An Office Away from the Office

As Monday morning and a new week approaches, you may find yourself wondering where the weekend went. Maybe you’re not looking forward to a long commute, a stack of papers awaiting you on your desk, or responding to all of those emails. So, how do you make the work week a little bit better?

For those that freelance, or are entrepreneurs, it may be most cost-effective to work from home. But working and living in the same space can cause stress, anxiety and make some feel a little stir-crazy. It’s important to separate work and play, and let your mind relax after a long work day. No one wants to see that stack of papers on their kitchen table! We’re all more productive if we make room for a break, out of sight and out of mind after a long day. But if you’re living in a small space, it can be difficult to achieve this. So what’s the solution? Well, how about moving that space outdoors?

summerwood modern backyard home office

For those with a large enough backyard, a simple home office can completely revitalize the way that you work from home. A home office is a necessity for many, especially with many businesses operating right from their homes. However, for many families the office often becomes a catch-all space where papers and documents are dumped, computers are taken over by kids, and decor is an unfortunately, just an afterthought. So that got us thinking, what if we create an office away from the office, and the home?

Moving your office outside can provide you with privacy and a quiet place to work. We’ll help you create a custom office and separate space in which you can create and explore, while enjoying the nature and solitude of your yard. Whether you work from home, or merely bring your work home with you (as many of us do), having a space that is conducive to getting things done without distraction is essential for many. If you’re tired of interruptions and papers piling up in your office (or anywhere else in the home), a custom office might be just what you’re looking for. Summerwood Products can help you create an office space and private work sanctuary for you, your family or your business, all for less than a home add-on or reno.

Not sure where to get started? Below we’ve got a few points to consider before you begin designing your personal custom home office.


When searching for the perfect backyard home office for you, you must first decide how large a space will fit your needs. You want to ensure that you have enough space to work comfortably, without feeling cramped, but also ensure that the constructed office does not overwhelm the entire backyard. That’s why starting with a plan is ideal. You have the freedom to choose an exact size and truly customize your home office to fit the outdoor space you’re placing it in. Just brainstroming? Visit our Design Center to start generating ideas for your new office studio.

Copper Creek home office with painted cedar shingles

It is also important that you research the bylaws of your municipality to ensure that it is legal to begin building on your property. Generally, any structures larger than 100 sq. ft. require a permit in order to be built, but the rules differ street by street. While building permits are an easy thing to overlook, it is worth taking the time to find out the permit laws in your municipality are in order to avoid a much larger headache – or even a fine – in the future. Find out what you’re allowed to build and we’ll help you build exactly that! For a brief rundown, check out our blog post on the topic: “Building Permits: What You Need To Know”.



Our 5-sided Catalina style fits perfect in a tight corner!
Exterior Options

Customizing your home office exterior can be the perfect way to integrate it into your backyard, creating a fluidity of style that suits your aesthetic tastes and perhaps even matches your home. Have fun with the exterior and customize to your heart’s content. We’ll help you adjust your roof pitch, add a dormer or a cupola, increase wall height, choose siding and pick the perfect windows and doors. We have over 50 to choose from!

Our flat-roof styles are a great option for your modern backyard. See more interior shots of this beautiful space in: “The Modern Verana Pool House”.

9 Hobbies That Need An Entire Shed’s Worth Of Dedicated Space


When you start to dedicate the bulk of your time to a particular hobby, the collection of gear and materials you accrue can quickly take over your living space. As the items pile up, you might find yourself wishing for a place to store and utilize your hobby supplies without taking up room in your home. Luckily, you can create a dedicated space for your hobby in a backyard shed structure. A shed allows you to establish a smart organizational system for your items and even create a workspace for your tasks. If you fancy yourself one of the following nine hobbyists, you may benefit from moving your hobby items and endeavors into a dedicated shed space.


Whether you work with acrylics, oils or watercolors, painting is equal parts messy and gratifying. To really let your creative energy flow, you must have room to manipulate your canvas and splatter your paint at will. In a dedicated shed workspace, you can really let the paint fly without worrying about the state of your surroundings.


To take your photography hobby to the next level, you must have a private space for staged photo shoots and other fun projects. You also need an easily accessible place to store your backdrops, lights and other gear, so you never miss a photo opportunity. A shed equipped with a partition will provide the room you need for continued growth in the world of photography.


