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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 & Ideas: Pool Cabanas

Tips & Ideas: Pool Cabanas

title shot

There are several things to consider when planning to build a pool house cabana, but with an eye for detail and careful planning, you can have everything you dreamed of and more. The first question to consider is “what do I intend to use my pool cabana for”? 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 Pool House to serve, as part of the planning process. If you are installing a new pool, be sure to involve your pool company in the decision making process; they will have some good suggestions and certainly the experience to know what’s important for your structure.

Also thinking about a storage shed for your other backyard needs? See our detailed guide on how to choose one first.

Pool Cabana Sites

Location

There aren’t too many choices here; generally youlocationn will locate your pool house cabana within striking distance of your pool. There are some things to consider though: how to maximize sunlight; do I want the cabana to be front and center or blend into the landscape a little; do I need to run electricity and, do I need to plumb it for a bar sink, toilet, or outdoor shower. Evaluate the pros and cons of your preferred 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 decide to build your pool house.

Once you have decided on a site, choose a cabana size that’ll suit your needs (see ‘choosing a size’ below). It’s a good idea to stake out your pool house to ensure that the fit is comfortable for your needs and that the location is harmonious with your landscape.

Zoning

Decisions made on the size, location, and style of your pool house cabana are not entirely in your hands.zoning options pool cabanas Be sure to check with your municipality to ensure that you are meeting the local zoning and permit requirements. If you are 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 back from a property line to contend with (please see zoning and permits for more information). In some regions there may even be specific regulations pertaining to the construction of structures near a pool. Always check first with your local municipality before building!

Grade

Typically, pool houses are built on concrete pad foundations. grade  pool cabanasOften customers are pouring concrete for their pool, so it’s very economical to pour an additional pad at the same time. It’s not usually necessary to pour a pad though; patio stones or a crushed stone base work just fine. Regardless of your choice, be sure that the grade is level and that it has good drainage.

Pool Cabana Designs – Interior Design & Exterior Style

Our range of poointerior pool cabanasl house styles, sizes, and options will allow you to design your cabana for functionality without having to compromise on style. Be sure to spend sufficient time browsing in our pool cabana photo gallery and benefit from all the designs that others have come up over the years. Choose a pool house style that reflects your personal taste and fits in to the landscape. Don’t worry about matching your cabana to your house, not every thing needs to match…and why not be a little eclectic! You can customize your pool house to your heart’s content, implementing your personal flair along the way. Most of our styles are differentiated primarily by roof lines (i.e. gable, hip, salt box) so this is an important consideration.

It’s also important from the beginning to think about the interior design of your pool house. Partitions often work well to divide space for the various different uses (although the ‘open’ concept has its appeal as well). Benches, shelving, and hooks are very handy and if you are considering one of our beautiful bifold bar windows, extra overhang and height are necessary to ensure that the design balance is correct and that water doesn’t drip off your roof onto the serving bar. 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. Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our design experts who will be more than happy to help guide you through the process.

If you are ready to get started, begin with the main pool house styles. Then if you can’t find it there, visit our photo gallery or head over to our Custom Design Center.We also have a team of design experts that can come up with a virtual drawing of your ideas. Give us a call and we’ll get it to you in no time!

 

Pool Houses – Exterior Finishing Touches

extrasIt’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 complement your Pool Cabana design and will help to define the space. If you have pool equipment, it’s also a nice way to make it less conspicuous.

Many people also choose to lay flagstone or other pavers to create a pathway to the door.

A little decor always provides a nice touch. Strategically placed, things like trellises, life preservers, cupolas, lights, wind chimes, weather vanes, birdhouses – and even your favorite piece of weathered furniture can go along way to creating the style you are after.

