Tips and Ideas: Spa Enclosure

summerwood spa enclosures

You have a lot of important decisions to make before building your spa enclosure. This list of tips and ideas is designed to make those decisions a bit easier. Perhaps the best advice we can give is to contact us at any time. We go through this process daily and have the answers to your questions. Get our designers involved now and you’ll be glad later.

Where Do You Want to Build Your Spa Enclosure?

Enclosure Location – Choosing a site for a spa enclosure often becomes a balancing act between utility and aesthetics. Do you want a bright spot with loads of sunlight and a broad view? Or do you prefer a shady nook, private, and away from neighbours’ eyes? Do you want to be right beside the pool for easy dips between the two? And will you want to stay close to the house to minimize the chill on the way back inside after a good soak?

 

spa enclosure location

 

If you intend to use your hot tub in all seasons, how easy will it be to access? Consider, also, what it will look like at different times of the year. A spot in the shade may be exposed in the winter but, for many people, the extra light this provides is welcome.

Remember you’ll need easy access to the hot tub pump and plumbing connections so consider this in the layout. Now’s also the time consider ventilation and electricity. Think about the size too. It needs to be big enough to fit your hot tub, of course, but what else do you envision there? A fridge for snacks and drinks? A table and chairs? Some cupboards for storage? Some people also like to build a sauna in their spa enclosure. Before you decide on a size, it’s wise to make a list of the many uses you anticipate.

 

hot tub enclosure

 

The, once you think you have the ideal size in your mind, measure it out physically on your chosen site with stakes and string. Walk around inside and out. Will all the objects and people you intend to house within it fit comfortably? How well does its size blend in with your property?

At this stage you may wish to rebalance the aesthetics and utility decisions. But the only wrong decision is one that you didn’t consider ahead of time.

 

design options spa enclosure

 

Zoning requirements - In most municipalities, a structure under 100 sq ft doesn’t need a building permit. However, there may be other bi-laws, like setbacks from your property line, etc… It pays to find out ahead of time, so check with your local government office. We offer help with this process as well. Learn more about permits and zoning.

Grade – It’s best to choose a level site with a slight pitch at the back. This promotes easy drainage. You can build your hot tub enclosure on a steeper slope but you’ll want to give plenty of consideration to the foundation. It’s best to avoid building at the foot of a hill but if you do, be sure you have excellent drainage.

Enclosure Design Choices

design ideas hot tub studio

Summerwood spa enclosures are available in a wide variety of styles and you have loads of options to customize it and make it your own. Have a look at our photo gallery to learn the experiences of others who’ve had to make many of the same decisions you’re grappling with now. Our Custom Design Center allows you to truly customize your spa enclosure and see what it looks like in real time. Add thermal doors and windows, change the size and view the many other options available to you.

Landscaping around your Spa Enclosure

landscaping spa enclosure

Not everyone wants their hot tub enclosure to harmonize with their property. Sometimes a clash is welcome. The important thing is that you plan the final effect now. A trellis with vines, some shrubs and flowers can add character to the space surrounding your spa enclosure.

Think big picture first. Are you building into an existing deck? Will you want an interconnected flagstone path to the door? Can you build on a rise and produce a view? Then think about the details. Sometimes an old chair or some wind chimes can add just the right accent.

How Big Should Your Enclosure Be?

While you don’t want your spa enclosure to visually overpower everything else on your property, you still want it to be big enough to perform its many functions. For instance, are you installing a hot tub and a sauna? If so you may also want an outdoor shower. (We offer these as well!) Make sure you have some place between the tub and the wall for the insulated cover. You don’t want to have to struggle to get it on and off.

 

spa enclosure sizes

 

Again, it makes sense to list all the elements you envision your hot tub enclosure containing. Make that list and check it twice! When it’s complete, choose the size of your structure, leaving enough room for however many people you’ll be hosting in it.

Next, take some stakes and string then physically outline the site you’re considering. Move around inside and out of it. Will there be enough room? Will it overpower the surrounding area? This is the time to size up or down, depending on the answers to these questions.

Quality Spa Enclosure Materials

At Summerwood, we refuse to use any but the finest materials in our kits. Building with quality materials ensures a longer life for your spa enclosure.

Most of our products are constructed from a premium grade of western red cedar or Canexel maintenance free wood fiber siding (available in many vibrant colors). Different materials create different looks so you may want to consider that if you want your design to extend or complement the architectural style of your house and other structures on your property. Click for detailed information on our materials and siding.

Our Coventry spa enclosures come standard with cedar studs, rafters, and roof boards as well as 12″ of extra overhang and vertical siding.

Building Your Spa Enclosure Yourself

diy building a prefab studio

Some people look upon our building kits as a fun, family project that they can put up over a weekend. If you’re skilled you can do it in hours.

Each kit comes with a breakdown of estimated (a lot has to do with how fast you are, and your level of experience), work hours needed to complete the tasks. You’ll find them handy for planning. They also make it easy for a contractor to give you an estimate if you choose that route. This how to hire a contractor package is very useful too. All the tools and information you’ll need to assemble your hot tub gazebo can be found here. Plus, if you ever have any questions, you can email or call us and we’ll help you right then and there.

Choosing a Hot Tub Enclosure Style

Style is a personal issue. That’s why at Summerwood we offer choices. Remember all our spa enclosure styles can be customized to your personal requirements and tastes. Our enclosure kits range in size from as small as you want to as big as you want. Browse through the below styles and find your perfect Spa oasis! And don’t forget we’re here to help at any point along the way.