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“How many bikes do you need?” is the funniest question that a bicycle enthusiast is ever asked. As the number of bikes is sure to increase, so does the gear to use while riding and tools to work on them when not riding. A bicycle shed is a great place to keep everything in one place and keep it all secure. Plus this will keep the house cleaner and lets you actually park your cars in the garage.

RC Car Extraordinaire

Although RC cars are 1/10th of the size of their real counterparts, their chassis and parts can quickly dominate all of the flat surfaces in your home. Working on your RC cars in a shared space is often a nightmare as well due to the risk of losing extremely tiny parts. Switch to a shed space for your RC cars to reclaim your home’s surfaces and keep drafts, pets and family members from knocking your parts into the unknown.

Candle Maker

Candle making takes messy to the next level as the wax quickly becomes rock hard. Although candles usually smell pleasant enough, melting scented wax in bulk can leave an overpowering scent lingering in the air. Take your candle projects into a shed space to keep your home squeaky clean and free of strong odors.


When the mood to compose music strikes, you cannot cork the creative energy until everyone awakens from their slumber. You must immediately let the music flow through your instruments and jot down your notes to keep the song from escaping for good. You can equip a shed with sound deadening materials to create a quiet place to compose anytime of the day or night.

Rock Hound

When you are a rock hound, the world is truly your oyster. A trip to the creek, park or forest can leave your pockets heavy with interesting rocks of all sizes. Unfortunately, storing those rocks, and the supplies needed for polishing, examining and cataloging them, can take up an ever increasing amount of room. With a shed, you can have your rocks and polish them too without worry about overwhelming your living space.


With dozens of major gaming consoles released in the last few decades, it does not take long to fill your shelves and cupboards with systems, cartridges and discs. As a resolute gamer, you may never say die when it comes to building up your collection. To keep the peace, relocate your gear to a shed and set up the ultimate gaming center for all of your favorite systems.

Card Shark

Although you can host successful card games with nary more than a card table, chairs and a deck of cards, more space means more participants. As a card shark, you build your skills up by playing as many different people as possible so take your games to a shed to draw in the crowd. With the ability to decorate a shed however you want without affecting the feng shui of your house you will soon be hosting the most successful card games on the block.

Establishing A Shed For Your Hobbies

If you do not already have an open outbuilding available for your hobby supplies, you can select the perfect structure by browsing through the options available from Summerwood. With so many different designs available, you will easily find an aesthetically pleasing shed design with a perfectly sized footprint for your yard. Contact the team at Summerwood or visit the Design Center to get started today.


The Telluride Sleeping Bunkie

For those of you who love bunkies, or are just starting to learn more about them (you can do so at “So What Is This Thing Called a Bunkie”), you may already be familiar with our ever popular Glen Echo cottage style. It’s a great addition to any vacation property that adds space without going through a major renovation project. By popular demand, we’re featured the building multiple times. In “The Ultimate Bunkie Build” where we follow one family in their DYI construction from start to finish as well as in “Small in Size, Big on Function: Leading the Tiny House Movement” where one customer utilizes her building as a vacation rental and fully functional tiny home.

glen echo summerwood products custom permit free bunkie

But since we’re crazy about bunkies, it shouldn’t surprise you that we’ve got more than one style up our sleeves. In fact, any of our structures could be transformed into the ultimate cottage bunkie with endless available customizations. One such example is of our Telluride building style, which is traditionally classified as a backyard shed.

Our classic Telluride style.

Our classic Telluride shed style.

Not according to Mimi, from Madoc, Ontario. The Tellurtide style was an instant hit with her, and she wanted to enlarge it slightly and use it as a cabin in her spacious backyard. Mimi’s biggest dilemma? Avoiding the permit process (if you’d like to learn more about permits, take a look at “Building Permits: What You Need To Know”). This meant trying to keep the building under 110 ft.² (which is particular to her area) without losing too much space and functionality. Mimi liked a simple design, without too many distracting details. She opted to include a loft space above, which is a great way of increasing space, without altering the footprint. Mimi preferred the Telluride as it traditionally features less overhang than our Glen Echo style and presents a more rustic look. When you’re customizing from start to finish, even the smallest design decisions are yours to make.