Selecting a size for your Pool House

This is always a bit of a tough one, but there is no wrong choice, so don’t fret. The average size for a pool cabana is somewhere between 8′ x 12′ and 10′ x 14′ (or the 10′ or 11′ five sided design) but, there are no rules. Clearly the key is to ensure that your space is large enough for its intended purposes, while remaining proportional to the setting. A changing area, pool equipment and accessory storage, mini kitchen, bar serving area, shower and/or toilet – think of the activities that you have in mind to take place in your pool cabana, and plan the space out accordingly.

size pool houses

If you intend to share your space with items currently residing in your yard, make sure to allow for enough room for both your pool needs and your stored items (mind you if it’s only ‘off season’ storage you need not worry). Dual-purpose pool cabanas don’t have to be big, providing you assign different uses to different spaces and incorporate some thoughtful and inventive design. Once you’ve decided on a size for your pool house, place some stakes in the ground and outline the sides of your proposed cabana with a string or garden hose. Adjust the stakes until you’re happy with the size and record the dimensions. Note that if you have chosen an inward opening ‘D’ series door, you will need to have four feet of clearance inside your pool cabana.

Again, 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.

Pool Cabana Construction Materials

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.

Pool House Roofing Options

asphalt shingles pool houses

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.

Although asphalt shingles are not packaged with our structures, cedar shingles are

cedar shinglesavailable 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.

Building your Pool Cabana on your own, or Hire a Contractor?

hiring a contractorDecide on whether you’re going to take on the project of building your pool cabana 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. Often the neighbors will wonder over and offer assistance as well. We offer two types of pool house kits, pre-cut and pre-assembled. The pre-assembled goes together much faster, so if you’re building your pool house yourself you may want to choose this option. If you are an accomplished ‘do-it yourselfer’, or 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 information.

Choosing a Pool House Style

When it comes down to which style suits you best, it’s all about your own personal tastes and the application requirements for your pool house. Remember, all of our buildings can be customized to your own personal requirements. Since they’re made to order, we have just the right style to suit you.

Summerwood Pool Cabana Styles:


palmerston pool housePalmerston Pool Cabanas – The lines of our Palmerston style pool cabana make it at home in almost any poolside setting. The look is clean and the space is functional, ideal for equipment storage and changing space. Dress it up with a dormer, an assortment of windows, and one of our deluxe series of doors.

 

surfside summerwood pool houseSurfside  Pool Cabanas - Take entertaining poolside to a new level with our outstanding Surfside pool cabana design. Outfitted with a built in bar, this pool cabana is sure to be the center of all the action this summer! Install plumbing for a kitchenette and run electrical to keep the party going after dark. For summertime fun just add ice!

 

barside summerwood pool houseBarside Pool Cabanas – Summerwood has another option for those who live entertain. The built-in bar is located on the long wall which provides so much more space for summer fun with friends and family! You can create your own design in our Custom Design Centre.

 

dune surfside summerwood pool houseDune Pool Cabanas – Our Dune style cabana is a favorite of our professional pool and landscape clientele. The charm and splendor of its design provides a striking and contemporary poolside look. Your guests and neighbors will be asking a lot of interesting questions.

 

Urban Studio surfside summerwood pool houseUrban Studio Pool Cabanas - Style that is sleek and simple at the same time. With its flat roof and lots of add-on options, Urban Studio makes for a perfect storage house, changing room or a cooling-off area.

 

Catalina surfside summerwood pool houseCatalina Pool Cabanas - Our Catalina five-sided design is a Summerwood original and a very popular choice for a pool cabana. The style nestles beautifully into any corner and makes efficient use of otherwise wasted space. Clear cedar French doors, a dormer and Sojo styled architectural windows make wonderful appointments.

 

Sonoma surfside summerwood pool houseSonoma  Pool Cabanas – Our Sonoma style is a favorite for those of you who are looking for a multi-functional pool house. Change room, bar, storage area, it can accommodate all that and more. Dressed up with architectural windows and beautiful clear cedar doors, the Sonoma is a lovely enhancement to your poolside oasis.

 

Verana surfside summerwood pool houseVerana  Pool Cabanas – Our Telluride is defined by its steep roof pitch and rugged natural good looks. The design is spacious and roomy. Can come all dressed up with large doors, beautiful windows and may be dressed up with some very stylish cedar wall lattice. A bold look if the space calls for it.

 

San Cristobal surfside summerwood pool houseSan Cristobal Pool House – is a classic beauty that is truly gorgeous poolside. 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.

 

Windsor surfside summerwood pool houseWindsor  Pool Cabanas – The Windsor is perhaps the most striking pool cabana we offer. Its’ regal look makes it a favorite for those who want to entertain in style. It’s best suited with large windows and French doors to let the sun shine in.

