5 Activities to Never Try in Your Outdoor Building


After constructing your new outdoor building, you may find yourself searching for reasons to spend time there. As you organize the space and plan fun activities to enjoy during your visit, make sure you know your limits – and the limits of your structure. Although the vast number of pastime options may feel limitless at first blush, there are a few activities you should never try in your outdoor building, so long as you wish to avoid suffering the swift repercussions. To remain safe and sound, and consequence free, remember to avoid the temptation to try the five following activities in your outdoor structure.

Roast Marshmallows

Although roasting marshmallows in the comfy confines of your outdoor structure sounds incredibly decadent, it is also quite a dangerous proposition. Unless you have a fireplace, leave the flames and smoke outdoors where they belong by creating a fire pit and seating area a safe distance away from your buildings. If you absolutely must gaze upon the crackling logs while relaxing in your outdoor building, install a TV screen and tune into one of the many simulated fires to get your fix.


Paint with the Windows Closed

An outdoor building can give you the peace and quiet you need to churn out beautifully painted masterpieces one after another. If, in your frenzy to get painting, you forget to pop open your doors and windows, the fumes could build up and knock you through a loop. Avoid the fumes, and their dizzying effects, by either painting elsewhere or installing centrifugal fans to actively circulate the air as you create your works of art. Opening the windows and doors probably couldn’t hurt either.

Feed the Wildlife

Feeding the wildlife from the doorway of your outdoor building will only serve to draw them to that structure in great numbers. Since life is, sadly, not a Disney movie, the wildlife will likely end up causing more harm than good. To keep their potential for destruction to a minimum, avoid setting out snacks or treats for birds, squirrels or any other wildlife anywhere near your inviting outdoor building structures.


Grow Mystery Shrubs

Although an outdoor building makes an excellent sprout station and garden depot, you must actively identify your plants to keep your garden, and you, safe and sound. After all, you just never know when the mystery shrub from the corner shop will grow far too large and demand the finest of foods in song. Keep your garden tame by growing your favorite fruit, vegetables and flowers under a combination of natural and artificial light.

Throw a Pool Party

Outdoor buildings seem fit for a bash, but planning a pool party might be taking that sentiment a bit too far. The splashing and laughing – and fun filled chaos – will do little for the health and wellbeing of your newfound favorite outdoor structure. A spa session, on the other hand, might be just what the doctor ordered.


Smartly Utilizing Your Outdoor Buildings

With a little thought about your favorite activities, you can easily transform your outdoor buildings into true extensions of your living space. You can use your imagination to turn each space into an office, computer lab or even an art studio. As your interests change, do not shy away from updating the space yet again to support your latest endeavors. With extra outbuildings at your fingertips, you will always have the space you need for your hobbies and projects.


7 Common Maintenance Tasks Required for the Upkeep of Outdoor Buildings


You can ensure your outdoor building retains its like-new luster for years to come by performing timely maintenance tasks. These important procedures allow you to rectify small issues before they escalate and cause irreparable damage. In fact, you can actively prevent the need for huge overhauls or total structure replacements by completing maintenance tasks on a yearly schedule. Although you will need to inspect your structure for specific areas in need of attention, almost all outbuildings require the seven following tasks performed each year.

Seal Replacement

Exposure to sunlight, rainfall and constant temperature fluctuations take a serious toll on the health of the seals around your outbuilding’s windows and doors. Without these seals, moisture and drafts would easily enter the structure. You can replace the seals quite easily, however, by scraping away the old caulk and applying a new bead. With proper application around window and door gaps, the caulk will provide another year’s worth of protection against the elements.

Hardware Lubrication

The hardware used for your outbuilding, including door locks, hinges and window mechanisms, require regular attention to remain functional through the years. You can use a can of petroleum based lubricant to oil up the moving parts and add a layer of protection against moisture in the air. The lubricant will actively prevent rust from forming and locking the moving parts stubbornly in place.


Siding Restoration

Constant weathering can strip away the sealant or paint from your siding materials. If your siding looks worn or discolored, consider applying a new coat of stain or paint to renew its outer surface. When you refresh this layer, you not only improve the appearance of your outdoor building, you also restore its shield against rain, sunlight, wind and other destructive elements.

Foundation Repair

As the ground settles beneath your outbuilding, cracks may appear in the concrete foundation. Take the time to fill in the cracks as they appear to keep them from going through the entire slab. If the cracks push all the way through the concrete, you may need to have the slab replaced outright to protect your outdoor structure.


Vegetation Control

When the vegetation around your outbuilding starts to grow out of control, it could cause damage to the entire structure. Plants with strong, fast growing branches can actually push through your siding or foundation and split the building materials. Prune or remove the offending plants to keep them from leaving immense destruction in their wake.

Roof Rehabilitation

At the very least, your roof will require a visual inspection to check for damage caused by storms, trees and wildlife. You should take a look at the flashing and shingles to check for wear or damage around the edges. If you find any loose elements, examine the underlayment for rips or tears. Promptly repair all damage to this layer before securing your shingles and flashing back down or your roof may leak when it rains.


Pest Elimination

If you spot just one pest in the vicinity of your outdoor building, you can safely assume there are many more lurking in the shadows. Spiders, field mice, squirrels and even raccoons will start to search for warmer ground as the winter season approaches. Take the time to close up entry points and set traps to protect your outbuilding from potentially costly damage.

