Garden outbuildings are a popular garden feature for lots of people.
As outbuildings have such a wide range of uses, from stylish home office spaces, to sunrooms ideal for entertaining guests, to simple storage units for garden tools, deciding which outbuilding would be the best option for you can be a little overwhelming if you don’t already have a concrete idea in mind.
Our guide will cover the different types of garden outbuildings including their average cost, what will affect the costs, how you can save money on your ideal outbuilding and how HouseholdQuotes can find you a professional to build it.
How Much Does a Garden Outbuilding Cost?
The table below breaks down the average costs of installing different types of outbuildings.
|Outbuilding Type||Estimated Supply Cost||Estimated Labour Costs||Time Required||Total Estimated Cost|
|Shed (Small)||£600||£150||One day||£750|
|Shed (Medium)||£800||£250||One to two days||£1,050|
|Shed (Large)||£1,000||£400||One to two days||£1,400|
|Log Cabin (Small)||£2,500-£3,900||£3,800||One day||£6,300-£7,600|
|Log Cabin (Medium)||£5,500-£5,900||£6,000||Two days||£11,500-£11,900|
|Log Cabin (Large)||£6,500-£6,900||£8,000||Three days||£14,500-£14,900|
|Playhouse (Small)||£199-£799||£250||One day||£449-£1,049|
|Playhouse (Medium)||£999-£2,000||£250-£300||One day||£1,249-£2,300|
|Playhouse (Large)||£1,800-£3,000||£300-£500||One to two days||£2,100-£3,500|
As the table demonstrates, the difference in pricing when it comes to outbuildings can change dramatically depending on the type of outbuilding you wish to build and the size of it.
A garden shed is the most common and favoured type of outbuilding as sheds work brilliantly as storage units for garden tools, lawnmowers or even some garden furniture. Sheds can be bought in a huge variety of sizes, meaning it is very likely you’ll be able to build the perfect sized shed for your garden.
Log cabins are a larger and more complicated build than garden sheds. Like a shed, log cabins can be used for storage or can be built as home offices or spare rooms as they are very durable and can be easily installed with plumbing and electricity.
An average cost for log cabins tends to rest between £1,000 – £1,500 per square metre of floor space. However, log cabins do vary in pricing depending on many factors so make sure you do your research before purchasing!
Playhouses are garden outbuildings designed to be bright, colourful and wonderful play spaces for your children. Single and two-storey playhouses are a favourite option of many playhouse owners because they don’t take up as much space as a larger design and can be as complex or simplistic as you’d like.
Playhouses with additional attachments such as slides, swings and climbing frames are likely to cost more due to the materials involved and will have more labour costs as they will take longer to construct.
What Affects the Cost of an Outbuilding?
There are many things to consider when choosing your ideal outbuilding. Many factors will impact the cost of all types of outbuildings, but we’ve broken down the most common factors below.
As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the outbuilding, the more it’s going to cost due to the bigger number of materials and the additional labour it will take to build a larger building.
The table demonstrates, however, that for complex outbuildings such as a log cabin or a bespoke playhouse, the price varies dramatically even within the same size bracket. This is because of additional features the outbuilding may have or the choice of materials used.
Style plays a huge factor in the cost of all outbuildings. The more complicated the design of the outbuilding, the higher the cost is likely to be.
Typically, garden sheds are wooden builds as this is the most aesthetically pleasing option and wooden material works really well for this type of structure. However, wooden builds are the most expensive option.
A small wooden garden shed will cost £600, whereas if you go with a metal style of shed, a small shed will cost £350 and a small plastic shed will cost £300.
For a log cabin, the difference available in styling tends to rest largely on the roof, but as log cabins can be incredibly complex designs there are numerous styles available to suit individual needs.
A flat log cabin roof will be the cheaper styling option, as it has fewer materials needed and is easier to construct.
A pitched roof style for a log cabin will be more expensive, is more labour intensive to build and requires more materials.
Playhouses are great because you’re guaranteed to find a playhouse in the design style of your choice due to the wide range of options and accessories available.
