A Pub? In the Garden?

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Garden Pub

During lockdown in 2020 I decided that seeing as I could not go to the pub, it would be a better idea to have one of my own. I’m not a builder, but being an ex Royal Engineer I’ve got enough know how to turn my hands to most things. (Disclaimer: If you’re going to do you own electrics, get it checked by an electrician!)

What to Buy?

Well you are faced with two choices, fabricate you own, or buy a ‘pre-built’ flat packed building (probably sold as a ‘summer house’ or ‘garden room’). I had a budget for the building of about 2-2.5k and did a lot of looking online and eventually settled on a 16’x10′ Summer house from ‘Nordic Timber Buildings’ the base building was about 1.6k but by the time I’d added a 4′ canopy and upgraded the roof felt it was just shy of 2k. The problem was that (in Jun/Jul of 2020) I could not get one delivered and built before NOVEMBER! 

Prep Work (Footing)

I knew I needed something to stand it on, either a concrete pad (ideally) or I looked at plastic bases you filled with stones, or using slabs etc. I’ve done plenty of concreting in the past so that was the route I was looking at, but getting ready mixed concrete to my back garden would have been a pain. Luckily my neighbour was having a path put in his back garden, and after a quick discussion, it was arranged that he would put me down a 16’x10′ concrete pad for 1k. Now I could have done it cheaper, but 1) he’s got all the gear 2) Knows the contacts 3) Will do it much quicker than me 4) That would take me probably about 3-4 weekends  to sort out myself. 5) Another lump of concrete needed removing, and it saved me hiring a breaker. Finally he agreed to do another 6’x4′ pad on the other side of the garden to put my new garden shed on, for no extra charge (sold!)

So all I needed to do was clear all the trees and branches out of the way.

Garden pub baseSummer House Base

The base is sat on plate compacted material that looks a lot like Dolomite (but isn’t) and it compresses rock hard (I was told it’s made from reclaimed stone and concrete).

The guy picked up the concrete as a ‘semi-wet’ mix on his flatbed, then he (and another) wheelbarrowed it to the formwork, they did it in two ‘pours’ as you can see in the photo above.


As I said above I now had to wait until November 30th 2021. The firm were great (Nordic Timber Buildings). On the day they turned up it was tipping down with rain and their route from truck to concrete pad, (down the side of my house and round other outbuildings was ‘challenging’ but credit to them they were outside my house at about 08:00 and finished by lunchtime).

Summer House


Verdict: As I’m writing this I’m a few months down the line, so I’ve got a few more ‘opinions’. On the whole I’m satisfied, the company were great, communication was spot on, the assemblers were great, and it does exactly as it says on the tin.

Minor Gripes:

  1. Whatever they used to cut the exterior cladding at their factory was probably not as sharp as it should have been, (the edging particularly round the windows is a bit ‘ragged’. I can sort this out in time  with a Stanley knife or a chisel so I can let that go.
  2. The door hinges are terrible! One practically had no galvanisation on it at all and by January was brown with rust. I’m planing to replace the doors (long term), so that’s not the end of the world.
  3. The two front doors are not terribly well fitted to be honest, I’ve got them screwed shut presently (there’s a door on the side). In the long term I’ll replace them, but they are hard to secure (i.e fit a decent hasp and staple, or some bolts).
  4. There are a couple of ‘Knot Holes’ I’d have liked to have seen filled, but for what I paid, I can go to B&Q and get some wood filler.

Summer House Pub


Sorting Out The Interior

Well the building was soaking to start with, it was probably stored outdoors at the factory, and had been transported in the rain, I ran the dehumidifier in there for a few days to try and get it dried out a little.

Forums / Facebook Groups and ‘Experts’

I’ve never had to insulate a wooden building before, so I joined a few groups read a few posts and asked some questions. What I learned was that unfortunately the world is full of ‘Experts’ and if you don’t do things exactly the same way they’ve done them you’re a negligent idiot, (or its all going to go wrong).

I’m not an expert (not even close) I just sponged in as much information as I could, and made a decision on what I was going to do. Then got cracking.

Moisture Barrier

Briefly, a moisture barrier is a membrane, (usually a tight woven plastic fabric) that is used to ‘wrap’ buildings. You will also see it ‘in modern buildings’ under roof tiles. It’s designed to allow water vapour to pass though it outwards and stop water coming inwards. (If you’ve ever worn GoreTex clothing you get the idea). 

