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  1. Applying for log cabin planning permission

    A garden log cabin is a terrific addition to most gardens but before you start realising your garden dream you need to stop and check if you need to get planning permission. Your first port of call is your local council. After an initial chat about your plans they will advise you of any particular circumstances surrounding your building. You may think your project is straightforward and it usually will be – but always check. It's also a good idea to chat to any neighbours who may be affected by the cabin. Get everyone on side from the start.

    You don't usually need planning permission for domestic outbuildings, as long as they are used for a domestic purpose related to your house. However, you may require planning permission if any of the following apply (the list is not exhaustive, so if in doubt please check with your local planning authority):

    • If you plan to erect the shed within 5 metres of any part of your house.
    • If the total area of the ground covered by any buildings or other structures in the garden area (excluding the original, main house) is greater than 50% of the total garden area.
    • If there is a condition in the original planning consent for your property which states that garden sheds/outhouses etc. cannot be erected without the consent of the local planning authority.
    • If your property is a listed building or within a conservation area or an area of outstanding natural beauty. If this is the case, you will need to contact your local planning authority as development will be restricted.
    • If you plan to run a business from the building, or use it to store goods in connection with a business.
    • In addition, no part of the garden building should be nearer to the public highway than the existing house, or any point 20 metres from that highway, whichever is nearer to the highway.

    The bottom line, and this is the bottom line, is to check from the very outset with your local council.

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  2. How to build a log cabin

    A log cabin can add so much to a garden and your lifestyle. This ultimate of outdoor rooms can be used as a work area, a teenager’s den, a play room or simply a place to sit and relax. Before installing or making any log cabin just make sure you don't (or do!) need planning permission. The quickest way to getting an indication is a phone call to the council, explain exactly what you are planning and get their OK. It's also a great idea to chat to any neighbours who may be affected by the building.

    You do need to plan a log cabin carefully as chances are you will want electricity and possibly water in your new building. It's always best to get these plans sorted before installation begins.

    Once everything is in place, and whether you build your own or buy a ready-made log cabin, the foundations have to be solid. Any supports should be concreted in place. After the ground work is done, the nice bits can happen!

    You can make a log cabin from timber but the intricacy of the joints depends on your level of skill. Always get help and take time to ensure all is constructed correctly. Always use quality materials as, once up, you don't want to be repairing or making do. Ready-made kits are available and can be slotted and fixed together. All timber is pre-cut, pre-treated and the job is easy. Even easier is to get an installation team to put the whole thing up for you!

    Once up, you need all the utilities connecting and the whole thing needs insulating. Then it's a case of kitting it out according to its use.

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  3. How to apply for garden office planning permission

    How to apply for garden office planning permission

    This can be the trip hazard for many people. Obviously, if you have set your heart on a garden office you want it to work – but you really have to consider neighbours and the impact any possible building (log cabin, shed, summerhouse) will have on them. The rules governing permissions are set but having said that, if they infringe negatively on your neighbours you may be declined. There are a few simple procedures to make sure everyone is happy and you don't break local planning rules.

    Talk to your neighbours

    Firstly, talk to your neighbours. Tell them what you are planning and see how they will feel. This doesn't mean you will get planning permission, but at least you have them on your side (and it's only courteous anyway) Secondly, go to your local council’s website and study the information on planning. For example, on my local council site, it suggests you fill in and send an 'Enquiry questionnaire for planning and building regulations' before actually applying for permission. They promise to tell the sender whether or not a full planning permission is required. The form is basic – a few questions and I would need to supply a sketch with dimensions of the proposed building – so it doesn't take long. I'd also suggest that you phone them up and have a chat – councils are usually quite helpful.

    Think about height

    2.5m is the magic number – if the height of your proposed building is equal to or less than that figure then, at the moment, you can slap it anywhere in your garden. I'd still talk with the neighbours first, though. Anything higher than that enters the grey are where the council can reject the proposal even though you are allowed up to around 4m in height. Just imagine your neighbour puts up a 3m high building right up to a fence and blocks your light or 'intimidates' you in any way (what kind of neighbours do you have?!). I think you would expect the council to have a look and take a view on it.


    So, it's council, council, council all the way. Even if you are absolutely sure that you are allowed to put up a building without permission, still check. It doesn't take long and you know you won't be having to pull it down if the council see it and decide it shouldn't be there in the first place.

    House insurance

    Then, of course, you need to ensure your house insurance is up to date to cover whatever you do in the building, and check you aren't violating the terms of anything anywhere by using your home as a place of work etc! Just phone the council, it's partly why you pay your council tax. 

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  4. How to make the most of your log cabin

    The beauty of a log cabin is the enormous number of ways you can use it. The typical image of a log cabin or summerhouse is a place to relax in the warm sunshine, and maybe to keep a deck chair or two. But there are so many more log cabin uses to choose from.

