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Garden Entertaining: What You Need To Know Before Building Your Shelter

Garden Entertaining: What You Need To Know Before Building Your Shelter

After a week when it feels as though we have experienced all of the seasons in just a few short days, the idea of creating a garden shelter may be more appealing than ever. Last week, we looked at the difference between arbours, pergolas and gazebos. This week, we take a look at what you need to consider before you decide what structure you would like.


The first thing you need to ask yourself is “why?”. Why do you need a garden shelter? Is it to sit in with one other person, is it for the children to play, to protect the hot tub, or house the fire pit? How many people are likely to use it on a regular basis? 2? Or more like 10? These considerations will be central to your choices from now on.


One of the first things you need to consider is size. Think back to your uses and number of people who are likely to use the shelter on a regular occasion. Then consider the answer to that question alongside the size of your garden. If it helps, mark out the maximum area of your garden that you could use versus the minimum area that you need your shelter to be, and work out if, and how, a structure of that size will work according to your needs.


Based on your first answers, you need to consider style. Will a cosy arbour do, or do you envisage dining under your new shelter? In that case, will a relatively unsheltered pergola work for you – and do you have the time, skill and patience to grow the right climbers to gain the full effect? If you’re not green-fingered and you don’t want to employ a professional gardener, a gazebo with a roof may be the best choice. If you want to make the most of all weather, catching the sun and protecting from the rain and wind, a gazebo with partial or removable sides and roof could offer the versatility that you require, but this needs to be weighed up against the durability of a permanent structure.


By now you should know:

  1. What you plan on using the shelter for
  2. What your maximum and minimum size requirements are
  3. What style you are looking at in terms of functionality

So it is time to budget! Look at varying costs and work out what you can afford – get a quote from a professional carpenter or builder to ensure that you have factored in all costs, from postcrete to adequate timber and weigh up the options.

Weigh the benefits

If you are living in your forever home, you may decide that it is worth investing in your dream shelter – the best you can afford. If you are planning on moving on in the near future, you may decide to go for more budget choice – just make sure it is done well so it won’t adversely affect your house price.

Build and enjoy!

If you invest in your outdoor space now, it will be ready for you to enjoy come April, whatever the weather! For more tips and advice, or to find local traders you know you can trust, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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