Whether it's used as an outdoor home office, a creative space to paint or write, or simply a quiet corner to catch up with some reading, a traditional garden room is a versatile space that can be designed to fulfil a variety of needs.
From shepherds' huts to boathouses and even a shell-clad folly, these beautiful garden rooms are both practical and pretty, used by artists, gardeners, and crafters for all sorts of activities.
If our gallery convinces you to invest in a garden room of your own, consult our expert guide to adding a garden room to find out how to create one in your garden.
1. Botanical potting shed
Tucked away at the bottom of the garden, this old potting shed has been transformed into a beautiful work and creative space which blurs outside and inside. To complement the glorious verdigris exterior, the bench is covered in a selection of botanical print cushions, and the window adorned with beautiful leafy curtains in a fabric from Jean Monro.
Inside, the botanical theme is continued with the apple green paint shade which creates the perfect backdrop for a selection of botanical wall prints and freshly picked blooms.
Rustic and hard-wearing outdoor metal furniture is an ideal choice for a practical work space, and old apple crates are used as side tables to blur the boundary between outside and inside.
Learn more about linking your outdoor and indoor spaces.
2. A shepherd's hut retreat
Set in the garden of a rural Norfolk cottage, this shepherd’s hut is always ready with a pretty table and chairs for impromptu afternoon tea guests, but also doubles up as a great quiet space for catching up on reading.
3. The quilter's room
With plenty of glazing at the front, and a window boasting countryside vistas at the back, this summerhouse makes a lovely bright craft room for quilter Jenny Larvin. Not wanting to take down the tree, she and her husband snuggly fitted the room beneath, painting it green to complement its natural setting.
Find out how to install secondary glazing.
4. Vintage-style summerhouse
Complete with a pretty veranda, this quaint outdoor room is a great spot to admire the garden in the heat of the day. Styled up with potted plants, bunting and vintage planters, apple crates and watering cans, it’s a masterclass in pretty country style.
5. A summerhouse with storage
A picture of English charm with its pink roses and rustic stone wall, this pretty garden room is also packed full of clever garden storage ideas. Custom-made, the storage bench is the perfect place to stow away garden tools or craft materials, and a vintage crate serves as a mini bookcase and side table, not forgetting the ample shelving which provides plenty of surface space for those cherished collectables.
6. An oak-framed studio
This stunning oak-frame garden room has served as an artisan studio for engraver Andrew Davidson for the past 26 years. Now beautifully weathered to a silvery finish, it was constructed from pegged oak to his own design. Nicknamed his 'gilded cage', the building is reminiscent of a boathouse, but instead of river views it offers vistas across the Cotswold countryside. ‘If one must be imprisoned for life, it has to be in a gilded cage,’ he quips.
We have more oak frame garden room design ideas.
7. A sculptor’s retreat
Sculptor Pauline Lee’s outdoor room isn’t just a beautiful feature in her garden; it’s the workshop and studio from where she produces her wonderful ceramic pieces. It serves as the perfect setting to observe the natural world around her from which she draws inspiration for her botanical works.
Made from two modified sheds, it blends into the garden landscape, with honeysuckle and clematis spilling over the roof and fragrant pink roses climbing up the walls. Inside brims with her fired stoneware sculptures, pots, figurative work and wall tiles.
8. The gardener's shed
Passionate gardener Fiona Smith’s beautiful garden room workshop has not only become the centre for her gardening projects, but has become a feature of the garden in its own right. Old ladders, shelves and benches make great surfaces for displaying her large collection of potted plants on the veranda.
Learn more about container gardening for small spaces.
9. A little brick outbuilding
Louisa and Charlie Butters took on the renovation of a Grade II-listed cottage in north-east Oxfordshire. The neglected garden was re-landscaped after Charlie unearthed some photos of the garden in the 1950s. Charlie returned it to its former glory, replanting borders and trees, and reinstating the paving stones where an orangery had once stood. The little brick garden room perfectly complements the period features of the home and is a beautiful place to view the surrounding Oxfordshire countryside.
