7 things you need to consider before buying a garden cabin

Stylish, practical, and versatile; garden cabins have become the ultimate statement in outdoor spaces, and are used by homes and businesses for a variety of purposes. The catchword for all major purchases should always be ‘research’, so we have put together the Haddon & James definitive guide to the most important things to consider before making that all-important buying decision:

1. Work out what your garden cabin will be for: With such a wide variety of cabins to choose from, you’ll be amazed at the number of uses people have devised for them. Some of the most common include grill cabin, home office, storage unit, ‘man cave’, workshop, summerhouse, children’s play room, guest accommodation, and entertainment room. There are also specialised sauna cabins and barrels for a spa-like experience in your own back garden.

2. Decide if you have space: The idea of a beautiful garden cabin is both seductive and exciting to many people, especially if any of the list above appeals. But if your garden is not big enough you might have to face the reality that you can’t have one – sorry. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of sizes available on the market, and some of the designs are brilliantly space-efficient. The golden rule is to measure twice – pay once.

3. Do you need planning permission? It is always worth checking with the local authorities before buying and building anything, but as a general rule, you can build an ‘outbuilding’ that is lower than 2.5 metres to the eves (and 4 metres in total) without planning permission. It should also take up less than half of the garden space or permission might be needed. If the cabin is for commercial use (for example as a home office), then you would also be advised to check with the local authority before committing to buy.

4. Are you a builder, a DIYer or a watcher? Most garden cabins do not come pre-built so you will need to be ready to build it yourself or get someone to do it for you. The level of skill, time and commitment required will depend on the type of cabin it is, the quality of the manufacturing and the assembly instructions that come with it. Product reviews are often the key to making the right decision.

5. Do you want an asset or an upkeep cost? As with most things that you can buy there is a judgment to be made when you weigh up the cost versus the quality of the item. Garden cabins are no different, and often the cheap option can end up being a burden that you are continually patching up, or something that is unusable in winter and the height of summer due to poor insulation. Of course, the ideal solution is a Scandinavian quality, precision-manufactured cabin purchased straight off the production line at 50% or less of its retail cost – but more of that later!

6. What facilities and features do you want? For most people, the look from the outside is all-important, especially as your new cabin will become one of the major features of your garden view. The functionality and usability should not be overlooked, however, and can be the difference between a place you love and an expense you regret. The big things to consider are ventilation, natural lighting, space, seating, electricity, access, insulation, energy efficiency, weather-proofing and the quality of the build materials that are used.

7. Where to purchase: In most cases, the cost is a strong reflection of the quality of any item – but sometimes in life, you stumble upon a great product at a significantly below market cost. We call that ticking all the boxes!

The cabins we sell in our online auctions are designed and precision manufactured by expert craftsmen.  After successfully introducing their products to the UK market several years ago, our supplier has chosen Haddon & James as their main UK distribution channel, using our ability to sell their clearance stock and the goods they over-produce.

Primarily designed for the outdoor-loving Scandinavians, many of the cabins come complete with internal furniture, making them both practical and stylish. Take a look at our Auctions page to see upcoming cabin sales.


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