DIY Posts

Family Time: Top 10 Advantages of Involving Kids in Outdoor Projects

1437 (1)

Family Day came and went and it was a nice reminder that spending time with family, unplugged and in-the-moment, is really important. Our Summerwood family practices the age-old saying, “Families that play together, stay together.” It got us thinking that a cohesive family is like a Summerwood build – where all the parts fit together to create something special and built to last.

Life can get busy and sometimes it feels like a luxury for families to come together, but we feel that it can happen at anytime, without a special occasion or holiday. As everyone in the family grows older, it’s important to stay engaged with adventures, experiences and home projects because those memories will last a lifetime. How do we know? For more than 20 years, our customers have shared images and stories of their families working together to create their fabulous builds, whether a gazebo, cabin, playhouse or workshop. We’ve seen multi-generations enjoy their outdoor space, from celebrating life milestones, backyard play dates, to spending relaxing long weekends together.

Proactively scheduling family time is important, so what could be more appropriate than starting on Family Day? With Spring just around the corner, it’s the perfect season to get the family together to construct your Summerwood build, like a shed or workshop in time for gardening. Maybe it’s that cabana, gazebo or pool house your family has wanted to enjoy for the hot Summer months. These outdoor projects are a great way for families to build closer relationships while making memories, and possibly coming across some teachable moments.

Along with the obvious advantage of getting children away from electronics and into the fresh air, there are a wealth of other benefits to including kids in outdoor projects. Here are our Top 10 advantages to involve kids.

 

1. You get to know your child better

Kids grow and change quickly, so scheduled family time is ideal for busy parents to connect with their children. Especially when enjoying an activity together, parents will get to know their developing child better, and see their strengths and aptitudes.

Also, older children tend to share more information about their lives while engaged in an exercise with their parents, rather than when they are asked “What did you do today?”

2. Strengthens family bonds

Working together as a family will not just help build a playhouse or whatever your Summerwood building may be, it also builds strong and caring family relationships.

Families who share activities together as a group form solid, emotional ties, as a special relationship of trust and security develops. Studies have found that families who share in group activities that allow for mindful interaction hold a stronger emotional bond, and an ability to adapt well to situations as a family.

3. Teaches important life skills

Spending time together working on a project, family members learn how to listen and work together, while the child learns the value of communicating effectively and supporting others, important interpersonal skills they can take through life.

Working toward a common goal, they understand there is a plan and that teamwork will make it happen. Kids learn commitment, responsibility, patience, work ethic, and the benefits of being part of a team to make a dream a reality!

4. Builds confidence and self-esteem

Children who spend time with their parents carrying out tasks are learning in a safe and supportive environment.  With the freedom to make mistakes and find solutions on their own in a non-judgmental setting, children begin to gain self-confidence at an early developmental stage in their lives.

When children have a real say in what happens and their views are heard, they will build a positive sense of self-worth, as they know that their parents value them. When children feel that they are valued, they feel greater self-esteem and are better equipped to succeed in life.

Baker25


5. Encourages positive behaviours

When families take the time to participate in meaningful activities together, behavioural problems decrease, and kids are less likely to act out. Research has shown that teenagers with families who spend quality time together are less likely to use alcohol, drugs and engage in risky actions. If children know they can come to you with their tricky situations, they will likely choose better solutions to the issues they face in life.


6. Better school performance

Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom, but what the child learns outside of school can have a positive impact on their performance in school. A healthy emotional well-being, along with positive self-esteem, confidence, and good communication skills can work wonders in the classroom. Numerous studies have shown that children whose parents spend quality time with them perform better in school.

7. Develops creative and problem-solving abilities

Children have curious minds and love to see how things work. They are also eager to create something and to feel proud of the finished achievement. By involving your child in practical pursuits like a Summerwood build, you are nurturing their problem solving and creative skills, which can help develop aptitudes and interests in math, art and other subjects. Before long, the answer to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up” may not be a superhero or an astronaut, but instead be; “an architect”, “a designer” or “an engineer.”

8. Relieves stress

In today’s fast paced, competitive, and technological world, children and teenagers are experiencing higher stress levels than ever before. Time spent in a non-judgemental family situation working with purpose towards a goal, takes children away from the social and school pressures that surround their lives, lowering stress and stimulating feel-good chemicals in their brain.

Talking through the challenges encountered in the project, can also help children learn that the best solution to problems is to talk about them, something that can carry over into the rest of their life, helping them deal with worries.


