Garden House Guide

What Is a Garden House?

Garden houses are small structures that sit in your garden to provide shelter. They allow you to enjoy your garden and have extra space to turn into a living room or a shed to store items in. They are usually open structures and have a variety of uses.

Garden houses can be turned into anything you want. They can be an idyllic meeting room, an office, or even an outdoor kitchen. It all depends on how you construct them or the style you choose to purchase. 

Garden houses have many benefits and can help you connect with nature and feel at ease in your garden among the trees and plants.

Planning Permits for Garden Houses

Garden houses are considered outbuildings. In most places, outbuildings do not require planning permission. This means that you can construct a garden house wherever you want within your property. In that case, there are a few general rules that you should abide by.

NOTE:  Be sure to check with your local city authority and HOA for requirements to add a garden house on your property. 

Outbuildings, such as garden houses, should not be erected on land connected to a wall that is part of the principal elevation. It should also not be located within a national park or any other designated land. Furthermore, if your property is listed on your garden house and takes up more than half of the surrounding area, you will need to apply for permits.

You should ensure that your garden house is within 5-meter of your home, not in the front and facing a motorway. Otherwise, you will need to apply for a permit. Usually, permits take time to get approved, and you may have to wait before you can start constructing them. 

Other than these few exceptions, garden houses do not require you to get permission. Contrary to popular belief, getting one constructed or installed on your property is easier than you may imagine. Since they are temporary structures, you do not need to go through the hassle of building regulations. If you intend to install electricity or plumbing, you may need to double-check with your local authority.

What Are the Advantages of Owning a Garden House?

A small shed filled with lawn equipment.

Constructing a garden house within your outdoor space has many benefits. Although some people own outdoor garden furniture or wooden porch swings, having a detached space is extremely beneficial. You can designate this space just for relaxation or any other activity. 

Versatile

Garden houses are incredibly versatile and can be used for various purposes. Most people use garden houses as storage spaces, where they can store their garden tools and toys. However, there are many different ways that you can use your garden house. You can turn it into a party room, a living room, an outdoor office, a hobby room, etc. Additionally, since they are temporary structures, you can change them and redesign them to fit your changing needs. 

Available in Different Sizes and Models

Some people shy away from garden houses because they have a small garden, but that is not an issue. Garden houses come in various shapes and sizes and can be installed in all kinds of gardens. You can opt for a mini garden house if you have a small space. 

Depending on your purpose, you can also purchase rectangular, hexagonal, or any other shape that would fit best into your outdoor space. There is also always the option of having it made to measure. 

Safe and Secure Place for Garden Tools

A garden house can also be used as a garden shed to store your garden tools. If you are wary of your tools, toys, and bicycles from getting damaged or stolen, you can store them in a garden house and lock them. You can also store your lawn equipment, such as gas lawn mowers, in such structures. 

If you purchase a garden house for this purpose, ensure the lock is reliable and durable. Garden houses used for storage are a clever way of adding storage space while also improving the visuals of your outdoor space. Instead of the tools being piled into a corner, they can be stashed in a stylish structure. 

Health Benefits

Most garden houses are constructed from sustainable products such as wood, creating a healthy indoor climate. Such climates are a great advantage if you suffer from allergies. Wood also absorbs pollutants and unpleasant odors from the air. Wooden garden houses also offer constant temperature and humidity, which is highly beneficial for your mucous membrane. 

An Eye-Catching Structure for Your Garden

Apart from being valuable structures, garden houses are also extremely eye-catching, especially if they are painted. You can paint your garden house an attractive and bright color to have it stand out in your garden. 

A Living and Storage Room Connected to Nature

Extra space can be extremely useful if your house is cluttered with additional unnecessary items. You can turn your garden house into a storage room and place all the unnecessary items there and create more space in your home again. 

Garden houses can also be used to increase space. You can turn your garden house into a secondary living room that can be used when you have guests or want to spend some time outdoors. A garden house also increases the value of your home. If you intend to sell your house, a garden house will most definitely make your property look more appealing to prospective buyers.

