Summerhouses are a welcome addition to any garden. As well as being aesthetically pleasing and becoming an attractive focal point, summerhouses can also offer additional space for a hobby, a place to relax or entertain in the garden and, more practically, a dedicated storage area for garden tools and furniture. Increasingly summerhouses are also being used as a creative or work space, offering a chance to get closer to nature and a place to reflect.

But how do you go about choosing the right one for you and your outdoor space? By following a few simple decision-making steps, you can ensure you have the perfect garden building to suit your needs and one that will be as functional as it is beautiful.

Reputable supplier
Many companies offer standard sizes of garden buildings, at a wide variety of prices, however dig a little deeper and you will find a small number of reputable companies that manufacture high quality summerhouses that are cost effective and will last for decades.  Such companies supply a wide range of building styles and will give advice on everything from planning and bases through to ongoing maintenanceTimber is the natural, and preferred, material option for a summerhouse and the quality of timber chosen is very important.  Different suppliers offer different timber options, but the best materials are Accoya, pressure impregnated timber or hardwood as these will ensure your summerhouse lasts for several decades.Whichever wood you choose, you should look for timber that is sourced sustainably and this is easy to decipher thanks to FSC and PEFC certification.Size it up
Summerhouses come in a wide range of shapes and sizes so consider how you are going to use yours to decide on the best design for your needs. A summerhouse is often chosen purely to be the focal point for a garden, so it is important to give consideration to the overall garden design at the same time as choosing a building. The best summerhouses are those which are integrated into the wider landscaping scheme and are clearly the inspiration for everything else.  The use of paths, steps and archways to link to your new garden retreat with the rest of the garden will make the experience of walking to the summerhouse even more inviting.

If you’re looking to use your summerhouse for alfresco dining or entertaining, then look for something sizeable that can accommodate a table such as the Scotts three metre Burghley octagonal summerhouse which can house a round table to seat up to eight people.

The Sun Ray Garden Room is larger still, and is a popular choice for entertaining family and friends. Its large double doors and windows mean you can still enjoy a view of the garden whilst enjoying shelter inside.

For added living or working space, the Polebrook offers a large and versatile outdoor space and is far more cost effective than a property extension. Measuring approximately 3.6m x 2.3m and standing less than 2.5 metres high, it complies with current planning regulations.

For a combination of form and function you can consider a garden building with dedicated storage areas. Two of the buildings in Scotts’ RHS range, the RHS Cosy Nook and the RHS Arbour, have been designed to offer a structure that allows you to work and relax in the garden whilst providing a lockable area to store tools and equipment.

However, the traditional British summerhouse is most noted for being a relaxing retreat where one can simply sit and enjoy the many changing seasons and visiting wildlife; a centrepiece for the garden to escape to, with a cup of tea in hand, and where you can enjoy a fresh perspective on your home.

Added extras
Once you’ve selected a size and shape, you can select your colour options, choose a roof style and opt for seating and upholstery fabrics and designs. Paint colours and soft furnishings will add character and help personalise your new addition to the garden.

Many customers arrange to have electrics to their summerhouse, although a solar panel option is a quick and easy compromise where electricity is not an easy or viable option when the summerhouse is located a distance away from the main home. Lighting, and even fairy lights, can add a different dimension to a garden hideaway and enable it to be used late into the balmy summer evenings and for winter parties.

Also consider useful optional extras such as additional shelving, a rotating base, integrated seating that can double up as a useful storage area, leaded glass, internal tongue and groove lining, insulation, double glazing, and not forgetting floor coverings.

The design and manufacturing team at Scotts of Thrapston continues to offer a unique bespoke service, working with customers to create their own individual garden building and often modifying existing standard designs. The quintessentially British summerhouse is yours to adapt – if you can dream it, Scotts can build it!

Choosing the right summerhouse, for your garden and needs, will be a sound investment for the future and really will prove to be an all year round reward.