Single and two-storey playhouses will likely cost anywhere from £200 to £800. Playhouses with additional attachments such as slides, swings and climbing frames can cost from £400 to £3,000 depending on the complexity of the build.
Bespoke playhouses will cost the most, as this style can range from a miniature replica of a Victorian townhouse to a fairy castle. The price range varies from £4,000 to £20,000 depending on the complexity of the build.
It’s recommended that you consider the quality of the material you will be building the outbuilding with.
Whilst it can seem more cost-efficient to go with cheaper quality timber for sheds and log cabins, or an easy and cheap plastic build for a playhouse, there could be long-term consequences for this decision.
Cheaper timber that doesn’t have an anti-rot guarantee could deteriorate under harsher weather conditions, allowing for water ingress or for the sides and roof of the outbuilding to swell and create gaps in the structure.
These problems would make the outbuilding structurally unsound and may cost you more money to rectify.
Similarly, it could seem like the better option to go for a cheaper, plastic playhouse rather than invest in a timber frame structure, but you would need to ensure the plastic is toxin-free and can stand up to harsher weather conditions.
If you don’t, you may need to replace the playhouse within a few years of purchase instead of enjoying the longer lifespan of higher quality products.
For log cabins and garden sheds, the choice of the roof will impact more than just the overall look of the outbuilding, it will also have an impact on cost. The two main roof types are flat and pitched.
A shed with a flat roof is the cheaper option and is likely to cost between £40-£100. Similarly, a log cabin with a flat roof is cheaper than a pitched roof and will cost £1,500-£3,000 if choosing a relatively small size.
A pitched roof has a more rustic appeal with sloping slats and wooden panels. It is good for preventing leakages as the water runs quickly off the slope.
A shed with a pitched roof is likely to cost anywhere from £60-£125 depending on the size. A log cabin with a pitched roof can cost anywhere from £5,000-£13,000 depending on the size.
|Material Type||Advantages||Disadvantages||Average Cost|
|Felt||-Many different colour choices|
-Easy to source
|-High maintenance |
-Susceptible to weather damage
|Metal Sheets||-Easy to install|
|-Quick to rust if not finished correctly|
-Can be noisy in colder and wetter weather
-If uninsulated then can be cooler
|Slate Tiles||-Easy to install |
|-Higher cost for material |
-Requires specialised installers
|Wooden Shingles||-Aesthetically pleasing |
-Low carbon footprint
|-Higher cost for material|
-Not fire resistant
There are four main options for an outbuilding base. These are concrete, gravel, paving slabs or timber frames.
A really good way to cut costs with any outbuilding is to consider building the base of the structure yourself. All materials needed to build a good base can be easily found in local DIY stores and there is a range of good internet resources available demonstrating the best way to build an outbuilding base.
The most important thing to remember when building a base is that it is completely level.
A concrete base is probably the best type of base for any outbuilding, as it provides a solid surface for the outbuilding structure, making the overall build sturdier and more secure. The installation cost for a concrete base will fluctuate depending on the size of the base needed and where you live in the UK.
A 20k bag of concrete will cost between £5-£10 depending on its quality.
Gravel chips or stones will cost between £4-£10 depending on the amount, quality and style chosen.
Paving slabs will cost between £2-£10 depending on the size and quality of the chosen slab.
Constructional timber will cost from £10-£40 depending on the quality and amount of the wood.
Upgrades to an outbuilding, such as windows, electricity, plumbing and insulation will all increase the cost of an outbuilding.
If you’re planning to use the outbuilding as a home office, a sunroom or a room to entertain guests you will likely need to consider all of these upgrades for the outbuilding.
On average a tradesperson will charge you between £150 – £250 for one or two days’ work. Labour costs also differ depending on location. Labour costs in London are £100 more expensive than labour costs in the South West and Midlands area.
For all regions of the North, labour costs will be between £50-£100 cheaper than that of the London labour costs.
