, as they are intended for long-term habitation. Unlike some sheds or playhouses, backyard buildings designed for habitation must be built on a solid foundation. This includes in-law houses, guest houses, and larger pool houses. These buildings will also take up significantly more space, and they must be built in such a way that they are not too close to property boundaries or other surrounding buildings.