UK Summer House Costs: A Complete Guide to Building Yours

Ever thought about adding a cosy summer house to your garden but not sure where to start or how much it'll set you back? You're not alone. With the growing trend of creating personal retreats or functional spaces like studios, offices, or gyms right in our backyards, it's no wonder you're curious about the cost. It's like having a little getaway without leaving home – who wouldn't want that?

But let's talk brass tacks. The cost of building a summer house in the UK varies widely, depending on size, materials, and whether you're going DIY or hiring professionals. Before you jump into your project, it's crucial to get a handle on what you might be spending. Stick around as we break down the essentials, offering you a clearer path to bringing your garden dream to life without very costly.

Factors to consider when building a summer house in the UK

Embarking on a project to build a summer house in your garden is an exciting venture but it's vital to navigate the process with a bit of know-how and awareness of what lies ahead. Let's break it down into bite-size chunks, making the task seem less daunting and more like a thrilling adventure into your garden transformation.

First and foremost, Location plays a pivotal role. It's like choosing the perfect spot for your picnic - too sunny, and you'll wilt; too shaded, and you might need extra layers. Seek a balance. A location that catches the morning light or offers an enchanting view can enhance your summer house experience multifold. Remember to check if your chosen spot requires clearing or levelling - it's the foundation of your project, literally and figuratively!

Permissions are the next hurdle. Think of this as needing a pass to a members-only club. In the UK, you might not always need planning permission for a summer house, but there are exceptions. Structures over 2.5 metres in height and those positioned less than 2 metres from a boundary will often need a nod from your local planning authority. It's better to be safe and check rather than regret it later.

Materials used can turn your summer house from a simple shed into a luxurious retreat. Like deciding between a sturdy, waterproof backpack and a fancy leather satchel for a hike, each material offers different benefits. Timber is a popular choice for its natural insulation and aesthetics, but remember to consider sustainably sourced options to tick the eco-friendly box as well.

Design and Purpose strongly influence your decisions. Imagine you're picking out your outfit for an event. A summer house intended as a serene yoga retreat will need a different vibe and layout compared to a vibrant music studio or a practical home office. Windows for natural light, insulation for all-year use, and electrical installations are elements that will need tailoring to fit your specific needs.

Costs are, undoubtedly, the make-or-break factor for many. Building a summer house is akin to planning a holiday - you can do it on a shoestring or splash out on luxury. Costs vary widely based on size, materials, and whether you're going DIY or hiring professionals. Setting a clear budget and earmarking a contingency fund can help manage expenses without dampening your spirit.

Cost of materials for building a summer house

When embarking on the exciting journey of building a summer house, one of the pivotal considerations you'll face is the cost of materials. It’s a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box; you need to know what pieces you're working with to see the whole image clearly.

Materials can vary widely in cost, depending on the quality, durability, and aesthetic you're aiming for. Think of it as choosing between a bespoke suit tailored to fit you perfectly and one that's off-the-rack; the former offers a unique fit and quality but comes with a higher price tag.

Common Materials Used

  • Timber: The quintessential choice for its natural look, but prices fluctuate based on the type of wood. Cedar and redwood are top picks for their resistance to rot and pests but expect to pay a premium for these types.

  • Composite materials: Ideal for a low-maintenance summer house, composites resist weathering and pests. They mimic the look of wood but at a slightly higher upfront cost. Yet, you save on maintenance in the long run.

  • Glass: Large windows or glass doors let in light and offer splendid views but consider double-glazing for energy efficiency. The cost here is higher, but it’s an investment in comfort and sustainability.

Don't Fall for Common Pitfalls

Opting for the cheapest materials might save you money upfront, but they can lead to higher maintenance costs and a shorter lifespan for your summer house. It's like buying a cheap pair of shoes; they might look good now, but they’ll wear out much faster than a sturdier pair.

  1. Bulk purchasing: Buying materials in bulk can often secure you a discount. It’s akin to stocking up on essentials during a sale.

  2. Comparative shopping: Just as you’d compare prices before booking a holiday, do the same with building materials. Prices can vary significantly between suppliers.

  3. Seasonal buying: Sometimes, materials are cheaper in the off-season. Planning your purchase can lead to substantial savings, mirroring how holiday prices drop outside of peak times.

Getting the balance right between cost and quality is crucial. It’s about ensuring that your summer house not only looks appealing but stands the test of time. This journey you're on to create the perfect backyard retreat should be both fun and rewarding.

