Tips & Ideas Posts

8 Essential Garage Storage Tips You Must Try

49970 (2)Sheds-workshops

If you’ve ever entered your garage with the motivation to start your next big project only to spend the day searching for tools and organizing your work space, then you’ve already started to suffer from the detrimental effects of garage clutter. However – you’re certainly not alone in your constant battle against the growing chaos in your garage organization. Approximately 25% of two car garages are so packed with belongings that the homeowners don’t even have room to park a single vehicle in the space. An additional 32% can only squeeze one of their vehicles into the wide stall built for two cars. This is where we’ve come in with these eight useful tips for you to banish the clutter for good, and ultimately commandeer control of your garage space.
 

1. Tool towers are a perfect storage solution
Tool Tower Garage Organization Storage Tips - Summerwood Products

The messy collection of rakes, shovels, brooms and other tall tools can take up a lot of floor and wall space. Furthermore, when you amass quite the stack of these items in the same location, it can feel like quite a chore to dig through and unearth the tool you need every single time. To solve this problem, invest in a rolling tool tower that keeps these long, unwieldy tools standing free and separate in individual sections.
 

2. Sliding storage systems for the garage

The ceiling space is often an incredibly underutilized storage area in the average garage, therefore you shouldn’t let it go to waste. All of the space above you can hold seasonal clothing, sports equipment and other items that you do not use all throughout the year. These innovative hangers allow you to suspend plastic bins just below ceiling level, leaving plenty of work space below.
 

3. Magnetic strips for hanging and holding tools

Throwing all of your hand tools in drawers and hoping you can find what you need later will be a thing of the past once you line your garage with magnetic strips. The strong magnets can hold the heaviest of metal tools firmly against the wall until you need them again. You can place the strips on the edge of your toolbox, workbench or just along the walls in your normal work space.
 

4. Mason jar storage and other storage ideas using jars
Jar storage for garage organization - Summerwood Products

You can use the underside of your shelves for storage by integrating mason jar storage into your garage space. You will need to secure the jar lids to the bottom of the shelf using short screws to create your innovative storage compartments. Using mason jars and other small jars, you can fill them with bolts, nails, washers and other small pieces you routinely need for projects around the house, and then screw them back onto the lid for easy access anytime.
 

5. Bungee bins and bungee cords help you get organized
Bungee Cords to help with storage - Summerwood Products

Your often used sports equipment, including life-jackets, basketballs and catcher’s mitts, likely ends up strewed through the garage after a busy day on the go. You can change all that by creating bungee bins along your walls to hold these stray items. You will just need to attach bungee cords across the interior framing studs in your garage at about four inch intervals to create this storage compartment.
 

6. Chain hooks are perfect for hanging loose items and tools in your garage

Unraveled hoses, cords and lines across your floor space is considered a trip and fall hazard. You can keep these items out of the way by using plastic chain and coat hooks to suspend them from the wall. You will roll up these items like normal, and then slide the chain through the center, securing it at the top. At that point, you can hang the chain from the hook to keep your lines and hoses organized at all times. 
 

7. Milk crates are great for shelf storage in your garage

The area below your garage benches can be used to store small parts, tools and cleaning supplies. Simply place small bins or crates beneath the bench and fill them with carefully organized items. Make sure to label the bins with their contents to quickly spot the items you need as you prepare to start your next project.
 

8. Organizing the garage with rain gutters
old rain gutters for storage - Summerwood Products

Using old gutters you have laying around the house or garage, you can hang them along your walls to create partially enclosed shelves for your spray cans, automotive fluids and cleaning products. The gutter keeps all of the items together in a single area, so you can quickly find the product you need for the job at hand. The line of cans will never block your view of adjacent products to help you avoid spending money on hidden items.
 

Helpful tips and tools to help organize your garage

Organized shelf for garage storage - Summerwood Products

You can update your garage space, or overhaul your entire build, with help from the specialists at Summerwood. Purpose built shelves, benches and wall partitions can help you eliminate clutter and organize the space within your garage, which they will be able to guide you in the process of selecting. You may even want to upgrade your garage or add a shed to your yard once you browse through the building options offered by this prefabricated outbuilding supplier. 

Custom Design Centre Call to Action

Visit the design center located on Summerwood’s website for more options in customizing and creating your personalized garage with the ultimate space and structure that you desire. You can also call (1-866 519-4634) for assistance from one of Summerwood’s building specialists who can lead you in the right direction to achieve the vision you have for your garage.

