(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This article is about our former summerhouse specification, which has since been replaced by our brand-new Garden Rooms (under 12m2).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!
|What we’ll cover in this article…
|1. Best summerhouse suppliers Scotland
2. Best summerhouse manufacturers Scotland
3. Paterson’s Garden Buildings
4. Balmuir Sheds
5. Central Fife Sheds
It’s pretty unusual to find a topic where Google can’t throw tons of useful information at you. But I honestly thought I’d go mad trying to review the top summerhouse manufacturers in Scotland.
Our last review of summerhouse manufacturers in Scotland was way back in 2017, so it’s definitely due for an update.
If you’re in a hurry and want to skip straight to the review – go for it.
The rest of this article will deal with the difficulties of finding the best Scottish summerhouse manufacturers, and explain how to navigate these difficulties.
Why should you buy from a Scottish Summerhouse manufacturer?
Google is a funny old thing.
The more I learn, the more I’m simultaneously impressed and horrified. You see, they really want to help you find what you’re looking for. These days they finish your sentences while you’re still typing.
So I honestly didn’t think it would be difficult to find a range of Scottish summerhouse manufacturers. But the Scottish and Manufacturer part is proving tricky, it means they need to be designed and constructed by Scottish firms here in Scotland.
The Scottish Government want to support Scottish businesses in order to grow our economy. Keeping your money in Scotland is a great way to support communities and the country as a whole.
But there’s actually a much less noble but no less valid reason for buying your summerhouse from a Scottish manufacturer: if anything goes wrong, you know who to contact.
Timber buildings are complicated beasts sometimes. Even the most skilled craftsmen can’t always account for the weather or the particular setup you have in your garden. Sometimes, with the best will in the world, your summerhouse will need a bit of extra care from an expert. If that happens, you’ll ideally get in touch with the people who designed and built your summerhouse. If they’re a decent company, they’ll come out and sort it for you, or at least give you the information you need to sort it yourself.
No call centres, faceless chatbots or messing around. That’s what we all want, isn’t it?
A real-life person who can help with our real-life problems.
So I was stunned to discover that there are very few companies in Scotland making their own summerhouses. I was so surprised that I went off to ask Gillies & Mackay themselves about it (Grant and Cara.) They pointed out that making summerhouses is a difficult enterprise. It needs a great deal of skill, expertise and experience that many companies either don’t have or don’t want to nurture.
What is a Summerhouse Supplier?
It’s much easier to act as an agent for one of the many summerhouse supply companies. And upon my search, I realised that’s what most of those companies popping up on Google were offering.
This most likely means that the summerhouse is mass-produced somewhere else, and then shipped off to a supplier to be sold nationwide. If something goes wrong they might not be nearby, and they probably can’t help you fix it (as they didn’t actually build it).
Here are some of the usual suspects I keep running into on my quest to find quality Scottish summerhouses:
I’ve been seriously tempted to change just one letter of their name and tell you all what I really think about Shire summerhouses, but I’ll try and rein myself in. Shire is a British manufacturer of summerhouses and other garden buildings based in Oxfordshire.
Screwfix, B&Q and Buy Sheds Direct all supply Shire summerhouses. Since they’re 12mm “European softwood” (whitewood, I’ll wager) they’re not worth your time or money, unless you really really love maintaining a leaky summerhouse.
Lugarde is a Dutch manufacturer that makes log cabins and summerhouses, that are poorly equipped for the Scottish climate. Spruce won’t cut it here, and their summerhouses don’t even come with a floor as standard!
The summerhouse section of their website is full of garden rooms, which is annoying. Don’t be seduced by them!
TGB summerhouses are Scottish-made at their workshop in Glenrothes. However, they are very clear that they are suppliers of summerhouses – they don’t sell them directly.
This ticks the box for supporting a Scottish business but doesn’t solve the problem of who’s responsible for aftercare if anything goes wrong.
Shedlands are based in South Yorkshire and have outlets all over the UK.
I feel particularly aggrieved at Shedlands because several of their Scottish suppliers don’t mention that they’re suppliers. In some cases, it was extremely difficult to identify whether or not the summerhouses were made in-house until I found the Shedlands website and realised that I’d seen all those photos before.
