Sometimes garden buildings need to be moved to another location. Taking practical steps can avoid damaging the building and speed up the process.
Garden buildings, including summerhouses and log cabins, can create the perfect escape in the garden. We use ours almost every day as a garden office, providing a separate workspace away from the house. Sometimes, the current location of the garden building is not suitable and it may need to be moved.
Moving a garden room sounds like a big job, and in all honesty, it usually is. We recommend thinking carefully before moving a summerhouse or log cabin to make sure it’s really the best option. If you’re not completely sure, it may be time to reconsider taking advantage of the building in its current position.
Why move a summerhouse or log cabin?
There are plenty of reasons to move a garden building, and the most popular is usually when moving house. If you already have the perfect summerhouse or log cabin then you may wish to take it to your new property. A lot of time and money can be invested into a garden building, and you may not want to leave all of that behind. At the same time, if you have just moved to a property with an outbuilding already in the garden, it may require moving to a new location.
A summerhouse or log cabin may also be moved if it just requires repositioning into a better location in the garden. The best position for a garden building is on slightly higher ground, with plenty of sunlight and access for maintenance to every side. A summerhouse should get plenty of sunlight to be enjoyed during the warmer months of the year.
A complete garden re-design is another reason to move a summerhouse or log cabin. If installing a new decking or paved area, it may make sense to move the building to get the most use of the new space. Remember, the building should not be positioned where rainfall can build-up, as this can lead to damp problems from sitting water over time.
Before moving a summerhouse or log cabin, be sure to make sure the building is suitable for moving. A poorly maintained structure may break apart during the process, making it difficult to position in a new location.
Can a summerhouse be moved?
A summerhouse can be moved, and there are a few different options available. If the summerhouse is being moved within the same garden, then it may be possible that it can be moved while still assembled.
To move an assembled summerhouse, we must create a rolling foundation underneath the building that can carry it to the new location. To start, we dig holes at various points around the summerhouse to position Jacks that will be used to raise the building from the ground. The structure must be solid to do this, without any rot in the timber.
When the summerhouse is raised enough, round fence posts or metal scaffold poles can be placed underneath. A number of poles will be needed depending on the size of the summerhouse, and they should be evenly distributed along the length of the summerhouse.
With the poles underneath the summerhouse, it can be rolled along to the new position. Several people will be required to move the summerhouse, pushing from different sides to spread the force evenly.
Summerhouses contain a lot of windows, often made up of glass. The flex in the building during movement could potentially cause them to shatter. You may choose to remove them before moving the garden building.
Fully lined and insulated summerhouses may be harder to move still assembled. As well as the increased weight, the wall lining may begin to crack and separate away from the exterior wall if it is flexed
An alternative approach is to dismantle the summerhouse, which is recommended if the building is being moved further than around the garden. Start by removing the windows and doors, and then the walls. Summerhouses are constructed in sections for each wall, so all of the dismantling will be done where they join together at the corners. Once the garden building is at the new location, it can be reassembled just like a new summerhouse.
Guide: How long do log cabins last?
Can a log cabin be moved?
A log cabin can be moved but will need to be dismantled first, due to the construction of the building. Unlike a summerhouse, log cabins are constructed by placing interlocking logs on top of each other to form the walls.
As long as the log cabin is in good condition, without rot or warping of the timber, it should be easy to disassemble. Screws and nails are not used during the construction of the walls, due to the logs needing to move slightly as the moisture content in the air changes.
The biggest challenge when disassembling a log cabin is the roof, as this will be the only part attached with screws or nails. We recommend marking each log to allow for fast assembly at the new location. When the cabin is re-assembled, the walls will be built back up in layers until the roof can be attached.
We don’t recommend moving a log cabin without disassembly. The floor is usually separate from the rest of the structure, and placing the cabin on rolling poles may put too much stress on parts of the walls.
How to prepare to move a garden building
Once you’ve decided to move a summerhouse or log cabin, it’s time to begin preparation. The size of the structure is important as a larger building can pose additional challenges and put more strain on the timber. Smaller garden buildings are the best candidates for moving without disassembly. Anything larger than 3x3m is likely going to require a full rebuild at the new location, even if it’s only moved a short distance.
Confirming the summerhouse or log cabin is suitable for moving is crucial before starting. Go around the building, checking all of the timbers for any sign of rot or movement. Pay particular attention to the wood at the bottom along the base. Rotting timber can break apart during removal making it difficult to move the building. Warped wood can also be a sign that the building has not been constructed correctly or become damaged over time. If the timber is damaged, it may be better to consider a new garden building.
Garden buildings are heavy, and even the smallest of them can weigh hundreds of kilograms. Before the building can be moved, it needs to be emptied. Everything inside should be taken out and stored safely until the building has been moved successfully.
Preparing the new base
One of the most important aspects of any garden building is the base. If we could give one piece of advice to anyone installing a garden building, it would be to make sure the base is completely level and solid. A good base acts a the foundation to the building, and everything that’s done after relies on the base being up to the job.
Garden buildings are manufactured to tight tolerances, and a slightly uneven base can lead to issues with timbers slotting together correctly. A telltale sign of an uneven base is windows and doors being difficult to open.
There are lots of options available when it comes to choosing a base. We recommend concrete where possible. A concrete base is easy to get level as it’s poured in all at once and will dry completely solid. The process of installing a concrete base can be completed as a DIY job and requires using wooden shuttering to create the outline where the concrete is poured into.
Paving slabs are another great option as a base for a summerhouse or log cabin. If an existing patio is being used, be sure to check that its level and strong enough to support the weight of a fully furnished garden building.
Overall, it’s possible to move both a summerhouse and log cabin. Preparation is essential to make sure the building is suitable to be moved. Any sign of damage to the wood such as rot or warping will make it difficult to move the building. We recommend investing in a concrete base at the new location to support the structure once it has been moved.
Small summerhouses can often be moved by rolling them along if they are staying in the same garden. It’s best to dismantle a log cabin, which is simple enough due to the interlocking construction.