10 Key Differences Between Garden Rooms and Summer Houses

10 November 2022 · Garden Room, Summer Houses

10 Key Differences Between Garden Rooms and Summer Houses

There’s no denying that a well-thought-out and professionally built summer house or garden room can transform your garden space. In recent years many homeowners have been turning to these cost-effective options to increase the space and capacity of their homes. Even just a simple traditional summerhouse can add a fantastic new dimension to your property, allowing you that little extra space to find some peace and quiet after a busy day.

Building a garden room or summer house on your property can also have an added benefit which initially you might not think of. An extra room within your property can drastically improve your home’s value as buyers look for that icing on the cake. This means houses with garden rooms or well-built summer houses often have a far easier time selling their home.

One of the really brilliant things about both of these garden buildings is how easy they are to construct. Wood is a reliable and predictable material to work with making the construction process fast and simple. What’s more, wood buildings are far easier to customise. So, you can get the exact style and look you’ve always dreamed of.

While garden rooms and summer houses have a whole host of similarities they are in fact quite different. So, what are the key areas that set the two apart?


The first key difference is their construction. A summer house is, in essence, a fairly standardised building. Many come in pre-made kits where 4 pre-cut wooden walls are then screwed together on site and covered with a ready-made and felted roof. This is fantastically convenient and if the homeowner has prepared the foundations before the arrival, there’s no reason why the room can’t be weather tight and ready for use by the end of the day.

A garden room, by contrast, is quite different. In this case, every building is different, there are no pre-made kits or ready-felted roofs. Instead, the homeowner can decide the exact footprint, height, and build finish for their room. The room is built using a series of treated wooden panels that are screwed together and strengthened with beams and a solid often concrete foundation. This kind of construction is far more long-lasting than the summerhouse approach.


Summerhouses are, in general, made from a thin layer of clad wood joined together by a series of small wooden battens. These then make the 4 wall sheets that are joined together by a series of fairly small screws. These walls are fixed to the foundations which can be made using either wood or concrete. Concrete is the longer-lasting and stronger option however many gardeners use a simple wooden foundation to save money and time.

The roof of many summerhouses follow a similar material used as the walls. A series of small wooden battens creates the frame and then a wooden sheet of either plywood or MDF board covers this frame. To finish, a sheet of roofing felt is then pinned to the roof to create a weather-tight seal.

Garden rooms, in contrast, use far different materials to build the structure. It goes without saying really that a garden room requires slightly more heavy-duty materials. They’re larger, hold more weight, and are built to last longer. Therefore, the wooden battens that create the timber frame of most garden rooms are far larger than those you would find in a summerhouse. The foundations are almost always made using concrete and the walls are often bolted to this concrete foundation to create an incredibly strong structure.


The difference in insulation between the two follows the same general narrative as the construction materials. Summerhouses often come with no insulation at all as the rooms are designed to be used in the height of summer when the windows magnify to the sun’s warmth and heat the room within. Sometimes insulation can be fitted to a summer house, however, due to the thin wooden battens which make up the room’s walls very little insulation can be installed.

In contrast, garden rooms are made from far more substantial materials which make the walls much deeper between the wooden cladding on the outside and battens on the inside. Therefore, there is far more room to fit high-grade insulation and many garden rooms are supplied with pre-fitted insulation as a result. This is, however, a more expensive option and one of the reasons why garden rooms cost far more to install.


Another key difference between the two garden space options is window glazing. Due to the more compact nature of many summerhouses, the walls cannot sustain the weight or thickness of many double-glazed windows. Therefore many summerhouses opt for single-glazed windows and doors. This however does not affect the building too much, as in the summer the heat from the sun does most of the work to regulate the temperature of the room.

A garden room, however, usually comes standard with double-glazed windows and doors making it far more capable during all the seasons of the year. Many garden rooms now choose to go one step further and fit triple-glazed windows. This makes many of these rooms in some cases even warmer than the property’s main house. Triple-glazed windows also have the added security benefit that garden rooms need due to being used all year round.


Following the glazing differences between the two, there are also some usability differences. Due to the summerhouse’s slightly less capable construction format, many of these structures are only used throughout the summer and spring months. However, they usually draw in a lot more heat from the sun than garden rooms, making for the perfect spot to sit and enjoy your garden in the summer.

Garden rooms, however, are often used all year round and can host guests as a spare room for example or even act as a snooker or games room to entertain the family. The thick insulated walls and double-glazed windows mean garden rooms can be kept warm easily and are more than comfortable when the temperatures start to drop. Garden rooms are also a great pick for a home office. The well-insulated walls and location outside of the main house mean they are a tranquil spot for you to join work meetings or write reports.


The average cost between the two is probably one of the more considerable differences between summerhouses and garden rooms. Due to the compact, factory-made design of many summerhouses, they are usually far cheaper than their garden room cousins. This flat pack design also means the structures can be assembled in a fraction of the time reducing the labour cost of deliveries. A summer house can rise in price though depending on whether you choose to add electricity to the room or fit double glazing and insulation.

As you might have already expected, garden rooms are far more expensive. This is of course down to the premium materials that many of the buildings use. However, a large part of the cost increase is thanks to the labour and design time involved. As each room is usually different contractors have to take time to draw out detailed designs and plans before spending time building unique foundations and walls. All of this adds considerable labour costs to the overall bill.

Property value

Garden rooms add significantly more value to your home than summerhouses do. However, if looked after well and kept insulated and glazed a summer house can also add a surprising amount of appeal and value to your home. This is why many people up and down the country decide to add a garden room or summerhouse to their home every year.

The two garden buildings then are quite different in several ways. However, one thing they both have in common is their ability to make you smile. Having that extra bit of space and a place to fully relax is a priceless commodity and one which you certainly would cherish and enjoy for years to come. If a garden room or summerhouse sounds like something you need in your life, contact us today!

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