Garden buildings: how to add character to your outdoor space

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  • Garden buildings, sheds and structures come in all shapes and sizes and can serve multiple functions, from adding valuable extra living space to providing garden design solutions, such as screening and support for those favourite climbing and rambling plants.

    Large garden buildings or garden rooms – conservatories and summer houses – are versatile and adaptable, working just as well as living or dining spaces as hardworking kitchens or home offices.

    But you don’t have to go for a full-on bricks-and-mortar garden building to get the extra space you need. The humble garden shed has got rather grand in recent years and, alongside your basic 5ft-square variety for housing the lawn mower, bike and garden tools, you can now shop around for all sorts of design permutations, some incorporating covered porches, greenhouse-style windows and staging and pitched and tiled roofs.

    If you need more space in your garden building, an outdoor room could be the answer. The great thing about a garden room or garden office is, unlike an extension, building one creates minimal disturbance, plus you’ll be quoted a fixed price, so there will be no extra costs from builders halfway through. Structures can be adapted for a host of uses such as a gym, a guest room or a spa.

    It is possible to create dining and living spaces in simpler garden structures, too – bring a table and chairs to a basic octagonal gazebo with pitched roof and use it for afternoon tea, a light lunch or evening drinkies. These types of garden buildings can also make the perfect playhouse for little ones – get them involved in the decorating so they really make it their own. If you’re looking for small garden ideas, wooden arbours can add covered seating in lieu of a porch or sheltered deck. Look out for corner arbours, which are the perfect solution for tiny spaces.

    Trellis and gazebos structures can add form to garden planting schemes, lifting climbing and rambling honeysuckle, jasmine and clematis high and into the sun where they will get noticed. Trellis garden structures can also be used to split a garden into individual ‘rooms’, each with their own character and personality.

    Garden summer house for dining (pictured)

    Pick a simple gazebo design and add a table, chairs and pretty tablecloth for elegant outdoor dining. Decorate as you would any indoor space, with a favourite paint shade, artwork and homemade bunting. Surround with potted plants to integrate the building into your garden space.

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