Don’t get me started!
You can buy Billy-Oh sheds and summerhouses everywhere from Amazon to Argos to Garden Buildings Direct. They’re cheap summerhouses and you get exactly what you pay for. The company is based in Worksop.
You can buy direct from Billy-Oh, but honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Worcestershire-based Forest Garden proudly proclaim that they are a British company using British timber. This is a red flag right away – British-grown timber is fast-growing and of poorer quality than timber grown in cold, stable climates. It’s pure rubbish when you subject it to Scottish weather and temperature changes.
They supply buildings to retailers like B&Q, The Range and Wickes, and you can also buy direct from their website.
The supplier of Forest Log Cabins, featured in the 2017 review, Bertsch Holzbau a Polish supplier of log cabins and summerhouses. You know how we feel about log cabins in Scottish weather.
Who is the best summerhouse supplier in Scotland?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all summerhouses built by suppliers are terrible. But this article is about the best Scottish summerhouses, and none of these suppliers fit that description because they don’t actually make them.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of summerhouse companies in Scotland are selling products from these suppliers. This is another really great reason to seek out a summerhouse manufacturer – in many cases, they will be selling far superior products.
The best of the bunch is TGB Scotland, but make sure to check individual specifications carefully using our Summerhouse Buyer’s Checklist.
It’s worth noting that if a summerhouse company is making their own buildings, it’ll proudly proclaim this fact on its website and in any marketing materials. If this information is omitted or hard to find, chances are they’re suppliers rather than manufacturers.
Who are the Best Summerhouse Manufacturers Scotland?
Let’s get down to brass tacks!
A quick reminder of our review rules:
We’ve written about Paterson’s before, and any industry insider will tell you that they make a damn good timber building.
But…if my only experience was their website, I’d be hard-pushed to find that out for myself.
19mm cladding is a great start, but Red Pine is their timber of choice, with no information about its origin. There’s also nothing else about the specifications of the buildings or their prices.
There are photos of various timber buildings and a section of glowing customer reviews, but presumably, the only way to actually find out what Paterson’s do is to get in touch. This seems like a wasted opportunity – our CEO put them at the top of her review of Scottish summerhouse manufacturers, but there’s not much to see here that actually reflects that.
Paterson’s Summerhouse Reviews
Paterson’s has really great reviews on both Facebook and Google, with customers describing buildings that have lasted for 20 years, which is an obvious mark of quality. They post regularly on a range of social media platforms.
Paterson’s Summerhouse Prices
They’re obviously doing good work, but why so shy about their prices?
Comments on their Facebook posts asking for prices don’t have replies, so presumably, these questions have either been ignored or answered privately.
Maybe everything they make costs seven billion pounds.
Maybe they accept payment in beans?
I’d love to be able to tell you, BUT I HAVE NO IDEA!
Since I can’t choose a summerhouse model to compare, and I don’t have a specification, there’s not much more I can tell you about Paterson’s, other than to direct you to the previous review.
The 2017 review mentions a brochure, but I can’t find this anywhere on their current website. I’m disappointed, as I’ve heard so much about this company and their reviews are excellent, but rules are rules!
Patersons’s Pricing Update
Sheddies – I have an update for you. It wasn’t quite right for me to just leave it at that – my job is to answer your questions and my rules weren’t letting me do that. So I had a friend contact Paterson’s to ask them for a price list, so I could give you at least an idea of how much a summerhouse might cost.
They wouldn’t give her one. They asked for more details.
Does this mean that there are no standard prices at Paterson’s?
They won’t let a customer know how much their cheapest and most expensive buildings cost.
How do their customers know if they’re paying the same as other customers for the same building?
Does someone just make up a price on the spot and expect that customers will be ok with that?
What madness is this?
In our experience, customers don’t always know what they want when they first start looking at summerhouses. That’s why it’s a great idea to go to a show area to take a look. You can see for yourself how big your building needs to be, which design features you like, and whether there are any extras to discuss. I don’t know if Paterson’s has a show area, because – you’ll be shocked to hear – their website doesn’t mention this.
