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What Is the Right Garden Building for Me?

Published: 04/06/2021

These days, there is a huge range of garden buildings to choose from. And they vary in style, shape, intended uses and more. The best garden buildings all have one thing in common: build quality. That’s something we hold very dear, which is why we have enough confidence to offer a 20-year guarantee on all our sheds, log cabins, and summerhouses.

Clearing up any confusion

But while you way may be confident about the manufacturer you’re going to buy from, the sheer choice can still be confusing. This can be the case even if you know what kind of building you want. For example, we offer many different garden sheds – some have apex roofs and others use a pent roof. There are also many different sizes on offer. Some are built with specific uses in mind, while others are made for general purposes. In this post, we aim to ease any confusion you may be feeling. Above all, we aim to answer the question on the tip of your tongue. Which, as you’re reading this article, we’re sure is, “What shed should I buy?” (or at least "what log cabin or summerhouse should I purchase?") Well, let’s find out…

Garden sheds

TigerFlex Apex Shed in a sunny backyard

The term ‘garden shed’ is a broad term that describes any small building that is separate from the main building on your property and sits within its boundary  – usually in your garden or yard. While you may have heard the term log cabin sheds (or summerhouse sheds), most manufacturers differentiate between log cabins, summerhouses and sheds. This is mainly because the traditional garden shed usually has thinner cladding. The best ones use 12mm shiplap or 16mm pressure-treated shiplap, a type of tongue and groove cladding that is designed to protect the shed and its contents. Log cabins also use tongue and groove cladding, but they use individual logs (instead of boards) and are usually thicker (28mm or 44mm are best – more on this later). As a result, sheds tend to be less expensive and more are commonly used for the following purposes:

  • Storing tools, garden machinery and old appliances
  • DIY and carpentry
  • Bike, wheelie bin or log storage

Some people also like to spend time in their garden sheds – perhaps to relax and unwind. Others even even turn theirs into a garden office shed. The best sheds may suitable for these purposes, especially if you’re on a budget or you have limited space in your garden. That said, log cabins tend to boast larger windows and more natural light. With this in mind, they’re arguably more suited to relaxing, social gatherings and the like (more on this later). While the above isn’t an exhaustive list of potential uses, you’ll notice storage is a major reason people buy one of these buildings – that why you’ll often hear people talk about garden storage sheds. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how you choose from one garden storage shed and the next…

General purpose vs specific use

Tiger Bin Store (left) and Tiger Bike Shed (right)

If you need a good value, general-purpose storage shed, then something like the TigerFlex Shiplap Pent or TigerFlex Shiplap Apex may do the trick. Either one of these sheds will suffice for general storage. Plus, they both come in five different sizes to suit your needs. But if you want something for a more specific reason, there are tailor-made sheds out there. For example, we also offer bike sheds, potting sheds (for cultivating plants), bin stores and log stores. These specific-use buildings tend to cost less and (generally) take up less space than general-purpose alternatives. But what if you plan on using the shed solely as a workshop? Well, you’re in luck. Purpose-built workshop sheds are also available.

Roof style

TigerFlex Shiplap Pent on the left; TigerFlex Shiplap Apex on the right

The two most common types of shed roofs are the apex and pent. The apex roof has two equal slopes that form two triangular sections (gables) in the middle (one at each end). By contrast, the pent roof has a flat surface and only one slope. Here are a couple of factors to consider when choosing between an apex or pent roof:

Headroom

Apex sheds tend to offer more headroom than the pent alternative. So if you’re tall, or you’re looking for extra storage space up top, or you want to build a garden gym, an apex could be the answer. If you must have a pent roof for its looks and status as a space saver, but still want more headroom, the Tiger Shiplap Extra High Pent may be what you need. However, that may come at extra cost when compared to the standard pent or apex shed.

Style: pent vs apex

If you’re looking to save space in your garden, or you want a shed that blends in with its surroundings, you should know that pent sheds tend to stick out less. In terms of appearance, apex sheds are more traditional, while sheds with pent roofs look more modern.

