Despite the name, summerhouses can be used throughout the year to create an extra room in the garden. Lots of choices are available, with the best summerhouses featuring plenty of space and solid construction.
Summerhouses are an extremely popular choice when it comes to creating space in the garden as they provide the perfect balance between features and price. Compared with cabins, summerhouses provide better value and offer an increased amount of designs. Many can even be customised with upgraded windows and doors.
If your garden has the space, a summerhouse could be transformed into an extra room to spend time inside throughout the year. Many garden buildings are now used as offices, creating a separate area when working from home. Other use cases include as a movie room or even your very own bar in the garden. However you plan to use the summerhouse, finding the right building to suit your needs is the first step.
Each garden building supplier will have its own range of summerhouses. While they may look similar, the overall construction can often be very different. The quality of the timber and fixtures can impact how long the building will last. We recommend investing in a high-quality building and wood treatment to ensure the summerhouse looks great for years into the future.
Best Garden Summerhouses
With so much choice available, it can be difficult to find the best summerhouse to meet your requirements. Let’s take a look at some of our favourites.
Tiger Retreat Summerhouse
The Retreat summerhouse is a versatile choice that’s adaptable to plenty of different uses. Bridging the gap between contemporary and modern, this summerhouse would work as good for an office as it would for a movie room. The high-quality 12mm tongue & groove cladding combined with a heavyweight framework creates a sturdy construction that’s built to last. Over eight different size combinations are available, ideal for gardens of all sizes.
The design features large windows along the front of the building to let in plenty of light. Windows on just the front allow for the possibility of insulating the three remaining walls. Double doors open for easy access and also feature full-length panes. The roof contains premium felt and there is also the option to upgrade to an EDM rubber roof. We also recommend considering the security upgrades if storing valuables inside the summerhouse.
Mercia Helios Summerhouse
This compact summerhouse is perfect for gardens where space is limited. Measuring 8×8, the Helios offers the perfect private retreat in the garden. There is still a spacious interior for the size, with plenty of room to get a set of chairs or even a desk to create an office in the garden. The tongue and groove cladding creates a sturdy building and it should be possible to install insulation on the walls for use throughout the colder months of the year.
With its modern design, the Helios is well suited to any garden and does a great job at blending in. Double doors at the front provide a large opening for easy access. The doors also feature a locking system with a key to keep the summerhouse secure when not in use. Dip treatment protects the building against rot and creates a base for your own wood treatment to be applied on top.
Forest Oakley Apex Summerhouse
The Oakley summerhouse offers a modern twist on a traditional design. This 8×12 model is the perfect size to create a comfortable atmosphere inside with plenty of room for furniture. The building is manufactured in Britain and comes pressure-treated to protect against rot and provide maximum endurance. A modular design makes assembly easier by using smaller panels that also allow for a stronger build. The floor features 14mm wood boards to support the weight of heavy furniture inside.
At the front is a veranda that leads onto the exterior and creates the perfect place to add decorations next to the summerhouse. Large windows on both the front and sides let in plenty of light and provide views of the surroundings. An impressive 15-year guarantee is included and the wood is also FSC certified.
Best Corner Summerhouses
Corner summerhouses are perfect to maximise space in the corner of a garden. The designs feature windows on two sides with doors in the middle that open towards the centre of the garden.
Mercia Premium Corner Summerhouse
This corner summerhouse is perfect to transform an unused corner of the garden. The 9×9’ size provides enough space to get comfortable inside, without taking up too much of the garden. Large windows on the sides let in plenty of light, ideal for enjoying the sun on a warm day. A 28mm frame creates a robust construction and 12mm shiplap is used for the timber walls.
To maximise longevity, the wood is dip treated and the building includes a 10-year anti-rot guarantee for peace of mind. Large handles are fitted to the doors, along with a turn-key lock system to keep the summerhouse contents safe when not in use. This summerhouse is made in Great Britain and uses FSC-certified wood, which is endorsed by major charities. An optional side shed is also available for storing tools and garden furniture out of the way next to the summerhouse.
Tiger Vista Corner Summerhouse
This Tiger Vista summerhouse fits perfect at the side of an awkward-shaped garden. The design is modern with windows stretching across the walls to let in plenty of light throughout the summer. Double doors open for wide access and the full panes provide views of the garden. A number of sizes are available with the largest being 8×8.
If the summerhouse is going to be used as a garden office, this makes the perfect solution with plenty of space for a desk and lots of natural light. We recommend opting for one of the security options such as the combo lock set to make the building secure. Keep in mind with this summerhouse only two sides would be suitable for fitting insulation due to the large windows. This summerhouse is best suited to the warmer months of the year.