Summerwood Spa Enclosures:

sonoma summerwood spa enclosure

Sonoma Spa Enclosures – Inspired by California’s wine country, the Sonoma line of spa & hot tub enclosures feature design details such as a low hip style roof, thermal doors and windows and many other options. Add your own personal touch in our online Custom Design Center.

san cristobal summerwood spa enclosure San Cristobal Spa Enclosures – The San Cristobal spa enclosure kit creates an elegant structure worthy of the finest resorts. Surround yourself with nature but keep its blasts at bay with gorgeous French doors and entire walls of windows.

santa cruz summerwood spa enclosure Santa Cruz Spa Enclosures – Go California dreamin’ in the Santa Cruz spa enclosure. Its architectural windows allow loads of light in, so you can enjoy nature’s constantly changing tableau and, at the same time, keep the cool breeze out.

melbourne summerwood spa enclosure Melbourne Spa Enclosures - Our Melbourne Tudor style spa enclosure is a favorite of our professional pool and landscape clientele. The charm and splendor of its design provides a striking and original poolside look. Your guests and neighbors will be asking a lot of interesting questions.

champlain summerwood spa enclosure Champlain Spa Enclosures - The Windsor is perhaps the most striking cabana we offer. Its’ regal look makes it a favorite for those who want to entertain in style. Used as a spa enclosure, this stylish building will delight family and friends for years to come.

coventry summerwood spa enclosure Coventry Spa Enclosures - This design features stunning leaded glass French doors and tilted windows, a high cedar shingled roof, elegantly cambered eaves, traditional brass hardware, and exquisite trim and detail all around. It is perfect is any setting and especially to be used as a hot tub enclosure – the windows and doors allow you to see the view from all angles.

bali tea house summerwood spa enclosure Bali Tea House Spa Enclosures – Inspired by traditional Japanese architecture, our Teahouse style spa enclosure is brilliant in its minimalism. Perfect as your hot tub enclosure to soak after a long day at the office, the Bali Tea House enclosure is sure to leave you feeling refreshed.

Tips and Ideas: Playhouses

PLayhouse IdeasA fun and safe playhouse will nourish your child’s sense of play and let their imagination run free. We’ve compiled some tips and ideas to help you make the best choice for your family.

 Choosing a Site for your Playhouse

playhouse site Playhouses are a wonderful place for fantasy and creative play. One of the most important considerations in locating your child’s playhouse is where to build it. Locate it in a convenient place where the access is good and where your kids feel totally comfortable. Unless you want to take the trouble to run electricity, it’s also a good idea to build your playhouse in a spot that receives lots of natural sunlight.

Aesthetics are important: you may choose to highlight your playhouse by making it the center of attention or create a secret hideaway by blending it into the landscape and making it an adventure for your children. Although playhouses are usually small, you should be mindful of the building’s relation to other structures that you may have on your property. Also think about the pros and cons of your preferred site in all four seasons. The surrounding foliage (and weather) can look very different from one season to the next. All of these considerations may have some impact on where you decide to build your playhouse.

Note: Playhouses are almost always under 100 sq. ft. and as such are exempt from most zoning and permit considerations. In fact, we’ve never run into a situation where someone needed a permit. If you are planning on building a larger playhouse you may want to check with your municipality to ensure that you are meeting the local zoning and permit requirements.

By the way, it’s not only your child that needs their personalized space! Check out our home studios and custom sheds for ideas on man caves and she-sheds!

Playhouse Size

playhouse siteMake sure that your playhouse is big enough for its intended use, however not so big that your kids feel lost. The true appeal of a playhouse is that it is the one thing that is designed and built to your child’s scale. If you want to be sure, once you’ve decided on a size, place stakes in the ground and outline the walls of your playhouse with a string or garden hose. This helps to give you a better idea of the size and how it will fit into your situation.

Please feel free to contact us at any point in the planning process and we will provide you with as much help as you need.

Materials

playhouse building materialsEverything we use is safe; the windows are made of Plexiglas, sharp corners are minimized, and there is no pressure treated wood whatsoever in our playhouses. Most of our products are constructed from a premium grade of western red cedar or Canexel maintenance free wood fiber siding (available in many vibrant colors). We only use the finest materials on the market, so be assured that what you get is truly top of the line we don’t mess around. Different materials create different looks so you may want to consider that if you want your design to extend or complement the architectural style of your house and other structures on your property. Click for detailed information on our materials and siding.

Playhouse Designs and Styles

playhouse design ideasBe sure to spend sufficient time browsing the playhouse styles below and our playhouse photo gallery to see what creative designs others have come up with. Let your children be part of this decision making process in choosing the style. After all, they’re the ones who will be using it. Upon taking a vote, make your final decision based on the style you feel fits into the surrounding landscape. Don’t worry about the playhouse matching your house, not every thing needs to match, and why not be a little eclectic, it’s fun for the kids and you alike!

The inside of your playhouse requires some careful thought. Shelving, hooks, drop-down counters and seats: these are the things that help to jumpstart imaginations and ensure that your children embrace their new play space right away. What ever your requirements, we have oodles of options to choose from so you shouldn’t have much trouble achieving a good fit for your kids.

The styles:

Bear Club Playhouse - From the soaring gabled roof, to its functioning windows and unique Dutch door, this playhouse begs to be played in and will provide countless hours of enjoyment for your children.

Petite Pentagon Playhouse – Designed with kids in mind; this five-sided playhouse fits snugly into a corner and provides a unique interior for a game of hide and seek. A dormer tops the hip roof, providing extra light for reading, playing with dolls, or chatting with pals.

Peach Pickers Porch Playhouse – Having your own porch as a child is a pretty special thing. This playhouse has it all – the porch adds a fun factor that can’t be beat.

