Summerhouses really can serve so many roles in a garden. When we first started thinking one would look nice in the corner of our garden, we probably pictured ourselves sitting reading and sipping wine as the sun went down. Maybe chatting with our grown-up children when they visited.
That has happened on the odd occasion but wow what other uses it has adapted to over the years too.
We chose SuttonSheds in Coningsby to manufacture and install our summerhouse and haven’t regretted it once. Their designs fitted our style, and the Sutton men helped us through the options available – veranda or no veranda, opening windows or not, base requirements, guttering etc. etc.
The building arrived within the timescale stated and was installed easily in half a day by one of the Sutton brothers and their employee. I clearly remember sitting in there on that first summer evening, rain pouring down outside, feeling rather smug that we were still out in the garden drinking our wine!!
Now the fun began as I laid carpet tiles on the floor and arranged the furniture. I made curtains and bunting, indulging my inner home maker. I found a lovely new home for many things that could now come out of the house. I dried rose petals and hung herbs from the beams. What a restful new room it became.
It has always been a great space to store the garden furniture and cushions over winter, with never a hint of damp. With the inevitable loss of our parents, many of their treasures are displayed on the summerhouse shelves – memories abound. My Mum’s old blanket box got a coat of paint and looks great while storing blankets, tablecloths, and seat pads for the garden. I was able to keep a spoon collection which wouldn’t have had a home without the summerhouse.
Many a summer party has ended up with a gathering in the summerhouse by the last remaining friends, late into the evening. We’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and retirements and it’s even been really useful at two wedding garden parties. The summerhouse came into its own to house the music for a small post lockdown wedding garden party when one of our sons got married after two postponements due to Covid.
When we fitted a new kitchen in our bungalow, we re-purposed some of the old cupboards into the summerhouse, including the old combination oven/microwave and a small fridge. So, a whole new world opened up – al fresco dining became so much easier and happened much more frequently. Picnic plates and cutlery are stored in the summerhouse, the bbq sits outside the door and the oven is on hand too. Beer in the fridge, and all is good. The joy of the summerhouse is that the weather doesn’t have to be amazing, it warms up quickly from any sun and as it is lined and insulated, it holds the warmth well. Of course it provides shelter from any wind too. It just feels special and exciting to eat in the garden, no one’s tempted to put the TV on, so no distractions from conversation. Its like eating out but without the expense!!
As our lives moved on and we were blessed with grandchildren, the role of the summerhouse has taken on a new turn, and probably my favourite use of it. A sandpit sits under the window now, a play kitchen in the corner and all manner of loose part play ‘things’ that seem too messy for the house are on low shelves for the children to choose from. A painting/chalk easel lives in here too and the paint is stored in the cupboards.
The carpet tiles are very forgiving, sand can be scooped/poured/patted and sieved without a worry about spillages. A few drips of paint on the floor will wash out after the children have gone home. I can sit on the sofa playing while my babies play restaurants/cafes (actually pubs now too!!)
Many a snack is now enjoyed with my little people in the summerhouse, they love to pick some flowers and set their table. They can source water from the water butt behind the summerhouse – that was great suggestion by Sutton Sheds to add guttering and a water butt. They drag up their little chairs with smiles and chuckles that warm my heart.
The summerhouse also stores little bikes and tractors for them, and they love to play in there when it’s raining outside. Listening to the rain and wondering how we’re going to get back to the house without getting soaked!! Such excitement when you’re only 2 or 3 years old, and wonderful experiences to grow their minds.
Christmas doesn’t forget the summerhouse, the electricity supply has proved invaluable, not only for the oven/fridge and lighting but at Christmas we can run fairy lights and lighted garden decorations from it – it looks fab from our conservatory.
If you’re considering purchasing a Summerhouse – my only advice is do it sooner rather than later – it will grow and its uses change over the years, but it will bring you joy at every corner. Ours is lasting well with good care and regular treatment, testament to the quality build in the first place.
Time won’t stand still, and much as I want my grandchildren to stay cute and cuddly for ever, it really is just THE BEST time, eventually the summerhouse will be quiet again and hopefully we’ll enjoy retirement with more time to sit and admire the garden and reminisce.