Q. Did you wrap the outside of your building?

A. No? I get asked this a lot. If you build a timber framed building then you wrap the ‘frame’ in a membrane, and then you clad the outside of that. For me to do the same I’d have to disassemble the entire building remove all the upright batons from the external cladding, cover the cladding in membrane and rebuild the building again? I’m not going to do that, because that’s a monumental waste of time and effort?

So I covered the ‘inside’ of my building with membrane, completely like so;

Summer House Vapour permeable Membrane

Q.What did you use?

A. Protect TF200 2.7m x 100m Roll (approx £165)

Q. How did you fix it to the walls?

A. It’s stapled, if you can get galvanised or stainless staples use those (I didn’t, I used cheap steel ones – yes they will probably rust, but they will be buried in the wall cavity and the PIR (Insulation) will keep it in place anyway).

Q. Why is it blue?

A. I’ve not got a clue, I wanted it in 2.7m widths so I didn’t have to cut it so much, and the blue was the first one I saw.

Q: Did you leave and Vents/Gaps?

A: Yes across the top of each section it’s vented to the outside to allow air flow and potentially get rid of any condensation from inside the walls after I’ve finished.

Garden Pub: Insulation

Depending on your budget, you have probably three choices, Rockwool (like the stuff that’s in your loft), PIR (Polyisocyanurate) boards, or a combination of foil/bubblewrap. I like the idea of Rockwool because it also deadens sound, and I intend to have at least one electric guitar in here. But in the end I went for PIR.

It comes with many brand names Celotex, KingSpan etc. But they are all essentially the same. It’s a layer of foil then some foam, then another layer of foil. It comes in different thicknesses I chose 50mm.

Q: Why did you choose 50mm PIR?

A: My wall batons are 62x38mm. If I put 50mm PIR in that leaves me a 12mm cavity between the PIR and the inside of the interior walls.

Q: How much was it?

A: £280 for the PIR, then you need some foil tape (I recommend you get this from Screwfix and buy the 100mm stuff it’s miles better!)

It comes in 2.4×1.2m sheets (or 6×4 in old money) The best price I found was insulation4less but BEWARE they sting you with a delivery charge. So order it all at once, and make sure you get the quantity right. Note: Later on I’ll be doing the floor so I made the mistake of ordering twice!


Put your Stanley knife away! the best way to cut this stuff is with a good old fashioned hand saw, get a decent straight edge, and always cut it 2mm bigger than you actually need it. If you can, cut it outside! The dust is terrible, it’s not harmful, but it gets in your throat, so do like I didn’t, and wear a mask!

Q: How do I know how much I need?

A: I measured each piece I needed in the building, then sat and drew a page of rectangles (PIR boards) and worked out how to use the LEAST amount of boards.

Garden pub insulation.

Q: How do you stop it falling out of the roof and walls?

A: The more you work with it, the better you will be at cutting it correctly, by the time you finish, everything will be a snug friction fit, so that wont be a problem it will just stay there. But if you cut a little too short, get some cheap plastic headed push pins from the stationary shop they will hold it there until you need to tape it later.

Summer House PIR

Vapour Barrier

Why? If you are in a warm outbuilding and it’s cold outside, then water vapour in the air is going to form in there and you will get condensation usually on the coldest surface, (the inside face of your outside wall/cladding.) To stop that happening you need a barrier (preferably on a well ventilated air void) to protect from a build up of moisture in the walls.

You can either put up a stand alone vapour membrane (basically a decent sheet of polythene, though there are specific building membranes you can use). Or if you’ve used PIR (like I did) you can ‘Tape’ all the joints with moisture proof tape. Which is the same tape that you use to join pieces of PIR. 

Q: What Tape?

A: Try not to get the tape thats got a backing you need to peel off, if you have nails like mine it’s a pain in the backside. I used 100mmx75m Diall insulation board tape from Screwfix it’s about £6 a roll. Get plenty! I used 4 rolls on the walls and roof, and I will need more when I do the floor. 

Vapur foil tape

Here you can see the roof fully taped (excuse the wires).

Summer House Taped PIR

Walls & Lining

My original plan was to use plasterboard, because it’s reasonably cheap, and I know a good plasterer. In the end I decided to clad it it with softwood tongue and groove. This is more expensive and takes a LOT longer, but I think it will look  nicer. You can of course line yours with plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Board) old farts like me will call that chip board, but it’s a great deal stronger than chip board and is designed for use in construction, if you choose to use OSB then use OSB3 as it’s more moisture resistant.

