Summer House Season Starts Here

With the launch of an upcoming summer house exhibition at the Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Hyde Park, summer houses are about to have their moment in the sun. A recent feature in The Times takes the opportunity to explore the history of the summer house, and explains how building a garden room of your own can add value to your property – without necessarily needing planning permission. Here’s a precis of the feature: How to go for growth in your back garden.

Garden rooms through the years

Hyde Park and the adjoining Kensington Gardens have been a natural home for the summer house for nearly 300 years. Today, visitors can still take a stroll to Kensington and sit in Queen Caroline’s Temple, built back in the 1700s in classical style, as a must-have addition to the fashionable royal garden. And the forthcoming architectural exhibition at the Serpentine Pavilion (outside the art gallery of the same name) will feature four summer houses, each designed by a different architect, all inspired by this historical building.

Town and countrysummer house in garden

Summer houses – both practical and, often, beautiful – remain fashionable in the here and now. Indeed, they could be said to be undergoing something of a renaissance. It’s becoming de rigueur for developers in both urban and rural environments to add a garden room or summer house to the grounds of stylish and desirable properties. For homeowners who need more room but are reluctant to move, they can provide a perfect solution, adding a self-contained space and value to the property in one fell swoop. And for large country residences, summer houses are being built on a larger scale as lavish and spectacular garden-based annexes – perfect for entertaining.

Planning issues

While country mansion owners have ample space for expansive outbuildings, most people aren’t so lucky. However, on the positive side, for a small and simple garden room, planning issues need not be an issue. By keeping to some basic requirements, most homeowners can go ahead and build a summer house or garden room without needing to obtain planning permission. A single storey building, constructed an adequate distance from both the main house and the property boundary, can be added with relative ease.

Design innovation

Of course, planning restrictions can result in some unimaginative garden room design, with many summer house and other garden buildings taking on a uniform and boxy appearance. Not everyone is content to stay boxed in, however – and some imaginatively designed garden pods have made home offices, gyms and garden living spaces into truly innovative and attractive talking points.

Added value

According to The Times, adding a garden room or summer house to your property is a venture that will definitely provide a return on investment. With garden rooms said to add between 5 and 20 percent to a property’s value, they are an attractive proposition for buyers, who are enticed by the allure of a garden feature with a very practical application – especially in a big city like London where space is at a premium and every square foot counts. So, with summer just around the corner, maybe this is the year to build a garden party venue that will pay for itself in the years to come.

Read the feature: How to go for growth in your garden

Times Summer House Image

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