Tips and Ideas: Home Office Studios

prefab home studiosThere are several important considerations when planning your home studio, but with an eye for detail and careful planning your Summerwood Studio can easily become your own personal sanctuary. The first question to ponder is “what do I intend to use it for?” Some of the most common applications of our home studios are for home offices, personal exercise studios and as guest houses. To some extent the answer to this question will impact all others. We suggest you make a list of all the functions you would like your studio to serve as part of the planning process.

Where to Build your Home Studio?

home studio location Studio Location – Depending on its use, you may want to build your studio in a spot that receives lots of natural light. Especially if your going to be using it for arts and craft activities. If you’re using it as a guest house or the like, you’ll most likely want to build it away from the main house for privacy. If it’s a home office, then building it closer to the main house for convenience may be something you’ll want to consider. As you can see the use of your studio greatly determines other design and construction factors. Other things to think of when choosing a location may be proximity to water (i.e. do I need a hose, do I want to plumb it for a sink or toilet), ventilation and electricity (lighting or outlets may be required, especially when used as a home office). Conversely, you may preclude the need for some of these things by including large opening windows and vents and other design elements. Also think about the pros and cons of your preferred building site in all four seasons. The surrounding foliage (and weather) can be very different from one season to the next. All of these considerations may have some impact on where you locate your home studio. Once you have decided on a size for your home studio (see ‘choosing a size’ below), it’s a good idea to stake it out on your premises to ensure that the fit is comfortable for your needs and that the location is harmonious with your landscape. backyard studio zoning   Home Studio Zoning – Decisions made on the size, location, and style of your garden studio are not entirely in your hands. Be sure to check with your municipality to ensure that you are meeting the local permit and zoning requirements. If your garden studio is under 100 sq. ft. you will not likely require a permit, however, there are usually some restrictions such as a two or three foot set backs from a property line to contend with. Please see permits and zoning for more information. backyard studio shed grade   Location Grade – Ideally your site should be level, with a slight pitch towards the rear. This will allow drainage of water without having to excavate. Your home studio may be located where the ground slopes more steeply (i.e. greater then 12″ from one side to the other), however if this is the case more thought should be put to the foundation. Try to avoid positioning your home studio at the bottom of a hill. If you do, ensure that you beef up the drainage with a 6″ gravel bed or some other appropriate foundation. If there is a slope and you are planning to store large items, be sure to consider adding a ramp for easy storage and access.

Home Studio Design Options

backyard studio design   Our range of studio styles, sizes, and options will allow you to design and build your home office studio for functionality without having to compromise on style. Be sure to spend sufficient time browsing through all the home office studio styles as well as our studio photo galleries. You’re sure to benefit from the many designs that others have come up with before you. Choose a home studio style that reflects your personal taste and fits in to the landscape. Don’t worry about matching your studio to your house, not every thing needs to match. You can customize your studio to your heart’s content, implementing your personal flair along the way of course. Most of our home office studio styles are differentiated primarily by roof lines (i.e. gable, hip, salt box) so this is an important consideration as well. Inside your Home Studio – It’s also important from the beginning of your decision making process to think about the interior design of your studio. Partitions often work well to divide space for the various different uses (although the ‘open’ concept has its appeal as well). Hooks, shelves, benches, bins and other creative ideas are useful in helping to keep things organized. Whatever your requirements, we have oodles of options to choose from so you shouldn’t have much trouble achieving a good fit to your tastes and needs.

Landscape around your Home Studio

landscape backyard studio shed   It’s smart to think about how you may want to cultivate the landscape in the immediate surroundings. Shrubs, flowers, and trellises draped with vines can be a great design addition to your studio’s overall look and feel and will help to define the space. Many people also choose to lay flagstone, interlocking pavers, or use other methods to create a pathway to the door of your home office studio. A little garden decor provides nice finishing touches to a tranquil space. Strategically placed, things like trellises, pergolas, cupolas, lights, wind chimes, wheelbarrows, birdhouses – and even your favorite piece of weathered furniture can go along way to creating the outdoor sanctuary your Summerwood garden studio was intended for.

Home Studio Size

Clearly the key in selecting the size of your studio is to ensure that your space is large enough for its intended purposes while remaining proportional to the setting. What is the studio being used for? Is it a home office? A home recording studio? Exercise center, or guest house? Think of the activities that you have in mind for your hideaway and plan accordingly. If you intend to share you space with items currently residing in your yard, make sure to allow for enough room for you and your stored items. A dual-purpose studio doesn’t have to be huge, but it does need to be large enough to do what you want it to do. Consider assigning different uses to different spaces and incorporate some thoughtful and inventive design into your building plan. Once you’ve decided on a size, place stakes in the ground and physically outline the sides with a string or garden hose. Adjust the stakes until you’re happy with the size and record the dimensions. This is the best way to visualize your studio in its intended space.

Note: if you have chosen an inward opening ‘D’ series door, you will need to have four feet of clearance inside your studio.

Again, be sure to check with your zoning office for any municipal laws that may require you to have a permit before you build a structure of a certain size. It’s always better to be safe than sorry! Please feel free to contact us at any point in the planning process and we will provide you with as much help, as you need.

Home Studio Construction Materials

Most of our products are constructed from a premium grade of western red cedar or Canexel maintenance free wood fibre siding (available in many vibrant colors). We only use the finest materials on the market, so be assured that what you get is truly top of the line – we don’t mess around. Different materials create different looks so you may want to consider that if you want your design to extend or complement the architectural style of your house and other structures on your property. Click for detailed information on our materials and siding.