Best Contemporary Summerhouses
A contemporary summerhouse looks great in any modern garden. The design often features a flat roof and large windows towards the front.
Shire Highclere Summerhouse
To create a contemporary feel, a summerhouse needs large window panes and a pent roof, as well as a modern design on the front. This Shire Highclere ticks all of the boxes at an affordable price. The contemporary building will work as well for a home gym as it will for a room to relax and enjoy the sun during the warmer months. Several size options are available including the popular 10×10 model that works great for most use cases.
Construction is made from a durable 44mm supporting frame to ensure the structure is solid and going to last. The walls feature 12mm shiplap timber which is common across all summerhouses. A 10-year anti-rot guarantee ensures the building won’t become damaged over time when maintained following the manufacturer’s instructions. The large windows on the front let in plenty of light and blinds could easily be attached if looking at a screen inside during a sunny day.
Tigerflex Shiplap Pent Summerhouse
Tiger Sheds have an impressive reputation for high-quality garden buildings, and the Tigerflex Pent Summerhouse brings a contemporary design. The multi-purpose summerhouse would work great converted into a small workshop or even a garden bar for spending time during the evening. If your garden has just undergone a renovation, the modern design with a pent roof won’t look out of place.
Large windows run down one side of the summerhouse, allowing the building to be positioned facing the sun. Lots of choices of size are available starting at 4×4 and the largest model is 12×6. Shiplap cladding of 12mm thickness is used, as well as extra thick framing for strong durability. Despite the pent roof, extra height eves ensure the building is tall enough for comfort when standing.
Guide: How to build a bar in a summerhouse
Best Summerhouses for Small Gardens
Summerhouses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making it possible to install a summerhouse in even the smallest of gardens. While a small summerhouse won’t be suitable for use as a social location, it can still create your own hideaway in the garden.
Taking advantage of a small summerhouse is all about making maximum use of the space inside. Careful planning and consideration can create a space that’s both comfortable and practical.
Tigerflex Apex Sunroom
This Apex Sunroom comes in a range of small sizes starting at 4×4′. Despite the size, the building is laid out to make maximum use of all of the space available. The design features banks of four large windows on one side which can be positioned facing the sun. Large windows create the feeling of increased space inside. As the other walls do not contain windows, they can easily be placed near a fence or wall at the side of the garden.
The building is constructed with a modular design and features tongue and groove cladding. A solid door provides security for the contents inside, along with heavyweight interior framing. Robust roofing options are supplied as standard, with the option to upgrade to an EDM rubber roof for enhanced durability.
Finding the best garden summerhouse
Above you can find some of our favourite summerhouses. But choosing the best building for your garden can be a time-consuming process. There are lots of features to look out for, depending on how you plan to use the summerhouse. Here are some of the features to look out for when finding a summerhouse.
The size of the summerhouse will depend on how much space is available in the garden and will quickly narrow down the amount of choice available. Be sure to carefully measure the space before searching for a summerhouse to ensure there is plenty of room. We recommend leaving at least a 0.5m gap around every side of the summerhouse. This allows for maintenance in the future and also reduces damp issues on the walls.
Choosing a building as big as the space allows will result in maximum use of the summerhouse. Increased interior space means plenty of room to walk around inside, even with chairs or work surfaces installed. A larger building can also allow for multiple uses, such as a movie room in the evening and a garden office throughout the day.
With a larger summerhouse comes increased running costs. A bigger interior space will result in increased heating costs and extra lighting required. The initial cost of painting the building or upgrading features such as windows can also be higher.
Summerhouses are constructed from timber, just like other garden buildings such as log cabins or sheds. The quality of the timber can be different from each manufacturer, depending on where it has been sourced from and the thickness.
Most summerhouses feature 12mm timber for the walls, but some will have increased thickness options, such as 19mm. Thick walls are important for a summerhouse, particularly if it is going to be used throughout the year. A thicker wall provides increased heat insulation, reducing the effects of outside temperatures. Another benefit is creating a sturdy structure that feels solid and rigid, even when storing lots of items inside.
The length of time the timber has been left to grow can also affect the quality. Slow-grown timber is increasingly dense, providing increased strength. Many low-cost summerhouses will use fast-grown lightweight timber.
Installation & fitting
The waiting time on a summerhouse can often be as little as a few weeks if the building is in stock. When the time comes for delivery, we must decide how the summerhouse will be installed. Most manufacturers will offer the choice between fitting the building yourself or using their installation service.