Size and design options for summer houses in the UK

When planning for a summer house in your garden, you're not just buying a building; you're opening up a new lifestyle. Imagine having your cozy office nook, a vibrant art studio, or a calm, quiet gym right in your backyard. The possibilities are endless, but before diving in, let's break down the essential factors of size and design you need to consider.

Picking the Perfect Size

Think of your garden as a jigsaw puzzle and your summer house as one of the pieces. It needs to fit perfectly without overwhelming the rest of your garden. Common sizes range from quaint 8x6 ft models, ideal for smaller gardens or as a compact office space, all the way up to expansive 20x12 ft designs that can comfortably accommodate gym equipment or larger art studios.

Here's a quick tip: Measure Twice, Build Once. Check and recheck the dimensions in your garden to ensure you're making the most of the space without regretting the size later.

Designing with Purpose

Design choices can significantly impact the utility and atmosphere of your summer house. For example, a garden office might benefit from large windows on the north side to ensure plenty of natural light without the harsh glare of direct sunlight. If you're aiming for relaxation, consider incorporating bi-folding doors to seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor spaces.

Here's a bite-sized breakdown of design considerations:

  • Insulation: Vital for year-round use. Don't overlook this if you plan to spend considerable time in your summer house.

  • Material Choices: Timber is traditional and blends well with most gardens but requires maintenance. Composite materials offer a modern look with less upkeep.

  • Roofing Styles: Pitched roofs can offer a classic aesthetic and extra headroom, while flat roofs have a modern appeal and may be more straightforward to install.

Customisation and Flexibility

The beauty of building a summer house is the ability to tailor it to your specific needs. Maybe you need a sturdy workbench for your studio or gym mirrors that span from floor to ceiling. Think about the activities you'll most often do in this space and plan the design around these.

A common misconception is that summer houses are just glorified sheds. This couldn't be further from the truth. With the right design, materials, and features, your summer house can become the most inviting space on your property.

DIY vs hiring professionals for building a summer house

When you're considering adding a summer house to your garden, one of the biggest decisions you'll face is whether to roll up your sleeves and handle it yourself or to bring in the professionals. Both options have their merits, but it's like deciding between baking a cake from scratch or ordering one from a top-notch bakery. Let's break down the key points, misconceptions, and tips to help you make an informed choice.

DIY Approach

Taking the DIY route can be incredibly rewarding. It's a bit like assembling a giant puzzle. You get to pick each piece, understanding the role it plays in the bigger picture. But, it's not without its challenges. Here are key considerations:

  • Skill Level: You wouldn't run a marathon without training, right? Similarly, ensure you have, or are willing to learn, the necessary skills for construction, electrical work, and possibly plumbing.

  • Time Commitment: Building a summer house is not a weekend project. It's more akin to training for that marathon, requiring dedication over weeks or months.

  • Cost Savings: Yes, you can save money, much like cooking at home. But, remember the saying, "Time is money." Weigh the value of your time against potential savings.

  • Common Mistakes: Underestimating the complexity is like biting off more than you can chew. Ensure you're fully versed in planning permissions and building regulations to avoid a recipe for disaster.

Hiring Professionals

Opting for professionals is akin to commissioning a portrait from an artist. You're bringing in expertise, but at a cost. Consider these points:

  • Expertise on Tap: Imagine having a guide while exploring a labyrinth. Professionals bring experience, ensuring your summer house meets all legal and quality standards.

  • Time Efficiency: Unlike DIY, hiring professionals is like taking the express train. The project is likely to be completed quicker, with fewer disruptions to your daily life.

  • Cost Considerations: It's generally more expensive, similar to dining at a fancy restaurant versus a home-cooked meal. But, the investment might be worthwhile for the hassle-free experience and warranty.

  • Avoiding Pitfalls: Professionals are well-versed in the common oversights that might not even cross your mind, like ensuring the foundation can withstand your garden's soil type—avoiding sinking foundations down the line.

Additional costs to keep in mind when building a summer house

When you're diving into the exciting project of building a summer house, it's like planning a splendid journey. Just as you wouldn’t begin on a holiday without considering all costs, building a summer house also comes with expenses beyond just materials and labour. Let's unravel some of these additional costs so you're fully prepared.

Firstly, think of Planning Permission and Building Regulations. It’s like getting a visa for an international trip – sometimes you need it, sometimes you don’t, but it's always best to check. In the UK, certain sizes and locations of summer houses require official permissions, which may involve application fees. Treat this as a non-negotiable step; overlooking it could lead to fines or having to dismantle your summer house after all your hard work!

