Questionnaire: What's the Right Garden Building for Me?

Probably the first garden building that pops into your mind is the humble garden shed, or perhaps a greenhouse. But there is a massive number of garden buildings on the market now, big to small, cheap to expensive.

And they are used for so many different purposes nowadays too. As garden and house design programmes encourage everyone to make their garden an extension of their house, and we get more interested in adding value to our houses, there has been an explosion in garden rooms, offices, summer houses, studios and the like.

So how do you decide what sort of garden building to erect? Grab a pen and paper to write down your thoughts and ask yourself these five questions to focus your mind on what you need.

1. What’s the Garden Building For?

This is the top question. Do you want a garden building to store garden tools, grow plants or follow your dream to become a famous writer, artist or potter? These easy answers will of course lead you to a shed, greenhouse or studio.

But most modern families aren’t likely to come up with nice cut and dried answers like that. Your garden building may need to suit a multitude of purposes. The point is to focus on the purpose of the building first, then find something that suits your needs. Don’t do it the other way round, you’ll end up with the wrong garden building for your home.

2. How Long Do You Want it to Last?

If you think your use for a garden building might be temporary then it’s a waste of time putting up a large building with proper foundations or a concrete slab to sit on. Most garden shed will sit happily on carefully laid paving slabs. Or you could consider a sturdy tent, perhaps a yurt or wigwam, rather than a permanent structure?

3. Low Maintenance or Traditional?

Although a properly looked after wooden shed or greenhouse will last for hundreds of years, a wooden building does need more looking after than less traditional alternatives. Consider aluminium framed greenhouses or plastic or concrete sheds, if you don’t think you’ll be able to put in the time for annual touching up and repainting or staining twice a decade that a wooden building requires.

But bear in mind that, if you can afford it, a proper brick or block construction will not only last the longest, it will offer the best protection for your possession and look good too.

4. Buy or DIY?

You can save money by following the DIY route or save time by buying what you need and having it erected. But DIY might be a false economy if you aren’t able to put together something that lasts and does the job properly.

And remember that many garden building firms throw an erection service in with the list price. So perhaps the DIY option is really no longer worth pursuing unless you want something that shops don’t offer.

5. What’s the Budget?

The killer question – how much do you want to pay? For many people this governs any improvements they make to their home and a garden building is no different. But at the same time we do consider the value that we add to our homes so it’s sometimes worth investing a little more than we want to if a house sale is on the horizon.

Conclusions and Shopping

Hopefully now you’ll have a decent list of requirements and you can go shopping, either at a large garden centre or online, to pick out the right garden building for your home. But if the requirements are conflicting and confusing, perhaps you actually need two garden buildings?

To take a simple and obvious example, what if you need secure storage for tools, toys and other trappings of modern life, but at the same time you need to nurture and grow plants too? Then perhaps a small plastic storage shed and a small greenhouse on the same space as a large potting shed would give you what you need.

Be creative and don’t forget that shopping around will get you the best deals too.