David Attenborough told us in his latest TV series ‘Wild Isles’ that the UK coastline is over 7,700 miles long. Surrounded by water, our islands are home to 500,000 inland ponds with another 3 million situated in domestic gardens. There is no doubt that we love spending time in, near and on water, and our gardens offer places to enjoy it in peace and quiet, or to enhance our fun and recreation.
As part of your summerhouse project planning process, it is worth thinking about your own access to water and how it can enhance the benefits of your garden building. In our blog, we explore ways to combine your outdoor garden retreat with water in a number of fun and appealing ways.
Benefits of locating your summerhouse close to water
The sound of running water is calming and soothing because the ‘white noise’ enables our brains to tune out intrusive thoughts and feelings. Focusing on the ebb and flow of water’s rhythms brings peace and tranquility promoting a sense of wellbeing and even helping us to sleep better. Many meditation apps provide running water soundscapes from crashing waves to a babbling brook. However, there is no substitute for the real thing. Water features are available in a myriad of shapes and sizes. You will find models made from stainless steel, cast stone, granite, marble, and slate. Choose from a range of shapes including spheres, tiers, cascades, and water blades. Select a babbling bowl, cascading vase, or twisting fountain.
Garden water features can be subtle and unobtrusive or designed to make a statement. Many are self-contained and recycle the water, and so require no plumbing making them easy to install. You will need access to an electricity supply to keep the water moving unless you install a solar-powered system.
Choose the type of material and design of your water feature to complement your summerhouse design. A more classical shape might suit an octagonal summerhouse while a contemporary garden room will be set off to best advantage with simple, modern shapes. Water features can be set enhanced by the planting that surrounds them. Choose evergreen foliage that will provide a suitable backdrop all year round.
Summerhouses need to be positioned away from overhanging trees and bushes to avoid potential damage and falling debris from encroaching vegetation. Place your water feature in sight of your summerhouse windows, or on the deck immediately outside so you can enjoy its sounds as you relax in the sunshine.
For a more intense experience of the relaxing benefits of water, why not install a hot tub adjacent to your summerhouse? If you can, try to plan for this at the same time as ordering your garden building so you can ensure that there is enough room for both. The position you choose for your summerhouse and hot tub combination will be influenced by your preferred view, and the position of fences and natural screens that deliver the degree of privacy you desire.
You may be lucky enough to have an outdoor swimming pool in your garden. A summerhouse makes an ideal addition to a pool because it provides a sanctuary to which you can retreat when you emerge from the water. Keep your towels and robes on hooks, and store floats and inflatables for the children inside. Scotts offers upholstered modular seating for its summerhouse models so you can simply lift the lid and pack away your accessories inside. Clever lighting will enhance the appeal of your pool and the addition of a summerhouse completes the picture.
If you have ever walked on a tow path or taken a boat trip, you will have seen gardens that border the river or canal. Adding a summerhouse in this situation provides easy access to waterways and you can moor a small boat or dinghy to the decking that surrounds it. A sloping garden is no barrier to installing a summerhouse because you can easily level it using a ground screw base. Simple to install and highly flexible, ground screws are similar to giant wood screws and extraordinarily strong. Adjust the height of each one individually to take account of how the ground falls away.
If your property is more modest or you have a small garden, you can always choose to install a paddling pool for the grandchildren to enjoy. Leave room for this outside your summerhouse and you can enjoy a refreshing drink while the young ones let off steam in the water. Pools like these can be inflatable or rigid-sided with metal frames.
In addition to the wellbeing benefits of water, you will be giving a boost to nature by adding a pond of any size, or a bird bath, to your garden. Position this so it can be seen from your summerhouse windows and enjoy the view as birds fly down for a drink. Water planting attracts bees and other insects as they circulate busily amongst the flowers. Building a pond is a precise business and the Royal Horticultural Society provides advice on how to do this successfully. You will need to consider the shape, ensuring that at least one side is sloped to help with access.
Choose a suitable lining that prevents weeds and select a position that offers some shade over the water. You could choose to position your pond in the lee of the summerhouse, providing shelter for the creatures that visit. Alternatively, in a more bijou space, the Wildlife Trusts have set out some tips on how to create a mini-pond from a disused Butler’s sink or similar container. If you are a keen gardener, make sure your hosepipe reaches as far as your summerhouse so you can look after all the planting that surrounds it. You can even keep a watering can on a handy shelf inside to provide a drink to thirsty indoor plants.
Make a splash!
In addition to the auditory benefits of running water, the effect of its movement and how it reflects light make water aesthetically pleasing creating stunning effects in all seasons. If one of your objectives in choosing a summerhouse is to add grandeur and beauty to your garden, placing it near water will serve to enhance the effect.
Surround your summerhouse with timber decking at the edge of a pond and it will seem to float when you view it from the house, especially if the water edge is naturally blurred with planting. Combine your garden building with a backdrop of water in a serene and picturesque setting and you will find yourself spending more time than ever outside the house, and not only during the summer.
Add lighting to the base of your summerhouse and it will reflect beautifully in your pond or swimming pool. Choose from rechargeable outdoor LED or solar lights if you want to save the hassle of taking mains electricity out to your garden. Scotts offers a solarhub that harnesses the power of the sun and helps you to reduce your carbon footprint. We have previously discussed how a summerhouse can add value to your property and this can only be enhanced by the mesmerising effect of water.
Crest of a wave
If you are inspired to accommodate water within your summerhouse design brief, talk to our expert team who can talk you through the considerations for your own garden and situation. We look forward to hearing from you and helping bring your vision to life.
Contact us via our web form or call 01832 732366.