Home Studio Roofing Options

There are a variety of options when it comes to roofing materials and here you will have to make an important decision. Obviously Asphalt shingles are the most economical and are readily available in a variety of colors at your local building supply store. roofing shingles backyard shed   Although asphalt shingles are not packaged with our structures, cedar shingles are available as an option. They are truly beautiful and will last a lifetime. Corrugated metal roofing is another possibility. Available in many colors, this is an attractive option and is very adept at keeping the snow off your roof (if you live in colder climates). Another popular choice is clay roofing tiles. Many homes use this tile and it’s nice to have the two structures share this similarity. Just be sure to mention this to our design team, as clay tiles add extra weight and the structure needs to be beefed up a little to accommodate these tiles.

Build your Home Studio yourself, or hire a Contractor?

Decide on whether you’re going to take on the project of building your studio yourself or if you’re going to hire someone to do it for you. Size of the studio and the complexity of its design will decide this to a large degree. However, most of our customers tackle the project themselves and quite enjoy it; a form of therapy or family bonding if you will. If you are an accomplished ‘do-it yourselfer’, or are ready to make your debut, make sure that you have both the time and the energy required for the task at hand. If not, be sure to have a look at our how to hire a contractor’ package. For detailed information on assembly and the tools required for the assembly of your studio please click here.

Choosing a Home Studio Style

Style is a personal issue, but basically it comes down to which style suits you best. Remember, all of our studio buildings can be customized to your own personal requirements. They range in size from as small as you want to as big as you want. Get creative and make the size unique to your space.

Summerwood Home Studios:

palmerston summerwood shed

Palmerston Home Studios - The Palmerston gable roof design is our most basic and most popular. The look is clean and the space functional; roof trusses double as storage space for sports equipment and other items that need to be tucked away. Dormers add a nice touch to this style.

 Catalina summerwood shedCatalina Home Studios -The five sided roof design certainly adds an interesting dimension to your landscape. A great choice nestled into a corner facing your yard.

sonoma summerwood shedSonoma Home Studios - The Hip Roof design offers a little more flair and versatility. The use of rafters instead of trusses also creates more of an open feeling. This style is easily dressed up with the doors and windows of your choice.

Melbourne summerwood shedMelbourne Home Studios -This unique design offers an understated elegance that is not usually associated with studios. The Melbourne is a big hit with our landscape architect clientele.

Urban Studio summerwood shedUrban Studio Home Studios - Our Urban Studio is defined by its modern design and rugged natural good looks. This spacious design is ideal for as a home office – the space can be used for equipment storage or can easily accommodate a desk, sitting area and the rest of your accessories.

coventry studio summerwood shedCoventry Home Studios - For the discerning homeowner, our new Coventry range of garden buildings offer a joyous blend of craftsmanship, style, and rich English Garden tradition.

copper creek summerwood shedCopper Creek Home Studios - This studio has a steep roof pitch, providing just the right amount of drama. Its elegant design performs well in any setting and can be dressed up (or down) to suit all of your needs.

Glen Echo Studio summerwood shedGlen Echo Home Studios - Form meets function: the Glen Echo studio is both an attractive accent to your landscape and a practical spot to spend your days. The overhang doubles as an attractive porch for a welcome break in the middle of a hard day’s work.

Verana Studio summerwood shedVerana Home Studios - The Verana design is sure to light a creative spark. Choose your siding, windows and doors and make the space as personal as what you’re using it for. It offers an inviting space to use for relaxing during those long days.

Windsor Studio summerwood shedWindsor Home Studios - The Windsor is regal and striking – an ideal artist studio. With the addition of large windows and French doors, this style is certain to inspire creativity.

san cristobal Studio summerwood shedSan Cristobal Home Studios- is a classic beauty that is truly unique when used as a studio. This exquisite structure is fully enclosed and comes with French doors and beautiful opening windows (complete with screens). If natural light is a priority, the San Cristobal is a wise choice.

baliBali Tea Home Studios – Inspired by traditional Japanese architecture, our Teahouse style home office studio is brilliant in its minimalism. Get out of the house and into a Bali Tea House and transform your work at home experience. (Shown as a spa enclosure)

Tips and Ideas: Workshops

prefab workshops

There are some important things to keep in mind when planning for your workshop. Whether your hobbies include small construction projects, repairing a vintage car or building model airplanes, we can help you design the structure that will fit your lifestyle perfectly. Once you decide that you want a dedicated workshop, we’ll help you determine what size will work best and what options will suit the workshop’s functions.

Check our post on garden sheds for more workshop ideas.

Choosing a Site for your Workshop

workshop size

Location – From a practical standpoint, it is wise to locate your workshop close to your home. You want it to be an extension of your home yet far enough away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. If you’re going to outfit your workshop with plumbing and/or electricity, then you have to physically situate it close to power and water lines.

Aesthetics are important: you may choose to highlight your structure by making it the center of attention (which is fine) or blend it in to your landscape and make it a secret hideaway. Your choice! You’ll also want to think about natural light and ventilation (although we can provide vents for your building) and how these things will affect what you’re using the building for.

 Consider also the location of your building in different seasons. The surrounding foliage, as well as weather can be very different from one season to the next and may influence how and when you decide to use your workshop.

worshop locationsOnce you have decided on a size (see choosing a size below), it’s a good idea to physically stake it out on your property to ensure that the fit is comfortable for you and is harmonious with your surroundings.

Zoning – Decisions made on the size, location, and style of your workshop are not entirely in your hands. Be sure to check with your local municipality to ensure that you are meeting any zoning and permit requirements. Generally, if your structure is under 100 sq. ft. you will not require a permit however, there are usually some restrictions such as a two or three foot set back from a property line to contend with (please see permits and zoning for more information).