Removal of an Old Shed or Cabin
If you have a previous shed or cabin that may have taken weather damage or longer meets your requirements, you may need to have it removed before you can build the new outbuilding.
The labour costs for removing an old shed will again depend on where you live in the UK and the size of the previous shed but will likely be from £50-£350.
You will likely need to hire a skip for the waste removal, and this could cost from £100-£300 depending on the size of the skip required.
Removing a log cabin will be a much more expensive job than removing a shed or a playhouse, as log cabins are a larger build and may have pipework or wiring that will need to be removed also.
Removing a log cabin could cost you between £6,000-£10,000 depending on the size of the job so make sure to account for this in your budget.
How Can I Save Money on an Outbuilding for My Garden?
There are a few ways you can save money on potential new outbuildings in your garden, but they do require some DIY knowledge. If you don’t feel confident in your skills or are unsure if you can safely carry out the task, it is best to hire a professional to build the outbuilding for you.
Firstly, if you’re building a log cabin or garden shed, you can prepare the base yourself. This will cut the cost of the additional work it may take to have the base laid down.
Keep in mind that the most important thing about a log cabin or shed base is that it’s level and can hold the weight of the structure. Concrete bases and paving slabs bases are great for a DIY installer because you can easily acquire the materials yourself and it is a relatively simple job that can easily be researched online.
Secondly, ensure that you’re choosing the right size outbuilding for your needs. It can be tempting to choose a beautifully designed large outbuilding but take into account that the larger the outbuilding and the more upgrades it has, the more it is likely to cost.
Thirdly, if you feel you have adequate DIY knowledge and the correct tools at your disposal, then you could consider building the entire outbuilding yourself.
Some garden sheds are manufactured to be easy to construct and building the entire shed yourself will remove the labour cost of having a professional build it.
Similarly, some playhouses will not require more than basic DIY knowledge and could only take a few hours to construct. If the playhouse is one simple module, you should consider building it yourself to remove the labour costs from the total price.
However, log cabins can be more complicated to build, particularly if you wish to include electricity, lighting and heating.
Use HouseholdQuotes and let us help you find a professional qualified tradesperson who can build the outbuilding to your requirements.
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How Is a Garden Outbuilding Assembled?
A professional will first prepare the base of your outbuilding. If the outbuilding requires a concrete base, the concrete will need to cure, so it will be laid in advance and left.
The outbuilding will then be assembled. Instructions will vary from outbuilding to outbuilding so the professional will need to follow the manufacturer’s specific instructions for the outbuilding they’re working on.
Typically, once the base is laid the back and side panels are constructed. The final panel to be fitted is the panel with the door. Once these have been nailed down and ensured that all panels interlock tightly, with no gaps or uneven edges, the roofing panels can begin to be nailed the main beam.
If electrics or plumbing is being installed as well, this will then be installed. If new or existing pipework has to be laid down, the surrounding garden area will need to be dug up to complete this step.
Rubbish and waste material will then be removed from the property and this is an ideal time to get any landscaping done, if necessary.
What Else Should I Consider Before I Buy an Outbuilding?
There is a list of rules and regulations regarding any building of outbuildings in your garden and it’s best to check before buying or building whether the outbuilding you want will break any of these rules.
If you’ve chosen to construct an outbuilding with a pitched roof, the height of the roof could violate planning permission. Whilst most sheds and playhouses won’t need planning permission, it’s still beneficial to check.
Log cabins and summer houses are much more likely to require planning permission, so before diving too deep into these projects, make sure you speak with your Planning Office regarding Building Regulations and planning permission.
If you’re unsure, it’s advised you check with your local Planning Office regardless, as failure to get planning permission or breaking any Building Regulations can result in hefty fines.
More advice can be found here.
Take into consideration the location of your outbuilding. Factors such as trees, roots, drains, sewers, pipes, cable and the evenness of the ground, should all play a role in deciding whether the location is suitable or not.
You might want your log cabin to soak up as much sunlight as possible, or need your playhouse to be built in a shaded area to protect children from sunburn. Take into account which area gets the most sun in your garden and then build the outbuilding accordingly.