 

10 Home Office Design Tips

Remote work is becoming more and more popular with each passing year, meaning more and more professions don.t need workers to be at the office to perform their duties. With the rise of working from home, so does the need to have a personal, comfortable, and efficient space to focus and feel productive. With a home office shed that you can place in your garden, backyard, beside your home, or anywhere else outside, it becomes a lot easier to get some peace and quiet while you work.  Looking like tiny little homes, garden office pods or outdoor office spaces are self-sufficient productive spaces, where you can not only make a living but also create, think, and ponder. Here are some helpful tips for creating a charming and practical workspace within our sheds.

 

Be creative with your space
Summerwood Products - Creative Office Space

 Don’t be afraid to steal decor from around your home and place it in your home office. Feel free to mix up some of your vintage items from your rooms with some modern office elements to make it feel a lot more like home and less of a showroom. 

Clean regularly
Clean Regularly - home office tips - Summerwood Products

Don’t let a poorly maintained office space cause you to lose a client. Maintaining a clean office space might seem like an obvious thing to do, but it is important to keep it clean. A clean office is a direct representation of who you are as an individual, especially if you do plan on having clients or colleagues over, as it helps to create an inviting space. You are also ensuring that a good first impression will be made on prospective clients. If you do plan on setting up an outdoor office space, it is important to vacuum the floors daily, as well as empty the trash and recycling.

Notice board
Home office tips - Summerwood Products

Some office accessories are just so simple, basic, and easy, it features everything you have to do right at eye level. Let this board carry some of your organization, so you can put notes up, reminders, and some family photos. This is also perfect for clearing the clutter of your area, as an organized work area is perfect for enhancing clarity and focus.

Give yourself a view
Summerwood Products - Office with a view

Position your office chair and desk where you can stare at something more interesting than a blank wall for when you look up from your desk or computer (insert custom design centre link here). A Window’s natural light is ideal, but if you’re in a windowless space, hand up a picture or piece of artwork above your desk or chair. Our Custom Design Centre allows you to build your own outdoor office space to fit your needs. 

Allow light
Summerwood Home Studios - Allowing Light

Research has shown that the presence of natural light in professional spaces has an overwhelming positive impact on employee productivity and morale. Natural light also helps with making a space look bigger than it is- perfect for small spaces. Allowing light into your home office will also help with making sure not to strain your eyes and help with reducing headaches from glaring at your computer monitor. 

Paint the walls a colour you love

Summerwood Products - Home Office Designs

Is your home office painted in a bland beige? Maybe just a mixture of black and white? If these are colour schemes that work for you, great. If you dread sitting down at your home office everyday try adding some more colour – maybe lots of it. It is important to make sure your home office space is a place you can’t wait to visit.

Hide cords
Home office design tips - Summerwood Products

Technology is essential in the office, while there is only so much you can do to help beautify your computer, monitor, printer, and phone, you can hide some of their cords. You should start by making sure that your equipment is close to the outlet and easy to unplug it. One suggestion would be to hide the wires behind your furnishings. By hiding your cords it will make your office look clean and organized.

Go paperless
home office design tips - Summerwood Products

As the world has made a huge shift towards digital, so should your files. Paper filing systems tend to take up a decent amount of space, as well as become cluttered and hard to search through. Cloud storage solutions like Dropbox or an external hard drive are the perfect solutions to keep all of your files digital and available anywhere you have an internet connection, plus they make them easily searchable as well.  

Choose homey accessories
Home Office Designs - Summerwood Products

If you want your home office to feel a bit more comfortable, you can always add a few more homey accessories to it. As much as it is important to focus within your home office, it is also important to create a space in which you’ll be happy to spend your work hours in.    

Inspire yourself

home office design tips - Summerwood Products

It is important to remind yourself of your mission by placing some visual encouragement around you. Set up a small or min shrine, piece of art or a cherished item – that motivates you to work or create while you are in your home office space. Fill your office with art or personal items that will help to energize your space and make you feel motivated during your work. 

Home office design tips - Summerwood Products
Here at Summerwood, we’ve noticed a growing demand for backyard offices and studios, and worked with hundreds of customers to help make their dream a viable reality. We support you in your goals to work from home – to be productive, be comfortable, and be happy while you work.

Spend time browsing through our home office studio styles and our photo galleries of customer favorites. We have a number of designs that other Summerwood customers have designed, or you can use our Custom Design Center to make the perfect office space for you. Don’t forget: all of our builds, including home studios, include easy-to-follow instructions, diagrams, and assembly videos to help you through the process and we’re always here to answer any of your questions.

Tips And Ideas: Spa Enclosures

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

Our 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

Location of your studio

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

Grade your shed’s location

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.