    Consider whether it would be a good den for the children or a home gym with fitness equipment. You could turn it into a games room or entertainment centre, an office in the garden, or even a music studio. All these things are possible and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.

    Different uses for log cabins

    Home gyms

    Add up all the money you’ve ever spent on gym memberships. A lot, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be so much better to get yourself some decent gym equipment and put it in your log cabin? Of course, it would.

    All the bulky equipment would be out of the house. You’d have a great space to do your workouts in privacy without worrying that someone else can see your wobbly bits. In the log cabin you won’t have any interruptions, and on those days when your motivation is a little low, you’ll have that extra impetus of knowing that you only have to walk a few yards to get going.

    Recreational space

    If you don’t have a mansion, you probably don’t have space for a dedicated games room. The pool table won’t fit in the kitchen. Playing darts in the hallway is tricky. And your home cinema won’t quite fit perfectly in the living room unless you rip out the fireplace.

    This is why you need a log cabin in the garden. Whatever your hobby, you can build the space around it. You could even create your own music studio or rehearsal space. Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters wrote songs for Dark Side of the Moon in a cabin in his garden, while Benjamin Britten composed the music for Death in Venice in his log cabin.

    Space for the kids to hang out

    Children have an unerring ability to spread their toys around the house while making enough noise to wake the neighbours… of your Australian cousins. It’s time to give them their own space – and a log cabin would be perfect.

    They can make as much noise as they like, and they’ll spend a lot more time in the garden getting some fresh air. They’ll have the opportunity to gain some independence and can take responsibility for keeping their log cabin space neat and tidy.

    Plus, if you create a room where they can watch movies or play games, you can always slip into it after they have gone to bed.

    Garden offices

    Fed up with trying to work from a desk in your bedroom? An office in your garden is the perfect solution. Instead of hiring office space or building an extension, you can use a log cabin. They’re quiet, free from interruptions and built for work so you don’t have any distractions.

    You wouldn’t be the first - Roald Dahl wrote most of his books from his ‘writing hut’ while George Bernard Shaw wrote Pygmalion in a log cabin that was built on a turntable so it could be turned to face the sun all day. Arthur Miller, Philip Pullman, Virginia Woolf, Vic Reeves and Dylan Thomas all worked in log cabins in their gardens.

    There are so many uses for a log cabin. Whether you’re a famous author, need space for your family, want to get fit or would like to pursue your hobby, a log cabin is an ideal solution that is both affordable and ideal.

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  5. Taking care of your log cabin this summer

    Prolonged exposure to the sun's harmful rays can cause quite a bit of damage to a log cabin. This is exactly why it's important to take extra care of log cabins in order to ensure they not only remain pleasant to look at, but also structurally sound to ensure the safety of everyone inside them. Let's take a look at some of the ways to help ensure log cabins remain safe and maintained this summer.

    Log cabin maintenance 

    Wood rot

    If you've ever been inside of a cabin and have noticed a strong, foul odour coming from the walls, then chances are it's undergoing a case of wood rot. This is caused by a fungus and insects that discolour and ultimately destroy wood altogether. Wood rot can be the cause of complete structural failure in a log cabin, so it's important to get it dealt with as soon as possible in order to have any chance of repairing the damage that the cabin is currently experiencing.

    The most common way of doing this is by using a wood preservative. Preservative contains a chemical that penetrates the wood and gets to the root of the fungus, which destroys it and any accompanying growth altogether. It is always important to handle these chemicals with care. They're classified as pesticides, so can be quite toxic to the atmosphere and surrounding land. However, they're often the only reasonable means of treating wood rot and protecting a cabin from complete destruction.

    The use of wood preservative isn't the nicest smelling option, either. However, when the alternative is a sickly fungus growing in the wood, then the right choice should be quite clear. The smell of using wood preservative can remain within a cabin for quite some time: it's therefore important to be present to air out the rooms for as long as possible. The use of electric fans can also assist with this.

    Water repellents

    A second treatment option that many log cabin owners choose to undertake is using a water repellent. Similar to a preservative, repellents penetrate the wood and form a waterproof barrier that's loaded with regenerating oils and waxes that not only restore logs to their former vibrancy, but also ensure that they remain less porous to water's damaging effects. The use of water repellents should be a regular treatment option: they should be done every couple of years, according to the manufacturer's instructions, in order to ensure the cabin remains as impervious to water as possible.

    Repellents contain a small amount of preservatives, too. However, they won't be present in the strength required to deal with wood rot, so mustn't be used as first line defence option. They are a secondary option to be used as a protective feature once the initial causes of degradation have been dealt with.


    The structural integrity of the wood isn't all that cabin owners require to think about this season. While protecting the wood will ensure the structure remains sound, it's always a wise idea to reconsider the security options that help ensure the structure is around in the first place.