Grade – Ideally your site should be level, with a slight pitch towards the rear. This will allow drainage of water without having to excavate around your structure. A structure may be located where the ground slopes more steeply (i.e. greater then 12” from one side to the other) however, if this is the case more thought should be put to the foundation you are going to build. Try to avoid positioning a structure at the bottom of a hill, however – if you do, ensure that you beef up the drainage with a gravel bed around your structure or some other appropriate foundation. If there is a slope and you are planning to store wheel barrels and lawn mowers, be sure to consider adding a ramp to your shed.

Selecting a Workshop Design

Our broad range of workshop styles, sizes, and options will allow you to design and build your workshop for functionality without having to compromise on style. Be sure to spend sufficient time browsing our photo galleries and you will benefit from all the designs that others have come up with before you.

Choose a style that reflects your personal taste and fits in to the landscape. Don’t worry about your workshop matching your house, not everything needs to match…and why not be a little eclectic! You can customize your workshop to your heart’s content, implementing your personal flair along the way. Most of our workshop styles are differentiated primarily by roof lines (i.e. gable, salt box) so this is an important consideration.

workshop design

It’s important from the beginning of your decision making process to think about the interior design of your workshop.  If you require space to work on projects that need a table, be sure to design around that. Incorporate shelving to store things and enough wiggle room to keep comfy. Store large items in the roof (if you have a gable roof) or hang them from the rafters, and leave enough space to use for your larger projects. Partition the building (storage on one side your projects on the other), that will help you keep focused and incorporate large doors and windows for light and access. We have oodles of options to choose from so you shouldn’t have much trouble achieving a good fit to your tastes and needs.

Surrounding Landscape

It’s smart to think about how you may want to cultivate the landscape in your workshop’s immediate surroundings. Shrubs, flowers, and vines on trellises can be a nice complement to a space and will help to define it. Many people will also choose to lay flagstone or other pavers to create a pathway to their building.

 lanscape workshop

A little garden décor will also help to create a tranquil space. Strategically placed, things like trellises, pergolas, cupolas, lights, wind chimes, wheelbarrows, birdhouses – and even your favorite piece of weathered outdoor furniture can go a long way to creating that outdoor sanctuary your workshop creativity requires.

Workshop Size

There is no easier answer when trying to come up with the perfect sized workshop. There is no wrong choice so, you can’t really make a bad decision, and we offer a wide range of sizes so all you need to do is pick one that works.

Clearly, the key is to ensure that your workshop is large enough for its intended purposes, while remaining proportional to the setting. Think of what is going to go inside and how much room is required for you to work. An easy way to do this is to physically map the location out.  Think of the space you work in now and what it lacks. Partition walls may be worth considering if you want to separate contents or activities. If you intend on combining storage needs with work space, make sure to allow for enough room. A dual purpose building doesn’t have to be massive, providing you assign different uses to different spaces and incorporate some thoughtful and inventive design into your plan.

Once you’ve decided on a size, place stakes in the ground and outline the sides with a string or garden hose. Adjust the stakes until you’re happy with the size and record the dimensions.

workshop size

Note: if you choose an inward opening “D’ series door, you will need to have four feet of clearance inside your workshop.

Again, be sure to check with your zoning office for any municipal laws that may require you to have a permit before you build a structure of a certain size. Better safe than sorry!

Please feel free to contact us at any point in the planning process and we will provide you with as much help as you need.

Workshop Construction Materials

Here are some details on the materials and construction methods you can expect with your Summerwood Workshop kit.

Flooring:

Sheathing: We use sq. edge 4 x 8 x 3/4” T & G sheets. You may want to upgrade to fir plywood, or consider a T & G pine for a different look.

Joists: We use 2 x 4 spruce (with perpendicular 2 x 6 (or greater) P.T. runners underneath). Although not necessary, some people prefer to go with P.T. for the floor joists as well. We use 2 x 6 spruce for our larger workshops.

Shingles: We offer cedar shingles that can be purchased for your structure at the time of sale, but there are other choices that may be purchased from your local hard supply store (asphalt shingles, for example). Whatever you choose, be sure to follow the installation instructions closely. Please refer to the roofing section on our website for more information.

Siding:

We generally use four types of siding in the production of our products: cedar channel siding, cedar log siding, cedar shingle siding and Canexel wood fiber siding.

  • The cedar siding is 8” wide western red cedar channel siding with either the rough or smooth side out. It covers 6 3/8” per row and is a lovely material that looks beautiful on every design.
  • The cedar log siding is 2 x 8” and gives a truly rustic effect
  • The cedar shingles are 18″ in length and 7/16″ thick, they give a truly distinct look to the building that they’re put on.
  • The Canexel wood fiber siding is 1” x 12” and it covers approximately 11” per row. It has a 15-year warranty and comes in a compelling range of colors with virtually no required maintenance.

 Walls:

Studs: We use at least 2 x 4 spruce studs every 16″ OC. If you love cedar, consider upgrading.

Roofing:

Sheathing: We use 4 x 8 x 7/16″ OSB. You may want to upgrade to fir plywood, or consider a T & G pine or cedar for a more finished appearance.

Trusses and rafters: We use spruce (dimensions vary depending on size and style). Cedar may be used as an upgrade.

For detailed information on our roofing choices please click here.

Build your Workshop on your own or Hire a Contractor?

hiring a contractor Decide on whether you’re going to take on the project of building your structure yourself or if you’re going to hire someone to do it for you. Most of our customers tackle the project themselves and quite enjoy it; a form of therapy or family bonding if you will. Get your friends and neighbors involved, basically anyone who’s going to be spending time in your house or backyard is fair game.

If you are an accomplished ‘do-it yourselfer’, or are ready to make your debut, make sure that you have both the time and the energy required for the task at hand. If not, be sure to have a look at our ‘how to hire a contractor’ package. For detailed information on assembly and the tools required for the assembly of your workshop, please click here.