Secluded Space

Garden houses are also excellent places to enjoy some well-deserved peace and quiet. If you want to escape from those living in your home and enjoy some time to yourself, garden houses provide you with that space. The relaxed atmosphere lets you relax your mind and even meditate to ground yourself and feel refreshed. 

The Placement of Your Garden House

The placement of your garden house is critical because it depends on what you will be using it for. If you want a lot of sunlight to stream into your garden house, figure out which area of your garden receives the most sunlight. Then construct the house accordingly. It is always a good idea to build south-facing windows as those are the ones that get the most sunlight. 

The placement of your garden house also depends on how much garden space you want to be left over. If you still desire a large part of your garden to remain grassy, place the garden house in a corner. That way, it won’t take up your garden space. You should also ensure that you place your garden house away from drainage areas, especially if it is made of wood. 

Also, consider the view you want from the windows of the garden house and place the garden house accordingly. 

What To Consider?

When choosing a garden house to purchase, there are a few factors that you need to take into consideration to ensure that you get the most out of your money. Here they are. 

A Suitable Foundation

Garden house can be installed anywhere in your garden. Still, you must choose an appropriate foundation for it. You can choose from many different materials, but some are less durable than others. For example, if you choose wood, it is likely to swell, curve or shrink over time, and this deformation can cause the house to become unstable.

Professionals recommend using bricks or slabs on sand or gravel bases. You can also use paving stones and monolithic slabs of reinforced concrete. The type of foundation you select should be based on the size of your garden house. 

If your house is smaller, paving stones are a good option. Building foundations for small garden houses is easy as all you need to do is dig between 25 to 30 cm of soil and then fill it with sand and gravel. Then you should position the blocks or tiles. If you plan on making your garden house large, then monolithic slabs are a much better option. To make this foundation, you will need help from a trained professional.

Regardless of the size of your garden house and the type of foundation, ensure that the base is perfectly level. This is because stability and durability greatly depend on how level the foundation is. Erecting walls and ensuring that doors and windows work correctly also depend on the foundation’s stability. 

The Function

If you are in the market for a garden house, it is always important to know what purpose it will serve. Since such structures are highly versatile and can be used for various purposes. Knowing how you will use them will help you select the most suitable one. Determining the use also helps decide on the size of the garden house. If you require it to store a few tools and bicycles, then you need a smaller house. 

On the other hand, if you want it to be a living space that can seat multiple people, the garden house should be a mid to large size. Larger garden houses can also serve as garages for homes that don’t have one. In such cases, you must ensure that it can comfortably house your car without any safety hazards. 

Size

There are a variety of different house sizes available on the market. You can find tiny ones that barely measure 1 sq. ft, and you can also find big houses that measure over 20sq.ft. There are two critical factors that you need to consider when choosing the size of your garden house. The first is the space you have in your garden, and the second is how it will be used. 

The larger the garden house you purchase, the more expensive it will be, so you should assess your requirements to avoid overspending. It is recommended that you buy a garden house with three walls and then use your residential house as the fourth wall. By doing so, you can reduce the cost and save space. 

You should also take into account outward protrusions of the garden house. Certain roofs and walls are designed to jut out the bit, causing the structure to occupy more space. You should also avoid building your garden house underneath trees, as strong winds can cause a branch to snap and break the structure. 

Price

When purchasing garden houses, compare the prices of different products to ensure you get your money’s worth. Professionals recommend planning a budget before purchasing and installing a garden house. This budget should also include the installation and maintenance costs. 

The more extensive structure you purchase, the more expensive it will be. Still, smaller garden houses have minimal use, and you can quickly run out of space. In such cases, a slightly larger garden house will serve you much better. Although it will cost more, larger homes will be much more helpful and fulfill your purpose better. Provided that you have the space for it. 

The Design

When considering the design of your garden house, there are two different designs to choose from. These include panel houses and houses that are made using interlocking or intersecting wood. 

Panel garden houses are assembled using ready-made panels, which you fasten together with screws. The joints are reinforced and then covered using decorative strips. Once the panels are fastened, the prefabricated roof is placed on top of the house, and the corners are covered with decorative strips that need to be screwed on.

Panel houses are excellent if you want to build a garden house yourself because it is easy and fast. The location of the windows can also be easily changed. One disadvantage of panel houses is that they are not as durable as those made on the principle of intersection.