9. Develops parenting skills

Quality time together with their parents helps kids develop parenting skills for later in their lives.  As children from happy families are more likely to create a loving environment for their own children when they grow up, what you do this Family Day may well have a bearing on how your grandchildren enjoy Family Day in the future.


10. Creates memories

Lastly, active family time creates warm and treasured memories that can last a lifetime. For years to come, every time they enjoy their Summerwood building, parents and children alike will be reminded of happy family times that made it happen.

The adjective “cohesive” comes from the Latin word cohæsio, or “to cleave together.” Cohesive things stick together so they are unified just like your new Summerwood building, and your happy family.

For inspiration on what type of building style your family can choose from, take a look at our 3D tours that showcase the interior and exteriors of some of our most popular builds. For families with younger children, we also have our playhouses that might spark some imagination! Never hesitate to contact us or visit our Custom Design Centre to create a Summerwood build to meet all of your family’s needs.

home-design

 

 

Crowning Our Annual Photo Contest Winners: Top 3 Photos of 2015

 

photo contest 2015 summerwood products

One of our favorite annual events takes place in the Summerwood design office every spring – our extremely popular Photo Contest winners are chosen! We’re blown away by our customers’ enthusiasm for our contest and love picking through the latest photos and awarding cash prizes. Our top prize winner takes home $250, second place takes $150, and third place is awarded a cool $100. Not bad for sending in a few photos of your outdoor project! Remember that if you have photos that you haven’t sent in before it’s never too late to do so; send us your photos today and we’ll enter them into the 2016 contest.

The Top 3 Photos of 2015 (Chosen by our design staff!)

2015 was an exciting year featuring many exciting and custom projects, and as usual selecting our winners was extremely challenging. We receive hundreds of photos every year and selecting three finalists is no small feat!  Without further ado here are our top 3 photos for 2015:

1) 10’x10’ Glen Echo Bunkie from Napanee, Ontario

1st-glen-echo-Cabin-Napanee-Ontario

Our 1st Place Photo Contest Winner for 2015

Once again our Ultimate Glen Echo “Permit-Free” Bunkie was a monster hit among customers looking for extra sleeping space at their vacation and cottage properties. This gorgeous Western red cedar bunkie blends in with the trees and serves as a real lakeside retreat in Ontario – a real asset to any cottage vacation rental looking for “permit-free” sleeping and storage space. The double French doors let in tons of natural light and also allow for storing oversized items over the winter months. As always a pull-down ladder for loft access and lots of opening windows are staples of this building design and allow for relaxation and cool breezes to flow in. The customer-built front deck looks like a great spot to kick back in a comfy Adirondack chair and listen to the waves lap up against the shoreline.

Congratulations to our first place winners and recipients of our $250 cash prize!

 

2) 8’x13’ Verana Studio/Shed from Oakville, Ontario

2nd-Verana-garden-shed-Toronto-Ontario

Our 2nd Place Photo Contest Winner for 2015: “Wow…..this is pretty cool news! We love the garden shed!”

While we love classic garden shed designs we also love when our customers push the envelope and allow style and function to blend together. Our Oakville-based customer was looking for a garden shed that would immediately blend into her yard and feel like it had been there for years. To solve her storage and design dilemma we custom-designed this 104 square foot beauty which was painted to match the existing stucco home. One of the coolest features of this particular shed/studio is that the customer chose to partially insulate the building. Why’s that a good idea? By insulating the floor and wrapping the building with moisture-resistant vapor barrier this customer could easily finish insulating the walls and roof down the road and would have a 4-season studio space. This can be particularly valuable in the event you may need an office or extra guest room, and can also be an enticing feature to potential buyers if you were selling your home.

We adore the transom windows on the sides of the building that let some light into the building but don’t sacrifice the privacy and security of the items stored within. The frosted glass on the front doors will keep the building feeling airy without showcasing the not-so-pretty items stored inside, and a small deck and simple pot lights add to the charm and character of the building. The roof overhang of this building was customized to fit within a tight space and to conform to local bylaws and will keep anyone using the building dry regardless of the weather.

Congrats to our 2nd place finisher!

