Head Judge: Andrew Wilcox
Channel 4’s Head Judge & Founder of Shed of the Year Andrew Wilcox has worked to help design an impartial judging system for WhatShed. The judging system uses many different parameters to help give a large degree of impartiality to the way we select products for each of the league tables we do. You can read more about the system here.
Luxury summer houses can make a perfect addition to any garden, and they can be very versatile buildings as well. Typically larger than most garden sheds, they can be used as an office to work out of, or an extension to the house itself which can serve as a place to welcome guests or to use as an exciting new room. The most luxurious summer houses can also be an attractive garden feature in their own right, and for that reason they can be an investment that adds to the value of a property. If you’re not sure which luxury summer house is right for you then take a look at this WhatShed guide to the ten best.
We’ve reviewed summer houses in all shapes and sizes, and in all price ranges, so we know what gives one a touch of luxury that earns it a place within our league table. We also wanted to make sure that they were easy for consumers to buy, so we’ve only considered models that are sold by the UK’s ten leading retailers in this area. Between them they sell more than 95% of all the garden buildings purchased online today, so they’re reliable names with a good reputation.
By their very nature, many of the luxury summer houses featured within this list will come with a significant price tag attached, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve ignored value for money. That’s why although there are many summer houses that cost five figure sums, you won’t find them in this league table, and nor have we included log cabins. You will find high quality summer houses that have something special to offer, and although we have only found ten such examples we believe that there’s something for everybody.
With an exacting criteria for our league table of the very best luxury summer houses, we were glad to find ten high quality models worthy to take their place. With such a diversity of size, design and cost, finding an overall champion was no easy task. It’s well done then to the twelve foot by eight foot Ultimate summer house with rear storage area. This clever design adds both security and value to a tough and good looking garden building, which earns it the accolade of being the number one luxury summer house that can be purchased online in the UK today. Whether you’re looking for luxury summer houses or metal storage sheds, or anything in between, WhatShed bring you the in depth reviews that can help you make an ideal purchasing choice.
12x8 Ultimate Summerhouse with Rear Storage
The best luxury summer houses can be much more than just a garden building, they can become a home from home. That’s certainly the case with this aptly named Ultimate luxury summer house as it has both looks and performance that caught our eye. It’s one of the most striking garden examples we’ve seen, and its generous twelve foot by eight foot dimensions make it stand out in any garden. The smooth planed tongue and groove cladding used throughout helps create a luxurious look, and it also ensures a very strong and stable building, especially as the heavy duty frame is much thicker than usual at 32 x 57mm.
We were pleased to see that all of the timbers have been pressure treated as well, giving them a 15 year warranty against wet rot. This means that this luxury summer house should keep its attractive appearance for many years to come. What we liked most about it, however, was the inclusion of a secure storage unit at the rear, accessible via its own personnel door. There are no windows in this storage area, making it a secure area that can be used for valuable items. It’s a value adding factor, and an original feature that we rarely see on the very best summer houses such as this one. Like many of the summer houses in our league table this isn’t cheap, but sometimes it’s worth paying extra for real quality.
12x8 Champion Harvington Traditional Wooden Summerhouse
In many ways twelve foot by eight foot is the perfect size for luxury summer houses, as it means that there’s enough room inside to use it as a home office or as an extension to the house itself, and yet it won’t take up the whole of, or detract from, the garden itself. It’s little surprise then to see the top two luxury summer houses in our league table both sharing these approximate dimensions. They each have their own unique look, however, and on this occasion we were instantly struck by the profusion of glass along the front. This frontage is also wider than we usually see thanks to the adoption of a reverse apex design, and the effect is stunning.
There are four large windows, and two opening windows which can be used for ventilation purposes, as well as fully glazed panels on the double doors. We were very pleased to see that 4mm toughened glass had been used for the glazing, which makes it virtually shatter proof and along with the mortice lock on the doors makes this one of the most secure luxury summer houses we’ve seen. We were equally as glad to find that the thick yet smooth tongue and groove timbers had been pressure treated, bringing with them a 15 year guarantee.