You may also need to take into account pre-existing pipework or electrical cables as you don’t want to begin building your outhouse only to run into a problem below ground that halts the entire project.
Electricity and Plumbing
If you’re hoping to include electricity in your outbuilding, ensure the outbuilding is suitably placed for the pipework and that it will not interfere with any already existing pipes or wires.
It’s advised you seek the help of a qualified electrician to help with this as it is a complex job that may require certain qualifications to carry out.
Log cabins are the type of outbuilding most likely to need electricity and plumbing due to the popular use of log cabins are home offices, hobby rooms or sunrooms.
Consider what electrics would you need in your log cabin, such as lighting, computers, charging points and make sure to have this information ready to discuss with an electrician so they can find the best solution for your needs.
How Do I Know Which Type of Outbuilding is Right For Me?
A shed is a smaller outbuilding that is typically used primarily as a storage unit for gardening tools or larger machinery. If you are looking for a smaller outbuilding to use as extra storage space, with minimal accessories, the shed might be the perfect outbuilding for you.
Log cabins are a larger build that can be used as a bigger storage unit, a room or even home space in your garden. Log cabins will cost substantially more than sheds or playhouses but have huge benefits of a specialised area in your garden with a massive range of uses.
A playhouse is typically built for and used by children. Playhouses won’t be as large as a summer house or log cabin and can be accessorised with features such as a climbing frame, veranda and slide to add to the fun.
The table below breaks down the advantages and disadvantages of sheds, log cabins and playhouses to give you more of an idea of which outbuilding best suits your needs.
|Type of Outbuilding||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Sheds||-Cheaper than a log cabin |
-Smaller than a log cabin
-Very useful storage unit for garden equipment
|-Requires annual maintenance and treatment
-Isn’t as durable in harsher weather
-May need planning permission
|Log Cabins||-Much more durable than a shed|
-Can be used for a higher variety of reasons
-High aesthetic appeal
|-More expensive than a shed
-May require planning permission
-Far more complex to assemble and requires more maintenance
|Playhouses||-Amazing for family gardens and children |
-Much cheaper and a log cabin or shed
-Doesn’t typically require planning permission
|-Not as durable as a shed or log cabin
-No practical uses for storage or home room
-Not very large or accessible for adults
How Do I Find and Hire Someone to Assemble my Outbuilding?
A great way to find someone to assemble your outbuilding is to seek recommendations from friends, family or neighbours that you trust.
Particularly if you are planning to build an outbuilding such as a log cabin or summerhouse, which can be expensive and take a lot of time, knowing the job is being completed by a trusted individual is really important.
Recommendations are a great way to hire a qualified professional you can count on.
Use HouseholdQuotes to find a qualified tradesperson to assemble the outbuilding for you, so you don’t have to worry about taking on the build yourself!
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Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
To make sure you’ve found the best person for the job, we recommend you ask them for the below:
- For a written quote. Make sure to ask if rubbish and waste removal is included in their quote.
- For their experience.
- For their references. If they’re able to provide you with references you can be sure of their ability and may even be able to see some of their previous work.
- If they and their tools are insured. This can protect you from lawsuits if they or your property is damaged when they come to your home.
This checklist will make sure you’ve got everything you need before the process starts:
- Determine the size of your outbuilding.
- Choose the location of the outbuilding. Where possible, measure the actual width and height of the area you want to build on to ensure you buy the correct outbuilding size.
- Check with your local Planning Office if you need planning permission for the outbuilding you want.
- If you’re cutting costs or undertaking the entire build yourself, then you will need to build the base of the outbuilding.
- Let HouseholdQuotes find you the right qualified tradesperson for the job!
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Should an Outbuilding Last?
How Do I Maintain My Outbuilding?
You should also consistently check the roof of your outbuilding for debris and clear it away when necessary.
Check for any leakages or gaps in the structure and make sure to rectify these immediately, otherwise the safety of the outbuilding will be called into question and could cause accidents in the long run.