    This means checking and replacing smoke detectors and considering carbon monoxide detectors, where conventional and more traditional heating options often found in log cabins can create dangerous levels of the noxious gas.

    Similarly, it is wise to reconsider the exterior security options, such as upgrading locks and security systems. While log cabins don't tend to be the target of rampant burglaries and thefts, it is always better to ensure would-be predators move onto their next victim and leave your property alone.


    As a final treatment option to consider, it might be wise to consider the use of log stain in order to help replenish some of the natural vibrancy found within the wood. This will understandably be a very labour intensive job, so must not be undertaken without considerable thought being paid to the true costs of it beyond the price tag. However, applying a coat of log stain could restore the cabin to its former lustre when it was first built. When combined with other treatments like water repellents, a stain could be just the ticket to creating one of the best cosmetic appearances in the exterior of a log cabin.

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  6. Ways to decorate your log cabin

    The intention for cabin decor, whether traditional or modern, is to create a charming and cosy environment. Just the thought of a log cabin creates in the mind images of a little log house with a shake roof nestled by a lake amongst a grove of trees. The image likely involves a stone chimney with a bit of wood smoke puffing out. While this may be the image people think of on the exterior of a log home, it is really the interior of the log home that speaks to its charm. The styles that people use to decorate the log cabins are as diverse as the people themselves. The people make the cabin feel quite like home whether they use antique, traditional, or contemporary furniture. Other styles found in log homes may also include more modern or eclectic looks. The following log cabin decorations talk a bit about the different styles and how the styles can be incorporated in a log home or cabin.

    Different decoratinf styles

    Shaker style 

    The homes and buildings of Shakers may not have been made from logs, in the style of log cabins and homes, but the Shaker style was and is suited well for a home made of timber framing or of clean-lined logs. The craft of cabinetry was surely perfected by the Shakers, allowing them to remove clutter from their living spaces. They used wooden pegs on walls to hang tools, hats, and even chairs; the assorted items of a simple life. The style is inspired by the goal of Shakers to create only items that fulfilled a specific purpose. This means the style lacks all unnecessary ornamentation. The beauty of Shaker furniture is in the simple form, colour, and the wood grain rather than in extraneous carving or turning. There is a scarcity of their work in today's market in part due to their belief in celibacy and reduced numbers of Shaker people, making furniture crafted by Shakers quite valuable. Fortunately for those looking to adopt a Shaker style in their log cabins, there are reproductions with the same clean lines and simple beauty available to those who want the Shaker look in their homes. These pieces include trestle tables, ladder-back chairs and rockers, as well as tall chests of drawers for furniture and woven baskets and bandboxes for accessories. The typical Shaker colours are red, blue, and chrome yellow.

    Arts & crafts style

    The handcrafted furniture produced in the Arts & Crafts style had a linear style that lacked ornamentation. This style is similar to the Shaker style in that the craftspeople relied on the beauty of the wood and the skill of the trade to bring out the beauty and comfort of the furniture. Everything in an Arts & Crafts style was to be handmade, including light fixtures made of copper and topped with mica shades and pottery that was thrown by hand. Simple embellishments of stylised leaves and flowers adorned woven curtains, table runners, and bed linens. The colours of the style are muted and natural. All elements of the Arts & Crafts style look right at home in a log home because the style echoes the log crafting and the colours of the forest, making the elements of this style perfect of timber and log rooms.

    South-western style

    A mixture of Spanish and Native American influences, adobe accents and terra cotta tiles are an earthy complement to the tones of warm wood logs. The furnishings of this style include carved Spanish Colonial wood tables and case pieces, cruciform carvings, and paint colours of sand, sunset, and sky all give the essence of century old missions. Dashes of colour are added with brightly coloured woven rugs on the walls and floors, handmade pottery reflects certain native talent, and Mexican silver adds sparkle, creating the ideal Southwest setting within log homes.

    Modern style

    Contemporary and modern decorating schemes fit well within log cabins. This style includes clean, sparse lines, wide windows, and furnishings that may be inspired by Scandinavian blond wood and chrome classics. Creating an open floor plan is part of the modern look with sleek touches like metal spiral staircases, glass block, and a stripped to the essence firebox and hearth. The type of lighting can make for a contemporary feel, including recessed lights and tapered torches, while stainless steel appliances in the kitchen feel modern. The look can be further created with neutral washes of paint and carefully edited accessories.

    Eclectic style

    The truth is that log cabins can accept a mixture of styles that may include a combination of Shaker simplicity and no-fuss country style, with elements of contemporary precision. Some owners of log cabins seek to fulfil their wide range of interests, creating a style that has no set rules. Regardless of the style of timbers used in a log cabin, this casual and eclectic style will fit.