 

3) 12’x24’ Surfside Cabana in Toronto, Ontario

pool-cabana-toronto-ontario

Our 3rd Place Photo Contest Winner for 2015

What better place to cool off from a refreshing swim or to relax with a cold drink on a hot day? Our Surfside cabana truly lives up to its name on an everyday basis and is one of the most popular pool cabanas with customers and industry professionals alike. These customers were after a building that would blend indoor and outdoor living and would blur the line between inside and out. Huge sliding French doors were the perfect solution! A simple whitewash of the interior makes the building feel bright at any time of the day and some simple yet beautiful décor make this the place to be when hanging out close to the pool. The cedar shingles will age to a silvery grey and will last a lifetime, adding character and definition to the building throughout the years.

So there you have it, our 2015 photo contest winners! Ready to start the process on designing your own custom structure? Click over to the Summerwood Custom Design Center or contact a design consultant today! Have pictures you’d like to send to us? Email them directly to [email protected] or use our online photo upload tool. Check out our Photo Contest page to see past winners, we’ll also soon profile our 2015 honorable mentions on this page as well.

4 Simple Tips for Choosing the Ideal Garden Shed Location

modern-shed-califonia-summerwood

Choosing the perfect location for your garden shed is one of the most important decisions to make for a new storage shed owner, and there are a few different key factors to consider. We get asked about this a lot and thought we’d share a few simple tips for picking the ideal spot in your yard for your new outdoor storage building!

Function

The intended purpose of your storage structure is an important factor in deciding where it should be located. If you’ll be storing bikes or garbage bins then you’ll likely want the building to be located in an area accessible from your front yard. If you’re planning on doing planting, gardening, or going to war with weeds, then you may want to put the building closer to your plants and gardens. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • What is the primary purpose of the building?
  • Based on what I’m using the building for, where will it be most convenient for me to access?
  • Do I need access to a hose or water?
  • Do I need a ramp?storage-shed-potting-gardening

Light and Exposure

It can be easy to forget that lighting a garden shed is critical! There’s nothing worse than working on your yard late into the day and having to put away all of your tools and toys in the dark. Take note of what type of sunlight will shine on your shed’s new location and how this may impact its use. If going into a darker or shaded location you may want to add an extra window or two or perhaps add in some simple electrical to extend available hours of use.

Urban-studio- prefab-custom-workshop-kit-California-summerwood

Ground Conditions

The soil and ground conditions are an often overlooked but essential factor in picking where to put a gorgeous customized storage structure. Locations that have pooling water or low spots in your yard are generally places to avoid. Ideally your site should be level with a slight pitch to the rear to encourage water drainage. In the event you have to build in a tricky location or low-slope area, be sure to prepare your site with ample drainage or a more permanent foundation involving concrete.

shed-foundation-tips

Landscaping

A final consideration is landscaping, and ensuring that future yard plans are considered before deciding on a home for your garden shed. Remember that, while possible, it can be a challenge to move your garden shed after it has been installed, so it is important to carefully consider location prior to installation. Do you plan on installing a pool in a few years? Are you going to tear down your deck and switch to an interlock patio? Is this building going to be a focal point of your yard or would you prefer it be tucked away at the side of your home? These are all significant considerations when picking the perfect spot. Depending on your circumstances it might make sense to hire a landscape architect to prepare a master plan for your yard prior to construction.

prefab-shed-kit-diy-storage-cedar-shingles

These four simple tips are some of our most common suggestions when asked about choosing the perfect location to install a garden shed. Ready to pick the outdoor storage shed that’s perfect for you? Head on over to Summerwood where we have some great garden sheds for sale, and take advantage of exciting Spring savings, but hurry – our 20 or 40 sale ends on April 26, 2016!

The Top Reason to Attend the 2016 Spring Cottage Life Show + FREE Ticket Opportunity!

top-reason-attend-2016-spring-cottage-life-show

It’s that time of year again; Spring has begun to show itself slowly and with the changing seasons Summerwood gears up for cottage season! As Canadians we know to embrace whatever good weather might come our way and to enjoy every possible second that we can in the great outdoors. Read on to learn about the top reason you should attend the 2016 Spring Cottage Life Show, where we’ll be featuring our incredibly popular Glen Echo “Permit-Free” Ultimate Cottage Bunkie, and how you can get your hands on free tickets to the Spring Cottage Life Show.

