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Garden Rooms, Summerhouses And Sheds: What’s The Difference?

Garden structures such as sheds, summer houses, and garden rooms provide useful extra space and can enhance the functionality and appearance of your outdoor space. However, the differences between these types of outdoor structure are not always clearly understood. 

Here’s a look at the main differences and how to make the best decision for your needs.

Garden rooms

Garden rooms are designed for year-round use with full insulation to ensure that they stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There is a misconception that they are just large sheds, but they can be connected to utilities and be used just as you would use any spare room in your home: as an office, a craft or leisure room, or a home gym.   

They are designed for energy-efficiency, with high-quality insulation on the walls, roof, and flooring and double or triple glazing. Therefore a garden room is a far more versatile space than a shed, and can be used for a wider range of purposes. Consider how you want to use your garden room when selecting the design, size, and location.

The garden room can be customised to meet your specific needs and preferences. For example, many people now work from home and want to use the garden room as an office. This provides a peaceful place to work away from the other members of the household, and is both a physical and psychological barrier between your personal and work life.

A garden office will require a good internet connection, plus connection to electricity and a heat source. Plumbing may not be a top priority, but a small kitchenette area may be useful to keep yourself topped up with tea and coffee as you work.  It will need to have enough floor space to comfortably accommodate your workstation and storage needs.  


A garden summerhouse is typically a small detached structure that is designed to provide a garden or backyard retreat during the warmer months of the year. It will usually be pleasantly decorated and have large windows and French doors to create an inviting space for relaxing, socialising, or enjoying a good book on a nice day. 

Summerhouses are usually constructed from timber and they do not have insulation as a standard feature, although it can be fitted if required. They can be fitted with double or single glazing and usually have multiple large windows and glazed double doors or patio doors to maximise the view of the garden. 

They are available in a variety of designs, from traditional Victorian pavilion styles to more contemporary designs. As they are typically no more than five metres square, they can be tucked away in a quiet corner of the garden, or integrated with a patio to make it more of a focal point. 

The attractive natural materials of the summerhouse means that it will blend effortlessly into your garden, wherever you situate it. Consider the amount of natural light it will get, the degree of privacy, and the view of your garden. The interior of the summerhouse can be made comfortable with plenty of soft furnishings, wall hangings, and shelving.

If you mainly use your outside space during the summer months, and enjoy relaxing or entertaining in a blended indoor and outdoor environment, then a summerhouse is the perfect addition to your garden. 


Sheds are sturdy garden structures that are typically built from timber and used for the storage of garden furniture, gardening equipment, workshops, or potting plants and seeds. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles, from traditional apex roofs to more modern flat roofed constructions. 

Sheds are typically not insulated, although timber is in itself a naturally insulating material. They may have small windows or none at all, particularly if security is a consideration. Sheds are not usually connected to utilities, although some may have a water supply and lighting. 

Ultimately, the decision as to which garden structure will work best for you involves working out its primary purpose; how much room you have; aesthetics and your budget. Garden rooms are more of an investment because of the superior insulation, greater size, and extra connection to utilities.  

Summerhouses are a great choice if you want somewhere comfortable to relax in warmer weather, and sheds are a practical option for storage and gardening tasks.

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