 

Santa Cruz surfside summerwood pool houseSanta Cruz  Pool Cabanas – California inspired, this pool cabana is luxurious and functional. The Dutch Hip Roof offers a ton of head room and the large windows, plenty of natural light. It’s perfect for use as a pool house and it doubles as an entertainment facility. There’s no need to run back and forth from the house.

 

Copper creek surfside summerwood pool houseCopper Creek  Pool Cabanas – This cabana has a steep roof pitch, providing just the right amount of drama to this poolside beauty. It’s elegant design performs well by the pool, it allows for the storage of pool related items in the roof and gives you enough room inside to change and house all the equipment.

 

Cabins: For Extra Space and Privacy

Maybe you live in a rural area, or maybe you’ve just purchased or come into some land. It’s beautiful and you’re excited to show it off to friends and family. But is the place big enough to house everyone comfortably?

Often one cabin isn’t big enough for everyone to be comfortable, especially if you have a large family or love to entertain.  A second smaller guest cabin (or ‘bunkie’) helps keep families and friends close … but not too close. It can be used for various purposes – a hang out space for teens, an in-law suite, or even as a tiny home/rental income property when you aren’t using it (just like Rebecca does in “Small in Size, Big on Function: Leading the Tiny House Movement”.)

summerwood cabin with porch custom

Regardless of what you’re going to use your cabin for, there are a few things you should consider before entering into the design process. Below, we’ve got a few questions to consider before building your very own custom cabin. Let’s get those wheels turning!

Do I need to insulate?

You may need to insulate your cabin depending on what climate you live in. If it gets chilly where you live, you’re probably going to want to insulate the building so you can use it year round. If you are adding plumbing, you may also consider adding insulation to ensure your pipes don’t freeze during the colder months.

Does it need ventilation?

Yes, a cabin definitely needs ventilation. Consider that someone may not be there all the time to open a window, perhaps it’s a vacation property that you only visit on weekends or holidays. Air will get stale and can lead to rot and major air quality problems down the line – such as mold. No thanks!

Summerwood cabins come with cedar or maintenance-free vents in the gable roof, to ensure your building is always breathing in the fresh forest air!

Do I need a permit?

In most cases you will need a permit for a cabin as you’ll probably want it to be a bit larger than the average shed or pool cabana. If you’re planning on making it larger than 100 square feet, or adding plumbing, you will have to go through the permit process. Learn more about obtaining a permit, and how we can help in “Building Permits: What You Need to Know”.

A cabin this size definitely needs a permit.

A cabin this size definitely needs a permit.

Should I stain it?

Yes! You should always stain or paint a cedar sided building. Unlike a deck or a fence, which you can let grey and whether over time, when cedar is used as a siding material it should be maintained. Since the idea is to keep the elements out, you’ll want to stain the structure to ensure the wood does not warp or rot. If occasional staining just isn’t for you, consider a maintenance-free option, such as Canexel. It has a 25 year warranty and comes in a multitude of colours. Read more about weathering in “Understanding Weathering: The Effects of Rain or Shine on Your Outdoor Storage Unit”.

Paint your building whatever colour you like!

Paint your building whatever colour you like!

What about Storage?

Storage can be tricky in a small cabin space, but a loft is an ever popular solution. If you’re working with a gable roof building, it’s very easy to incorporate a loft space. If a loft is what you desire, we’ll add a floor and a ladder, and voila! A loft can be used for storage, but is also beloved by children. The little ones won’t mind sleeping in a loft space either, but you may have trouble convincing them to ever leave!

Our Ultimate Cottage Bunkie provides a loft, and an overhang without impacting your footprint.

Our Ultimate Cottage Bunkie provides a loft, and an overhang without impacting your footprint.

What goes on the roof?

Shingles are by far the most popular roof material. The options for colours and styles of shingles are truly endless. If you do choose to add a loft space as mentioned above, consider whether or not visitors will be sleeping upstairs. A tin or metal roof, although durable can create a noisy atmosphere when it rains, so it’s important to keep interior comfort in mind when choosing roof materials.

Can I include outdoor living space?