The principle of intersection is another design you can purchase. These garden houses are popular because of their interesting design, which is made using prefabricated wooden planks. The boards are built into each other, and the thickness of each is around 16 to 19mm. The planks protrude over the edge, adding to the cottage’s design.

Such garden houses are easy and quick to make, meaning you can easily do it yourself. They are also considerably stronger than panel houses and retain their strength and stability throughout their life span. One downside to these houses is that you cannot modify the placement of the doors and windows, so you have to be strategic with where you place them.

Roofs

Garden houses usually have pitched roofs, sloping roofs, or flat roofs; depending on your theme, either could work.

Pitched roofs have a tilt, making it extremely easy for snow or water to drain off the top. Your roof needs to have some slope because if you leave water or snow standing on it, it may damage the wooden structure. The classic pitched roof has two connected panels to form a triangular point along the center of the roof. 

You can also have a sloped roof on your garden house. These roofs are excellent for storing tall garden equipment or tools. One disadvantage of sloped ceilings is that you cannot place your garden house underneath a tree as it may not fit. The tree will also need to be pruned regularly to avoid accidents.

A flat roof is another kind of roof used in garden houses. These roofs take up the least space and allow you to build your garden house anywhere without getting in the way. During the winters, you may need to maintain such roofs better because a lot of snow or pressure on the roof may cause it to break.

Windows and Doors

Garden houses usually have at least one window, and the larger the house is, the more windows it has. When purchasing a garden house, consider how much sunlight you need and choose a house with an appropriate number of windows. If you want a lot of sunlight, choose one with many large windows. On the other hand, choose one with very few windows if you plan to hide your equipment or enjoy some privacy. 

The larger the windows, the more sunlight will enter the garden house. If you do not intend on installing lighting inside, choose one with plenty of windows. 

Additionally, you should pay attention to the door as well. It should be functional, and the size should be appropriate. There are usually two kinds of doors found in garden houses. One is simple and made using solid planed boards, and the other is made using longitudinal joint wood. These kinds of doors are resistant to moisture and deformation. You can also lock them to keep your items inside safe. 

Wall Thickness

When purchasing a garden house, wall thickness is something you should consider, and it determines the durability and overall stability of the garden house. There are many different wallet thicknesses that you can choose from.

Wall Thickness Features
28mm These walls are solid and durable enough for small and medium-sized garden houses. They are also perfect if you are on a budget. 
34 to 40mm Walls with such thickness are ideal if you want to use your garden house all year long. They are versatile and keep the house warm enough for you to enjoy it in every season.
40 – 50mm These walls are ideal for medium-sized garden houses and are much more robust and provide better insulation than 28mm walls. 

Ease of Installation

When purchasing a garden house, you should decide whether you want to assemble it yourself or hire someone else. If you plan on installing it yourself, ensure that you choose one that is easy to install. Most small to medium garden houses can be assembled with considerable ease. Larger houses may require you to hire someone that has professional experience. 

Pros and Cons

Garden houses are an excellent way to create a space where you can enjoy nature, work or store a few items. With its many advantages, there are some disadvantages to garden houses too.

Pros Cons
They are relatively inexpensive. They need to be maintained well.
Eco-friendly The structure may be vulnerable to insects and fungi.
They offer extra space. 
Versatile

FAQs

1. What is the purpose of a garden house?

A garden house is versatile because it can be used in various ways. You can store items and use them as a second living room, an office, a gym, etc.

2. How long do garden houses last?

If maintained well, garden houses can last for decades. When purchasing a garden house, choose one with external finishes designed to last long. These exterior finishes include claddings and roof coverings. 

3. Does a garden house need planning permission?

In most cases, you do not need permission to build a garden house because they are classified as outbuildings. This applies only if you have permitted development rights in your plot of land.

Conclusion

Garden houses are highly versatile structures and can be used in various ways. As they are considered outbuildings, you don’t need permission to build them, and you are free to style them however you want. 

Garden houses can be custom-built or bought online or in stores. If you plan on buying them, you should consider the price, the size, and the kind of roof they have. The wall thickness and price are other essential features you should consider to ensure you get the best fit.

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