In leisure time, the garden is increasingly used for recreation and relaxation in Germany. The hobby gardener needs more storage space for his garden tools. For his rest break, he needs a roofed spot sheltered from the wind. Here he can let his soul dangle.
As versatile as the garden is used, as versatile can be its accessory, the garden house. We have selected suitable garden shed models for the most popular uses. In this way, you will also find the right house for your idea of use.
The most important facts in brief
- The condition of the future location of your garden shed also determines the construction of your foundation. The foundation has a decisive influence on how long your garden shed will withstand the elements without needing to be rebuilt.
- The shape and size are purchase criteria that influence your choice of material for the walls and roof.
- With a garden shed made of plastic, the buyer saves himself complicated assembly and extensive renovations. They are suitable for storing and parking tools and bicycles.
The Best Garden House: Our Choices
Buying and rating criteria for garden houses
Do you already know what you want to use your garden shed for? Are you still unsure which garden shed is suitable for your intended use? The following criteria will help you with your purchase decision.
To help you find the right garden shed for you, we explain what you should look out for before buying.
Wooden construction guarantees the best indoor climate and, depending on the insulation and wood treatment, good sound insulation and weather resistance. Wood is sensitive to ground movement and requires regular touch-ups. Brick walls stand out from the crowd with the best thermal insulation values and are very weather-resistant. Brick walls have a more time-consuming construction method in contrast to wood and plastic.
Plastic scores with its weather resistance, sound insulation and light weight. Plastic cladding is not suitable for indoor climate and fire protection. We also cannot recommend sheet metal and metal constructions. They are poor in terms of indoor climate and sound insulation. Garden sheds made of this material can be used for tool sheds, if necessary.
Light garden sheds, such as tool sheds up to one square metre, can also stand on metal or stable foundations. A foundation of paving slabs is also a solution for a structure with a point load of 90 kilograms per square metre. To do this, you fill 20 centimetres of soil with gravel, compact it with fine sand and smooth it out with a screed board. The slabs are then laid with a 5-centimetre chippings board. Their joints are mudded in with sand. It also doesn’t hurt to look at a point foundation for lightweight houses.
More solid garden houses that are to be used for living, for example, need more stable foundations made of strip footings or solid concrete slabs.
The strip foundation is a 30-centimetre-wide layer of concrete that runs under the load-bearing walls of the house. This is embedded in the ground.
The centre of the foundation is filled with gravel or slabs are laid to prevent moisture from the subsoil from damaging the house. With a slab foundation, the weight of a high point load is distributed over a large area. Because of the complex construction, the high mass of concrete and the necessary reinforcing steel, this foundation is suitable for very loose marshy soils.
The shape and size
The shape and size of the summer house can be chosen to suit your intended use. Beforehand, you should enquire about the legal regulations and the building permit for your chosen location. Otherwise, there are no limits to your imagination.
The shape can vary in width, length and height. If a workshop can get by with a flat space of 10 square metres, a holiday home can already have over 30 square metres.
The equipment of the summer house also depends on the planned use. Accordingly, the rooms are insulated, fitted with room dividers, windows and electricity and sanitary connections. If you want to use the summer house regularly in winter, you will need a radiator with low power consumption. Depending on the type of use, the walls, floors and roof are plastered, sealed, insulated or insulated.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about the garden house answered in detail
Below we answer questions that buyers of summerhouses have already asked. Would you like to get an overview of the suppliers and the costs? The following answers will help you with your further purchase orientation.
What types of garden houses are there?
There are many different types of garden houses. They can be described according to their intended use. We have listed a few types for you. Perhaps one or the other use will inspire you.
It is also suitable for parking bicycles or mopeds. With a few integrated shelves, hanging cabinets and drawers, a small tool shed can also optionally be turned into a workshop for small crafts. Crafts and somewhat noisier dirty repairs can be done here even on rainy days.
The garden shed becomes a second retreat with a few cosy pieces of furniture. It can be converted into a small guest house or a playroom for children, depending on how it is furnished. With a homely interior, such as sanitary facilities, a kitchenette and sleeping facilities, the summer house can be used as a holiday and weekend home. With 40 to 70 mm thick walls, good thermal insulation can be ensured on cold winter days.
