Buying guides

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OUTDOOR BUILDINGS BUYING GUIDE

CHOOSING AN OUTDOOR BUILDING FOR YOUR GARDEN

To make the most of your outdoor space, we have a range of garden buildings from greenhouses, sheds and storage solutions to elegant summerhouses, statement garden pods and fully insulated garden studios for year-round use. This outdoor buildings buying guide will help you weigh up your options.

Exclusive and handmade designs for your garden

The majority of the outdoor buildings we offer are manufactured by Crane Garden Buildings.
Some are exclusive to John Lewis & Partners.

A family run business with nearly 50 years of expertise, Crane uses high-quality materials and responsibly sourced timber to produce outdoor buildings at its site in Norfolk. Every building is handmade with care and commitment and delivery and installation are included in the price.

Our assortment includes the National Trust Garden Building Collection, developed and designed by Crane exclusively for the National Trust. These summerhouses are traditionally designed and inspired by outbuildings on the country house estates owned by the National Trust.

Crane logo
National Trust logo
National Trust for John Lewis & Partners

TYPES AND STYLES OF OUTDOOR BUILDINGS

Garden Sheds

Choose from a range of sizes to store garden equipment, such as large lawnmowers, or simply use it as an overflow from the house.
 

  • Highly secure and lockable
  • Single pane toughened safety glass windows
  • Planning permission not required

Greenhouses

For the green-fingered, our elegant Edwardian-style greenhouses are designed for growing plants and vegetables in a temperature-controlled environment. The self-opening roof vents automatically open to allow ventilation, and they close as the temperature drops.
 
  • Practical environment for growing plants and vegetables
  • Edwardian-style design
  • Self-opening and closing ventilation
  • Secure and lockable
  • Single pane toughened safety glass windows
  • Planning permission may be required

Garden Hubs and Studios

If you’re looking for an extra room, garden hubs and studios provide you with a separate space from your home. They can act as a feature for your garden as well as being a practical and fully insulated space for year-round use, perhaps as a home office.
 
  • Separate living or working space at home for year-round use
  • Fully insulated with double-glazed toughened safety glass
  • Matchboard lined interiors
  • Secure and lockable
  • Buildings under 2.5-metres high do not need planning permission

Garden Pods

Giving a truly panoramic view of your garden, our range of luxurious garden pods or dens from Farmer’s Cottage make an outstanding architectural feature. These futuristic glazed capsules are spherical and some even rotate to take in your surroundings and enjoy or avoid the breeze.
 
  • Designed for year-round use
  • Waterproofed, sealed and designed to handle the heat
  • Planning permission not required

Garden Pods

Giving a truly panoramic view of your garden, our range of luxurious garden pods or dens from Farmer’s Cottage make an outstanding architectural feature. These futuristic glazed capsules are spherical, some even rotate to take in your surroundings and enjoy, or avoid, the breeze.
 
  • Designed for year-round use
  • Waterproofed, sealed and designed to handle the heat
  • Planning permission not required

Garden Summerhouses and Chalets

Summerhouses come in a variety of shapes and sizes; traditional wooden cottage styles have a rustic feel with solid timber construction and leaded windows and doors creating a light, airy space.

Octagonal summerhouses offer a panoramic view of the garden, while storage chalets combine a storage space at the back and a smaller summerhouse or cabin at the front. The National Trust collection includes four styles, from classic to beach house.
 
  • Winter storage solution
  • Single pane toughened safety glass with leaded design
  • Double opening doors
  • Secure and lockable
  • Larger summerhouses may require planning permission

Outdoor Storage

As well as sheds and outdoor buildings, we have a selection of outdoor storage solutions, including ladder-style shelving for the garden, and boxes for keeping furniture cushions, seating pads and smaller items.

Gazebos

Pop-up gazebos or canopies are ideal for outdoor parties and for shading a part of the garden where friends and family can sit or play. They’re easy to store and portable, making them a good choice for camping too.

OUTDOOR BUILDING MATERIALS AND FINISHES

CRANE GARDEN BUILDINGS

Timber

Timber

Crane Garden Buildings is an FSC-certified company and all of its buildings are made from FSC-certified Northern Scandinavian Redwood, sourced from cold-climate latitudes in north Sweden where trees grow slowly and produce more hard-wearing timber. The timber is then kiln-dried for up to three weeks to make it stronger, reduce warping and splitting, and to remove moisture so that the wood is more closely conditioned to our climate. The superior-quality timber has a closer grain with less knots.

