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What’s the Difference Between a Shed and a Summerhouse?

Oct 10, 2020 | Helpful Guides | 0 comments

So, you’d like to add a building to your garden, and are torn between adding a shed or a summerhouse. How do you choose which one is best? Do you know the difference between a summerhouse and shed? Do you know even know what the building will be used for?

These are important questions that you’ll need to answer when choosing to add a building to your garden! If you’re not sure even where to start, this article may be able to act as a guide. We’ll take a look at the differences between these two buildings and the things you’ll need to consider when adding a building to your garden.

What is the Difference Between a Summerhouse and a Shed?

Some people use these terms interchangeably; yet there are distinct differences between a shed and summer house. Let’s take a look—starting with sheds.


A shed is considered a garden building—it has this in common with a summerhouse. But that’s about where the comparison stops. If you think of a shed, what comes to mind? Chances are you’re thinking of a wooden building. However, sheds can also be made of other materials. The materials used to construct a shed may include wood, metal sheathing over a metal frame, a plastic sheathing and frame, or even have vinyl walls over a wooden frame.

The wood and other materials used to build a shed are not meant to be attractive. The materials are usually rough-hewn, undecorated, and plain. The shed should not be an eyesore; however, it’s purpose is not to be ornamental, but utilitarian.

What are Sheds Used For?

Next, what is a shed used for? What comes to mind with this question? If you conjure up a vision of a small building filled with garden tools with outdoor furniture stored inside, then you’re like most people.

Garden sheds are commonly used to store all types of things used in the garden. This includes gardening tools such as shears, pruners, shovels, and more. In addition, they’re a great place to keep your lawnmower and for as storage places for outdoor furniture. However, sheds can also be used in other ways.

For instance, some people may use a garden shed as type of workshop. They can enjoy a hobby out there such as wood working, potting and raising plants, and more. However, one thing to keep in mind is that sheds are not generally connected to utilities such as water or electricity.

How Big is a Shed?

Most garden sheds average about 12 ft by 12 ft, or smaller, so they’re not very large. And they’re not usually an ideal place to relax with a book, listen to music, or even to work. A garden shed most often fills a utilitarian purpose, which is to be a place used for storage and possibly as a small workshop.

One more note about sheds, they usually don’t require planning permission.


How is a summerhouse different from a shed? Let us count the ways!

First, let’s consider what a summerhouse is made of. The most common material used to construct a summer house is wood or treated timber. Summerhouses are usually made to be an attractive addition to the garden, and so are more ornamental than a shed. The summerhouse made even be built to match the house.

This could include materials, colours, types of windows, architecture, and more. Some people go so far as to make the summerhouse match the house exactly, while others choose to make the summerhouse look a little different, but still somehow be an attractive addition to their home and yard.

How are Summerhouses Used?

What is a summerhouse used for? When most people think of a summerhouse, they view it as a place to relax and enjoy their garden. The enclosed space should be light and airy, but somewhat shielded from the sun.

Summerhouses are more versatile than sheds. They can be used for multiple purposes or be single use. For instance, a summerhouse could be used as a home office, a craft room, as place for entertaining in the garden, and more.

Does a Summerhouse Need Planning Permission?

That’s an important question to consider when adding a building to your garden. In most cases, a summerhouse is considered a “permitted development, which means it usually won’t require planning permission. However, there are exceptions.

If a summerhouse covers more than half of the garden, and is over 3 m high, with a pent roof or 4 m high with an apex roof, then it will require planning permission. In addition, large summerhouses that are within 2 m of a boundary and are over 2.5 m high will also require planning permission.

There may be other reasons, too, so it’s always a good idea to hire a professional who can help you determine if your planned summerhouse will need planning permission or not.

What About Utility Connections?

What about utilities? Would you like your summerhouse to be connected to electricity and water? That’s an important consideration, too. Unlike sheds, if your summerhouse will be used as an office, a gym, or other purposes, you may need to plan on the addition of utilities.

The addition of utilities will determine where your summerhouse can be placed in the garden. If you’re adding electricity, for instance, the summerhouse will need to be placed near your home’s electric mains, or cable will need to be installed over or under the ground. You’ll need a qualified electrician to make sure installation is safe and meets safety requirements.

Summing It Up

As you can see, there are many differences between a shed and a summerhouse. The differences come down to how the building will be used, the materials used in construction, the addition (or not) of utilities, and more.

Also, keep in mind that larger buildings will cost more; sheds are usually cheaper to build than a summerhouse. However, if you plan to use the space to relax or work, then you’ll want to go with a summerhouse.

A summerhouse can also be used in various ways, while a shed is most often used a storage space. So, if you just need a place to store garden tools and furniture, then a shed may be the best option. On the other hand, if you’d love a place where you can enjoy the garden with friends and family, add an office space, or even a gym, then a summerhouse is the better choice.

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