There are no limits to your imagination. In the following, we will explain to you which legal regulations and building codes must be observed for your ideas. Because as many options for use as a garden shed offers, as many permits are also necessary for certain conversions.
What does a garden shed cost?
The cost of a garden shed varies, depending on the individual form and equipment chosen. Nevertheless, we would like to give you an overview of the costs. For this purpose, we have researched the price ranges in a comparison of prefabricated houses and self-built houses. Depending on the material and size, price differences are unmistakable.
|Self-build with kit|
|Type and material||Size||Price range|
|Workshop/tool shed Wood||approx. 5 – 10 m²||300 – 1,000 euros|
|Workshop/tool shed Plastic (WPC)||approx. 5 – 10 m²||300 – 2,000 euros|
Building your own wooden and plastic (WPC) holiday homes larger than 10 m² does not preclude specialist expertise, which in turn drives up costs.
|Type and material||Size||Price range|
|Workshop/tool shed Wood||approx. 5 m²||600 – 1,800 euros|
|Workshop/tool shed Plastic||approx. 5 m²||600 – 1,200 euros|
|Leisure and holiday house Wood||approx. 10 m²||5,000 – 15,000 euros|
|Leisure and holiday house Plastic||approx. 10 m²||1,800 – 2,800 euros|
Even with small garden houses, there is a price advantage when a prefabricated construction company is commissioned. You save the effort of comparing and hiring different craftsmen for the individual construction areas of the garden house. This also gives you a better overview of costs when comparing companies. Which material you use also depends on your intended use.
What needs to be considered when permanently occupying the summer house?
If you want to use your garden shed as a long-term residence, there are a number of things you need to consider. Officially, the Federal Allotment Garden Act stipulates that the garden house may not be permanently occupied. A permanent right of residence is only possible if the development plan designates the plot to be inhabited as a mixture of residential, commercial and recreational area.
The general welfare and a need for housing may constitute an acceptable reason for the conversion of the garden shed. Thus, nothing stands in the way of an application for change of use. With its own house number and letterbox, the summer house is approved as a permanent residence.
What legal regulations must be observed?
Do you want to move your summer house or convert it into a sauna? Or are you planning to renovate your summer house with a basement? Are you building any extensions to your summer house yourself? Even if the summer house is going to be on your property, you need to check with your local municipality or city council about the height, the distance from the neighbour and the material you are using. Do you want to move your garden shed or convert it into a sauna? Or are you planning to renovate your summer house with a basement? Are you building extensions to your garden shed yourself?
First of all, you need to find out whether your building project requires a permit. You can find this out from the state building regulations and the building authority. A stone garden shed that is to be converted into a long-term living space requires a permit. Depending on the federal state, the size also determines whether a permit is necessary. If no building permit is required, we speak of a procedure-free project.
Nevertheless, each federal state has its own regulations on how the garden house may border on the boundary of one’s own property and at what height. On the one hand, the garden house (including the roof projection) may not protrude beyond your own property. We are talking about a minimum distance of three metres from the boundary. You can find these dimensions in the development plan. Permits are also required for lounges, fireplaces and sanitary facilities. The type of insulation, fire and noise protection and drainage are also subject to building regulations.
To avoid conflicts with your neighbours from the outset, you should also inform your neighbours about your building project. If the summer house affects your neighbour in any way, legal disputes may await you.
If you want to maintain peaceful contact with your neighbours, we recommend that you speak to your neighbours about any objections they may have.
Garden and building insurance can also cover your garden shed against possible damage. Therefore, we recommend that you also contact your insurance company. They can discuss with you in more detail what kind of insurance is needed for your building project.
Before you buy a garden shed, you should plan how you will use it. The use already determines the material you will use for your summer house. This means that you will be aware of the wall thickness, the type of wood and plastic and the number of windows and doors.
Also find out about the nature of the ground on which the summer house will stand. Not only the material of the garden shed, but also the soil determines the type of foundation. Without the right foundation, the garden shed will become a nuisance even with the most stable wooden construction.
Last but not least, we recommend that you present your building project to the building authority. Often, small details on the summer house are decisive in determining whether you need a building permit or can build without one. This way you can get started with the interior fittings. If you want to equip your property with sanitary facilities and electricity, you will need planning permission. We recommend that you inform yourself before you start building, as you may be threatened with the demolition of your garden shed afterwards.
Image: unsplash / Arno Smit