You absolutely can include this in your cabin design! After all, you’re there to enjoy the great outdoors. If you would like to add a porch to your building, keep in mind that it will count towards your overall footprint. A porch is included in this calculation as it is supported by posts. If this is a concern, perhaps our Ultimate Cottage Bunkie would be preferable. It also provides a front-porch like space, but with just an overhang. Because the structure is cantilevered, this overhand does not count towards your overall square footage. Read more in “Spring Best Seller: Permit Free Cottage Bunkie”.

summerwood custom cabin

summerwood cedar tiny home cabin

What about foundation?

Foundation is dependent on a few factors: is the ground beneath flat and level? Is there a slope? Can rock or stone be found under the ground? Is the structure near water? Our design experts are here to help determine what kind of foundation is best for your particular situation, that’s why we call ourselves custom builders! The underlay of your building can be as simple as gravel and patio stones, although this is generally more appropriate for smaller or shed-like structures. A concrete slab, or piers is more likely what you’ll need to support your cabin foundation.

Concrete piers can help get your right on the water.

Concrete piers can help get you right on the water.

A few years ago, we assisted Tracy and her husband when they bought a cottage in Muskoka, Ontario. Initially, they didn’t consider a guest cabin, and they lived comfortably in their space for quite some time. As the family grew, and new grand-kids, nieces and nephews began to visit the property, they realized they could use some more space. The need for more space for friends and family was apparent, but they didn’t have time to build something themselves.

Instead, they decided a little elbow grease was just what they needed to solve their problem. The old cabin needed some work anyway, so when they renovated it they also had a Summerwood Canmore cabin built. “Now everyone has their own space to relax and spread out. Our mothers come up a lot and feel right at home in the Canmore. The kids love it too. They play up in the loft.”

Tracy and her family had the cabin built just off the driveway, right behind the main cabin. “It’s the first thing you see when you come up the driveway.” First impressions matter, so it needed to be adorable!

You decide just how cute, or rustic your perfect custom cabin will be!

Contact Us:
Check out our website: www.summerwood.com
Email us: design@summerwood.com
Call us toll-free: 1 866 519-4634

A Playhouse Designed by the Kids

Imagine being a kid and trying to convey to your parents exactly what you want from a playhouse. Everything’s adult-sized and you’re rarely allowed your own space. That’s why kids love Summerwood playhouses so much. We encourage including your kids in the design of their playhouses. The little touches they add make them proud to call it their play-home. Besides, getting the kids involved means extra help during the building process, right!?

custom colorful playhouse summerwood

Playhouses are an easy backyard addition. Due to their size and purpose, you probably won’t need a building permit. But, there are a few important things to consider before purchasing your playhouse: does your backyard have the available space for a playhouse? How can you ensure safely for the little ones? Is a playhouse the best option for your family, or would a small shed prove to be more useful?

Playhouse Styles & Placement

Summerwood offers three standard playhouse models to choose from, The Bear Claw, The Peach Pickers Porch, and The Petite Pentagon. These can be left as is, or customized to your, and your child’s content. When considering where in your backyard it would be best to place your playhouse, consider whether a rectangular, or 5-sided shape would best suit your space (read more about our space-saving 5-sided buildings for grown ups: “The Catalina: Our 5 Sided Corner Building”).

The mini-porch space is the highlight of our Peach Pickers Porch model.

The mini-porch space is the highlight of our Peach Pickers Porch model.

Playhouse Safety

Like all Summerwood structures, our playhouses are built according to the highest standards and building code regulations. Playhouses can also include Plexiglas windows, or no glass at all to ensure that the children are free to cast spells and slay magical dragons without concern. Keep in mind as well that you may want to be able to supervise from afar while the children are at play, so when considering where to build your playhouse, ensure that you have a good vantage point.

summerwood playhouse custom

Long-Term Considerations

Although the children may love and appreciate everything miniature, it may not be the right option for your family in the long term. Summerwood structures are built to last, so it’s important to consider whether or not a playhouse fits your present and future lifestyle. If your storage needs are met, and you believe a playhouse will be thoroughly enjoyed for years to come, it could be the perfect backyard addition. However, a small shed may also be able to serve as a playhouse for the time being, and later function as a storage solution. A playhouse is constructed with the children in mind, so although it may be the perfect size at the present time, your family may outgrow it in due time. The design experts at Summerwood are happy to help you make a selection that will serve your family for years to come.