Next, consider the Foundations and Groundwork. This is analogous to preparing the ground before planting a garden. Depending on your summer house location and soil type, you might need a more robust foundation, which could involve excavation and laying concrete. This foundation ensures your summer house stands firm for years, a critical but often overlooked aspect that can add unforeseen costs.

Utilities and Connectivity are akin to ensuring you have access to water and electricity on a camping trip. If you plan to use your summer house as an office, gym, or studio, you'll likely want electricity, internet, and maybe even plumbing. The cost of extending these services to your garden can vary widely based on distance from your main house and the complexity of the installation.

Don’t forget about Landscaping and Outdoor Features. Imagine your summer house as a gem; it looks best when polished and presented with care. The area surrounding your summer house affects its overall appeal and usability. Landscaping, decking, or adding a patio are excellent ways to enhance its charm, but they also add to the budget.

Finally, keep in mind Maintenance and Upkeep Costs. Think of this as ensuring your car is serviced to keep running smoothly. Your summer house will require ongoing maintenance, such as painting, roofing repairs, and treating wood against rot and pests. Planning for these expenses ensures your summer house remains a delightful retreat for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand Your Needs and Budget: Identifying the primary purpose of your summer house alongside setting a realistic budget are cardinal steps in ensuring the success of your project without unnecessary financial strain.

  • Location and Permissions Matter: Choosing the right spot in your garden and ensuring compliance with local planning permissions can prevent potential legal issues and enhance the usability and enjoyment of your summer house.

  • Material Choices Influence Cost and Maintenance: Opting for materials like timber, composite, and glass impacts both the initial investment and long-term maintenance of your summer house. Sustainable, quality materials may have a higher upfront cost but can offer savings through durability and lower maintenance.

  • Design and Customisation: Tailoring the size, design, and features of your summer house to your specific needs will maximise its functionality and enjoyment. Consider factors like insulation, lighting, and layout in your design choices.

  • DIY vs Professional Construction: Weigh the benefits of personal involvement against the expertise and efficiency of professional builders. While DIY projects can offer savings and personal satisfaction, professionals bring expertise, speed, and assurance of compliance and quality.

  • Plan for Additional Costs: Beyond the immediate costs of materials and construction, consider planning permissions, foundations, utilities, landscaping, and ongoing maintenance in your budget to avoid any surprise expenditures.


Building a summer house in the UK is an exciting project that offers a unique retreat in your own backyard. Remember, it's not just about the initial costs of materials and construction. You'll also need to factor in the expenses for planning permissions, groundwork, utilities, and ongoing maintenance to ensure your summer house stands the test of time. By considering all these aspects, you're better prepared to budget wisely and make informed decisions that will enhance the value and enjoyment of your property. With careful planning and attention to detail, your summer house can become a cherished space for relaxation and making memories for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors should be considered when building a summer house in the UK?

When building a summer house in the UK, it is essential to consider the location, permissions required (such as planning permission), choice of materials, and the design of the summer house to ensure it meets your needs and preferences.

Do I need planning permission to build a summer house in the UK?

In many cases, you will not need planning permission for a summer house if it falls within permitted development rights. However, it's crucial to check local regulations as exceptions exist, especially in designated areas or for larger structures.

What materials are recommended for building a summer house?

For building a summer house, materials that withstand the UK climate are recommended, such as treated wood for durability and weather resistance. Other materials like metal or composite may also be considered based on design preferences and maintenance considerations.

How much does it cost to build a summer house in the UK?

The cost of building a summer house in the UK can vary widely depending on size, materials, and design complexity. Basic models may start from a few thousand pounds, while more elaborate designs could cost significantly more. Remember to account for additional costs like foundations, utilities, and landscaping.

What are some tips for saving money when building a summer house?

To save money when building a summer house, consider simpler designs, opt for cost-effective materials, and undertake some of the work yourself if you're skilled in DIY projects. Also, comparing quotes from different builders or suppliers can help reduce costs.

What additional costs should I keep in mind when building a summer house?

Beyond the basic construction, additional costs to consider include planning permission if required, building regulations compliance, foundations and groundwork, utilities and connectivity, landscaping and outdoor features, and ongoing maintenance and upkeep costs.


Ready to pull the trigger? Get a quote today


Ready to pull the trigger? Get a quote today


Ready to pull the trigger? Get a quote today


Ready to pull the trigger? Get a quote today


Founded in 1990

© 2024 All Rights Reserved by Superior Group


Founded in 1990

© 2024 All Rights Reserved by Superior Group


Founded in 1990

© 2024 All Rights Reserved by Superior Group


Founded in 1990

© 2024 All Rights Reserved by Superior Group