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Countryside Pent Summerhouse

Summer houses are a super versatile addition to any garden; they can be used as a space to relax and enjoy being in your garden or even converted to a home office, a playroom or even a dining room. The options are endless, ranging from uPVC to wood and a variety of different styles, you can really put your own stamp on your summer house. With so many different options for what you can do with your outdoor building, there are also so many options for choosing a summer house which can make it difficult to know which one is best for you. Choosing to purchase a summer house is a big decision so to make sure you know all the facts; we’ve put together this handy guide to summer houses.

Features of a Summer House

Garden Living Range - Sienna Pavilion

Traditionally summer houses are constructed from wood and form the centrepiece of your garden. It gives you a sheltered space where you can relax, have fun or even work from home if you choose. As summer houses are so versatile, it is important that you have some idea about what you want to use it for before purchasing. The purpose of your summer house will likely determine a lot of decisions you will later make about style and size. If you’re thinking about purchasing a summer house it is likely that you already have some ideas in mind about what you will use it for, but it is important to consider all the options first, as there may be something you never thought of. Traditionally, unlike sheds, summer houses have a lot of big windows and doors as the space is meant to be lived in and enjoyed.

Choosing your Summer House

Nordic Berkshire Orangerie

The first decision you need to make when you’re in the market for a summer house is what you’re going to use it for. There are different ways to use a summer house, and each one could dictate certain decisions you make about size, style and positioning so it is important to have a clear idea about the purpose of your summer house.

Home Office

A summer house is a great option for a home office, it offers the flexibility of working hours whilst still providing you with a well-insulted and private space to work. Many people are choosing to work from home and investing in home offices as a result. Having a garden office in your summer house offers convenience and much less of a commute than travelling to the office. If you plan on using your summer house as an office there are a few considerations, you need to make. You’ll want to have plenty of windows to bring in some natural light, and so that you can enjoy the view of your garden whilst you work and you’ll also need to make sure you have a wi-fi connection, power supply and even other utilities such as water and sewerage should you require it.

Playroom

This can refer to both children and adults alike. You can use the summer house as a sort of hobby room if you wish for such things as crafting, knitting or sewing. If this is the case, you’ll want plenty of light and a secure summer house if you’ll keeping expensive equipment in there. If you’re looking to use it as a kid’s playroom, you’ll want to make sure it is big enough for storage and for them to roam around with friends. Windows are also a good idea so you can keep an eye on them.

Nordic Bondi Pavilion

Relaxing

Summer houses offer a great space for a garden retreat; many people choose to use their summer house as another living room where they can disappear to with a good book and a cup of tea to relax and get some peace and quiet. If this is the case, you may want to look for a summer house with large opening doors so that in the summer you can enjoy the weather whilst your relaxing. Power supply and utilities may be less of a concern if relaxation is your priority; as that way you can shut off from the world for a little while.

Entertaining

Summer houses provide a great space for entertaining guests, especially throughout the summer. You can even use it as a dining room for having dinner parties or use it as an extra space for those summer barbecues. Large open summer houses are great for entertaining as they allow guests to move in and around as they please.

Styles of Summer House

Garden Living Range - Sienna Corner Pent

At GBC we have a variety of summer houses, in different styles, shapes, sizes and materials. We’re going to cover some of the most popular options.

Contemporary

Contemporary summer houses can really make a statement in your garden. They offer wide open spaces with lots of daylight. These are perfect for almost any purpose but especially for relaxing and entertaining as they can really serve as a talking point for your guests. The clean lines and simplicity of contemporary designs is perfect for relaxation and can even offer a good space for a home office if you’re looking for a bright, open space to get work done.

Corner Summer Houses

Corner summer houses make an excellent choice especially for smaller spaces, as they can be tucked away into a corner but still offer a vast amount of space within them. Corner summer houses are great for the majority of purposes but especially for a play or hobby room and even a home office.

Office and Summer House Combinations

Office and Summer House Combinations are perfect for meeting your leisure and home working needs; whether that be a home office or workshop. These summer houses offer a good amount of space and a variety of shapes and finishes to suit your needs.