Plasterboard Warning: I’ve seen many posts by people, who get upset when people advise to use plasterboard, because it’s porous and can get wet and degrade, there are moisture resistant (and foil backed versions). Ive not got the experience so I can comment.

I’m using 7.6mm cladding so it’s quite thin. Best advice I can give you is every few layers make sure you are level, and if you have to clad around a door or window and then ‘meet’ above it put in a vertical joint, because unless you laser level in each run they wont meet up at the same point! Unless your a master carpenter, or at least a better chippy than I am (which is not difficult 🙂 

Below: I’ve finished cladding the walls. I will also clad the roof, Im just waiting on the light fittings.

Q: How did you fix the cladding?

A: Headless nails, you can normally hide the nails in the tongue and groove, but as I was using 7.5mm cladding it was a bit too thin, so its nailed directly onto the batons.

Garden Pub – Underfloor Insulation & Vapour Barrier

This time I’m using 25mm PIR and then I’ll cover with OSB, and finally lay laminate. 

Floor Battens Insulation

In fact just covering the floor in vapour permeable membrane has raised the temperature 2-3 degrees in there, and I can see how much the wind catches it!

Q: Why 25mm PIR?

A: Because the same timber I used in the batons (62x38mm) is also used in the floor but sideways on, so I can use 25mm PIR and still have a 13mm void.

Q: Why so many sockets.

A: See Below

Here’s the first section insulated and taped, BE AWARE OSB boards are 2.44 x 1.22m (because they are still 8’x4′) So don’t start screwing batons down until you’ve put them in the correct place. Your insulation boards will be 2.4 x 1.22m.

This time I cut them outside to stop choking on dust!

Floor Insulation Summer House


The following shows each section of the floor construction, and one section of the OSB in place.

Floor Insulation Summer House complete

Now with the OSB down, floors ready for laminate to be laid.

OSB Floor completeOSB Floor complete

Q: What did it cost to insulate the floor?

A: OSB Qty 5 12mm 8×4 sheets was £150.00, the 25mm PIR Qty 5 sheets was £138.30, the 62 x 38mm timber was (approx) £55.00 


Why So Many Sockets?

No I’m not planning on planning a Ganja farm. Apart from being a bar in the garden, I also intend to to be working out here, (as I work from home). And I’ll be out here with my electric guitars.

Thats still a LARGE amount! Well yes it is, but because I’ve never done this before, I decided to find out other peoples thoughts…

Sockets How Many

Now in my home, theres a constant, every single plug socket in the house has a 5 way extension plugged into it, and some more than one. What I don’t want out there is a sea of extension sockets.

As you can see from the construction, once cladded adding additional sockets (internally) will be a ball ache. BUT the next build phase is to deck outside, If I want to put external power in, it’s simple as peas to drill out the back of an existing socket.

So for every socket I ‘think’ I need I’ve put a double socket in.

Under the Consumer unit: Theres two doubles, one for EOP ethernet feed, the other in case I need a Power Injector for the Meraki AP26 Wireless point I’ll be fitting in the roof. That leave me capacity to fit a Gigabit switch, and have a spare socket in the consumer unit cupboard

Behind the Bar: Theres three doubles: Two for Beer Fridges, two for Perfect Draft beer dispensers, One for an Ice Machine, One for an Air Fryer (Shit I’ve already ran out).

That leaves me: 21 Double sockets, that’s loads right?

TV, Amazon FireTV box (Firestick don’t cut it for me), Sound Bar, PS4, Juke Box, 1060p Projector, Line 6 Guitar Amp, Vox ToneLab Guitar Pedal, My MacBook Pro  docking station, my HP Elitebook Docking Station, External Monitor, MFD, Chargers for my work and personal phones.

That’s more than half of them gone already? And that’s  before my daughters, visitors and visitors kids want to plug all their devices in, and jump on the wireless. Also, let’s not forget this this in my garden, it’s going to be easier to plug lawn mowers, strimmers, and hedge trimmers in here as well, (without unplugging stuff)

So no, I think I’m pretty much spot on, I’ve applied the Seven P’s

Prior, Preparation, and Planning , Prevents Piss Poor Performance.


Garden Pub: Whats Next?

Floor needs laminate, I’ll start that next weekend.

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Author: PeteLong

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  1. Come on mate…more updates and pics..plus what will you pulling into pints?

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    • 🙂 Updates to follow…..

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