Summer House Ideas: Types, Design and Uses

A summer house has traditionally been referred to as a ‘summer’ garden room for relaxation. But times have changed, and so has the way people use their summer houses.

Summer houses get their potential use not only in the warmer months but also in wintertime. They’re all about relaxation as opposed to garden sheds being predominantly storage solutions.

As their function changes, so do their design and type. There are more and more options available out there.

When it comes to how you use them, the possibilities are endless. And we’re here to give you those possibilities!

Here, we’ve rounded up a list of summer house ideas, from types, designs to functional uses.

Types of Summer Houses

There are different types of summer houses suited to every backyard design and layout.

1. Contemporary

A contemporary summer house is a great option if you’re more into a modern and stylish design. It offers a smooth and clean aesthetic appeal, perfect for your modern garden idea.

A contemporary summer house can give your outdoor space that modern edge.

Contemporary summer house

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2. Traditional

Traditional summer houses are suited to those not wanting to let go of the past. The design features a light blue colour structure with classic boxed windows.

Of course, you can paint the outbuilding any colour you want but ensure the shade sticks to the traditional concept.

Traditional summer house

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3. Corner

Specially designed to fit into a corner, this type of summer house is the answer to your corner garden idea! Most corner summer houses feature two opening side windows and doors. These provide you with a panoramic view of your garden all year round.

Corner summer house

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4. Log cabin summer houses

The next step up from the modular summerhouses Garden Buildings Direct offers! A log cabin summer house provides a more luxurious style and robust construction.

The design is a mix of a summer house and a log cabin, hence the name. If you’re torn between the two, why not get both in one structure?

BillyOh Carmen Log Cabin Summerhouse
BillyOh Carmen Log Cabin Summerhouse

5. Summer house sheds

Summer house sheds provide the perfect place for relaxation and storage. Some units have a combined side store for added functionality.

An ideal solution for those who want to own two different outbuildings without compromising the space.

Summer house shed

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Keep scrolling to discover some of our favourite summer house designs. You’ll want one of your own before you know it!

6. Added porch

In this design, a wide decking expands the space further, perfect for entertainment. The set-up wouldn’t be complete without a space for alfresco dining, which is where BBQs come in. What a picture-perfect scene!

Summer house with added porch

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7. Wooden gazebo inspired

A summer house idea that offers an open and airy feel. Resembling the look of a gazebo, this relaxing retreat will look great in a modern garden or poolside. Privacy screen ideas can be used for extra protection when needed.

Wooden gazebo inspired summer house

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8. Creative curves

Who said your summer house needs to have straight walls? There’s a futuristic yet organic look to this curvy garden room! If you have the time and space to recreate this look, we know the end result is going to be worth it.

Summer house designed with creative curves

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9. The fairy house

Excellent addition to cottage gardens, this fairy house will surely make an impression on children. With lush lawns and greenery in the background, it can mimic the look of a hobbit house!

Fairy house designed summer house

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10. Treehouse play area

Give your little ones their own place to play, especially in summer, with a treehouse-inspired summer house. By adding one in your yard, you’re giving them the chance to make their childhood even more memorable.

Treehouse summer house play area

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11. Go brick

The borders and trees have given this small brick summer house a new life. This design idea works well if you live in the countryside. Reinstate the paving stones if needed to bring the building back to its former glory.

Brick summer house

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12. Use planting

Climbing vines can give your simple summer house that much-needed summer hideaway. Grow climbers up it and position the containers outside.

Summer house decorated with climbing vines

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13. Coastal interior

A small summer house transformed into a beach hut-style. Shells, seaside accessories, and blue and white hues complete the look.

If you’re going for this style, decorate more vintage pieces and put them in a treasure box for a dramatic effect.

Small summer house with coastal interior

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14. With a living roof

The sprouting living roof adds a touch of industrial and eco-friendly style to the design. Plant it with wildflowers and surround the summer house with nesting places (a.k.a. more greens) to make your garden a haven for wildlife.

Summer house with a living roof

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15. Shipping container makeover

Shipping containers have many uses, and one of them is garden rooms, including summer houses. With a high-quality one, you can create one in your backyard.

Depending on how you want it, you could add glass walls and large windows for natural lighting. Wooden cladding can help make it look like a log cabin.

Shipping container summer house

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Potential Uses

There are many ways summer houses can be used. Some of these are the common conventional ways, whereas some may include out of the box ideas.

16. Outdoor living room

Perhaps you need the extra space or simply want another area to socialise. A summer house is an easy way to extend your indoor living space.

Decorate it in the same fashion as your interior decor to make them feel more at one.

Summer house as an outdoor living room

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17. Outdoor studio

A garden studio is a perfect place to isolate a hobby. Not to mention being surrounded by nature to inspire! If one of your goals this year is to flourish your hobbies, a summer house can provide you with a dedicated space.

Summer house art studio

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18. Spare room

Got no room for guests when they come to stay? How about turning your summer house into a chic spare bedroom? A rustic scheme with a layer of earthy tones always looks stylish for a summer house.

Summer house as a guest room

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19. Open entertainment area

If you have limited garden space, add a small summer house at the rear or side. Make it open to the rest of the seating area for a sociable scheme. Keep it simple with a bench that can double as a daybed and a patio heater.

Open entertainment space with a small summer house

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20. Room for afternoon tea

Whether you’re serving a light tea or a full afternoon one with sweets and desserts, a dedicated room can make your afternoon tea more elegant. And a summer house is the perfect garden building for a tea room.

Summer house as a tea room

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When talking about garden buildings, we often think of sheds. Although shed ideas can be more than storage, they’re mostly used for keeping tools safe.

A summer house, in contrast, is made solely for leisure and entertainment. A practical and attractive garden room that’s personalised to your outdoor relaxation needs. What’s not to love?

And of course, regardless of the name, the right summer house can be used all year round. We hope our summer house ideas will inspire you to start a new project in your backyard.

Read our Unusual Shed Transformation Ideas next!



The majority of summer houses do not require planning permission. But a permission is required for any summer houses which cover over a half the garden. 


Or, it's not for domestic use, it's over 3 metres high with a pent roof or 4 metres high with an apex roof.

A garden summer house can be used as your very own special space. Use it as a studio for writing, painting or other crafting activities. Or it can simply become a space for relaxation and leisure with your loved ones.

A summer house can also be used in various ways, while a shed is most often used as a storage space. If you only need a place to store your tools and outdoor furniture, then a shed may be the best option.

The colour of your summer house depends on your taste. But the classic paint scheme is to have the walls in darker shade, while the doors and windows in a lighter shade.


White, cream, or a paler shade of the wall colour works best. Greens, greys, and beige shades work well with this format.

Put it in an area that is free from aerial obstructions, such as trees. Although trees can offer shade, an overhanging branch can block out much needed sun. Plus, when it falls off, it can damage the structure, especially the roof.