Escape to the garden! Create your She Shed
Garden buildings are no longer the preserve of males and their mowers. Here are five ideas to turn your outdoor room into a female-friendly zone.
The shed at the bottom of the garden has long belonged to the male of the species, harbouring manly things, like mowers, tools and potentially a model railway with bridges, signals and waving 1950s school children.
How times have changed. That one-time man cave is being rediscovered by us women, intent on carving out space away from the family to be creative, purposeful and, you know… alone.
So, who better to design your She Shed than a woman? Enter Sarah – busy working mum of two, garden building creator extraordinaire and the creative half with husband Chris of Moore Garden Rooms. What Sarah designs, Chris and the South Hams-based team build, creating stunning bespoke garden rooms, with everything designed bespoke from scratch.
According to Sarah, ten square-metres is the magic number for your garden room – sufficient space for a home office for two, an outdoor living room, or garden bar complete with optics and a couple of comfy chairs.
Price-wise, for a timber frame construction on a concrete sub-base you’re looking at around £20k plus VAT, which includes the glazing, electrics and plumbing – with everything bespoke, built on site with nothing prefabricated, and everything from the paint finish to the glazing designed to your individual spec.
Planning permission-wise, if your garden room is under 30sqm, no taller than 4m and doesn’t cover more than 50% of your garden, it’s rarely needed – it’s only if you’re building in the grounds of a listed building, an area of outstanding natural beauty or on green belt.
Need more space for your side hustle? Imagine the luxury of a one-minute commute down your garden to your own flower-filled office, with your desk exactly how your left it and no-one to ask where their keys or football socks are while you’re working your genius. And if you do have to share with the other half, the good news is 10sqm is sufficient for a partition wall between the desk – and even your own separate doors.
Sarah’s top tip – make it work all year round
You might think heating would be essential for an outdoor office you plan to work in year-round but we use something called Cellotex (rather than rock wool) insulation which keeps the interior at a balmy 17 degrees, even in winter. It also stops it getting too hot in summer. If you feel the cold, just one slim radiator panel (above) will kick out enough heat for the whole space and look aesthetically pleasing
If you prefer a rustic look, we love working with West Country Stoves who do wood burners small enough for bijou spaces.
Since Covid, the demand for outdoor bars has spiked – it’s the new going out for mid-lifers. And small wonder, when there no need to book a babysitter, or wrangle over who’s the designated driver. It’s perfect for party people who love entertaining or for anyone who still doesn’t feel comfortable in a busy pub. And bonus – after a big party, you can just shut the door on the empties and clean up in the morning.
Sarah’s top tip – raise the bar
An L-shaped bar to perch with optics on the wall makes it feel authentic and welcoming. Splash out on really comfortable bar stools with foot rests, plush enough to keep you upright until ‘last orders’. I prefer to use zinc for my worktops, particularly when we make a rustic bar (above) as it weathers well and looks brilliant with recycled scaffold timber planks.
Want to swerve the macho gym junkies grunting down the local gym? Or maybe you’re hankering after somewhere Zen to find that inner calm? 10sqm is all you need for a couple of cardio machines, leaving enough space to roll out the yoga mat. Just add the floor-to-ceiling mirror to admire those gorgeous glutes (or wince at the bingo wings).
Sarah’s top tip – put your best foot forward
Underfloor heating is worth considering anywhere you plan to go barefoot. And if you want to do your downward dog outdoors, maybe tack an outdoor deck onto the front. We always use composite decking which feels good under bare feet and unlike wood doesn’t deteriorate and stays splinter-free.
Been missing your spa days? Design your outdoor room as indoor-outdoor relaxation retreat. If you add decking it’s the ideal spot for a hot tub – and it can be sunken as it’s in the garden – or if that’s just tooo relaxing how about an exercise swim spa with a jet at one end so you can exercise against the current? Then all you need is the outside shower, and a nice snooze on that sun-warmed deck afterwards.
Sarah’s top tip – give it a Scandi sauna feel
We use cedar to clad our timber rooms which is really rich in colour, smells lovey and is resistant to all weathers. It marries well with a composite decking board, also completely water resistant, splinter and maintenance free.
Need somewhere to bung the kids when you’re craving some me-time or have guests staying? Create a multipurpose garden room with games, TV and wifi which everyone can use.
Sarah’s top tip – don’t stint on the wifi
With kids about, decent Wifi is essential, and there are various options, from sending Broadband signal through power cables back to your house, or network cabling from the home. Expect around an extra £1500 to your build costs.
Install a double socket with an inbuilt USB charger where you can charge up to four devices at one time. No more cables cluttering up your kitchen work top!
Fancy a garden room of your own? Get in touch with Sarah on 01548 521339/07595 914330 for a free consultation.