Advice for First Time Buyers

Planning Portal Website

If this is your first time purchasing a summer house there a few considerations, you need to make before making your purchase.

Positioning

As previously mentioned, the positioning of your summer house will likely depend on its purpose. If you are using your summer house as an office, workshop or anything that will require a power supply and utilities this is going to dictate where you position it. You don’t want the extra hassle of having to rewire electrics or anything like that. You need to make sure your summer house can have things such as wi-fi and a power supple, and if you want it; water and sewerage. If you plan on using it as a space to relax, you may want to position it far away from the house; to really be able to escape. For playrooms and hobby rooms, the positioning is more flexible, again unless you need a power supply. For entertaining, the main consideration should be about where you spend your time outside. If you have a barbeque or seating area, it could be advisable to place it near there for convenience.

Planning Permission

As summer houses are considered to be outbuildings, they are considered as permitted development which means they don’t require planning permission. The only times you have to apply for planning permission are if any of the following apply to you;

  • Your house is a listed building
  • Your property is on designated land
  • If the summer house will be placed within 5 metres of your house, this could be considered an extension which does require planning permission.
  • You want to place it in front of your home.
  • If it will cover over 50% of your homes surrounding area.

If you think the above apply to you, your local council will be able to advise you on planning permission.

Foundations

Some summer houses come with a base supplied as standard, whereas others require you to have prepared a strong level base before installation. Even where the base is included, it is important you have a level ground for it to sit on; usually a concrete slab. It is advised that concrete, slabs or heavy-duty decking be used as a base. GBC can advise on preparing a base for your summer house when you purchase.  

Product Care Information

Countryside Hanbury Hipped

There are a few things you can do to maintain your summer house and keep it in the best shape possible. Obviously, there will come a point when your summer house has endured all the weather and years it can and will need replacing; we’ll let you know the signs to look out for!

As mentioned earlier, you will need a good, solid base for your summer house. This is important in ensuring your shed lasts as long as possible as it prevents weather damage from rainwater or moisture from the ground seeping in. Water damage can be detrimental, especially if your summer house is made of wood. Once water has found a way to your summer house it can cause warping which will then mean your summer house needs replacing as this is not reversible.

General cleaning and maintenance will help to keep your summer house in its best condition. It is easier to maintain and clean a summer house than a shed as you will likely be constantly using the space so can see when it needs a clean. Sheds can become infested with insects when left for long periods of time as storage, but usually this doesn’t happen with summer houses. Make sure to clean regularly to avoid an infestation as this will lead to needing a replacement.

There are also some addition considerations you should make if you are considering using your summer house to contain a hot tub.

FAQs

Countryside Octagonal Summer House

How do I secure my summer house?

As you may be keeping expensive equipment in your summer house it is important to make sure it is secure. There are a few ways you can do this. First of all, make sure you have the correct door and window locks as this should always be something you do. A good step to take is to install some lighting as this can be a good deterrent; something as simple as motion sensor lighting will help. Sometimes you can connect your summer house to your existing alarm system or purchase a battery alarm system for the summer house. Anything like this will help to deter thieves and keep it secure. 

How long will my summer house last?

With the proper care and maintenance summer houses can last years, in some cases up to and above 10 years. Preparing your summer house for the changing seasons will help it last even longer.

How do I install my summer house?

If you’re not wanting to install your summer house yourself, you don’t need to worry GBC offer optional installation with the majority of summer houses; just ask us!

Do I need planning permission?

Outbuildings are classed as ‘permitted development’ so don’t generally need planning permission, however there are some limitations so if you’re worried you can check with your local council just to be certain!

Summer houses are a great addition to any garden; however, you choose to use it! From relaxing and playing to entertaining and working you’ll be sure to make a lot of use of it. We hope that this guide has helped you to choose the perfect summer house for you! You can shop summer houses for sale with GBC today or visit one of our many locations or contact us for more information.

Posted by Matt Jordan

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