FSC Certified Timber

FSC-Certified Timber

We aim to have full traceability on all of our timber, to ensure it’s legally compliant and where possible, independently certified as being from a responsibly managed source.

The FSC is an international organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. When you see the FSC logo on a product, you can feel assured that it’s made with or contains wood that comes from FSC-certified forests and is produced by sustainable forestry practices helping to curb the worldwide trade in illegal timber.

Painted Finishes

Painted finishes

Crane works with microporous paint, which is breathable and flexible. As the timber expands and contracts with the climate, the paint stretches and shrinks to ensure a watertight building. Every building has three coats, protecting it for up to five years and giving it a seamless finish that looks good for years to come. 

You should treat the building every three to four years to ensure the outside remains in good condition. When any retreating is required, matching paints are available to order from Crane.

Door Furniture & Security

Door furniture and security

The National Trust by Crane summerhouses feature cast iron fleur-de-lys black door furniture. The Hub has chrome door furniture. All other Crane summerhouses, garden studios and greenhouses feature heavyweight brass door furniture hinges and handles. All of these buildings have a mortice lock for security. Crane sheds are fitted with a seven-lever security lock bolted to the door. The sheds are supported by hinges that cannot be unscrewed and the door cannot be lifted off, making them highly secure.

Roofing materials and styles

Felt roofs

Crane garden studios and hubs have pent roofs that slope gradually from front to back. They’re protected with heavy-duty nylon-backed felt, heated to a high temperature and stuck to the roof timbers to ensure a frost and watertight barrier. This remains maintenance-free for 10 to 12 years, depending on where you site your building. Crane’s storage chalet’s have a gable roof made from extreme-wear mineralised roofing felt.

Slate replacement tiles

Crane’s Large Garden Room has a vaulted roof with long-lasting tiles designed to resemble natural slate. They’re made from resin and rubber and last up to 45 years. Just like real slate, they’re a pewter-grey colour when dry and blue-purple when wet.

Cedar shingle roofs

Crane works with microporous paint, which is breathable and flexible. As the timber expands and contracts with the climate, the paint stretches and shrinks to ensure a watertight building. Every building has three coats, protecting it for up to five years and giving it a seamless finish that looks good for years to come. 

You should treat the building every three to four years to ensure the outside remains in good condition. When any retreating is required, matching paints are available to order from Crane.

Corrugated roofs

Crane’s National Trust summerhouses have traditional corrugated apex or flat roofs.

WHERE TO SITE YOUR OUTDOOR BUILDING

Outdoor Buildings
The location of your outdoor building is key to enjoying your new space and can affect its longevity. Here are some things to consider.
 
  • Opt for south-facing if you want a sun trap with more light
  • Overhanging branches and falling leaves can impact roof and gutters
  • You might want access via a garden path
  • The building needs to be in a dry place away from heat sources

PLANNING PERMISSION

Outdoor buildings are considered to be permitted development and in most standard situations where buildings are under 2.5-metres in height they do not need planning permission. Some of the buildings we offer are over 2.5-metres in height and need to be more than 2.0-metres away from a neighbour's boundary otherwise they will require planning permission.

Garden buildings cannot be closer to a main road than the house itself, so buildings cannot be in front gardens. If you live in a conservation area, national park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, check with your local planning office. In addition, any changes to listed buildings and grounds always need planning permission.
Find out more about planning permission.

PREPARATION FOR YOUR OUTDOOR BUILDING

Most outdoor buildings require a solid and level concrete base to be installed at least two weeks prior to the building being delivered. A garden pod can be placed onto a patio but there will be a minimum size requirement, whereas a studio, summerhouse, shed and greenhouse need a solid, flat concrete base to support its weight. Contact a local, professional contractor, builder or landscaper who can install the base. Check the product information for installation details on each building style to view base plans and dimensions.

SERVICES WE OFFER

DELIVERY

Outdoor buildings will be delivered directly by the manufacturer, rather than by a John Lewis & Partners van. The supplier will contact you directly with a proposed delivery date.

GUARANTEE

Built to last, every Crane garden building comes with a two-year guarantee.

Built to last, every Crane garden building comes with a two-year guarantee.
 

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Spend over £750 on Home, Garden, Furniture & Lighting and spread the cost over 12 months, or over 24 months when you spend £2,000 or more. 0% APR Representative. Terms and conditions apply.*

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INTEREST FREE CREDIT AVAILABLE

Spend over £1,000 on Home, Garden, Furniture and Lighting and spread the cost with Interest Free Credit. 0% APR representative. Terms & Conditions apply