Choosing a Style

Style is a very personal issue. That’s why at Summerwood we offer choices. Remember all our workshop styles can be customized to your personal requirements. They range in size from as small as you want to as big as you like. The most popular sizes are the ones that are nudging 100sq. ft. In some municipalities sizes greater than this may require a permit.

Glen Echo garden sheds

 The Glen Echo Workshop – Our Glen Echo kit combines high-quality craftsmanship with modern design. Its functional design features a steep roof overhang for extra storage and a porch feeling. A dormer adds a nice touch to this style.

palmerston garden sheds

The Palmerston Workshop – The Palmerston gable roof design is our most basic and most popular style. Roof trusses double as storage space for items that need to be tucked away.

 

 

Bar Harbor garden shedsThe Bar Harbor Workshop – This is an ideal style for those who are in the market for something eclectic. The saltbox style roof features exposed cedar rafters and 1 x 6 cedar roof boards.

 

telluride garden sheds

The Telluride Workshop – Our Telluride is defined by its steep roof pitch and rugged natural good looks. This spacious design is ideal for both storing and working with tools. It can come all dressed up with large double doors, antique hardware, vertical cedar siding and country quaint windows.

 

highlands garden shedsThe Highlands Workshop – The simple gable roof evokes the no nonsense style of the hearty northern Scots. Consider large sash windows to allow for plenty of sunlight, a Scottish rarity!

 

 

Copper Creek garden shedsThe Copper Creek Workshop – The hip roof style creates a soaring feeling of space and makes for a pleasant view from any angle.

Tips and Ideas: Garages

Building a new garage is a significant undertaking. Interestingly enough, most of the choices you make come from answers to basic questions you’ll need to ask yourself before getting started. The first tip you’ll find here is to get our designers involved early in the planning stage of your garage. But the first question? What will you be using your new garage for? Is your new garage strictly for parking the car? How many cars? Will it be a part-time workshop, tool shed, or do you want a loft with some office space? With so many possible uses, it’s a good idea to list all the purposes your new garage will serve before beginning its design. The following tips and ideas are aimed at helping you think of all the little things in the beginning, when they are free, instead of discovering them during, or worse still, after construction.

 

Choosing the Best Garage Site

choosing garage site

Both practical and aesthetic considerations play roles in your decisions. How far from the road, and your home, do you want your garage to be? If you live in a colder climate, do you want to be shovelling your way out to the road, or trudging your way through to the house? If you’re building your garage to complement other buildings on your property, think about how it will look in winter, spring, summer and fall. Seasonal changing foliage affects visual impact.

What about running electricity, venting and plumbing to your garage? If you’re planning on doing so, you’ll need to account for these factors when choosing the location and plan to extend the infrastructure for them. If you live in a colder climate like us up here in Toronto, consider installing radiant floor heating in the building phase to keep your vehicle cozy and warm on frigid nights. We also offer thermal doors and windows to help keep your toys warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Garage Design Decisions

garage design summerwood

Summerwood offers a large selection of garage designs, each of which can be personalized to suit your particular needs and wants. Many of the design options Summerwood offers are only available here; its part of what makes dealing with Summerwood unique. We’d also suggest that you involve our design team in your decision making process; they’ve been doing this for decades, and you’ll increase the odds of getting exactly what you want.

Outside – Most garages do adequate duty as a shelter for your car. But a Summerwood garage is an architectural statement and can greatly boost the overall value of your property. You can make that statement an original one by modifying any of the fine garage styles we offer. Build the garage of your dreams with attractive windows and doors, enhanced by shutters and flower boxes; give it charm with antique style hardware, dormers and more. You’ll also have plenty of choices when it comes to the roofing style and material, as well as the siding. We offer maintenance free Canexel siding, as well as traditional and beautiful cedar siding.

Will you be creating a concrete driveway, or using crushed stone or other material? The look of the driveway should be part of the overall design decision.

What’s happening on the inside? The list you’re going to make of your garage uses will help you decide on many of the interior design options. If it’s a multi-purpose structure, you may want to partition it for order. However, an open concept provides a feeling of space that may work well for your situation. Be sure to allow some extra space for storage, with shelving and cupboards, and if you’re planning on doing some DIY home projects, you might want space for a work bench and tools.

Garage Doors

garage door design

We have an impressive range of finely crafted garage doors that are sure to suit everyone’s tastes and requirements. Looks that range from the old style country barn to a smart urban coach house. Our doors are available in either a rollup or carriage style, and are available in Mahogany, Cedar or Steel. All are available in thermal insulated as well. You can also upgrade and add windows and other extras to suit yourself and create just the look you had in mind.

Garage Construction Materials

garage siding materials

A garage is a major contributor to the value of your property and quality of your life. At the very least it protects your car, which, is among your most prided possessions. So you want it to be sturdy and last a lifetime. That’s why we only use the finest construction materials in our garage building kits. We advise you to do the same when completing it with personal touches. The old adage, you get what you pay for is certainly true when it comes to construction.

Our garages are available with rich, long-lasting western red cedar, but you can also choose our Canexel siding. It’s a maintenance-free wood fiber siding and comes in a variety of pleasing colors. The hardware is all absolute top quality to ensure longevity.

Learn more about our garage siding and other building materials.

Sizing your Garage

garage size

At this stage, that list of intended uses we keep talking about will come in handy. For instance, if you want to host jam sessions without moving the car outside, you’ll need more space. Mind you, a dual-purpose garage doesn’t have to be huge, if you plan well. You can store skis, garden tools, lumber and the like up in a loft. But will you need extra floor room for another car, bikes, maybe a workbench, hobbyhorse or workout space? The key is to anticipate your needs and give yourself a bit of extra room to move around once you’ve accommodated them. Be sure to view our sample floor plans and utilize our floor plan grids. They’re a huge time-saver. Once you’ve decided on a size, physically test it. Set some stakes in the ground and tie string around them, creating the actual area you’re intending to use. (You can do this even if you haven’t quite decided where to put your garage.) Once your mock space is “built”, can you fit everything you’re dreaming of? The last thing you want is to find out after you’ve built your garage is that you don’t have the space to accommodate all your stuff.

