With house prices facing serious decline in recent months and many of us choosing to stay in our homes rather than sell, the need for creating space has become more and more important. Some will choose to extend or build into loft spaces, but these are costly options and making use of the space in your garden may be a much better idea.
A summerhouse built in the back of the garden can be a perfect office, playroom, music room or home gym. With the minimum of fuss and some good DIY skills, a summerhouse can add space and value to your home.
The first place to start is with a foundation slab. These can be dug out in the usual way, although suspended concrete pillars also work well. It depends on the structure you intend on building.
Will I need planning permission?
Your summerhouse may need planning permission if:
- Your home is listed and the summerhouse is larger than 10 cubic metres
- You live in a conservation area
- The building is to be used for a business
- It will cover more than half the space around your home
- The summerhouse will be near a road
Your summer house should be more than 5 metres from your home, otherwise it may be seen as an extension and may require planning.
Building regulations normally do not apply to timber structures of this size as they are classed as temporary.
What type of Summerhouse should I buy?
Scandinavian Cabin style
- These have interlocking wooden boards as the main walls. They lock together with metal fixings and go up quickly.
- Provided as complete units or walls these come ready made with insulation and sometimes even paint and electrical sockets. Very contemporary with full glazing.
- These are made from hard woods such as oak and are the more expensive style. Like small houses they are the most solid and easy to heat. They can look more traditional and will suit older style homes.
What about utilities?
Electricity can be run from your house via a buried cable. This will need to be done by a qualified electrician who will bury it the required depth and with the correct signage.
A telecoms engineer will be able to install your telephone and internet system if required. You can do this yourself with an extension kit run from the house.
Gas heating is probably not suitable in this situation. The best form of heating will be electric and oil filled radiators will do a good job.
Make sure you think about all these services before you build as some may need to be prepared for in advance.
A summerhouse can be a wonderful way of enjoying your garden or getting time alone away from the family. Whatever their use, they can be visually stunning and a real talking point. An initial investment of £5,000 to £20,000 can reap rewards when it comes time to sell your home. Although you may just decide that you never want to leave.