 

What You Need to Know About the 2016 Spring Cottage Life Show

If you’ve previously attended the Spring Cottage Life Show you might know a little about the amazing little 3-day show that exhibitors and consumers both love for its fun, laid-back “cottage” atmosphere and great mix of eclectic exhibitors. The Main Stage, Model Cottage, and Dock Party (yes, really!) are a few of the neat features that visitors enjoy every year at this show and part of the reason many families make attending this Show an annual tradition. The 2016 Cottage Show is being held at the International Centre at 6900 Airport Rd in Mississauga and features free parking for all visitors (more parking has been added for the 2016 show). All of the information you need, including ticketing information and directions, can be found here.

 

The #1 Reason to Attend the 2016 Spring Cottage Life Show

prefab cabin bunkie cottage show

Our show-stopping Glen Echo “Permit-Free” Bunkie, featuring expansive “bigger than you think” loft space and oodles of natural light.

You may have seen our Glen Echo design at a previous Cottage Show where we always have one of the busiest and most active booth spaces at the show. As a company we love showcasing this incredibly cool product and conversing with our fellow cottage-goers and explaining how this building, or perhaps one of our other prefab cabin designs, is the perfect solution to your cottage storage or sleeping overflow problem.

summerwood-cottage-life-show-booth

Come join the crowd! Our booth is a real highlight of the Spring Cottage Life Show. This year you’ll find us at Booth # 932 in Hall 2.

Why would I want a “permit-free” cottage Bunkie?

As families grow and the need for extra storage and sleeping space increases, you may find yourself looking into potential opportunities for adding space at your cottage or vacation property. The Glen Echo bunkie was designed with you in mind and is the perfect solution for adding beautiful and functional sleeping or storage space in a short time frame. We have DIY and fully installed options available, so regardless of your building and design skills a Bunkie like this is well within your reach. Perhaps the best selling feature of this building is that it can be built without a building permit in many jurisdictions across Canada and the United States; a real benefit given the often lengthy, complicated, and potentially restrictive permitting process in place with many building departments. (*Note: you should always consult your local building department to verify local rules prior to construction*)

sleeping-cabin-bunkie-ontario

The Glen Echo bunkie, built from a DIY kit by our client in Ontario, Canada. It’s the perfect tiny house!

The Glen Echo is designed in a 10′ x 10′ size to clock in at 100 square feet and as a result of its small footprint is typically classified as an “accessory storage structure” under many municipal bylaws, which generally means a building permit application isn’t required when building this unit. The building features a steep roof pitch and “dormers” to open up the ceiling space and create headroom in the loft. The 3′ of roof overhang on the front side of the building, typically not counted as square footage by building departments, adds close to 130 square feet of usable loft space. To learn more please download the building schematics now to learn all about this exciting design and its very handy features. Are you a more visual person? Take a 3D tour now!

loft space cottage life bunkie

Add a mattress or extra large sleeping bag to create the ultimate loft space that kids and adults love!

Come See Us at the Spring Cottage Life Show

You’ll find the Summerwood booth located at Booth #932 in Hall 2 of the International Centre. We’ll have a gorgeous Glen Echo Cottage Bunkie on display where you can take in the space for yourself, ask us questions, and learn about the endless customization possibilities with all Summerwood buildings. We love hearing from our customers – past, present, and future – so please be sure to say hello!

Check out our Bunkie and climb the super cool drop-down ladder. Kids love it!

Check out our Bunkie and climb the super cool drop-down ladder. Kids love it!

Looking for free tickets to the 2016 Spring Cottage Life Show?

We have a limited quantity of complimentary tickets held exclusively for VIP Summerwood customers, please Contact Us for more details and availability.

5 Organizational Solutions That Help Eliminate Tool and Toy Clutter

42225 Gary&Sheila Harris2

With most Americans dedicating up to a year total looking for misplaced belongings, it’s obvious that clutter is a time thief. When every tool and toy in your backyard has its own space, though, you can spend much less time searching for lost items and organizing your home. Start by creating a few dedicated structures designed for holding specific sets of outdoors items. If you take the time to plan out your landscape architecture design, you can integrate organizational nooks that actually accentuate the look and feel of your property. Here are five smart structures you can use to organize and declutter your yard.

Toy Crates

Crate with utensils. Wooden box for glass made in vintage style.

In just one fun-filled afternoon playing outside, your yard likely becomes a minefield of toys that your kids left behind. Kids love to live in the moment and drop whatever they are doing for the next fun activity so cleanup is really a chore if kids don’t have a dedicated place to store their belongings. Milk crates give your kids a place to keep their outdoor toys without the container filling with rainwater and you can stack the crates or use storage hooks to secure them to the side of your shed or fence.

