If you really want to make the most of your garden, there is nothing quite like adding a garden building into the mix. We’re not talking about the practicality of a shed; instead we’re focusing on a building you can use for work or pleasure, depending on your needs.

To this end you can choose from two main types of garden building – a log cabin or a summer house. It is very important to understand the differences between the two, as this will help you work out which one will suit you best.

The differences in size

Summer houses are generally smaller than log cabins. You can buy nice compact summer houses ranging from around 7’ by 5’ upwards. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes too, ranging from the traditional rectangular or square size to an octagonal design. You can even buy them with window boxes included in the design to help them blend into the garden.

If you want something much bigger a log cabin will be the better option. These do come in a range of sizes but people tend to use them as home offices, TV rooms or even home gyms. Their increased size means they are far more versatile.

The differences in price

As you might imagine, summer houses are cheaper because of their smaller size. However it’s not just a case of size. Log cabins are more expensive but they are made from thicker timber and are more strongly constructed. These are cabins that are designed to be used throughout the year, rather than simply during the warmer months. This is reflected in the price you pay.

What are they made from?

The differences also become clearer when you look more closely at the materials used in their construction. Summer houses are often made in much the same way as sheds are, with shiplap cladding, although the more expensive ones might have tongue and groove panelling.

Log cabins, meanwhile, have much thicker and heavier timber, such as Baltic-sourced pine. You may also have the option to choose a thicker cladding for the exterior and some will be insulated as well. This is not the case with summer houses.

What can you use them for?

We’ve already mentioned the idea of using a log cabin as a home office, or a TV room. There are other options as well. How about setting it up as a games room to give the kids their own space to use? You could also use it as an entertainment space when you have guests; some log cabins have a covered decking area included in one corner as part of the design. The Greenacre Home Office executive log cabin falls into this bracket.

In contrast the size and construction of a summer house means it is better for more casual use. It may accommodate a couple of chairs and a small table, for you to enjoy a relaxed breakfast on a warm Sunday morning, and perhaps provide a reading spot out of the sun. Some summer houses also have a small veranda included in the design, enabling you to sit outside but still enjoy some shade. The traditional summer house with veranda measuring 7’ by 7’ comes into this category.

As you can see it is best to consider the amount of space you have, the available budget and what you intend you use your building for before you buy. This will help you come to the right decision and buy the most appropriate and long-lasting building for your needs. What can you look forward to in your garden in the near future?