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Advice on buildings

Hi all. I am planning an overhaul of my garden and I'd like to buy some sort of summerhouse to either sit in a corner, or run along the back of the garden (the garden itself is just over 5m wide, so space is at a bit of a premium).

I've had a look at some buildings in B&Q and a couple of garden centres, but I haven't been bowled over by the quality of the wood (cheaper ones seem a bit flimsy to say the least). Plus I'd quite like an area to sit, and an area for storage.

I'm okay at DIY, but certainly couldn't build something myself, so ideally I need something anyone could put together. Also, I'm not sure about planning, do you need planning permission for a summerhouse, are they different to garden sheds?

Any advice, recommendations would be much appreciated!


  • Hi Jane. As far as I am aware, you only need planning permission for a timber garden building if it's taller than 2.5 meters. I think there are planning issues if it's in the front garden, or if you plan to sleep over in it, but most sheds and sensible sized summer rooms don't need any planning permission (although I would recommend checking with your local council - you should be able to find details on their website).

    I've bought quite a few sheds and buildings over the years, and I would  certainly advise against getting something cheap, and only buy one from a specialist (i.e., not B&Q). Cheaper buildings might look okay and last a few years, but it really won't be long before you have to replace them. If you buy from a specialist, you should also get a more superior product, and companies that only sell garden buildings will be able to offer advice on DIY issues, foundations and timber treatments.

    Do you have a budget in mind for the summer house? My son bought a summer house last year for around £2000 and the company he got his from were pretty good - they have some combi summer rooms and storage units too - I had to help him build it (three pairs of hands and basic DIY tools were necessary), and it was pretty time consuming, but in the end (and after a few phone calls for assistance) the finished result was very good.

    Having build sheds, green houses and a summer house in the past, I would urge careful consideration to the foundations that you choose. Some companies say you can put garden buildings on paving slabs, but I'd always recommend concrete (with some sort of treated timber base) or eco-friendly gravel boards with anchor points. That way the building won't start shifting around in strong winds!

  • Forgot to include this link for planning permission:

  • Wow, thanks for all the info. I had guessed I'd need to spend at least a couple of grand, but I do want something that will really last. I hadn't thought about foundations. What about putting the summer house on decking, would that be okay? I think I'd prefer it to gravel or concrete, plus I guess it's FSC certified these days.

    Looks like I'll have to rope some family members in to help with construction! When you said it took a while, how long did your sons take to finish off?

    This is my project for the summer, so I'll be taking some time over decisions and which one to go for, so all advice is most helpful/welcome.

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