a large wooden garden log cabin with veranda

Are Summer Houses and Log Cabins the Same?

Nowadays, because of changes in design and the emergence of hybrid models, the difference between summer houses and log cabins can be a bit of a grey area.

However, when it comes to choosing your perfect garden building, the following principles will help you narrow down your options and determine whether you should begin your search with summer houses or log cabins.


Common Differences Between a Summer House and a Log Cabin

a wooden summer house garden room


Size - Summer Houses Tend to be Smaller

Ranging in size from a tidy 7x5 to a spacious 14x10, garden summer houses tend to be slightly bigger than an average shed.

They are designed for a couple or family to spend quality time together in the garden.

Garden log cabins are normally bigger and usually measured in metres. They range from a compact 2x1m to a gigantic 8x5m (that’s 26x10ft).

Log cabins aren’t just big enough to cater for family relaxation; they can even make a pleasant living space.

A modern garden office


Wall Thickness - Log Cabins Usually Have Thicker Walls

Summer houses typically have a wall thickness of 7 – 12mm, which is akin to a high-quality garden shed.

Log cabins have much heavier cladding, ranging up to 70mm, which is often Scandinavian in origin.

This makes log cabins much more suitable for year-round usage, perhaps as a garden office or home gym. For true year-round use, you will need to opt for at least 44mm thickness.

Therefore, summer houses are usually associated with pleasure, and log cabins with practicality.

a traditional log cabin with overhanging roof


Design - Summer House vs Log Cabin

Manufacturers are constantly developing exciting, new designs for all garden buildings so there is sure to be something for everyone.

Both summerhouses and log cabins can come in traditional or contemporary styles. 

For a traditional design, look for scalloped barge boards, rustic chalet log corners, peaked apex roofs and Georgian framed windows.

For a modern design, look for sleek pent roofs, bifold doors and a focus on large expanses of glazing.

a traditional corner summerhouse painted green with cedar roof


Shape – Log Cabins Are Invariably Square or Rectangular

Again, modern manufacturing innovations mean there are now exceptions to this rule.

Traditionally, though, cabins are square or rectangular in appearance because they are constructed using overlapping logs.

Summer houses are built using a variety of techniques, which means they come in a greater range of shapes, including square, rectangular, octagonal, hexagonal and those specifically designed as corner summer houses.

a garden log cabin with pent roof and furnished as a garden office


Cost – Summer Houses Are Usually Cheaper

Larger, with thicker walls and suitable for year-round usage, it’s inevitable that the average cost of a log cabin is going to be higher than that of a summer house.

Summer houses start at around the £400 mark, while a basic log cabin will cost double the amount.

That said, when you consider the years of pleasure and practicality either brings, this has to represent excellent value for money.

Still Can’t Decide?

If you really can’t decide, you’ll be pleased to know we stock a number of models that are hybrids of the two and can be classified as either a summer house or a garden log cabin.

Summer Houses and Log Cabins for Sale

A contemporary summer house with glazed double doors and 4 full-length windows

Remember, Buy Sheds Direct are the UK’s garden building specialists so, before you make your final decision, view our superb range of summer houses and log cabins for sale.

Main image: The Shire Azay2 4.5x4.2m Log Cabin Summerhouse (34mm)