Your perfect summerhouse: What to do (and not to do) | homify

Your perfect summerhouse: What to do (and not to do)

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Wiveton Summerhouse CraneGardenBuildings Garages & sheds
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There is just something lavish and lucrative about a cosy summerhouse located in a garden. Even if it’s just an ordinary, traditionally built little structure that’s not too big, having access to a small summerhouse immediately tells everyone that you have extra space to boast about. And not to mention what it can mean for your house’s resale value.

When properly designed, a summerhouse is a great place for several activities like painting, crafting, working, exercising, etc. On the other hand it can also be the ideal spot for some alone time (like reading a book with a glass of wine) or socialising with friends. Your summerhouse, your rules!

To help you set up the perfect outdoor space (regardless of what you plan on using it for), let’s see some crucial things you must (and must not) do!

1. Summerhouse ideas: Do find a nicely secluded spot

Wiveton Summerhouse with Weathered Cedar Shingles CraneGardenBuildings Garages & sheds

Wiveton Summerhouse with Weathered Cedar Shingles


The importance of “location, location, location” doesn’t diminish just because a summerhouse isn’t your main home. Where you choose to place it in your garden or yard will definitely influence its overall quality. 

For example, placing it in the middle of your garden can make it look smaller while also breaking up the space of your yard / lawn. And if you plan on turning that summerhouse into the socialising spot of the neighbourhood, you don’t want guests to trek all the way to the end of your yard to locate it!

2. Summerhouse ideas: Do choose the best layout or blueprint

If you’re a seasoned DIYer, we’re sure you have Googled ‘how to build a summerhouse‘ numerous times. And although constructing your very own wooden summerhouse can be a great way to flex those DIY muscles, there is also nothing wrong with going the other route and relying on professionals, like Architects, to do the job for you.  

Whether your build or buy, the best summerhouse needs to provide the perfect layout to match your style and needs. For instance, if you want to use your summerhouse as an exterior study or office, then ensure it has electricity and power outlets for your hardware. 

In addition to scoping out numerous free blueprints online, there are also a myriad of companies specialising in garden structures that sell finished designs. Talk to them about your summerhouse ideas and requirements and see what possibilities follow.

3. Summerhouse ideas: Do pick the right design theme

Like your main house, your summerhouse needs to flaunt a certain look. Of course there are a myriad of styles to choose from, such as plantation-style structures or sleek and minimalist designs. 

The less-is-more look is especially popular for men seeking a home office, while the rustic style wins for a lot of ‘man cave’ structures. 

One of the most well-known uses for a summerhouse is an extra bedroom for overnight guests. Of course this will alter the designs you can choose, seeing as the end result needs to be cosy, practical, soothing and inviting – just like a regular bedroom!

4. Summerhouse ideas: Do pick the perfect exterior colour

It is your utmost right to paint your summerhouse the exact same shade as your main house. On the other hand, seeing as most summerhouses are hidden in rear gardens, one can afford to let loose a little in terms of colours. 

A fetching blue is one of the most popular colours for summerhouses; however, if you wish to make it a forest green to melt in with your garden, then so be it.

5. Summerhouse ideas: Do mix and match the furniture

By this point you should already have a clear idea on what that new space will be used for, as it will determine your summerhouse furniture. For a reading room, bookcases and –shelves are a must, as well as comfy seating / lounging options like a sofa or wingback chairs.   

Remember that even a small summerhouse doesn’t need to flaunt first-rate furnishings – there are numerous junk shops and yard sales where you can pick up a prime piece or two. After all, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. For the crafty and innovative, recycle some furniture pieces for a mixed-and-matched, shabby chic look! 

homify hint: Opt for a pretty pathway leading to your summerhouse’s entrance / porch. This will minimise the amount of dirt trampled indoors.

6. Summerhouse ideas: Do not go with a concrete floor

Seeing as a proper foundation is required for your summerhouse, some may ask why not cut some costs for a wooden floor and opt for a cheaper option?

The answer is comfort and moisture. Wooden floors are always warmer and cosier than concrete ones, which is crucial if you want to use the space as an extension of your living area. 

Also keep in mind that since you want to erect a wooden garden building, moisture should be a top concern. Good drainage is crucial, but a concrete floor will hardly ever provide the same protection against moisture as a wooden floor will.

7. Summerhouse ideas: Do not ignore building regulations

Always be on the safe side. Thus, even if your summerhouse is below the threshold of 15m² and its height is less than 2,50m, rather consult your local planning office with details of your planned structure and enquire whether you do need Planning Permission. Be sure that you have all the required information, like the exact position, function and aesthetic style of your summerhouse.

8. Summerhouse ideas: Do not always go with the cheapest price

Don’t think that cutting corners in terms of quality will ensure a successful build. Your summerhouse will be subject to the elements, which includes insects, mould and rotting; thus, using the right timber is nothing short of crucial. 

Local woods like pine and ash might be cheaper, but the more durable ones are unfortunately also the most expensive. The best option would be oak or larch, yet this is an impossibility for most budgets. Heartwood instead of sapwood would also be a good choice. 

Should you choose to order a premade structure from a Northern European manufacturer, remember that neither local pine nor local spruce compare to the Nordic timber species, which grow quite slower and possess much higher density and durability.

If you are building your own summerhouse, opt for straight, tight-grain material and use pressure-treated beams for the lowest parts touching the base (be sure to treat these with wood oil or stain). 

A summerhouse is a great idea for a rear garden’s beauty, but what about the front side? Let’s see 9 front garden ideas anybody can try.

9. Summerhouse ideas: Do choose the correct wood

One of the most crucial components of planning your wooden summerhouse is ensuring you choose the right wood, as it needs to be resistant to various weather conditions. Consider the fact that softwood is easier to work with than hardwood, plus better suited for your summerhouse’s base material. And if you need to choose between spruce or pine wood, pick the spruce. Pine wood has larger knotholes, boosting the odds of water entry. 

10. Summerhouse ideas: Don’t forget about insulation

Even a small summerhouse needs to be properly insulated if you plan on spending more and more time in it, especially in winter. Maybe it could become your new home office (or already has)? 

Generally, there are three options: floor insulation (placed between the foundation beams), roof insulation (has a low thermal conductivity, but perfectly waterproof), and double-wall insulation (where an extra inner wall with 19 mm thick boards is added). 

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