How to Create a Garden Outhouse: Constructing a Functional Outdoor Space

a garden outhouse with seating and lots of trees

Are you looking for more room at home? Not able to build an extension or free up space inside? A garden outhouse may be the perfect solution for you.

Creating a garden outhouse can be a rewarding project that not only adds a functional element to your outdoor space but also can contribute to a sustainable lifestyle.

Whether you’re looking to reduce your home’s foot traffic or want a convenient facility while enjoying the outdoors, constructing a garden outhouse requires careful planning, a bit of elbow grease, and an eye for design.

Below, we’ll walk through the steps to help you create a garden outhouse that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

What Is a Garden Outhouse?

a blue outhouse with blue hydrangeas and a stone path

An outhouse is essentially a small building or garden room built on your property to provide extra space. These additions can range from building a shed or more permanent structures designed to form a detached extension of the house..

It’s a versatile, year-round space separate from the main house. It offers privacy and proximity to nature, creating a unique environment that’s perfect for various activities or relaxation. It’s a place where the indoors and outdoors meet, providing a peaceful retreat without leaving your property.

Why Build an Outhouse?

Homeowners build outhouses for many different reasons. Some of the most popular include:

  • Dedicated home offices
  • Sauna and spa facilities
  • Additional storage spaces
  • Kennels or catteries
  • Games rooms
  • Art studio
  • Personal gym
  • Music room
  • Playroom for children
  • A garden retreat
  • A hobby room
  • Workshop or greenhouse
  • Garden bar or kitchen

A Brief Overview of the Process

Before embarking on construction, consider what functions your garden room will serve. Will it be a home office requiring internet and electricity? A gym needing ventilation and space for equipment? Or a tranquil retreat for reading and meditating? Understanding the primary use will guide your design choices.

Planning a Garden Outhouse

a home office in a garden room

First, you’ll need to design the outhouse. If space is fairly limited in your garden, the task of choosing the location may not be too difficult. Make sure there is adequate sunlight, as well as shade if you plan to use the space midday during hot weather. Positioning your structure beside taller trees or shrubs can help block the intense afternoon sun.

With positioning in mind, you can start to think about the foundations and structure of the building. There are some legalities you also need to be aware of.

An outhouse should serve the main house and can’t be an independent, self-contained accommodation, otherwise, you may need additional planning permission. If you just want extra space for yourself, there shouldn’t be an issue under your existing Permitted Development Rights.

Investigate local zoning laws and building codes to determine if you need permits for construction. Some areas have restrictions on structure size, height, and location relative to property lines.

Outhouse Design

a sketch of a garden room

Layout and Size

The layout should reflect its purpose. For a home office, consider space for a desk and storage. For a yoga studio, an open floor plan is ideal. Ensure the size is proportionate to your garden’s scale and accommodates your needs.

Architectural Style

The materials, layout, and design of the actual room or cabin can be done with CAD design software to help you visualize it. But many people leave the technical design phase to an architect or tradesmen.

Your garden room should harmonize with the style of your home and garden. Whether you prefer a modern look with clean lines or a rustic cabin feel, consistency is key.

Windows and Lighting

Ample natural light makes the space inviting. Large windows, bi-fold doors, and skylights can enhance the connection to the outdoors. For artificial lighting, choose energy-efficient options that complement the room’s ambiance.

Insulation and Heating

Proper insulation will make your garden room comfortable year-round. Consider installing a heating system, such as underfloor heating or a wood-burning stove, for colder months.

Materials and Construction

Durability is crucial. Use materials that can withstand your climate’s rigors, such as treated wood, composite materials, or even stone. The construction should be robust enough to offer security and longevity.

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With a design ready to be built, construction can begin. You may need to find contractors if you’re leaving it to the experts, so find some you can trust. If you’re DIYing the project, sourcing supplies is a big step and should be done with careful thought and planning.

Laying the Foundation

A solid foundation is critical. Options include concrete slabs, paving stones, or wooden decking, depending on the structure’s weight and the ground conditions.

Constructing the Frame

Whether you’re using wood or metal, the frame is the skeleton of your garden room. It should be sturdy and precisely measured to ensure stability.

Walls and Roofing

Weatherproof your garden room with high-quality roofing and wall materials. Insulation within the walls will keep the room temperate, and the roofing should provide adequate drainage.

Furnishing and Facilities

Once the fundamental structure is built, you’ll need to start thinking about furnishing and additional facilities such as power supply and drainage, if necessary. Work with an electrician or plumber to get these tasks right because any mistakes can threaten the whole project.

Furniture and Decor

Furnish your garden room to suit its function. For a workspace, ergonomic furniture is key; for relaxation, cozy seating, and soft furnishings create a welcoming atmosphere. Decorate with plants and art to make the space your own.


For a garden room that doubles as a home office or entertainment space, incorporate technology seamlessly. Wi-Fi extenders, Bluetooth speakers, and smart lighting can enhance functionality.

Landscaping Around Your Garden Room

a garden room with bifold doors and cosy seating

Integration with the Garden

Your garden room should blend with the surrounding landscape. Use plantings to soften the structure’s edges, and create pathways to connect it to the house.

Outdoor Living Spaces

Consider adding a patio or deck for an outdoor seating area, enhancing the indoor-outdoor flow. This can be a perfect spot for relaxation or entertaining guests.

Privacy and Security

Use fencing, trellises, or hedges for privacy. For security, install locks on doors and windows, and consider an alarm system or motion-sensor lighting.

Creating a garden outhouse is a rewarding project that enhances your living space and connects you with nature. By carefully planning, designing, and personalizing your outdoor space, you can create a tranquil and functional garden room that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

Remember, a garden room is not just a physical space but a reflection of your lifestyle and connection with the outdoors. Enjoy the process of creating it, and cherish the moments you spend in your new garden sanctuary.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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