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5 Tips to Build a DIY Summer House

There are lots of ways to make use of your garden to gain more space in your home.  A popular one is the summer house for a number of reasons – and one of those is that it is easier to do as a DIY project than other types of extension.  There are still some things to consider if you go down this route and here are five of the top ones.

Check about planning permission

In most cases, a summer house isn’t going to run into planning permission issues, but it is always best to check it out for your exact location.  A lot of what might cause a problem centres around the size of the summer house and how close it is to other properties. If the summer house is less than 15m square and is lower than 2.5 metres in height, you probably won’t have any problems.

It is always best to check with your local authority to make sure no rules apply.  It is unlikely you will need planning permission but better to find out before than afterwards – if it is needed and not received, the council can make you take down the structure.  If for some reason you do need planning permission, the process normally takes 4-6 weeks depending on the council.

Choose your building material

Once you have an idea about the size of the summer house, you can next decide about the building material.  Timber frames are a hugely popular option at the moment and you can get kits that make the whole process very simple.  That way you don’t have to worry about whether everything is measured right or if you have missed out on anything – you simply order the kit and it is delivered then you put it together.

Also, consider finishing options when you are looking at these.  Most will offer options around wood cladding and this is a great option.  These types of structure look great and are easy to maintain. You can treat them to keep the colour as it is or simply leave it to mature naturally.

Finally, think about the roofing of the summer house.  Most experts recommend either a very thick roofing felt or multiple layers.  Roofing nails are used to add it to the timber frame and mean the whole process is a simple one.  

Get the right foundation

It is true that the foundation is key to any structure, including a summer house.  You need to look at the options and decide which is going to best suit your aims for the summer house as well as your budget.  Concrete bases are more durable and will last the longest while a slab base is more cost effective and easier to move if you ever needed to.

You do want a flat surface on which to lay your foundation, so some preparation work might be needed.  You can also easily get ready to mix concrete if you want to use this to lay the slabs in or to form the base.

Finishing touches

Once you have your frame, roofing and foundation in place, you can spend a bit of time thinking about the fun parts – the finishing touches.  Windows and doors come into this category, although you may sort them when you arrange for the kit. Double glazing can be a good option if you want the building to be usable all year round – this helps keeps the heat in and makes them comfortable and secure.

You can also look at the other touches such as the interior decorating and the furniture you want to put into the space.  This will depend on what you plan to use it for – home offices are a popular example of an ideal use for a summer house.

Don’t forget electricity!

Unless you are a qualified electrician, you will need a professional for this part of the project.  If you want to have power to the summer house, you will need an electrician to create a connection to the mains in the house.  They will also add things like light fittings and switches and sockets. That way you can use the room for whatever you want and easily add electrical heating if needed.