Building your summerhouse: DIY or rely on the professionals?

Introducing a summerhouse into your garden brings an entirely new dimension to your lifestyle and the way you enjoy your property. It reinforces the valuable connection with the outdoors that we have come to rely on in recent years, and also provides additional living space for activities, work, hobbies or simply a beautiful room in which you can relax all year round.

You may be convinced of the benefits and thinking about how to bring your vision to life. Perhaps you are tempted to install a summerhouse yourself to save on cost. It is advisable to think carefully about ordering a summerhouse for self-assembly and make your decision with all the facts to hand.

Your vision of a premium summerhouse will only be realised if you choose a model that is carefully crafted from high quality materials. A summerhouse made from sustainable hardwood will last much longer and retain its visual appeal for many years. While less costly materials are available, there is a risk that the integrity of the structure and its performance will diminish more quickly.

A self-build may represent a false economy when balanced with the advantages of having a luxury summerhouse installed using expert craftsmanship. In our blog, we look at the disadvantages of self-assembly and why it is usually better to rely on the experts.

Five potential pitfalls of self-assembly garden buildings

  1. Managing materials

Before you start, you will need to create a level and solid base on which your summerhouse can stand. This must be constructed from the right materials to help provide stability and maintain longevity.

Self-assembly kits for garden summerhouses are usually made from softwood which is less durable than the type of hardwood used to create premium garden buildings. No two flatpack kits will be the same so you would need to carefully check what is included. You can expect to take delivery a large stack of materials from foundation joists to wall logs, roof panels, floorboards, and edging trim. Also, inside the pack will be all the fittings including screws and brackets, door and window furniture and locks. If you ever tried to put together a piece of flatpack furniture, you will know what to expect – on an extensive scale!

Materials are likely to be delivered on a pallet or from a truck and you will need to provide access to the site, ideally ensuring that materials are unloaded as close to the plot as possible to reduce your workload. Unless you are ready to start immediately it is advisable to retain the packaging and keep the materials wrapped up to protect them against the weather.

  1. Labour and aftercare

As a minimum you will need a screwdriver, hammer, cutting tool, tape measure, a drill, and a ladder. These will need to be in good condition, and you will need personal protective equipment to maintain safety as you work. Working with heavy materials such as wall panels and roof boards means that building a summerhouse could be challenging unless you have help from at least one other person. You need to comfortable with following written instructions that may be confusing unless you are familiar with the terminology.

pitfalls of self-assembly garden buildings

If your summerhouse is not made from hardwood, it will require regular maintenance including treatment with an exterior wood preservative topped off with a translucent stain or coat of paint.


  1. Integrity and precision

Putting a wooden frame together requires some skill as you need to ensure that all the pieces are level, so they fit smartly, and the basic structure retains its shape and does not move or warp.

The steps will include:

  • Screwing floor panels into the bearers on top of the joists
  • Attaching the hinges at an equal distance from the top and bottom of the door
  • Lifting rear and side panels into place and fixing the frames together with screws
  • Securing the base of each panel to the floor framing to prevent movement
  • Fitting beading strips to the inside of doors
  • Attaching roof supports to L-shaped brackets and aligning with the upright framing
  • Sliding on roof panels and overlaying with strips of roofing felt
  • Treating the timber with a preservative.

Self assembly treating timber


Missing a step or failing to properly secure every element of the structure could lead to a loss of integrity in the building in the future leading to expensive replacement or repair costs.


  1. Heating and lighting

Unless you are confident working with electricity, installing heat and light in your new summerhouse could be fraught with risks. Homeowners are themselves responsible for ensuring that all electrical work meets Part P of the electrical safety work regulation specification to prevent electric shocks and reduce the risk of fire.

If you plan to install electricity in you summerhouse, you need to run an armoured insulated cable underground from your main domestic electricity supply into an electrical fuse box inside the garden building. A certified electrician must check that the work has been carried out safely and large fines are possible for miscreants. An electrician will not install power in a building that is not weatherproof (another reason to ensure that your summerhouse is built with expert care).

  1. Insulation

To gain maximum value from your summerhouse, you will be keen to take advantage of its use all year round. If it is insufficiently insulated, your garden building will not retain heat in winter and could become damp. Firstly, you will need to make sure that all gaps and holes are filled with a superior quality caulk or sealant. Fitting insulation can be a tricky job and needs careful handling to ensure that it is snug and draft-proof. A breathable membrane is essential along with a suitable insulation product such as foil-lined and rigid insulation or made from glass fibre. It is important that the insulating material is well ventilated and covered with plywood, plasterboard, tongue and groove or hardboard lining. If you have chosen a small summerhouse model, you might need to consider insulating the exterior walls to maintain maximum space inside.

Leave it to the experts

Having reviewed the potential pitfalls of summerhouse self-assembly, you may prefer to consider leaving the construction process to the experts. Choose one of Scotts’ garden buildings and you will benefit from a wraparound package of support that will leave you feeling relaxed and ready to enjoy your outdoor space in splendour.

For the majority of our summerhouses, delivery and erection of your garden building is included in the price. We directly employ fully trained, professional installers who travel all over the UK who have years of experience with our unique models. As Scotts’ very own installers, our team takes pride in every individual summerhouse installation and work with attention to detail to ensure that the structure is completely sound and will last for many years ahead.

Our summerhouse manufacturing process has been honed over decades to ensure that each that the individual parts fit seamlessly together. Because they are crafted using sustainable hardwood and arrive pre-painted in your choice of colour, Scotts summerhouses require very little maintenance and will retain their stunning appearance for many years.

In addition, Scotts can remove the headache of installing electricity to your summerhouse with its solar lighting package that is capable of delivering 12v of energy to power lights, a fan, or a charger for your electronic devices. We also take care of insulation, too, and you can opt to add an MDF underlining to the roof or a tongue and groove effect lining to the walls which is filled with Rockwool and a breathable damp-proof layer.

All we ask is that you clear sufficient space around your summerhouse base to enable our installers to work with ease, and that they have direct access to your garden so that they are able to carry in the wall panels and roof. If access is an issue at your property, simply let us know when you make your order, and we will work to accommodate your restrictions as far as we can.

If you are looking for a bespoke design or special shape, talk to us about your brief and our creative design team will be glad to respond. Knowing that experts have installed your summerhouse provides the peace of mind so that you can sit back and enjoy your perfect garden hideaway for years ahead.

Talk to us about the Scotts’ installation service and we will discuss the process with you and ensure that your garden building is brought to life without the pitfalls of self-assembly.

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