14x10 Ultimate Apex Garden Room - Fully Glazed
Well designed and constructed garden rooms can make stunning and very striking luxury summer houses, as this Ultimate model shows. This is a garden building that’s been designed to relax in, to enjoy life in, rather than to work in, but of course there’s nothing wrong with that. With a base area of 4.29 x 3.07m, and with an apex roof that reaches up to a tall 2.49m, this is also the largest high quality summer house in our league table, so we can easily imagine this being filled with furniture and electrical equipment, and used as a place to entertain guests or simply yourself.
It’s the sheer amount of glass across the whole of this summer house that caught our eye, so it should be a very warm and pleasant environment to spend time inside on a sunny day. It should also feel cool as well though, even when it’s hot outside, thanks to the easy ventilation provided by the opening windows. These luxury summer houses are both tough and secure, thanks to its use of pressure treated tongue and groove cladding, toughened glass, and heavy duty framing, as well as the provision of a three lever mortice lock which is a secure as any we’ve seen. These features, and its sheer good looks, help it gain a place in the top three of our league table despite a relatively high price.
7'8x7'8 Ultimate Summerhouse - Cedar Shingle Roof
We move from the largest to one of the smallest luxury summer houses in our league table, but with base dimensions of 2.34m x 2.34m and a much taller than average height of 2.91m, the inside still feels spacious and accommodating. This also has a look all of its very own, and so striking is it that it plays a big part in its achieving a place in the top half our league table. Luxury summer houses should not only be made of high quality components, which we were pleased to find this one is, they should also look so luxurious that you’ll be proud to have them as a centre piece in the garden. Its pentagonal design means that it’s easy to fit into a corner, so it can be a space saving building if required, and we were struck at first sight by its glass panneling and its conical and shingle covered roof.
The cedar shingles used on the roof, with felt underneath them to give extra insulation, have natural anti-rot properties, but we were pleased to see that all the timbers were given more than adequate protection against this potential threat thanks to an initial pressure treatment used by the manufacturer. This brings with it a 15 year guarantee, but it could last even longer. We have to admit, however, that this is relatively expensive for its size which is the only thing stopping it achieving an even higher position.
Waltons 10 x 8 Contemporary Summerhouse with Side Shed
Like the building in the top spot within our list, these luxury summer houses from Waltons provide added value to the consumer by providing two very useful and yet different garden buildings in one. On this occasion, the beautiful summer house is added to not by an integrated secure storage area, but by a side shed that grows out from the main body of the building. That brings a different look, but the principal remains the same in that it is a secure area with no windows and a lockable door of its own.
This is also the first of our luxury summer houses to feature a pent rather than apex roof. This does make it a little smaller, with a peak height of 2.10m alonsgide its ten foot by eight foot base area, but you shouldn’t need to bend down when inside. We also think it a very attractive building, and the profusion of glazing does give it a luxurious look that helps it earn a place in our WhatShed league table. It’s much more affordable than the summer houses above it as well, but bear in mind that savings have been made through using a dip rather than pressure treatment, bringing a 10 rather than 15 year warranty period, and the use of styrene rather than toughened glass.
7'1x6'2 Shire Traditional Gazebo Wooden Hexagonal Summerhouse
There is something undeniably luxurious about this very traditionally styled summer house, made from tough and reliable tongue and groove cladding. It’s far from the largest summer house we’ve reviewed, and in fact is the most compact in our league table, and yet that will add to its attraction for some as it means that it’s easier to site and won’t take up too much space. Its base measurements of 2.41 x 1.80m are further cut into by the eight sides of this building, but that doesn’t mean that these luxury summer houses won’t make an imposing statement in any garden.
We were very taken by the octagonal design, especially as there are two opening windows alongside the glazed panels on the double doors. It’s these windows that particularly caught our eye, with a leaded effect added to them that gives them an elegance that belies their styrene nature. They also have window boxes underneath them, which is a nice little touch that should prove particularly popular with the younger members of the family. We feel these will make ideal luxury summer houses for those that don’t need anything that’s too large, but who do want a unique garden building that’s both attractive and affordable.