Location

Tiger corner shed

The question of where you’ll put your shed is a very important one. If you have limited space, a smaller shed is obviously likely to be more suitable than a larger one. If you’re thinking you’d like to place your shed in a tight-fitting space (such as a corner), our Deluxe Corner Shed may be suitable.

Access

You should also consider access – you’ll want to be able to get into your shed, after all! If there are any fences or walls near where you’re thinking of installing your shed, you’ll need to think about size, shape, door position and more. But if you want to move bulky or large items in and out of your shed, you may wish to opt for a double-door shed. If internal shelf space is more important, then a single-door shed may be better for your needs.

Natural light

Tiger Potting Shed in sunny back garden

Another consideration with regard to location is natural light as it’s important that you can see inside your shed – especially if you want to work, or spend a lot of time, in there - or if you want to grow plants in there! If there’s some foliage nearby that could block light, you should perhaps look for a shed with doors and windows that won’t be blocked by trees and plants. In this case, you may want to opt for a modular shed that allows you to choose where to place the windows and doors – any building in the TigerFlex range would be suitable for this purpose.

Building material

In terms of building materials, you have a choice of wood, plastic or metal. Wooden sheds are by far the most popular. This is no surprise when you consider they are available in a greater number of styles, are easier to paint and customise. On the other hand, metal sheds are also prone to rust. And while plastic sheds don’t need any maintenance, they can suffer from the build-up of condensation. That said, it’s important to choose the right kind of timber shed...

How to choose a wooden shed

As we say earlier, the best wooden sheds are made from tough, interlocking tongue and groove cladding boards that help the building withstand all weathers and improve security. Overlap sheds are made from rough-cut overlapping cladding boards and easier to make. For this reason, they are more economical, but are less resistant to the elements. By contrast, many manufacturers sell cheap sheds made from OSB chipboard, which will dip, warp and sag with time. This is why we avoid it at all costs - and so should you!

Dip-treated vs pressure-treated shiplap

Diagram showing the difference between dip treatment and pressure treatment

The type of treatment is also important to consider. Most sheds are dip treated. This means the wood is submerged in a protective preservative and left to dry – protecting the shed in the short term. The experts at Tiger treat these sheds with TigerSkin® (our own dip treatment) to improve water resistance and preserve the shed’s appearance. To protect these sheds in the long-term, it would be wise to treat it with TigerSkin at least once a year. Pressure treatment involves submerging the wood at high-pressure to penetrate the wood. Tiger’s pressure-treated sheds are submerged in Tanalith E – the latest form of pressure treatment for timber. They are more resistant to rot and insect attack. However, pressure-treated (or tanalised) sheds are also more expensive – which is why you’ll find them exclusively in our ‘Elite’ range.

Log cabins

Front view of Tiger Omega log cabin at dusk

Much like any type of garden building, the log cabin you choose will depend largely on what you want to use it for. This type of garden building is popular for:

  • log cabin garden offices
  • man caves or she sheds
  • house parties
  • live-in sheds
  • guest rooms
  • garden gyms
  • home cinemas
  • private bars
  • pool rooms
  • hideouts or playrooms for the kids
  • workshops
  • garages
  • adding value to your property

As you can see, log cabins are a popular choice for people who want to spend a lot of time in their garden building. Here’s why:

Garden sheds vs garden log cabins

As we state earlier in this post, garden log cabins are made from individual, interlocking logs that tend to be thicker than standard garden sheds (28mm or 44mm vs 12mm). As a result, they’re better insulated and are more suited to spending long periods inside – they’ll be cooler in summer and warmer in winter than a traditional garden shed. Log cabins are also more durable and are less prone to warping or splitting. The interlocking logs provide a tight fit (with no visible gaps) that is even more resistant to the elements than our sheds. Log cabins also come with larger windows as standard. As we alluded to earlier, this is why cabins tend to be nicer places to spend lots of time. Therefore, it stands to reason that log cabin offices are more popular with those who wish to work from home. This is also a primary reason why you may wish to hold social gatherings, family get-togethers in a cabin rather than a shed. Because of this, log cabins tend to cost more.