An important size related topic is building permits. Make sure you enquire with your local building permit office about the process for your location. Most jurisdictions and municipalities require building permits for structures over 100 sq feet, which your garage is most likely going to be, so plan on getting one long before your garage kit arrives. This library of US regional listings will include the government office you need to contact in your area. Contact us for more information. We can help.

Garage Roofing

garage roofing materials

Unless you order our long-lasting and beautiful cedar shingles with your Summerwood garage kit, you’ll need to supply your own roofing. The most economical and common choice is asphalt shingles. They come in assorted and attractive colors, are easy to find at your local building supply center, and are easy to install. Another attractive yet practical choice is corrugated metal instead of shingling. It also comes in many charming colors. And in winter, even the wettest, stickiest snow falls from it like water. Depending on your design goals, you may want to obtain the same roofing material that was used on your house; in this case we can ship your garage kit with no shingles. For more information on roofing options, check out our garage information section.

Another attractive yet practical choice is corrugated metal instead of shingling. It also comes in many charming colors. And in winter, even the wettest, stickiest snow falls from it like water.

For more on roofing options, check out our garage information section.

 Building it on Your Own

A garage is a relatively large project, but our prefabricated kits make it easy; plus you get loads of helpful and instructional tools, not to mention telephone and email support for those particularly tough questions. So yes, you can build it on your own. And it’s actually a lot of fun! Over the years we’ve turned loads of Nervous Nestors and Nancies into Handy Harries and Hildas! Just be sure that you have the time, energy, tools and the skill level to complete the project; don’t forget that a garage is a larger structure and requires a certain amount of carpentry skills. To give you a better idea of the time that it might take to build your garage kit, look for the installation time in the instruction paperwork. Here you’ll find the number of labor hours it would take to assemble your kit. Depending on your level of handiness, you can plan your garage’s construction better.

On the other hand, you may not have the time or desire to do it yourself. We can help with our how to hire a contractor information, as it offers a lot of valuable advice. The printable labor estimate sheet will give your contractor all he or she needs to provide you with a quote. Don’t have a contractor? We can provide you with a reputable and trustworthy contact with experience building our structures. Contact us for details.

 

Selecting a Garage Design

Each of the below garage styles are available in an easy-to-build precut, or prefabricated kit package. They can be as large or small as you like. Choose a style, then customize it online in our Custom Design Center, or give us a call to have a designer help.

Summerwood Garage Styles:

Urban Garagesurban garages - The Urban garage provides all the storage space you’ll ever need and does it in a style that’s all it’s own. With so much great space, you’ll be sure to use your garage for more than just parking the family car!

Highlands garageshighlands garages – The simple gable roof evokes the no-nonsense style of hearty northern Scots. Consider large sash windows to allow for plenty of sunlight, a Scottish rarity!

 

archer garages Archer garages – The hip roof style creates a soaring feeling of space and makes for a pleasant view from any angle. A flagstone walkway to the side door gives it that homey feel.

 

Montcrest garages – Its steep gable roof means extra storage potential and quicker tumbling snow in winter! Inside the effect is spacious – consider capping your Montcrest with our cedar shingles.

Alpine garages – Inspired by the roomy chalets of Austria and Switzerland, the double-car Alpine boasts a vast gable roof. Add a dormer window to make the most of the effect inside and out.

Bishop garages – The pyramid shaped hip roof of the double-car Bishop adds a classic style to any property, bespeaking harmony and order. Balance it with our cedar shingles for a handsome look.

 

York garages – The plunging gable roof of the double car York garage seems to go on forever inside, but gives the impression of hugging the property outside. And there’s plenty of storage potential inside the loft.

Can’t make up your mind? Don’t forget our designers are waiting for your call. We’ll help you create something brand new, or we can help modify one of our existing designs to suit your situation; just contact us to get started. And did we mention we also make sheds and pool cabanas?

Tips and Ideas: Gazebos

summerwood gazebos

Purchasing a new gazebo for your backyard or lake property requires a little planning. What are you going to be using your gazebo for? Entertaining? A shady place to rest & read? Whatever you’re intended use is, you’ll find the below gazebo tips and ideas helpful, and if you’re still left with questions, contact us for information on your specific situation.

Choosing a Site

choosing a site gazebosJust like with cabins or sheds, to a large degree, how you’re planning on using your gazebo determines location choice. Is it a stylish garden gazebo or a gathering place for friends and family on beautiful summer afternoons? Perhaps you want an enclosed gazebo to install a hot tub or spa. Aesthetics are also equally important; you may choose to highlight your gazebo by making it the center of attention or build it into the existing surroundings, a quiet place to relax and reflect. Existing structures and lot size will also impact the final site choice. Depending on the size of your property, you may want the gazebo to be close to the house, or have it set back as a destination point on the property when taking a leisurely stroll. Property location – is the gazebo going to be located at the lake, or is it in the city? Privacy concerns in the city may influence where you decide to build, while making sure appropriate scenic views are available at the cottage.

Don’t forget about checking on permits for your prefab gazebo build, or you my get an expensive reminder. If the gazebo is under 100 sq. ft. you may not require a permit. Proximity to the water may also be a factor. Townships and rural areas often have restrictions on property line setbacks and how close to the water you can build, be sure to check with them before you start building anything.