7'8x7'8 Ultimate Summerhouse - Cedar Shingle Roof
The name Chatsworth immediately evokes images of opulence and outstanding design. We were pleased to find that these luxury summer houses from Rowlinson exhibited similar qualities, although they are of course on a much smaller scale. This is a relatively small summer house, with a base area of 2.34 x 1.87m, and yet it also has a taller roof than we often find on the summer houses we review, with a ridge height of 2.67m and an eaves height of 1.84m. This roof is just one of the attractive features of this summer house, featuring a pyramidical design leading up to two acorn shaped finials.
The profusion of glazing across the front and side panels also added to the aesthetic pleasure that this building gives, and we liked the way that unlike on many of the luxury summer houses we review, the glazing was two thirds length rather than full length. We also liked the wooden cross hatching in the windows which gives a Georgian effect that adds to the luxurious appearance. 12mm tongue and groove cladding has been used throughout which should make this a very stable summer house, and although we would have liked to see a 15 rather than 10 year warranty period provided, we do feel that this represents good value for money.
11' x 11' Lifetime Heavy Duty Plastic Shed (3.16m x 3.16m)
If you think that all luxury summer houses have by definition to be made of timber, then this beautiful and unique building from Grossfillex could be the one to change your mind. Yes, it’s made of a plastic material, but it certainly looks anything but cheap and cheerful. This is the most attractive plastic building that we’ve reviewed, and we feel it will become a garden talking point for all the right reasons. Its cladding has eschewed the traditional all white look of PVC and added an exciting pastel blue shade to it, and we found the overall effect very pleasing.
Being made of plastic gives these twelve foot by ten foot luxury summer houses many advantages over their wooden counterparts. They’re easy to construct, and despite being lightweight are very tough and strong. They’re immune to rot, and won’t be attacked by insects or rodents. Unlike many of the regular plastic garden buildings we’ve reviewed, these also include windows both on the front double doors and on the side panels, so there’s lots of natural light inside. With a key operated lock included as standard as well, these can be the ideal luxurious looking summer houses for those who don’t want to have to carry out maintenance and repairs after installation.
Rowlinson Balmoral Corner Arbour
Whilst these luxury summer houses may have similarities to some log cabins, their use of timber cladding and relatively compact size enables them to take a place in our league table of the ten best luxury summer houses that can be bought online in the UK today. Stylistically it’s very different to anything else to feature in our list, with an open and contemporary appearance, but it’s one that we feel will add a touch of elegance to any garden.
This is also one of the most compact luxury summer houses that we’ve reviewed, with an external area of 4.92 x 2.46m and a maximum height of 2.29m, but that’s still more then enough for either business or leisure purposes. With the surfeit of natural light that enters in on a sunny day, thanks to the open frontage slatted side and unique round window, this would be a pleasant environment to bring a lap top to and work in. We were pleased to find that toughened glass had been used for the window, always a mark of quality, and that the double doors could be secured by a key operated lock. We were less pleased, however, that this comes with only a one year warranty against rot, which is why it occupies the penultimate position in our league table.
6'7x5'5 Shire Haddon Traditional Wooden Summerhouse
These twelve foot by ten foot Balmoral luxury summer houses are amongst the toughest we’ve reviewed, and that’s because they feature 22mm thick tongue and groove cladding throughout. This is significantly thicker than the 12mm thick interlocking cladding that we more generally see on the high quality sheds and summer houses we review, and the direct result of this is that they should feel very strong and stable once assembled. That’s why we feel that this TGB summer house would be a good choice who wants a sturdy and reliable summer house in an area that’s often subject to strong winds.
It’s not only the toughness of these luxury summer houses that impressed us, as we also liked the chalet style appearance. An overhanging canopy gives extra protection against excessive sun and the rain, and there are two large windows on either side of the doors. It gives an air of luxury and compared to many high quality tongue and groove summer houses of similarly large dimensions, we also feel that this one represents quite good value for money. The only thing that stops this being placed further up our WhatShed league table is that it is supplied in an untreated stated and therefore comes without an extended warranty.