What timber do we use? And why?

tongue and groove timber boards

What are the most important qualities you’re looking for in a garden building? Once you’ve decided on the right size for you, you’ll almost certainly be on the hunt for a product that looks amazing and will stand the test of time. And if you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your building, you’re also likely to want something built from sustainable materials.

At Garden Affairs, our emphasis is on precisely the same three qualities:

  • design
  • durability
  • sustainability.

That’s why the majority of our garden buildings are built using high-quality, slow-grown timber.

stacked timber planks

Because wood is a natural material, a timber garden building is an unobtrusive addition to your outdoor space, blending in beautifully with your garden, and complementing the environment with an eye-catching, rustic charm. All our buildings are elegantly designed and immaculately finished, with a wide range of styles, from contemporary to traditional, for you to choose from.

Slow-grown timber is longer-lasting than timber harvested from faster-growing trees. The timber we use has typically been growing for 50 to 60 years. This produces a denser material with a tight grain structure, making it stronger, more stable and more durable.

timber building in a garden
5m x 3m Flat Roof Log Cabin

Explore our range of all-timber Garden Log Cabins

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What timber do we use? And why?

Most of our garden buildings are made from slow-grown softwood timber. Softwood doesn’t mean soft! Softwood can be as strong and durable as hardwood. It comes from coniferous trees, which don’t lose their leaves in winter. Hardwood comes from deciduous trees, which do.

Softwood is generally easier to source, transport and work with than hardwood, making it a popular choice for garden buildings.

  • Availability. Around 80% of the world’s production of timber is softwood, and it’s plentiful in the forests of Northern Europe, making it easily accessible for our manufacturers, and reducing transportation costs.
  • Lightness. Softwood’s relative lightness compared to hardwood is another factor in keeping transport costs down. It also makes handling and assembly easier.
  • Flexibility. Softwood is generally more flexible and easier to work with than hardwood.

Some of the softwoods we use in our garden buildings are:

  • Northern European Spruce (log cabins).
  • Larch (Linea garden offices).
  • Cedar (Chelsea summerhouses).

Most of our log cabins are made from Norway Spruce, part of the pine family. This evergreen grows widely in central and eastern Europe with the majority found in the Nordic countries and Russia. Most people will have come across a Norway Spruce in a different form: a Christmas tree.

Our timber is sourced from sustainable plantations and managed forests, mainly from Norway, Sweden and Finland. The proximity of these forests to our manufacturers keeps transportation costs down. Their colder climate means the timber grows more slowly, creating a denser structure.

In some parts of our buildings, we need to ensure the timber has extra strength. So supporting timbers and larger roof beams will be taken from timber grown within the Arctic circle in Sweden and Finland. It grows even more slowly there, developing a tighter ring concentration for greater density and strength.

inside a timber garden building

What about the eco-impact of timber?

The great thing about wood is that it is a natural carbon sink, taking CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it. Trees play a vital part in tackling climate change, a major cause of which is the imbalance of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

So the harvesting of trees is actually good for the environment, as long as it is done in a sustainable way - by cutting down trees before they start to decay and releasing their stored carbon back into the atmosphere, and planting new trees to continue the process.

We ensure our timber is harvested from sustainably managed sources, and that it is certified by the PEFC (Program of the Endorsement of Forest Certification) or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). These timbers come from forests in which more timber is planted than is used.

So your timber garden building is actually something of an eco-hero: an important player in the continuing success and expansion of sustainable forests, and natural storage for unwanted carbon. All you have to do is celebrate that by looking after your building and helping the beautiful, natural timber continue its long and useful life.

View our range of Timber Garden Buildings

Come and see for yourself! Pop into our show site and stroll through a wide selection of our fabulous garden buildings, made from sustainable timber, slow-grown in managed forests.

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