The Telluride used as a sleeping cabin in Madoc, Ontario

Mimi’s Telluride used as a sleeping cabin in Madoc, Ontario

With the help of our design team, Mimi was able to achieve her goal. We helped her transform our Telluride style from shed to bunkie that Mimi now uses as a adorable sleeping cabin, right in her own backyard. Mimi loved how the structure accommodated all her needs, all while avoiding the permit process. Mimi’s favourite part? The loft of course “it adds much needed sleeping space, and dimension to the face of the building.”

In Mimi’s words, “We had a wonderful experience with Summerwood, from exploring all our dreams with Pat, to making them come true with Brandon and the whole rest of the team. We are in love with our sleeping cabin! It’s a gem in the countryside. And it fits right in.”

It’s always a pleasure to hear these kind words, especially about a bunkie! We can’t get enough.

10 Ways To Make Your Backyard More Younique

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If you want your backyard to reflect your unique personality, the ordinary lawn and garden has got to go. You must integrate personalized elements into your backyard design to make it truly one-of-a-kind. With the right blend of elements, your friends and family will instantly recognize your backyard as an extension of your individuality. Combine any number of the innovative elements listed below to create a fully customized backyard space to enjoy for years to come.

1. Rock Garden

Your backyard space will take a unique turn with the inclusion of a Zen rock garden. Frame out the area with simple bricks and place your rocks in an interesting configuration. Fill the rest of the area with tiny, round pebbles to complete your garden. Make sure to regularly rake the pebbles into smooth ripples that mimic the movement of water.

2. Miniature Orchard

If you do not have room for a full size orchard, utilize dwarf fruit trees to create a miniature version right in your backyard. Place your dwarf fruit trees in containers to limit their normal 10-foot height to about four feet at maturity. You can find almost all fruit tree varieties in this tiny size, including peaches, lemons, limes, oranges, cherries, bananas, apple and figs.


3. Log Pathways

Utilize log slices of various circumferences to create a pathway you will be proud to walk down. The wood stain covered logs will display their age for all to see without succumbing to the elements. You can choose to leave the bark on for a distinguished look or display the wood with bare edges to create a design that looks a bit more uniform.

4. Heart Planters

Beauty and brawn come together in heart shaped planters made of concrete. You can pair large and small heart planters together in various spaces throughout your yard or create a full line of hearts to separate two areas of your yard into separate sections. Make sure to plant tall flowers with wispy greenery to continue your theme of opposing elements.

5. Block Wall

With a block wall, flowers almost seem to defiantly jut out from the crevices in an attempt to soften the edges of this tough structure. Create this structure by stacking cinder blocks into a wall up to your desired height. Stagger the ends to leave a cinder block hole, or two, exposed for use as a planter. Create additional planters by turning every third or fourth block perpendicular to the others. You can create a partial wall or use the structure to actually surround a specific area in your backyard.

6. Animal Bushes

Turn ordinary bushes into extraordinary creations by shaping them into the animals you love. You can turn any bush displaying white flowers into a sheep by shaping the plant into an oval and adding a ceramic head, four legs and a tail. Consider turning dense green bushes into frogs, lizards, birds and grasshoppers by shaping the plant using pruning tools and an artistic touch.

7. Pond Container

Build a pond garden in a large container to take your backyard space to the next level. With a small pump, this type of garden will basically maintain itself. Fill the pond with aquatic plants, including cattails, water poppies, irises, taro and lily pads. Your pond will attract frogs, lizards and local wildlife for you and your guests to watch while you relax outdoors.

8. Rain Chains

Replace your boring downspouts with rain chains to make the most of sudden rain showers. Water lazily trickles down the chains to the ground below without making a peep. Carefully place the chains to allow the rainwater to naturally provide thirsty plants with extra moisture.

9. Fire Pit Sculpture

A beautifully sculpted fire pit can light up the night with your favorite scenes, animals or shapes. Choose a fire pit design that matches your backyard theme or personal interests. Make sure to place the pit in an area that allows you and all of your guests to crowd around it together on chilly nights.

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10. Tree Trunk Seats

Your backyard is not complete without a full set of tree trunk seats. These simple seats can be placed around a fire pit or aligned tightly together as an impromptu garden bench. You can move the trunks as you see fit to customize your backyard arrangement on the fly.

