What is a Summer House Used For?

Aug 15, 2022

A summer house is a perfect opportunity to create a convenient and comfortable space in your garden. Spend more time enjoying the outdoors and connecting to nature with proficient shelter from the elements.

A summer house can be used for an outdoor living space, a home office, a sleepout, to extend a BBQ area, a games room, a studio, a storage area, a she shed or a man cave. Your summer house enables you to enjoy your garden out of the elements year round. 

Whether it becomes a place for work, play or relaxation, we have a ton of inspiring ideas to help you make the space a first-class enhancement to your garden.

Summerhouse outdoor seating

What Can You Do In A Summer House?

There are countless ways to design and use your summer house to its full potential, the way you choose to use it will be a personal decision but we’re here to give you some inspiration. 

You could use your summer house for:

An outdoor living room

The obvious choice to please the whole family is to create an outdoor living space, add a comfy couch or futon, some throws, cushions, rugs, a bookshelf and low lighting for an ultimate outdoor sanctuary to be enjoyed any time of the day or night.

A home office

If like many of us across the country, you’re working from home more often than not then an office space at the bottom of the garden might be the perfect disconnection from home to work. Giving you the privacy you need to get the work done and creating a space where you can mentally be in the zone and away from distractions.

A BBQ area

Adding comfortable seating and cosy cushions inside and out, along with tables and chairs, decking and a grill can make this space the perfect hangout for family and friends during the warm summer evenings. It also gives you a lockable storage space for your outdoor furniture and accessories for when they’re not in use.

A games room

Creating an imaginative space for the whole family to play can provide hours of fun as well as providing the opportunity to spend quality time together. With a well thought out interior and ample fun games to play, such as a pool table, dart board, foosball, board games table or even a TV and games consoles your summer house can become a great space to invite friends and the ‘place to be’ to unwind.

Make it a sleepout

A sleepout is a fantastic addition to any property if you have the space to create an Outpost Building in your garden. It not only adds personal value by creating extra space for living and basically an extra bedroom to your house, it will also raise the value of your home should you decide to sell.

Summerhouse sleepout

A studio, she shed or a man cave

Turn your summer house into your own personal retreat with outlets for all your favourite hobbies whether it’s reading, writing, painting, woodwork, pottery, gardening, yoga or working out. Creating a dedicated space to nurture your hobbies to flourish while being immersed in nature will help inspire you to get the creative juices flowing.

A Balinese bathroom

If you’ve ever visited Southern Asia then you’ve likely experienced the outdoor bathroom. If your idea of relaxation is a peaceful bath, your favourite tipple and a great view, then why not transform your summerhouse into a relaxation haven with a clawfoot bathtub, lots of candles, some sheer privacy curtains and bubbles galore?

What Is The Difference Between A Shed And Summerhouse?

Feel free to call your building in the backyard whatever you fancy, make up something completely out of the ordinary to spark conversation if you must. However, for the sake of being literarily correct, a shed is usually a name to describe a wooden building in your garden that is used as a functional place to store outdoor equipment or to tinker with tools. 

On the contrary, a summer house is generally a space within which to spend quality time, create a relaxing atmosphere and to enhance your garden experience. For that reason a summer house is likely to have a much more well thought out interior, likely with big windows and a bigger door to open up into nature.

Can You Sleep In A Summer House?

The only reason why you shouldn’t sleep in a summer house is if it wasn’t safe or warm enough for you to do so. It’s completely up to you whether or not you make your summer house comfortable enough to sleep in. If you do, then rest assured that Outpost Summer Houses come with high quality double glazed windows and joinery and you can easily add insulation and wall linings of your choice to the walls and roof. , then go ahead and drift off into a slumber! You may choose to add a daybed, a futon, a cosy couch or a full bed and even some curtains to make it that much more comfortable for napping and overnight stays.

If you plan to live in your summer house long term and decide to install a kitchen or bathroom then you will need to consult your local council about planning permission and make sure you use a professional electrician and plumber to make sure the installation of electrical wiring and plumbing is done safely.

Can I Use A Summer House In Winter?

This reason might be the best thing about having a small cabin at the bottom of your garden; you can enjoy the outdoors any time of the year as it provides you shelter from the elements. Be it the heat of the sun or the briskness of snow you can sit cosily in your summer house and watch the seasons go by.

To use your summer house for long periods in the winter you’ll probably want to invest in some adequate insulation and even some heating. If you don't want to install a built-in heater, an electrical outlet will enable you to regulate the temperature with a space heater or an air conditioning unit throughout the seasons..

If you only plan to spend short periods of time in the summer house during winter months and your area doesn’t get too cold then perhaps some warm clothes and a blanket will keep you sufficiently warm enough. 

Additionally you can use your summer house as storage for all of your outdoor summer furniture and equipment during the colder months while they are not being used. This will protect them from the elements so that they’re ready for use again come the following spring. 