Aesthetics – the most important consideration when it comes to gazebo kits due to their non-utilitarian usage. Since gazebos are often used as a focal point for gardens and patios, a great idea is to highlight your structure by making it the center of attention. Much depends on what your design goals are. If you’re not sure what style to go with, have a chat with one of our designers, we’re here to help.

Gazebo Designs

gazebo designsOur range of custom gazebo styles and sizes are vast, so it should be easy to find the perfect fit. Be sure to spend sufficient time browsing our gazebo photo galleries and choose a style that best reflects your personal taste. You can also mix and match our gazebo styles to create your own. If you like the roof of one style, but prefer the railings of another, no problem! Simply visit our gazebos section, select style, then mix n’ match, and play around mixing the styles together.

Landscapes

gazebo landscaping optionsIt’s smart to think about how you may want to cultivate the landscape in your gazebo’s immediate surroundings. Shrubs, flowers, and other garden details provide a nice complement to your gazebo design and will help to define the space. Many people also choose to lay flagstone or other pavers to create a unique pathway to the gazebo opening.

A little garden decor provides nice finishing touches to a tranquil space. Strategically placed, things like trellises, pergolas, lights, wind chimes, birdhouses – and even your favorite piece of weathered furniture can go along way to creating the perfect setting for your gazebo. Be sure to check out our resources page for links to recommended landscaping professionals.

Selecting a Gazebo Size

gazebo sizesFinding the perfect size can be a little tricky, as you don’t want something that’s too small, but you don’t want to go overboard and get something that’s too large for the area it’s going. Our general rule of thumb is that an 8′ gazebo fits 2 people (2 chairs and a small table). With every two-foot addition, two more people can be seated comfortably in the gazebo (for example, a 10′ gazebo holds 4 people comfortably, and a 12′ gazebo holds 6 people comfortably, etc.). As with all our other buildings and size options, we’d recommend that you get some stakes and string and physically stake out the size you’re considering. This will give you a real world look at how the size you’re considering will work in your space.

As always, contact us at any point in the planning process and we will provide you with as much help as you require.

 

Gazebo Materials

gazebo materialsCedar, cedar and more cedar. All of our gazebos are constructed from a premium grade of Canadian western red cedar. We use the finest materials on the market, and every piece is hand inspected for quality, so be assured that what you get is truly top of the line – we don’t mess around. All our fasteners are either zinc plated or galvanized to eliminate any possibility of rusting. If you’re looking at an enclosed model, as with all our options, quality hardware and materials are used for all windows and doors – to ensure a water tight structure for years to come.

Have a look at our gazebo materials section for more on what you can expect with your Summerwood gazebo.

Roofing

gazebo roofing optionsWe provide cedar shingles with our gazebos which are absolutely beautiful. They are durable, life-long and they will outlast all style trends.

That said, you can choose to omit the cedar shingles and use asphalt or tile depending on what look you are trying to achieve. Have a look at our roofing options. Copper styled roofing is stunning on our gazebos if your budget allows for it.

Building your Gazebo

building your gazeboOur gazebos go up very easily. Most of our customers tackle the project themselves and quite enjoy it; especially our prefabricated formats. The roof, walls, and floor sections are prebuilt; all you need to do is put it all together. Read more detailed information on assembly and the tools required to build your gazebo.

If you’d prefer to leave the building to the professionals we can help here too. We have a local installation service, as well as a vast list of contractors with experience building our products. Just give us a call and we’ll help you sort it out.

Gazebo Styles

Have a good look through the below styles, as it really comes down to which gazebo styles you prefer. Sizes range from 8ft. to almost as large as you want. We also suggest that you peruse our gazebo photo gallery for ideas.

Summerwood Gazebos:

san cristobal gazeboSan Cristobal Gazebos – Our San Cristobal Garden House is a classic beauty designed for year-round use. This exquisite structure is fully enclosed and comes with French doors and beautiful opening windows (complete with screens). If natural light and an enclosed area is a priority, the San Cristobal is a wise choice. This style is ideally suited as an office, gazebo or even a breakfast room.

bali tea house gazeboBali Tea House Gazebos- Inspired by traditional Japanese architecture, our Teahouse style gazebo is brilliant in its minimalism. Perfect as a hot tub gazebo or just as a place to relax on a hot summer afternoon, the Bali Tea House gazebo is sure to leave you feeling refreshed.

 

monterey gazebosMonterey Gazebos – The Monterey is our classic gazebo featuring clean, smooth lines. This gazebo will compliment the architectural details of your home and the landscape of your garden beautifully.

 

victorian gazeboVictorian Gazebos – Our Victorian gazebo adds elegance to any landscape. Its two-tiered pagoda roof style, along with its attractive spandrels, decorative arched brackets and hand cut railings offer a unique and historical design element.

 

Carlisle gazebosCarlisle Gazebos – The Carlisle is our fairytale gazebo. It boasts charming gingerbread spandrels, spindle railings and a one-tiered roof. Its unique design makes for a splendid focal point.

 

tattle creek gazebosTattle Creek Gazebos – The newest design in our gazebo line up is the Tattle Creek. Defying convention, this gazebo features a smooth spandrel, wide railings and a high roof. It is truly in a class of its own.

 

montpellier gazebosMontpellier Gazebos – The Montpellier garden house style gazebo is a 4-sided (square base) design. Like a traditional gazebo, it has railings and spandrels. This style is well suited in a rustic garden, pool side, or in a commercial setting.

 

coventry gazebosCoventry Gazebos - This gazebo features stunning leaded glass French doors and tilted opening windows, a high cedar shingled roof, elegantly cambered eaves, traditional brass hardware, and exquisite trim and detail all around. It is perfect is any setting, especially in the backyard, used as a place for relaxation.