Completing Your Backyard Build

Once you get your backyard design elements squared away, consider adding a cabin or studio as the main focal point. Your stylish outdoor structure can act as a dedicated space for your artistic endeavors or just as a place to relax after a long workweek. You can obtain prefabricated, purpose built cabins and studios from Summerwood. These structures are always easy to order, construct and personalize. Browse through the options and customize it with the online Design Center to select the best one for your needs.

Backyard Gym In A Shed: Get Your Fit On

pair of sport shoes hang on a nail on a brown wooden wall

pair of sport shoes hang on a nail on a brown wooden wall

If you are continuously rescheduling your daily community gym trips, and then failing to find time the next day, you are likely in need of a big change. Instead of shuffling around your full schedule, how about simply changing the location of your workouts? If this seems like a great idea, you are in luck. You can actually create a backyard gym-in-a-shed to always have a rejuvenating workout session waiting right outside your door. This innovative fitness structure provides all of the benefits of a home gym without taking up precious real estate inside your home.

Instant Accessibility 

The time you spend getting ready to go to the gym, and battling traffic to get there, would be much better spent working out in the comfort of your very own fitness space. With a backyard gym-in-a-shed, you can take a quick one-minute walk out back to instantly access your workout room. Instead of striving to visit the gym twice a week, you can actually make it to your home gym just about every day. If you still do not have the time for workouts, consider pairing up activities with your exercise sessions. For example, you can make sure you do not miss your favorite shows while you work out by placing a TV near your treadmill. Alternatively, spend your time making phone calls or talking with family while you power through an evening session on your elliptical.

Total Privacy

Feeling intimidated and self-conscious often discourages many people from heading to the gym for an exercise session. Furthermore, it just takes one wrong move or compromising incident and you may feel too embarrassed to ever return. Your backyard gym gives you total privacy as you try out new exercises or use the machines as you see fit. You do not have to worry about feeling embarrassed as you perform your favorite moves or push your prior limits. You will never fret about how you look when you are working out in your own private space.

Complete Freedom


To enjoy your own tunes at the gym, you must charge your MP3 player, load up your playlist ahead of time and battle your headphones throughout your exercise session. If you have ever run out of battery mid-workout, you already well know the pain of drudging through a workout to the radio piped in overhead. Luckily, you can avoid that whole mess in your very own gym-in-a-shed. You can equip your shed with a powerful stereo system to listen to motivational songs and belt out the lyrics at full volume. Arrange the speakers around your fitness equipment to enjoy a personalized surround sound environment.

Entirely Customizable

At the community gym, you might feel pressure to conform to a certain fitness role and stick with it until the end of time. Unfortunately, that is just not realistic in the long run. As you search for your niche, you may go from cardio extraordinaire to weightlifting superhero, and back again, in just a matter of years. Switching around does not just allow you to find your favorite exercises and routines – It also helps you build the perfect balance of strength and endurance. By having your own gym space, you can customize it with the fitness equipment and tools you need for each of the exercise programs you try out. You can split the room down the middle to utilize one side for your power rack and the other for your treadmill and elliptical. You may even want to keep the extra equipment well organized in a separate shed for immediate access when you switch back to your prior routines.

Building Your Backyard Gym-In-A-Shed

To start constructing your very own dedicated backyard gym-in-a-shed, obtain a spacious outdoor structure from Summerwood. You can customize the shed’s size and layout using the Design Center right on the site. Once you create your perfect build, simply order and construct the prefabricated building on your lot. With your shed in place, you will have the space you need to create the perfect home gym environment for your needs. Quickly equip the backyard gym with your favorite fitness equipment and get going on your brand new fitness routine.