Can You Live In A Summer House In Your Garden?

It’s absolutely fine to live in a summer house in your garden in New Zealand as long as it meets all the requirements of your local council. 

To live in a summer house long term you’ll probably want it to be weatherproof, insulated and have installed some kind of heating and cooling system. If you don’t already have them, you may want to consider installing a bathroom and kitchen area to make it a more livable space day in and day out. 

If you didn’t initially apply for planning permission for your summer house, you will need to apply for a building consent if you wish to make substantial changes such as adding a sanitary and cooking area or increasing the size above 30 square metres.

Is It Worth Getting A Summer House?

A summer house can add a lot of value, both personally and financially to your home. There are many benefits to owning a summer house however you choose to use it:

  • It increases your livable space
  • You can create a private haven, studio or office away from distractions in the house
  • Provides an outdoor secret retreat to destress and relax in
  • Provides a weatherproof space to get creative and draw inspiration from nature
  • The use of an extra bedroom or living space for guests or to prevent overcrowding in the home
  • The ability to enjoy the garden throughout every season
  • Provides an outdoor space for the whole family
  • A space to have fun, play games, socialise and learn
  • An outdoor fitness centre, gym or yoga studio

These reasons are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to investing in a summer house but we hope this inspires you to dream big about what you would do with your own.

Where Do I Buy A Summer House?

Be inspired by Outpost buildings strong and versatile summer house options:

Settler Summer House - 16.8 sqm - a spacious room with a sheltered veranda and timber decking. 

Settler Garden Room - 21sqm - - an even more spacious room with a smaller sheltered entrance. 

Where Should I Put A Summer House In My Garden?

Before you invest in your summer house, consider the best positioning for it in your garden. Perhaps you have a few options in mind. Here are a few tips to help you figure out the best location:

  • Check the terrain, the area must be flat and level preferably with no underground obstacles or tree roots. 
  • Consider drainage in your garden, you don’t want water to sit against the summerhouse or flood inside.
  • Mark out the size and shape of your future summer house with tape or ribbon so you have an idea of the space it will consume. 
  • Consider accessibility and where the entrances will sit once the house is installed.
  • Consider the position of the sun and the time of day it will be mostly in use - whether you want to enjoy the evening sunset, an early morning coffee with the sunrise or avoid midday heat.
  • If you’re using it for creativity of an office, you may want to make the most of any natural light.
  • Consider the size of your garden, if you have a relatively small garden then placing it in the middle will make it seem smaller. Positioning it at the end of the garden would be a better use of space.

What Do You Have In A Summer House?

Think outside of the box when designing the layout and decor for your summer house. Consider what the space will be used for most often and work around what would make it more functional and comfortable to carry-out those activities. Some decorating ideas you could include in your summer house:

  • A space for lounging, sitting, resting, reading or sleeping - perhaps a couch or a daybed
  • Lighting such as fairy lights, corner lights, outside lights on the deck or candles to create an atmosphere
  • Storage such as shelves, cabinets or side tables for storing books, games, art materials, garden tools or outdoor furniture.
  • Create a socialising space for friends and family to enjoy the space
  • A grill, barbeque or outdoor kitchen
  • Furniture that transitions from one function to another, such as a futon or a fold down table.
  • Plants to enhance the outdoor aesthetic
  • Cosy cushions, throws and rugs to add comfort

Upcycling and reusing items from places such as charity shops and Facebook marketplace can help you to keep costs down while creating the thrill of finding unique and interesting pieces to make your space feel homely. Cost effective pieces can then be mixed with a few modern items to make it truly your own.

What Size Should A Summerhouse Be?

A popular size for a small summerhouse to fit two comfortable arm chairs and a coffee table would be around 3.6m x 3m. Check out our Upland Garden Shed or our Lakeside Cabin that customise perfectly into cute little summer houses.

For larger summer houses that can fit a bed for sleepouts, a studio or a whole BBQ area check out our gorgeous Settler Garden Rooms that measure 7.2m x 3.5m with full windows, french doors and a deck.

We can also do some custom y sizes in between depending on your budget, your needs and your aesthetic. Get in touch with Outpost Buildings for a consultation on your perfect summer house design and get started expanding your living space today.

Where Did The Idea Of A Summer House Come From?

The summer house has a rich history over hundreds of years for a myriad of cultures in different corners of the globe. Throughout history, humans have retreated to the great outdoors to draw inspiration, meditation and wisdom from nature. Having a small shelter from where to enjoy the garden increases the possibilities for year round observation, relaxation and productivity. Famous creatives, writers, poets and painters have enjoyed the serenity of their gardens to create their best works.

If you’re looking to invest in the perfect summer house then look no further than Outpost Buildings flat packed options delivered right to your door. Feel free to contact us for more information.

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