A Five-Sided Corner Catalina, adapted to function as a playhouse until they're all grown up.

A Five-Sided Corner Catalina, adapted to function as a playhouse until they’re all grown up.

Kids are more likely to take care of their playhouse if they're involved in the process.

Kids are more likely to take care of their playhouse if they’re involved in the process.

If you’re just starting to consider the addition of a custom backyard playhouse, don’t forget to take the opportunity to treat the kids like your personal design consultants. Have them join you at our Custom Design Center. It’s an intuitive “drag n’ drop” tool that they’ll love fiddling with.

Sharon of Brampton, Ontario did just that. “We talked it over with the kids, and then we talked to Summerwood. They were very helpful and knew the product inside out. We showed the kids the design online. They ‘approved’ it.”

Contact Us:
Check out our website: www.summerwood.com
Email us: design@summerwood.com
Call us toll-free: 1 866 519-4634

Don’t forget to play…

5 Imaginative Landscaping Themes For 2017

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As work and family demands continually increase, the need for moments of pure relaxation is also experiencing a steady upsurge. To obtain this much-needed reprieve, more and more people are seeking out ways to reconnect with the world around them. Adventures through natural landscapes and close encounters with gentle wildlife tend to rejuvenate the soul and reinvigorate the spirit. The landscaping themes for 2017 will surely reflect this need and give people the ability to work these retreats into their overly busy days. Check out the five following landscaping themes sure to soon take the world by storm.

Desert Vista

With drought so prevalent in recent years, xeriscaping is the name of the game in the landscaping world. With this type of gardening technique, you will fill your yard with drought-resistant, local plants to minimize the need for watering. In most regions, the result is a gorgeous, yet minimalist, desert vista layout. Depending on your climate, you can ditch the lawn in favor of tall grasses, shade trees, succulents, cacti and climbing vines. Make sure to compare your zone information with the plants’ needs to create a desert vista landscape that thrives over the years.

Food Forest

The days of wasting space with huge green lawns are nearly over. With so many people focused on sustainable gardening, the conversation has turned toward transforming yards into edible food forests. You can create rows of vertical gardens, filled with fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, to follow this exciting trend. Consider filling open spaces with dwarf fruit trees to create a miniature orchard filled with tasty treats. Make sure to select plant species that match your area’s sunlight and rainfall levels to keep your harvest yields as robust as possible.

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Wildlife Oasis

The breathless wonder that occurs upon spotting gentle wildlife in a natural setting can be yours to enjoy if you transform your landscape into an oasis for local animals. You will need to attract local wildlife to your property by using the right combination of trees, plants and water features for your area. Create a naturally filtered pond filled with lily pads, water ferns and bromeliads to give frogs and lizards a place to live on your property. Work native trees, bushes and flowers into the garden beds around your pond to bring the birds, bees and butterflies to your yard. Place logs and other hidey holes throughout your landscaping space to complete your wildlife oasis design.

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Zen Garden

The rocks in a Zen garden represent the natural world and its beautifully impermanent features and flow. Cherry trees, stone walls and water features act as excellent accents for this type of garden. Make sure to balance opposites to create the yin and yang flow that facilitates close meditation of this elegant landscaping theme. The minimal upkeep required for this type of garden is immensely calming and usually quite a joy to perform. You will simply rake the small pebbles into the form of a slow or fast moving river running around the larger stones in the garden.

Moon Grove

When the moon and stars peek out at nightfall, the atmosphere changes to reflect the serene setting. During the late hours of the night, nothing is more beautiful than watching the flowers open all around you in the glow of the moonlight. As more people experience this wondrous event, the moon grove landscaping theme is sure to catch on throughout the upcoming year. To create your own moon grove, plant flowers that bloom in the night, such as evening primrose, moonflower, Nottingham catchfly and night scented orchid. Make sure to place the garden in a space that captures the moonlight beautifully. Add enough comfortable seating for you and your guests well within view of the garden space.

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Preparing For The Imaginative 2017 Landscaping Season

2017 is closer than you think so it is best to start preparing now for your next landscaping project so that way you have enough time and resources to complete the project.