10. A lakeside garden room
When Linda Kilburn's friends drop by for coffee and a catch-up, too, they are less likely to end up in the kitchen of her 18th century house and more likely at the bottom of her garden, sitting in comfort by the side of the lake. Surrounded by mature trees at the bottom of her garden, this dreamy two-room summerhouse was custom-made by a local joiner and has been decorated in a calm palette of duck egg to reflect its beautiful watery setting.
When friends drop by for coffee and a catch-up, too, they are less likely to end up in the kitchen of Linda’s 18th Century house and more likely at the bottom of her garden, sitting in comfort by the side of the lake.
11. A garden room hideaway
Latte Lodge is one of two outbuildings on the grounds of Wendy Blakeman’s 240- year-old renovated farmhouse. The garden cabin where Wendy likes to sit and sew or chat to friends over a coffee, is an impressive space, with views right across the Derbyshire hills.
12. A coastal cabin
At the other side of Wendy's garden is Gull Cottage. Originally a small tool shed that friends were throwing out, Wendy transformed it into her very own Southwold beach hut. Shells, seaside accessories and bric-à-brac were sourced on frequent trips to the Suffolk coast and to her all-time favourite shop, Tinkers in Walberswick, which she says is a ‘treasure trove of vintage finds’.
13. A crafter’s shed
Artist Ali Ferguson’s back garden studio in Roslin, near Edinburgh, is known as the ‘Purple Thread Shed’. It is lined with cupboards, crates, drawers and shelves brimming with her collections of objects, from buttons of all sizes and colours, lengths of old lace and fabric and vintage bobbins to sepia photographs, giving her the perfect place to produce her complex collages of found objects. Her love for vintage even spills outside, with old suitcases and Singer sewing tables used as decorative features.
14. The stitcher’s studio
With its pastel blue weatherboarded walls this pretty shed has a New England feel. Studio to textile artist Viv Sliwka, inside it is cosy yet bright and stacked floor to ceiling with drawers, painted shelves made from salvaged circus benches, and patchwork hangings.
‘I would find it impossible to do what I do on the kitchen table, clearing it up for dinner every day,’ says Viv. ‘This workroom is my bolthole, and I love spending time in my garden — it feeds me. Listening to the birds, being surrounded by nature; it’s all part of what I do.’
15. A shell-decorated interior
Just a stone’s throw from shell artist Linda Fenwick’s house, this atmospheric folly is used for lunches and dinners, and in the evenings candlelight reflects off the iridescent forms covering every surface. ‘People find it very peaceful sitting in a room full of shells,’ Linda says. ‘You just imagine where the shells have travelled to and come from.’
Even if you don't have a garden room as grand as this one, find out how to create an outdoor dining area in your garden.
The project was a purpose built hexagonal folly in her garden, the interior of which is entirely decorated in shells. ‘I worked with my joiner, Colin Thomas, and it took about four years to get the building finished, grabbing free days as and when. It took me a year altogether to finish the interior, creating and putting up each panel separately, and I added the last shell in 2010, the night before we opened the garden for the NGS,’ Linda explains. ‘I have always collected shells and wanted to do something with them, and I love architecture and art, so all of these things have fed in to each other and go hand in hand.’
16. A garden room that's a little chapel
Inspired by the prefabricated iron structures used as mission halls and chapels in the 19th century, this scaled-down, portable tintabernacle was built in Cornwall.
17. Creative conversion
This ingenious, self-supporting steel structure started life as a commercial shipping container before being converted into a home office by Green Roof Shelters. Eco-friendly in more ways than one, the offices come with deep sedum roofs planted with wildflowers, and have attached nesting places to help make your garden a haven for wildlife. From £28,680 for a similar H290xW650xD290cm glazed container, including wiring.
Discover more ways to create an eco-friendly garden.
18. A treetop hideaway
Like living the high life? This bespoke, luxury treehouse by Blue Forest features a spacious deck, wired interior complete with wall-mounted TV, zip wire, rope bridge and sunken trampoline, making it the ultimate chill-out space. The exterior combines warm cedar cladding with green roof tiles to blend with the tree. As the treehouses can be built with supporting stilts, having a sturdy tree is not essential.