To deal first of all with summer houses, or, as they are often called, garden houses. Formerly these were usually constructed of brick or wood, but the modern building mediums—concrete and steel—are becoming increasingly popular in this sphere. These last are usually most effectively used near the house, and then only if this is built of similar materials.
An excellent way to do this is to continue one of the house walls, usually that on the north, out towards the east or the west for a distance of say twenty yards and at a height of from five to six feet. The wall is then turned at right angles and continued to a point parallel to the south wall of the house, and in this wall the garden house is built. In this way a real garden room, open only to the south, is obtained. If then a border be run along the wall, the same width as the garden house, and, after a paved path has been laid, the centre area be devoted to lawn and a, or perhaps a pool, a most delightful sheltered patio will result. The whole effect will be especially beautiful if the walls themselves be roofed with the same material as the house, which to-day is often green tile.
In exactly the same way may an extra garden room be added to a brick and red-tiled house. In this case the wall and house would be constructed in brick.
If a wooden house is desired it should not be placed too near the house unless, as is rarely the case nowadays, the latter be of wood. The choice of type and style here is almost unlimited. One thinks immediately of brick-based houses with formal walls and roof, of elm-boarded thatched structures, and of rustic ones providing a warm and cosy harbouring place for earwigs!
The choice of type in a wooden house depends definitely upon the site it is to occupy. If near the house it should be formal in character, reasonably plain, and unostentatious. It may, however, be thatched, or have a wood shingle roof, although unfortunately both of these materials are rather expensive. Such a house might also have white-painted windows and doors capable of closing it completely.
A wooden house in an informal part of the garden may be less formal in character—it may very well be of the rustic type—although these harbour insects and the rustic poles are therefore best peeled if choice flowers or plants are nearby. This does, however, detract somewhat from the beauty.
Often a very delightful effect may be obtained by building a garden house over a stream or a narrow pool, thus making of it a kind of bridge. The sound of rippling water beneath the floor will be found very enchanting, while the house will remain beautifully cool.
In placing a garden house a more commanding view of the garden may usually be obtained by setting the structure upon a raised platform of paving or cement, somewhat wider than the house itself, and forming a step or terrace to the house. In a very commanding position in a large garden two or even three steps may advantageously be made.