So what should you look for in a log cabin?

Once again, that depends on your needs (and budget), as well as your taste – you’ll no doubt want it to enhance (or at least fit in with) the look and feel of your property.

How much space do you have (and need)?

As in the case of garden sheds (and any garden building), it’s important to figure out how much space you have available for your cabin. And as log cabins tend to be larger than traditional garden sheds, it’s perhaps even more important in this case. The size and shape of your log cabin depend on how much space you have available and how much you need. If you’re creating a gym shed, you’ll need to make sure you have enough space for any equipment you want to use. If you’re creating a space for time on your own, you’ll need less space than if you were holding social events. The shape is also important as it’ll need to fit the dimensions of your garden.

Appearance

While size and shape are important for practical reasons, the style of your log cabin also depends on your taste, as well as the existing look and feel of your property – you no doubt want your garden log cabin to blend in with its surroundings. Roof style Log cabins also come in apex and pent versions (see the garden shed section of this post). However, the Procas is an example of an offset apex roof design. This features at the left and right of the building, rather than the back or the front. The back roof panel is also much larger than the one at the front. These roofs look like a hybrid of the apex and the pent and have a sleeker, more modern appearance. The Alpha Barn log cabin features a barn roof – a roof with four angled sections – lending the Alpha Barn a very traditional appearance. Door style

Our log cabins come in five different styles:

  • Full Pane
  • Euro Style
  • Georgian Style
  • Fully Boarded
  • PVC

You’ll find full pane windows on the Shere – one of the buildings in our range of Contemporary Log Cabins. This is very apt because the full pane lends the cabin a more modern feel. This is especially true when you compare them to the Georgian Style, which is more traditional. Also, if you're looking for plenty of natural light for your modern man cave or garden office log cabin, the full pane version may the right choice. That said, both our Traditional and Contemporary Log Cabin ranges feature buildings with Full Pane and Georgian Style windows.

Summerhouses

The Tiger range also features several summerhouses (or summer houses). While garden sheds are typically used for storage, people tend to use their garden summer houses as extra rooms – much like our log cabins. Here are just some of the ways you can use a summer house:

  • Garden office
  • Home gym
  • Outdoor lounge
  • Bar
  • Games room
  • Family meals (in summer)
  • Storage

You’ll notice that there’s some crossover in terms of the way people use their summer houses when compared to log cabins. For this reason, some people get confused by the differences between these two types of garden building. One of our summer houses, the Tiger Multi Store, is even made for storage – which could make things even more confusing. But in the next section, we aim to make things clearer…

Summerhouses vs log cabins vs garden sheds

As we say here, most people think of summer houses as places to spend time during summer. The clue’s in the name, right? Well, not exactly. The main difference between a summerhouse and a log cabin is the ways in which the buildings are made. While our log cabins are made from individual interlocking logs (either 28mm or 44mm thick), our summer houses are made in much the same way as our shiplap garden sheds. In other words, they’re made from either 12mm shiplap cladding (dip-treated) or 16mm shiplap cladding (pressure-treated). That said, summer houses are available in larger sizes, and with larger windows, than the garden shed. This is another similarity with our log cabins, which makes them great as garden offices, for example.

More economical than a log cabin

While 12mm or 16mm cladding is not as insulated as the 28mm and 44mm examples found in log cabins, summer houses provide the same broad range of uses and upgrade options. Yet due to the lower-cost construction, summer houses also offer great value for money.

What should you look for in a summer house?

When choosing a summer house, you should consider the same factors as a log cabin (and a shed in some cases). To recap, consider how much space you need (and how much you have), and its appearance. As we say earlier in this post, size is an important factor for both practical and aesthetic reasons (see the log cabins section of this article for more details). Apart from building methods and materials, another way summer houses differ from log cabins and sheds is the roof styles available. For example, the Mayflower Summerhouse comes with a hip roof design, in addition to buildings with apex and pent roofs.

Have you decided which garden building to buy? We hope this article helped!

To find out more or to buy, click this link.

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