    What about the exterior of your log cabin?

    First impressions

    Colour is key. Choose flowers that bloom brightly in spring and summer. Bold yellows, reds, blues, and oranges could be a good, popular choice. On the other hand, if your cabin is situated in a less secluded spot, a more manicured look with the lawn would be good. Go for an organised look with nicely trimmed edges and ''planned'' beds. Even if you're away for lengthy stretches of time, relax! Part of the pleasure of coming home to your log cabin lies in cleaning up the garden, planning ahead for the season and getting joy out of your surroundings.

    The porch

    If your cabin has a porch, make it a feature of the whole cabin. A happy welcoming idea is colourful bunting around the balustrade, hanging plants with colourful spring and summer blooms, and to tone the colour back, a beige or grey couch with scattered cushions in various pastels. These days there are so many to choose from, whether you prefer the designs of well-known brands or your local shop. If you're budget-conscious, choose durable materials and make the cushions yourself if you enjoy that sort of activity. 

    Cane furniture works well on porches where the emphasis is on relaxed, friendly interaction. Put a vase with cut flowers, whether they are a mixed arrangement or showing off only one variety from your own garden, on the table. A few earthenware or porcelain pots with bright blooms contribute to creating the perfect space for entertaining your family and friends. Keep it simple and informal. You want your porch to say ''Welcome to my home'.


    Never forget to add a lovely, peaceful touch to your cabin by leaving hints of fragonia, sandalwood, rosebay, jasmine or lavender (all available in oils) on bed linen, fabric and bathroom curtains to enhance the atmosphere in your log cabin. Not too much however, a hint will do.

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  7. Why the New Year is the perfect time for a new log cabin

    Each New Year brings a sense of rejuvenation into the world, often serving as the perfect motivation for people to get a head start on their New Year’s resolutions (as well as hunt for all the great New Year’s discounts!). Whether your goal is to get fit or finally start that home business you’ve been dreaming of, one of the best ways to get the New Year off to the right start is to dedicate a space for achieving your goals.

    Adding a log cabin to your garden can offer the ideal amount of space you need whether you’re planning on building a home gym or home office, and the benefits begin with the affordable building materials. In addition to setting a rustic ambiance for those seeking to connect with Mother Nature, they are incredibly versatile buildings and can be a great change to your garden and the examples below show just some of the ways they can be used.

    Log cabin uses

    Home office

    Whether you work from home or are planning to start your own business this year, adding a separate space to your property can be the perfect addition to your garden if you require a little more peace and quiet to focus. Also, adding a new log cabin to your own property is usually much more affordable than renting an office or building somewhere else.

    As telecommuting continues to grow in popularity around the world, so will the need for a personal office space, and a new log cabin can serve as a superb working area with limited distractions, without being too far away from home. You can still look after the children, have friends over for your lunch break, and there are endless cups of tea available to help you through the day!

    Be sure to also take advantage of the discounts available at office supply stores! The New Year is one of the best times to find deals on great office furniture and other equipment to get started on the right foot.

    Fitness centre

    The majority of us have the desire to stay in shape, but not all of us are fortunate enough to have the time, money, or motivation to follow through with this popular New Year’s resolution. Not only can gym memberships be costly, but actually finding the motivation to physically get to a gym can be difficult (traffic, equipment queues, and time constraints all add to discouraging us from going.). If you find yourself hitting this same wall year after year, maybe it’s time to consider building a personal gym space of your own, especially if you don’t have the space inside your home.

    Like office furniture and supply stores during the beginning of the New Year, many sports equipment centres offer discounts on their equipment as well, so be sure to research what kind of deals they have available.

    Family room

    As families become more connected to their mobile devices than their own blood-relatives in this technology-driven age, finding ways to spend time together can be difficult. If one of your goals this year is to make more time for your family, a new outdoor room can serve as the perfect getaway from the rest of the world to enjoy evening meals, play games, or simply enjoy each other’s company.

    Comfortable seating, such as bean bags or large cushions, may be all that’s needed to complete your family room, but depending on the size of the cabin, consider adding a table and dining chairs as well to make the space even more versatile.

    Home cinema

    We all know going to the cinema often costs much more than the price of a simple ticket. In addition to having drinks and food to enjoy during the show, we also have to worry about the crowd and available seating. For these reasons, it may be worth investing in a space to house your own cinema this New Year, especially considering the fact that cinema projectors have become more affordable within the past few years.

    By investing in equipment to create your own home cinema, you can enjoy private screenings in your garden without having to worry about driving into town and nearly emptying your wallet to enjoy a film. Best of all, you’ll always get the best seat in the house!

    So whether you’ve been yearning for your own private working space or want to impress your friends with a new gym or home theatre, a log cabin can be the perfect investment to turn your New Year resolutions into achievements!

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