How to prepare foundations for a garden room


Adding a timber garden room or summer house to your back garden can give you a good amount of extra space where you can dine, play games, chill out or store and organize all of your gardening equipment. Many places now offer do-it-yourself summer house kits that only take a day or two to build, while other companies will actually deliver a fully-finished garden room to your drive. But before you can do either, you need to prepare a foundation for your new summer house. Fortunately, this isn’t a very difficult task.

Select a location for your garden room

Before you can begin preparing the foundation, you have to decide where you’ll put your summer house. This involves taking a good look at your yard. You want to make certain that you can get around all sides of the building. If you put it right up against a fence, tree, or other structure, it will be difficult to build. You also won’t be able to get around it to do any maintenance it needs.

You also want to make sure your new garden room isn’t too close to any existing trees or any place where you might want to put a tree later. Getting light into the room is another thing to take into consideration, especially if it will have windows or a skylight. Finally, if you’re going to run electricity to your summer house, that may play into its location, too.

Prepare the area

The first thing you need to do is level the area. It’s vital that your summer house is placed on a level area so that it doesn’t sink to one side, plus it may be difficult to get the side pieces to line up correctly if the area is not level. When leveling the area, check for obstructions such as large tree roots that may lift the summer room.

Decide on your foundation type

There are several options for summer house foundations. For large timber buildings, such as log cabins or pavilions, you’re probably going to want to go with a concrete foundation. The process is basically the same as creating a concrete driveway or walkway. Level the area, create a wooden frame for the concrete to sit in, and then fill the area with concrete.

Many manufacturers of garden buildings offer pre-built base kits, but you can create your own using the same materials you’d need to build a wooden deck. These kits contain wooden beams that you put together to form a frame with support studs across it. Then you add a floor across the frame and build the rest of the summer room on it. This raised wooden foundation is quick and easy to put together, and it’s fairly sturdy. However, it’s not as strong as a concrete foundation, so you may not want to use it if you plan on using your garden room as a workshop.

A paving slab foundation uses, as the name suggests, paving slabs. However, it also uses cement. You first spread the cement across the entire area so that you have about a four cm layer. Then you sit your paving slabs into the cement, starting with one corner and working to the opposite one. Make certain all of the pavers are level, and then let the cement harden. Don’t skip the cement stage. If you just put down pavers, the foundation will shift over time, plus it’s possible weeds and insects will get in between the pavers and infiltrate your timber building.

Now build your summer house!

Once your foundation is finished, be it concrete, gravel, timber or paving slabs, you can begin building your summer room or have your pre-purchased garden building delivered and placed on the foundation. Don’t forget to screw through the floor into the supporting timber base to ensure that your garden room, timber base and foundations are all securely fastened. Now you can sit back and relax (or start tidying the garden tools and barbecue away)!

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