3 Structural Design Elements That Increase Interior Space

Regardless of what you’re using your backyard building for, in many cases they’ll have one thing in common: they’re as large as possible, without infringing on the overall design or building limitations. This isn’t surprising since most of us are interested in squeezing out as much space as possible to maximize functionality. Increasing the size of the structure gives you more storage options or livable space, but rarely do we consider the design elements that can create space, without increasing the footprint. Contemplating design details such as dormers, roof pitch and lofts can drastically impact interior capacity and the overall purpose of the space. These should be thought about early in the design process as they are structural and cannot easily be added at a later date. Below, we’ve got 3 structural components you can add to virtually any out-building to expand interior space as much as possible.

summerwood products cottage bunkie window dormer


A dormer is a structure that is added to the roof of any building, often to add dimension to the overall design. In most cases, dormers include windows but they don’t have to. Dormers are a fantastic addition to any room as they greatly increase both light and height in a space. If you are using the room as extra sleeping quarters, or even just as a loft hangout, the addition of window dormer provides much needed light.

summerwood products fan window gable dormer

Why not take the opportunity to gaze at the stars from your bunkie window just before you fall asleep? Ensuring that a few of the windows open and include a screen will allow you to welcome a breeze without becoming bug bait as well. Perhaps the biggest benefit of installing a dormer is gained ceiling height. Whether you’re using the space for sleeping or storage, increasing vertical space will make the room far more versatile for both. It’s nice to have the ability to stand up freely in a small loft space without bumping your head!

The interior of a dormer, increases height!

The interior of a dormer, increases height!

A shed dormer may be the ideal solution. If the space is meant for storage, increased height allows you to put away some larger and taller items that can be tricky to store in the winter months. If your building is a 3-season structure, incorporating dormers allows you to store away items like seasonal patio furniture, so your garage doesn’t turn into a cluttered disaster!

A shed dormer can add vertical space and light to a small loft.

A rectangular shed dormer can add vertical space and light to a small loft.


Roof pitch refers to the slope, or incline of a roof.

Roof pitch specifies the slope, or incline of a roof.

Roof pitch refers to the incline of a roof. A roof can be flat and modern or dramatically sloping with a peaked gable. In both cases the pitch is described with a measurement such as 1/10 or 12/12 pitch. This measurement is common when discussing roof pitch, and it’s important to understand it in order to determine how steep or flat you would ultimately like your roof to be. A 1/10 pitch can be seen on very contemporary style buildings, such as our Urban Studio seen below. Some slope is necessary to ensure water and snow gradually slide off the structure.

summerwood products modern flat roof backyard building

In contrast, a 12/12 roof pitch is just about as steep as you can go! The larger the first number in this measurement, the greater the incline. Why would you want such a steep roof pitch? Well there are multiple reasons, and considering snow runoff as previously mentioned is an important thing to keep in mind depending on what kind of climate you live in. Additionally, an increased pitch maximizes the amount of usable interior space, so you need to consider the inside when choosing your roof as well.

If you're using wall height top to bottom, consider bringing in light through some skylights!

If you’re using wall height, top to bottom, consider bringing in light through some skylights!

An open truss or attic truss design provides you with an incredible amount of head-room and open clearance. Or, you may be able to add a floor and create a second storey, or at least a half storey. This is extremely practical for storing away large items, or can even be used as a sleeping loft!

A 12/12 pitch allows for an additional loft space above. Read more about our garage style here.

A 12/12 pitch allows for an additional loft space up above. Read more about our garage styles here.


A loft can be added to just about any style of building and can dramatically increase the size and functionality of a space. A single storey building may be all that you need at the moment, but adding a loft presents you with additional options for years to come. A loft can be used as a private hangout, as guest accommodations or simply for storage.


Cozy loft sleeping quarters.

Cozy loft sleeping quarters.

With the addition of screened-in windows and a drop down ladder, a loft becomes a secret getaway and can feel like a tree house escape. Our bunkie is our most popular loft building, and is predominantly used for this purpose. Take our advice though, if you’re creating a sleeping loft in your cabin or cottage don’t choose a metal roof, they can get pretty noisy during those summer rain showers!

For more from this post, head to: "The Ultimate Bunkie Build"

For more from this post head to:“The Ultimate Bunkie Build”.

See more of our Bunkie here.

See more of our Bunkie here.


In most cases, our customers choose a building that incorporates some of these elements, or a combination of all three. How to squeeze the most space out of a small out-building is important to consider at the beginning of the design process as structural elements such as these may make all the difference once you’re using it. At Summerwood, we have engineers and designers on staff who can walk you through the technical and structural details with ease. If you’re feeling inspired and ready to brainstorm your ultimate custom building, try our design center where you can start dreaming! You can drag and drop options such as windows and doors onto any of our building styles, and when you’re ready for more information, please give us a call: 1 866 519-4634.

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