Creating a Maintenance Schedule

When you choose to stick to a strict maintenance schedule, you continually rejuvenate your structures, inside and out, to protect your investment for the long term. To ensure you always complete your maintenance procedures on time, write out a yearly task list and hang it on the inside of the door to your outbuilding. Each time you complete the scheduled maintenance, sign and date the paper to check it off your to-do list. Your commitment to timely maintenance will keep your shed looking new far longer than you ever imagined possible.

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.


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.


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.


Understanding How Outdoor Buildings Can Boost Your Property Value


The modern housing market demands the inclusion of unique landscape designs and versatile outdoor buildings. Without these features, you will likely see your property value remain stagnant even as other homes in your neighborhood increase in price. Luckily, upgrading your outdoor buildings can provide a great return on investment when you go to sell your property and increase the overall utility of your home in the meantime. You may love the functionality of the outbuildings so much that you decide to stay rather than sell. In any case, you can facilitate consistent home value increases simply by smartly placing functional and attractive outdoor buildings within the confines of your property.


Home Value Factors

When you add tastefully placed outbuildings to your property, you improve the aesthetic value and overall utility of your home. A simple detached garage structure, for example, can net you a return of up to 80% of your investment. A purpose built structure, such as a studio shed, however, has the power to push that return past 100%.

Furthermore, the return is not the only reason to invest in outbuildings for your home. The addition of detached buildings on the property helps drum up interest faster when you do decide to place your home on the market. Quickly attracting the interest of buyers, and obtaining bids in droves, can reduce your overhead costs throughout the sales process. As a result, more of your funds will remain in your hands just by making this simple investment.


Completing Your Outbuilding Arrangement

Determining the best outbuildings for your home requires a bit of guesswork on your part. You should reflect on the lifestyle and interests of the surrounding community, and take a close look at the layout of your home, to determine the best outbuilding for your project. If you have a pool, for example, consider adding a pool house or Bunkie to the backyard to improve upon that feature considerably. If you live near a lake known for good fishing, consider a detached garage and shed that are both big enough to hold gear for an entire family.

If you decide to add another outdoor building or two to your property but don’t want to start from scratch, many companies sell pre-fabricated buildings that require minimal installation.


Outdoor Building Considerations

To keep costs down, and maximize the return on investment, you can perform the install yourself using the construction video as a guide. You will need to set up a foundation, obtain finish materials, such as shingles and stain or paint, and gather your tools before you start building the shed. Take the time to select an ideal location for your outdoor building to accentuate the layout of your property and increase your home value many times over through the years. Make sure to inquire about the need for a building permit in your jurisdiction, though most structures under 110 square feet are exempt from this rule. Also, double check the zoning rules in your area to ensure your selected placement will abide by the regional guidelines


11 Unique Theme Ideas For Your Outdoor Buildings And Landscape Design


An overarching theme for your outdoor buildings has the power to really tie your landscape design together. You can use the theme to transform the interior and exterior of your outbuildings into a unique custom structure perfectly fit for your personality and interests. From that point, just smartly utilize a few key landscape elements to apply the final touches to your personalized design. Here are 11 interesting theme ideas for you to consider.

Star Field

Make your landscape design look like an extension of the gorgeous night sky with a star field theme. Work with a palette of deep purples and blues, dotted with white starbursts, to recreate the space scene of your dreams.

Mystic Retreat

Rich earth-toned colors integrated with crystals, wind chimes and otherworldly creatures quickly transforms your outbuildings and garden into a mystic retreat. Use silky scarf accents and rich fragrant flowers, such as patchouli and lavender, to take this calming theme to the next level.

Rustic Sanctuary

Harness the colors and textures of rusted metal, reclaimed wood and dried grasses to make your landscape design exude rustic charm. Heavily rely on found materials and hearty plants while creating rustic accent spaces around your outdoor buildings.


Castle Grounds

The commanding atmosphere of castle grounds is captured using regal purple and rich green tones. Try to work stone blocks, hedges and spires into your overall design to recreate this iconic look.

Western Saloon

The western saloon made great use of reds, yellows and oranges across all saturation levels. Wagon wheels, hitching racks and horse sculptures make great accent pieces for this throwback theme.

Coastal Resort

Blues, greens and yellows encapsulate the beauty of the coastal region without overpowering inland features. To recreate the coastal resort theme, include nautical décor, such as lighthouses, life preservers and starfish.

English Cottage

The English cottage often features brown, white and green tones throughout its design. Bird baths, planter boxes and wildlife sculptures give the cottage theme a ton of cute character and charm.

Woodland Refuge

The woodland refuge hides within the forest thickets, so you should use ample brown and green tones on your build. A handmade fire pit, log furniture and stone walkways will bring this theme to life.

Tea Garden

The traditional tea garden appears as rolling hills full of highly fragrant edible plants, so focus on the green spectrum while customizing your outbuildings. Add small koi ponds, woven basket planters and an elegant seating area nearby to complete this invigorating theme.


Vintage Getaway

Shabby chic never fails to impress with its teal, pink and white color scheme. Apply a distressed finish to wood benches and chairs to create inviting seating areas. Create an eccentric garden using distressed bedframes, dressers and cabinets in unique ways.

Fairy Tale

Bright pink, blue, yellow and green work well together when creating instantly recognizable fairy tale landscapes. Waterfalls, topiaries and oversized mushroom sculptures are the perfect elements for this magical theme. Replace your gate with an arched door to ensure you can waltz into you fairy tale wonderland in style.

Completing Your Vision

As you sketch out your outbuilding layout, you may notice that you need to add a small shed, pool house or other outdoor building to your design. To find and acquire the perfect structure, browse through the pre-fabricated buildings created by Summerwood.