While the choice is up to you and will depend on your building experience, we recommend taking advantage of the manufacturer’s fitting service. Fitting a summerhouse is at least a two-person job and fitting from the manufacturer provides peace of mind the installation is not going to cause issues with the building.
When fitting a summerhouse, every panel has to slot together perfectly to avoid any water leaks. Small gaps could result in moisture getting inside when it rains or excess stress on parts of the timber.
Most summerhouses have a choice of roofing available that can be selected at the time of purchase. As standard, mineral felt is used and comes in a selection of different colours. The felt is attached to the roof using nails to create a seal above the timber. The increased felt thickness provides more robustness, particularly if the building is in direct sunlight.
As timber contracts and expands, this can cause slight movements which can lead to small gaps where the felt is nailed into place. Thicker felt is more durable but an EDM rubber roof is an even better option. The rubber roof provides a much higher quality finish and will protect the building for years into the future.
Garden buildings can often be an easy target for opportunist thieves as they are easier to gain access to. During the winter, many summerhouses are left unused for weeks at a time, so you may not even notice the building has been tampered with.
Decisions when purchasing the summerhouse can increase the building’s security. For example, many summerhouse manufacturers offer optional locking doors and windows to prevent access. High-quality fixtures and doors make it harder to force access to the building. We also recommend investing in a garden building alarm such as the Tiiwee system to provide an audible notification if movement is detected inside.
Turning a summerhouse into a room in the garden
With the summerhouse installed, it’s time to convert the empty shell into a room that you can enjoy. Depending on how the building will be used, features such as insulation and electricity can be installed to create a comfortable environment inside.
Treating the timber is essential to maximise the longevity of the building and keep it in the best condition possible. The timber is porous and without treatment will allow moisture to soak through into the interior if it has not been treated correctly.
Some summerhouse manufacturers will offer the choice of pressure treatment when the building is purchased. Pressure treatment works by forcing wood-preserving chemicals deep inside the timber to protect against rot and dampness. Even with pressure treatment, we will recommend treating the wood again once the summerhouse is installed.
The best time to treat the summerhouse is as soon as possible after installation on a clear and dry day. The wood treatment works by producing a weatherproof barrier to protect against all of the harsh weather conditions throughout all months of the year.
Plenty of choices are available with wood stains and solid paints both making a good option. Opt for a high-quality product such as from OSMO or Protek to provide the best levels of protection. Several coatings are often required to get maximum protection.
Unless customised, summerhouses don’t come with insulation at the time of purchase. While the timber walls alone are fine during the summer, it can quickly begin to feel cold inside once it gets to the autumn and winter months. If you plan on using the summerhouse throughout the year, we recommend installing insulation in the walls and ceiling to keep the heat inside.
Insulation allows for better control over the temperature, by making it more difficult for heat to escape. Heating costs can be reduced as constant heating is not required to keep the summerhouse at a comfortable temperature.
Plenty of choices are available when it comes to insulating a summerhouse. The best results are achieved using rigid foam insulation boards. The insulation boards are cut to fit tightly inside the interior framing of the summerhouse, taking advantage of the natural cavity in the construction. Foil-backed bubble wrap insulation products can also be used as a lower-cost alternative.
Once the summerhouse is insulated, the interior walls can be boarded to keep the insulation cover. Plywood works well on a summerhouse interior and can be painted over once complete.
Guide: Best Insulation for a summerhouse
Internet and electricity
The best summerhouses have internet and electricity fitted, allowing for an extended period to be spent inside with all of the comforts that are available in the house. Electricity is usually supplied by an armoured cable running underground from the house. Be sure to consider how many sockets will be required depending on how you plan to use the building. All electrical work needs to be carried out by a qualified electrician.
A reliable internet connection is essential in a garden room, especially if it is going to be used for a garden office or watching movies inside. Wired internet will provide the most reliable connection, allowing for the same speeds as achieved inside the house. If the summerhouse is not too far from the house, a wi-fi extender may be suitable. This works by boosting the original wireless signal to increase the range into the garden.
Summerhouses are a great idea to create an extra room in the garden. They provide a number of benefits over other garden buildings such as the huge choice of designs available. Once installed, the interior can be converted into your own bar or even a place to work in the garden. Be sure to plan how the summerhouse will be used to find the best model to meet those requirements.
Once the summerhouse has arrived, be sure to apply wood treatment as soon as possible to protect the timber. If the summerhouse is going to be used for more than just the summer months, we recommend installing insulation to create a comfortable atmosphere throughout the year. The best summerhouses provide a perfect combination between price and features.
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