garden sheds Posts

10 Things You Need To Know Before Staining Your Cedar

Cooper Creek 9ft x 12ft

Cedar is by far our favourite siding material (check out our post on “The Best Construction Materials for Building Your Own Shed: Sidings”) for countless reasons. Although we understand the need and convenience of maintenance free options, when it comes to siding we simply can’t compete with nature. Western Red Cedar has been our first choice for years due to its durability, ascetic appeal, and environmental sustainability.

At Summerwood, we always recommend that our customers stain their cedar-sided building. But why do you need to do so?  Although you can let your cedar whether naturally when used for a deck or a fence, when you’re using it as a siding the idea is to keep the elements out. You want your beautiful custom backyard building to stay that way, and for your belongings to remain safe and dry inside. Staining the cedar is the absolute best way to ensure this, especially in four-season climates. Since Western Red Cedar naturally lacks pitch and resin, it allows for countless staining options and will accept stain very well if applied correctly. Below, we’ve got 10 tips to get your staining started and keep your outdoor structure looking brand new for years to come.

 

10 Tips for Staining Your Cedar

1. You have three choices: natural, semi -transparent, and coloured or opaque. Consider whether you want your building to look untouched, or add a pop of colour to your yard before choosing.

2. Cedar is known to age gracefully to a soft, silver-grey patina, but it’s wise to keep the rich tones of your cedar siding lasting longer. Transparent stains contain no pigment but have water-repellent features that will help to retain natural tones and slow down the natural colour change process. Win-win!

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3. Semi-transparent stains offer up a hint of colour. They still represent the wood beautifully, but give it a little boost. Grains and knots in your wood will be modified, not enough to take away from its natural qualities though!

4. Coloured/opaque finishes allow you to have fun with your finished product. If you want to go for a dramatic look, or maybe add a little extra charm, this may be the way to go. This option isn’t for the indecisive though, so make sure you know exactly what you want!

5. Once you’ve decided on your finish it’s best to get to work quickly. The sooner you treat your cedar, the better. Although cedar is naturally resistant to rot and decay, staining your siding promptly aids in preventing deterioration.

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6. Prepare your cedar siding by washing it with soapy water to remove any dirt or dust (if any has accumulated).

7. All stains should be applied on a clean, dry surface with a brush to ensure maximum penetration into the grain.

8. Is your cedar siding vertical? Begin from the top to the bottom. Is your cedar siding horizontal? Start at one corner and continue to the other. Go with the grain!

9. Two coats are always recommended when you want to maintain the natural look of Western red cedar.

10. Bask in the glory of your newly finished cedar building for years to come.

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For countless styles and options, cedar is consistently the best choice! Please don’t hesitate to contact the design experts at Summerwood with any questions you may have: 1-866-519-4634.

If you’re ready to design your very own spectacular cedar building, or do some brainstorming, our Design Center will get your creative wheels turning!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

5 Organizational Solutions That Help Eliminate Tool and Toy Clutter

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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
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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
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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.

A She-Shed for the Ladies

Move over Man-Caves, it’s time for a She-Shed!

Copper Creek Summerwood Garden Shed, Backyard Garden She-Shed

We’ve done our fair share of man-cave buildings over the years, but lately the ladies are stealing the spotlight with the new she-shed trend, and why not!? The ladies need a space to relax and unwind too! We’re happy to share some of the projects we’ve done with the design-diva in mind!

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Kathy’s She-Shed Jewelry Store.

Kathy Taylor of Cedarburg, Wisconsin runs a successful business called Kamaria Fine Jewelry. Where does she run her business out of? From her 96 square foot Copper Creek Summerwood building! Kathy’s Copper Creek building functions as not only her she-shed, but as the home of her highly successful jewelry and interior design business. We strongly recommend checking out her work by following her on Twitter @KamariaJewelry. You’ll be glad you did!

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Interior of Kathy’s She-Shed Jewelry Store: Kamaria Fine Jewelry

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Click here for more information about Kathy’s Copper Creek she-shed on our website.
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Before and After Backyard Facelift

At Summerwood we see all kinds of backyard transformations. It often takes just one great garden shed or studio to create an outdoor space worth spending time in. This case came from Toronto, when a customer moved into a home and wanted to give the tired backyard a facelift.

There was an existing structure used for storage but it really didn’t lure you into the space. People often overlook their backyards, not realizing a backyard is an extension of the home. That’s where we came in.

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We tore down the old and weathered storage shelter and got down to business. We didn’t want to overwhelm the space, as the pool was going to be the focal point of the backyard, so we chose a traditional Palmerston garden shed. The owner wanted a spot to house tools, store outdoor furniture, and maybe even for swimmers to towel off and change. The Palmerston was perfect because it neatly fit into the corner without overwhelming the space.

A new fence went up and the Palmerston was incorporated into it, creating a streamlined and clean look. It was a custom job and the results were definitely worth it. By simply installing the Palmerston and putting up a new fence, the backyard quickly came together. While the pool was to be the focal point, we think the Palmerston stole the spotlight.

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