Garden structures are generally functional. Your shed, summerhouse, garden office, wooden gazebo, even the rabbit hutch and dog kennel, all play a role in how you use your garden. Such structures though are never purely functional: they have form, texture and colour. By considering those design cladding elements, you can change your whole garden. We’ve all seen the instant effect colour has when fences and sheds are painted or stained. Quick and easy, and with a wide range of colours available, your garden structures immediately change the way your garden looks.
But what about form and texture? And what about ensuring that your shed, now a carefully considered design aspect of your garden, can withstand the weather and time?
Cladding, not as easy as a quick paint or woodstain job, but still a relatively straightforward job for any home improver. Cladding will add integral strength and durability to your garden structures, protecting them against the weather and adding a layer of insulation. Cladding will also, though, let you consider form and texture as well as colour. Your garden structures can become design features around which the picture of your garden can develop.
You have basically four cladding materials to consider: wooden boards, WPC – wood plastic composite boards, metal sheets, or fibre cement sheets. The use of any will affect the form of your structures: think of the cladding as way of sculpting the outside of your garden structure. The basic form is the same, but the edges and the faces are more interesting and potentially, depending on the cladding used, have more depth. All four materials will give you a variety of textures and colours to add to your design. Will you choose sleek and modern, or traditional? Will you choose to soften the structure and blend it into the garden, or create a bold statement? Will you use horizontal lines or vertical to visually alter the length, width and height?
The first choice by many. Timber Cladding is natural, warm, adds texture from both the grain and the style of boards, easily finished with treatments to extend durability or redecorated, easily repaired, and there are a range of woods to suit all budgets: pine, western red cedar, oak and larch being the most common. For the eco conscious, it’s renewable, especially if sourced from certification schemes ensuring its sustainability; has a low carbon footprint to produce; and encourages tree planting which uses CO2 from atmosphere. As a natural product though as temperature and humidity levels change, wood will expand or contract to a certain extent, usually across the grain, and this should be considered when choosing and fixing your cladding boards.