Tips About Deciding Which Shed, Summerhouse or Workshop
1/ Making A Choice
When looking for a new garden shed, summerhouse or timber workshop there are many things to think about and questions to answer. Because if you don’t you may regret it and may have to buy another building sooner than expected.
So take a little time, consider your options and make the right decision first time around and this will ensure your new garden building will be the right one for you. That should make sense for most.
2/ How Large Should My Shed, Summerhouse or Workshop Be?
After deciding you would like a new building the most important thing to consider is the size of it. Quite often this is determined by the available space in your garden but, where ever possible, try to push the boundaries (but not into next door’s garden) and go for the largest building you can. If your budget is tight then you may need to settle for a smaller than ideal building but this is better than getting a larger, cheap building and regretting the decision within a few years. Get this right and your decision won’t come back and haunt you. The main reason for choosing a large garden shed, summerhouse or workshop is because you find it filled quite quickly and unexpectedly. All those ‘bit and pieces’, that extra bit of garden furniture or accessories in your workshops will soon fill up the smallest of buildings. You will find over the years you will collect more and more clutter filling your shed or workshop and your summerhouse will turn into a glorified dumping ground cum store (like mine) rather than a place to relax.
3/ Where Should I Locate my New Building?
The location of your new garden shed, timber workshop or summerhouse is often dictated by your garden but you should give as much thought as possible to getting the best answer as there are many solutions. It mainly depends on what you are going to use the building for. If you are thinking of a solar potting garden shed or summerhouse then these really need to be in a sunny location and ideally facing south. Here they will receive the maximum amount of sun. A garden shed or timber workshop is different and can be located anywhere in your garden which is convenient and being away and out of the sun is often a good thing. This will stop the building from getting too warm during the warmer summer months. If you already have a path going down the garden then it’s a good idea for this to lead up to the door of your new building. This makes good sense but sometimes this can get overlooked. By having a footpath it stops mud being trodden into your new building as well as indoors.
4/ Should I Be Careful With Nearby Trees?
It’s not a good idea to have overhanging trees or shrubs because over time they will try to take over your new garden shed or workshop. The overhanging trees will drop leaves and sap down and the shrubs will try to climb the building. This can lead to leaks or damp inside which is never a good idea. If that is the only spot available then ensure that any overhanging branches are cut back so that they do not rub against the roofing felt in the wind as this will create holes in the felt and subsequently leaks. From time to time remove any leaves which have built up on the roof to stop any problems before they start. Gutters are not necessary but by adding them it will guide water away from your new building. If the area where your new building is going is naturally wet then ensure you raise it off the ground and allow a good flow of air underneath to keep it dry under the floor.
5/ How Close To Nearby Fences, Bushes etc?
You will find that most garden sheds, summerhouses or workshops can be built quite close to fences, walls and hedges but it’s very important that you leave at least 6in (150mm) gap to allow for the roof overhang. This is the general advice from 1st Choice Leisure Buildings for their range of garden buildings as most of their buildings can be assembled (free of charge) from inside. With other manufacturers, you are best to check directly with them to see what they advise. It’s also worth thinking about how you will treat your new building in the future and, in this instance, it may be worth leaving 12-18in (300 to 450mm) gap so you can get around the back with a paintbrush. This space won’t be wasted as it can be a good place to hide things out of view when not being used. Alternately another option for treating your new building is with a garden sprayer, such as the Cuprinol type. Although this may mean climbing on the roof (be very careful to keep your weight around the edge of the building and don’t try this on those cheap garden sheds out there) and leaning down with the sprayer. Not ideal but it’s often better than nothing. If your new building has to go close to the fence so you can’t get at it to treat it then try to have some gutters fitted. This will stop the rainwater running down the back of your new building.
6/ Services to your New Garden Shed etc?
If you are buying a greenhouse or potting shed then a water supply is a good option to give some thought to how you will do that. With a garden shed used for storage electricity would not normally be needed. However, with a timber workshop or summerhouse, it can be more or less essential. Include this in your planning so that when your new building arrives it will be available. It goes without saying, or should, that electric in an outdoor environment should only be fitted by a fully qualified electrician. NEVER try to do this yourself. If you intend to use the building as an office or a place where you need to stay in touch then the advice used to be that you should lay a telephone cable. However, with nowadays mobile phone, that is not such a problem as your mobile may suffice, certainly for phone calls. However, broadband down to the garden or sending faxes may need a fixed ‘landline’.
7/ What Other Considerations?
Ensure that your new shed, summer house or workshop has sufficient height inside so it meets your requirements and ensuring you don’t have to stoop. However, if it’s only for garden storage then the height won’t be such a problem and a little less height may ‘do’. However, always bear in mind that the use of your garden building may change so reduced height may be a problem in the future. The good shed makers usually offer a good height to start with and often offer an option for extra height. You may wish to add some shelves so think about where they may go to ensure they don’t get in your way
8/ What Other Considerations (2)?
A summer house could be used as a home garden office and would normally be in full view of your house. Ensure that you like the look of it from the outside. Many of the so-called ‘cheap’ summerhouses will often start looking ‘tired’ quite quickly so maybe better tucked away out of sight. If you are going to use the summerhouse as an office you should, ideally, ensure that it is insulated and lined to help keep it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer (something which not many people think about) This is a great option to go for if available. Otherwise, it’s not too difficult for a decent DIY’er to do.
9/ Can You See Your New Building Before Buying?
Where ever possible take the opportunity to deal with a company which gives you an opportunity to view beforehand. This way you know what to expect. Looking at a leaflet, brochure or web site is no substitute for that. Even if you don’t view the fact a company is happy for customers to see their products is a sign that their products should be good.
10/ Can the Building Be Erected?
Garden sheds, summer houses and timber workshops are by their very nature rather heavy to move around so if it can be assembled for you then this will save you getting worn out or getting pulled muscles. Some companies include this in the price and are described as free, But like most things in life things are very rarely free. All it means is that they are included in the overall price. Besides the hard work, it’s important that the building is assembled correctly and is watertight. If you build it your self and it leaks then that would be YOUR problem, not the supplier’s.
11/ Conclusion and Advice?
Exciting as it is – buying a new garden shed, a summer house to share with your family or a timber workshop for your hobby, it’s important to ask questions beforehand. By using this guide you can ask the right questions and, by doing so, are likely to be happy with your new building and not to be regretting it and thinking – why did I not check.
Hi, I'm Robin Antill, founder of 1st Choice Leisure Buildings, and I use my expertise gained over 42 years in the garden buildings industry to understand that each customer is different. With my manufacturing, retailing and customer service experience my articles help people choose their ideal shed, garden workshop, summerhouse, log cabin or garden office needs to suit their requirement and that is key to satisfaction. And what do I do when I'm not writing? You may find me following Grimsby Town Football Club or riding roller coasters - so plenty of 'ups and downs' in my life.