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Our New Garden Rooms
(Under 12m2) Specification

This article is about our former summerhouse specification, which has since been replaced by our brand-new Garden Rooms (under 12m2). It's worthwhile reading, but to jump straight to learning more about the new spec, click on!

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By Cara Mackay on 11 Jun 2019

Does my summerhouse really need a base?


So, let’s get right to it then… here’s everything you need to know about prepping a summer house base….

“Hang on? What?

You need a summerhouse base? What’s that all about then?

Surely a summerhouse has a floor, right? So can’t you just plonk it in the garden and have your pals round for wine time?”

Easy there Janice, not quite. It’s really important that you have a base installed BEFORE your summerhouse arrives, and here’s why…

Please note: We highly advise that you obtain landscaper quotes for base work before ordering your building to obtain a full and clear picture of project costs.

Why do I need a base for my summerhouse?

Summerhouses typically weigh around 1 – 2 tonnes, depending on what you want to put in them. They are heavy buildings, especially if you are turning them into a home office, a studio – or anything else that is going to involve furniture and people in it.

And these heavier timber garden buildings need a solid base to keep them steady. Whether you’re looking at larger summer houses or smaller summerhouses – they all need a good base for your garden.

If we don’t prepare an evenly laid, proper base for her then she’ll sink, subside and generally get a bit grumpy about the whole thing. And nobody wants a grumpy summerhouse!

You’re spending a good amount of money on a summerhouse, especially if you are investing in one that’s going to last. Making sure that your summerhouse base is sturdy ensures the longevity of your garden building.

A solid summerhouse base also ensures the building remains level, this stops any carry-on with the doors falling out of square. I tell you, the number of times I’ve had to send Grant out to adjust a contracted door and he gets there and it has nothing to do with contraction, it’s because their base isn’t substantial enough.

It saves everyone’s time if we get it right from the start. So…

How do I build a summerhouse base?

Well, let’s have a wee think about what’s already there.

Typically, you’ll have an area in your garden that makes you think… “Ooh, that would be just spot-on for our summerhouse, that bit there!”.

If you’re lucky you’ll be looking at a nice flat lawn, meaning it’s an easy, straightforward process to get your new garden building in situ.

And it all starts with a little excavation…

Step 1: Dig down to firm ground

Isn’t she pretty?

What I really love about this particular site, is that the base layer (J.R. Evans) has taken the measurements of the summerhouse alone and marked out the maximum area that is required.

what kind of base do i need for a summerhouse pic 01
Dig down to firm ground

It’s really important that the summerhouse base is seen as just that. A base for the summerhouse and not as part of the overall landscaping of the garden.

Making sure you prepare a base to the measurements required will ensure that the slabs remain underneath the summerhouse and DO NOT exceed the perimeter of the summerhouse.

In doing this you allow all the water that comes off the roof of the summerhouse to run clear of the base and don’t invite the water to lay logged on the slabs.

Don’t fret if you would like paving slabs around or leading up to your summerhouse, I will talk about that later.

Once you have marked out your size, you need to dig down to solid ground. This basically means past ground level the topsoil/turf and to the point where the ground is really firm. Usually about 6”/150 mm.

As you do this, make sure you keep your basic level, as you don’t want it slopping before you’ve even started.

Step 2: Fill and compact Type 1 Hardcore.

Lay Type 1 Compacted Hardcore* – this provides the stability and hold required for the slabs and Summerhouse itself. You should expect to fill up the excavated area by 4”/100 mm or so with the hardcore.

You’ll need a whacker to get it level:

what kind of base do i need for a summerhouse pic 02
Fill with Type 1 Hardcore and compact down to level

Looking good!!

*Type 1 Hardcore: stone/rock blended material used as a sub-base. Specifically used for creating an even surface when building driveways, roads, footpaths or bases.

Step 3: Laying the paving slabs

So your base area has compacted T1 Hardcore in it and it’s ready for the next stage, laying the paving slabs.

Laying a paving slab base isn’t rocket science but if you’re not persistent with the level then it can get tricky quickly.

Ideally, you want to use building sand to allow the slabs a tight compact surface to rest upon.

The cornerstones to your summerhouse slabbed base would definitely benefit from being concreted in place. It just keeps everything neat and in square, so start with them, OK?

You may also need to play around with them a little as you maintain your level, but eventually, it’ll look something like this…

A pristine summerhouse base

what kind of base do i need for a summerhouse pic 03
Summerhouse base done right ♥️

OHYA BEAUTY!

This is a pristine slabbed area, perfect for a 12’ x 10’ summerhouse to sit flush on top.

Do you like what the base layer has done with the gravel surround? Do you know WHY he has done this?

Well. When the water runs off the summerhouse we want it to go as far away as possible from the building – this prevents damp and water ingress. What the gravel surround does is, it acts as a soakaway for all the rain. Pure brilliant!

We recommend you leave a neat 6”/150 mm gap between the summerhouse base and any other continuing landscape (deck, decorative slabs, grass, etc.).

what kind of base do i need for a summerhouse pic 04
150mm gravel gap around summerhouse

You can see in this picture there are steps leading to the summerhouse, gravel, and then the slabbed base tucked neatly underneath the summerhouse.

It’s important to say also, that the area between the slabs and the bottom of the doors is made up of bearers, then floor joists, then flooring. This allows the cross structure to continue supporting the summerhouse for bearing weight and also allows the summerhouse floor to breathe.

Do you need a summerhouse base?

Well….aye you do. We recommend a base for any timber garden buildings, but when it comes to hefty buildings like summerhouses and garden rooms the longevity of our building is going to be impacted by the base.

You might be thinking of putting your summerhouse on timber decking, or something similar, but the slabbed base we’ve described here is the gold standard for a summerhouse.

A ground screw base is something we recommend for bigger timber buildings like a garden room, it’s an eco-friendly option, but can be an expensive alternative. So this way of creating a concrete base using paving slabs is ideal for a summerhouse base.

I’m really glad we’ve had this chat, you know. It’s possible you won’t want to do all this work yourself though. You’ll likely employ a highly skilled landscaper like Homescape in Perth to do it all for you. But at least you now know why your summerhouse needs a base and how to do it.

All good?

Great!

All my Shed Love,

Natty x

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