Playhouses
1 playhouse1

If your kids’ clutter extends beyond the random playground ball or Frisbee set, you may want to get a playhouse. The tall roof on the Peach Pickers Porch playhouse, for example, allows kids to store their extra toys without cluttering up their own play space. Or, your kids may love to keep their toy bins on the covered verandah for accessibility during playtime. With a fun, designated place for kids to store their belongings, they’ll rarely need to be reminded to keep their dedicated space clean and organized.

Bench Bins
A garden or patio bench can double as a storage container by utilizing the open space below the seating area. You can find a storage bench premade or customize your outdoor seating to act as an organizational device. Benches allow you to keep your frequently-used gear near specific areas of your yard. For example, you can store your small landscaping tools, kneeling pads and gloves in a bench near your garden beds. Of course, don’t forget to tuck away your seat cushions in the bench to protect them from the weather and local wildlife.

Garage Shelves
marilyn_denis (6)

Extra shelves in the garage allow you to organize your outdoor tools and products along the otherwise unused wall space. The garage shelves can store bins and baskets you use to keep similar items together. You can also arrange the items along the shelves on their own to keep them highly visible and accessible at all times. You will need to determine the best placement and sizes for your garage shelves to keep parking and work areas open and clutter free.

Storage Sheds
sarawak-garden-shed-islip-new-york-195923-1When you just have too much outdoor gear, you may need to invest in a storage shed to hold everything. The storage shed provides both wall and floor space for your landscaping tools, garden products and outdoor recreational items. Custom storage sheds can fit in the corner of your yard, nestle up to the side of your home or stand on their own in a dedicated section of your property. The lean-to and five sided storage shed designs help maximize your storage space without taking up too much of your property. If you want the garden shed to steal the spotlight, you can customize the design and paintjob to match your house’s architecture. You can even add garden beds and planter boxes around the outer perimeter to dress up the place.

Obtaining Beautifully Designed Organizational Solutions
Once you have your landscape architecture plans in hand, contact Summerwood for assistance obtaining the sheds and shelves you need for your yard makeover. You can deeply customize the pre-fabricated sheds to meet your organizational needs. When ordering your shed, you may want to match the exterior siding, paint and trim to your home or create a brand new design. Large and small garage shelf arrangements allow you to make the most of your available space. You can determine an ideal number of shelves to purchase by measuring and planning your garage layout before ordering.

Best Seller: Permit Free Cottage Bunkie

We won’t make you wonder, our most popular building of the season is definitely the permit-free Glen Echo Bunkie!
 

You can almost smell the cedar!

You can almost smell the cedar!

Ultimate Glen Echo Bunkie

Ultimate Glen Echo Bunkie

Here’s a few reasons why Glen Echo Bunkie has been so popular this spring.
Features

  • It’s a 10 x 10 building, so at 100 sq. ft. it’s permit-free in most areas!
    Can you say woo hoo!? Awesome. 
  • 3 foot front-overhang creates a bonus 130 sq.ft. half-storey loft space.
    Perfect for storage or extra sleepers. 
  • Efficient: Front and rear dormers max-out the loft space, enough for a queen size mattress!
  • Customizable: You choose your doors and windows, we have over 50 to choose from.
    So you can gaze upon your lovely view! 
  • Stylish: This Western Red Cedar Cottage Bunkie is a lovely focal point.
    It may steal the spotlight! 
  • Includes an attic ladder which allows access to the loft area, but leaves usable floor space downstairs when folded up.
  • Affordable! We’re a custom builder, allowing you the flexibility of creating a Bunkie that’s as elaborate or simple as you like.
Bunkie view from the front

Bunkie view from the front

Back

Bunkie view from the back

Here’s why

It’s the perfect addition to your cottage property for a lot less than building an addition and living through a renovation. Yes, we did say it’s permit-free, as it’s only 100 square feet! Also, it won’t affect your property taxes, so not only is it lovely to look at, it’s a smart choice. Who says you can’t be both!?

 

Our 10 x 10 Cottage Bunkie doesn't need a permit!

Our 10 x 10 Cottage Bunkie doesn’t need a permit!

What can I use it for?

Well, The Glen Echo Bunkie is perfect for cottage hang-outs, extra sleepers, grandkids and all kids, man-caves, and even as a She-Shed (the ladies need some space too!)