Traditionally, a summer house has always been a building designed for relaxation and a shelter from warm weather. In Scandinavia they’re often summer residences, a second home to move to during the summer holidays.
With the unreliable Irish weather, however, they tend to end up as locked follies stuffed with unused garden furniture and other junk. But summer houses in Northern Ireland don’t have to be consigned to such a fate. With some thoughtful planning, your summer house can be a versatile use of garden space. Here are some examples:
A Dual Purpose Shed
A two-roomed shed can separate the garden tools from garden furniture, or have one room dedicated to raising seedlings. Large windows facing the right way will raise the internal temperature, doubling up as a greenhouse and sheltering young plants from frost.
Use it as a Workshop
Come rain, snow or shine, a bigger, garage style affair offers storage, space and ventilation, perfect for tasks requiring bigger machines. If plumbed and electrically wired, your personal workshop can provide everything you need for a day’s work. If your planned workshop exceeds any planning rules, it may need planning permission. Check with your local council’s planning office for advice.
Anyone who has limited attic or cupboard space knows they need to store smart. Switching winter items for summer every six months to maximise living space can prove difficult, especially if storage space is difficult to access. Additionally, storing outdoor furniture in a purpose built summer house will increase its useful lifespan. Whatever you use your outbuilding for, it’s cheaper than paying for storage in the long run. Be careful not to let it lapse into a repository for junk, though!
Floor to ceiling windows and sheltered, veranda decking provide the ideal alternative place to relax with a book, have a barbecue with friends or, if you’re artistically minded, use as a creative studio. If you need inspiration, there is a great range of ideas on offer from online retailers like http://www.morrowsectionalbuildings.com/summer_houses.
A Peaceful Retreat
Natural light and just enough shelter from the elements provides a perfect spot to feel closer to nature. A summer house with an unrestricted view of the garden is a great place to practice yoga undisturbed, or to just simply meditate and relax.