When we started thinking about our new garden storage room, the first question we had to answer was, ‘How big do we want it to be?’ On one hand, we wanted to be as small as possible, on the other hand, we wanted it to comfortably fit all the things we wanted to have in there.
None of the solutions available on the market worked for us, so we decided to start our own garden building project from the inside. The first step was to make a list of all the things we wanted to store, and measure the space that they would need.
We had the following list: three bicycles, a lawnmower, bins, wood for the fire pit, a barbecue, garden chairs and table, tools boxes, garden tools, a ladder and some smaller bits and pieces.
Once we put all of those items together, they almost took half of our garden space! We stood there, looking at them, and started working out how we could fit all of them in the smallest space. Finally, all those hours playing Tetris started to pay off! We also knew that we would want to have an easy access to each of them without having to remove half of the rest.
We more or less knew where we were going to position our new garden building, so we could work out the maximum size and height. At this point, we started drawing various ideas until we got to the point of fitting everything compactly and sensibly.
This is how we advise our clients to start their project. If you are looking for the ideal size for your garden building, start thinking about the function of it.
Whatever it will be; a summer house, storage room or garden office, think about the space you need inside. If you want to have a multifunction building, like a summer house connected to a storage space, think about the two different spaces, and add them together.
Usually, the best summer houses have some kind of seating arrangement for people to comfortably relax in their garden. Sofas and a coffee table will perhaps offer the greatest comfort, but would need more space than a set of chairs and a light, foldable table. Benches mounted to the internal walls perhaps offer the best use of space, but if comfort is important to you, this might not be the best idea.
Summer houses are sometimes used as a spare room for guests. Space requirements will be different here. A good idea might be to look at the bedrooms in your house and try to understand the practicality of the room arrangements. You might even find it useful to look at the layouts of caravans or boats as brilliant examples of how to fit in neat, compact bedrooms into a very small space.
Here, a lot depends on how many desks and chairs you want to fit. Will it be just a small office for one person, or you want to put in a few desks for your entire team? Do you need storage for some of your materials as well? Will you need a kitchenette?
All these questions will help you determine the perfect size of your garden building.
As described at the beginning, creating a list of items you want to store inside is the perfect start. The list we had isn’t exhaustive, but you might see a lot of things there that you hadn’t thought about. It’s easy to say, ‘A lawnmower and the bikes!’ but there are usually one or two other things that you need to go in there too. Maybe you’ll need a shelf or a bracket for them. Walk around your house and note down things that need a space in your room in your garden.
How to do it
When I design a room in the garden for our clients, I start by sketching on squared paper. I usually draw them by hand, and use squares as a readymade scale. Usually, 1 square is either 10x10cm or 20x20cm, depending on the space I have to work with.
I measure the items I need to fit in, and search for some clever ways to store them. For example, this article shows many different bicycle storage methods that you can consider.
It might not be the easiest tasks, but when this is done, you will have a good idea of the size of your garden building. By starting from here, you will avoid disappointment at the end of your project, when something you wanted to store inside, doesn’t fit.
Good luck! Obviously, feel free to ask us any questions if you are stuck. And if you want some inspiration on how your new garden building is going to look like, check our article with 20 summer houses ideas.