Summerhouses – The buyers guide.

by Jack Gardener on December 2, 2009 · 0 comments

in Uncategorized

Summerhouses offer a way of adding additional living space to your home whilst also becoming an attractive focal point in your garden.

The range of summerhouses available today is huge, with a great variety of sizes, shapes and designs to choose from.  With over two million of us now choosing to work from home a summerhouse could be the ideal home office providing separate workspace or alternatively it can offer a relaxing place in the garden to relax and unwind.

Buyers Essentials
I’ve put together the essential considerations that must be taken into account before you purchase a Summerhouse.

Do I need planning permission for a Summerhouse?
You will not always require planning permission for a Summerhouse; however I would always recommend contacting your local planning office beforehand.

You may need planning permission if:

  • Your home is a listed building,  you live in a conservation area or national park and or are planning to add a garden structure over 10 cubic metre.
  • If the structure is greater than 3 metres high or 4 metres high if it has a ridged roof.
  • If over half of the original space around your home will be taken up by the new outdoor structure.
  • If the garden building is nearer to the road than your existing home (this is not applicable if the distance from your summerhouse to the road is more than 20 metres).
  • If your property is not freehold you will need to seek the approval of the freeholder as well as the local planning department.

Building regulations do not generally apply to timber garden rooms as they are classed as temporary structures. You will however need to contact your local authority if your new room is going to be built over any drain cover or if you are planning to plumb into your house drain system (i.e. if you are adding a toilet, or sink).

Garden buildings larger than 30 square metres will need to comply with building regulations and your local department should be contacted.

Plan the location
Do remember if you want to put your Summerhouse within 5 metres of your home it will be considered by the council as an extension and they will count it as part of your ‘permitted development’. This may become a problem if you already have a large extension on your property or have plans to add one on in years to come. Speak to your local planning department and seek their advice.
Sometimes the local planning department will ask to receive a sketch and dimensions of your summerhouse and where you plan to put the building on your land. They can take up to two weeks to decide whether your structure will require planning permission and if it does there will be a fee for this.
Consider your neighbours – Is your planned location likely to block sunlight into their garden or home? Please keep your neighbours informed and work together to ensure no disputes arise.
Next you need to think about what you are going to use this additional room for. A location away from the house is great for a home office as you are able to separate work and home life but if you are wanting the space for a children’s playroom obviously this will need to be closer.
Also consider any pathways that will need to be constructed in order to get to and from your new room without trampling over your lawn especially in the wet winter months.

Size matters
A large summerhouse will take up a lot of outdoor space. Consider the impact on your garden is half your lawn is built upon or the shadow thrown over your patio. Will this put off future buyers?
As a general sizing rule in order for your summerhouse to fit nicely into your outdoor space and not feel overbearing you will need to ensure it does not take up more than quarter of your garden.

Home Office
– By creating a room outside of your home you are able to separate home and work life. Many people enjoy working from home but struggle to forget household responsibilities and chores when working from a back bedroom or the dining room table. A separate room away from the house offers peace and tranquillity allowing you to focus solely on the task at hand whilst still getting the benefit of skipping the commuter traffic. You may wish to consider a log cabin as a home office as this may give you more space.

Home Gym– A great addition to your home that will save you thousands on gym memberships in the long run.

Art Studio or Hobby Room – A summerhouse is a wonderful light room with plenty of windows making it a fantastic option for an Art Studio or Hobby Room.

Home Cinema or Music Room – If you are planning to use your Summerhouse as an cinema or music room do make sure that the walls are filled with mineral/glass wool insulation not expanding foam as this will insulate noise better . Triple glazing will also keep the sound inside the summerhouse and enable your garden to remain peaceful.

Den– A Summerhouse is a wonderful tranquil living space outside of the home. Make sure it is well insulated so that you can enjoy it all year round.

Environmentally Friendly
Today you will find many of the summer houses on the market have been built using sustainably sourced timber which has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC are an independent non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting the responsible management of forests worldwide.

Visit Jacks Garden Store to see a fantastic range of affordable summerhouses.

Good Luck

Gardener Jack

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