It’s very unusual for a customer to arrive at our sales office saying, “We’re looking for a 10’x10’ pent roof summerhouse with two extra opening windows and an additional 6’ canopy.” I presume that if they knew this information in advance they might be able to contact Paterson’s and ask them for a price. They might even get a response!
So essentially, Paterson’s (allegedly) build high-spec buildings for secret prices for customers who already know exactly what they want and don’t mind having to work really hard to get information out of the company.
2. Balmuir Sheds
Balmuir Sheds build a decent timber summerhouse.
Do you know how I know that?
IT’S RIGHT THERE ON THEIR WEBSITE! Hurray!
I have a couple of small complaints to make about Balmuir’s website. They state their summerhouses are built to the same specifications as their sheds, but they don’t link to that specification. You have to go back to the homepage to then find the shed specification. But at least it’s there!
Also, there are no photos of their summerhouses, just a text description saying that the summerhouse comes with a Pent Sloping Roof to the rear of the summerhouse.
Redwood is listed as their building material, but there’s no information about its origin.
But everything else is there: a sturdy 19mm weatherboard floor and roof, slightly thinner but still respectable 16mm weatherboard on the walls, 32mm x 75mm treated framing, roofing material, the whole shebang.
Given that this is a modest but decent specification, I really want to know where they source their timber from…
Balmuir Summerhouse Prices
Do you know what else Balmuir has on their website? PRICES. A 10’ x 10’ pent summerhouse costs £3562.
After searching through so many information-free summerhouse websites, this is an absolute breath of fresh air, and very welcome.
Thanks for making my job (and your customer experience) a wee bit easier, Balmuir!
3. Central Fife Sheds
Central Fife Sheds might start to think I’m stalking them, with all the writing I’ve done about them recently. They were top of my Best Summerhouse Manufacturers in Fife list, and I used one of their sheds to test my Summerhouse Buyer’s Checklist.
But there’s a really good reason for this, and other summerhouse companies should take note:
Central Fife Sheds have a clear, informative website that tells me all I need to know about their products. Like Balmuir, their specification is modest but decent. It could be better, but they’re offering good, honest timber summerhouses for reasonable prices. I’d definitely recommend paying for the cladding upgrade they offer, but I also wish the framing was a bit more sturdy to support the additional weight of that cladding. Here’s their full specification:
While it isn’t listed here, the About page of their website states that they only use Scandinavian redwood for their buildings. 15mm is their standard cladding size, but their upgraded cladding is 19mm.
With the upgraded cladding, a 10’ x 10’ pent summerhouse is £3059. Kudos to you for also giving me the information I need to review your products.
I don’t need to phone or email to know if this is a summerhouse I can afford and want to buy. It’s all right there. Easy peasy!
With these specifications, I can’t say hand-on-heart that Central Fife Sheds are building the best summerhouses in Scotland, but I can at least determine what kind of summerhouses they’re building.
Why is it so difficult to find the best summerhouse manufacturers in Scotland?
Sheddies, I’ve done my best here. But the fact remains that buying a top-quality summerhouse made in Scotland is frankly a pain in the arse.
Before I call someone for more information, I want to have a vague idea of how much their products cost. If they’re out of my budget then I’m wasting their time and mine, given how easy it would be to just put it on the website. Even a ballpark figure is better than nothing.
Also, literally every company website everywhere proclaims all over their website that they’re using top-quality materials and that everything they do is amazing. That’s just white noise at this point. Give me facts, please. Demonstrate why your product is worth my attention. Be specific and don’t hide anything, otherwise I’ll assume that, well, you’re hiding something.
So this is my plea to the summerhouse-makers of Scotland: If you do nothing else, please include DETAILED SPECIFICATION and PRICE on your website.
All the way back in 2016 25% of adults in the UK who owned a smartphone never used it for calls.
I can’t imagine that we’ve all gotten much more likely to make phonecalls over the last seven years. Making your potential customers phone you for information is convenient for you, not for them. Please make life easier for your customers!
Sheddies, if you do manage to find a summerhouse manufacturer providing you with this vital information whose website I have somehow missed, please do let me know. You can contact us below. Questions are always welcome, but I hope that they’re not as difficult to answer as this one was.
You can also take a look at our Learning Centre for more information on all things shed, summerhouse, garage and garden room.