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Garden room ideas: inside inspo for outside living

From humble sheds to treehouses, ecopods and summerhouses, there's more than one way to add a room to your garden. Let's take a look.

Guest Author
Words by: Katy Holland

A garden room can be as simple as you desire - a canvas tent over a few planks of wood - or something more permanent and luxurious, like a sophisticated pod or summerhouse, with plumbing, heating and electricity.

Our gardens are increasingly being seen as extensions of our indoor spaces - the ‘fifth room’ of a house - and it can pay dividends to use outdoor areas creatively.

Garden rooms can transform the way we live, bring extra breathing space, and even increase the value of a property.

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There are all sorts of ways to construct extra rooms to suit every aesthetic and budget.

Here’s a little inspiration to get you started, starting with lowest cost options right through to blow the budget ideas...

A tent

Who says you need to get the builders in to add extra space? A garden tent can instill a whole load of instant joy to your outdoor area, as well as offer you a brand new room.

There are some gorgeous designs to choose from, including this 4m star bell tent, from boutiquecamping, £579.

Decorate your new canvas cavern with comfy furnishings, cover the floor with futon mattresses, rugs, duvets, throws and cushions to make it cosy and keep the cold out in the evenings at - and voila! You’ve created a glamping holiday at home.

As well as providing a sleeping area for extra guests or kids, a garden tent offers a lovely shady retreat for those warm summer months.

It’s an instant relaxation space for an afternoon snooze, a meditation zone, a play den… in a nutshell, you’ll have a beautiful blank canvas to make your own.

The marvels of a garden tent are manifold: it’s quick to put up, environmentally friendly, fun and low-cost. And the best bit is that you can take it down when you don’t need it, or even take it with you on holiday.

An outdoor lounge

Bring the indoors outside by creating a luxurious lounge-without-walls in your garden.

With a bit of imagination, a cosy patio, spacious terrace or lawn can be transformed into a blissful space for relaxing, socialising, daytime naps and even occasional nights sleeping under the stars.

Comfortable seating, rugs and an abundance of greenery are a few elements that make for a chic and relaxing outdoor oasis.

Outdoor furniture such as this canopied large rattan daybed (£1,049) has the advantage of offering shade.

Shelter is essential: for something permanent, you could consider building a covered veranda (as pictured above), but for a more low-budget, temporary shelter, a sail shade (£8.99), gazebo or freestanding patio awning (£595) will work a treat.

A log cabin

Rustic and atmospheric, the log cabin takes the traditional garden shed to a whole new level, offering a cosy retreat in which to nestle, without the hefty price tag.

Built from pre-cut interlocking wooden panels, most log cabins come flat packed, with lots of optional extras to pick and choose from.

This Delta model from Tigersheds (£4,920.99) has insulation, glazed windows and double doors as well as heavy duty roof felting.

You can add on extra floorspace, guttering, toughened glass or double glazing as required.

Even the smallest model, such as this one from Waltons (£1399.99) can be transformed into a blissful bolthole.

Add a daybed with drawers underneath, or a coffee table trunk, and your cabin doubles as a handy storage space for gardening paraphernalia.

As most log cabins are self-assembled, you’ll need to be good at DIY, or get some help from an expert.

Keops has lots of helpful info and videos to help construct your perfect cabin.

Remember that while most structures won’t require planning permission, there are exceptions.

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A pod

All hail the latest must-have in home improvement: the garden pod.

Small but perfectly formed, with sleek curves and contemporary designs, garden pods are built to blend in with the natural environment.

A serene space for escaping the hubbub of the house, a garden pod has the advantage of being quick and easy to install, and creates a fabulously full-on glamping experience for family and guests.

When it comes to design, you’re spoilt for choice - think eco-orbs, organic armadillo-shaped cladded structures and rotating spheres (yes really).

Prices vary considerably: these self-assembled BRETA camping pods start at £3,909.00.

While these architectural luxury pods with tongue-and-groove panelling, underfloor heating and atmospheric lighting from Garden Hideouts cost from £25,000.

A treehouse

Once upon a time, treehouses were for kids.

But these days, treetop garden rooms are increasingly the dream retreats for fully grown adults who yearn to reconnect with nature, destress and create more space.

Your structure can be very simple: many a great tree house has begun with a couple of builders’ pallets and a few nails.

But if DIY is not your thing, and you crave something a little more accessible, permanent and comfortable, then there are companies, such as Cheeky Monkey, that can create bespoke treehouses to satisfy every fantasy.

Prices range from next to nothing for a self-build to eye watering for a proper permanent tree residence.

Luxury treehouse experts Blue Forest’s bespoke treehouses start at approximately £30,000, for example.

If you’re building your own, The Treehouse Guide is the font of all wisdom, with a handy stage-by-stage design process.

It’s essential to check all local regulations and ordinances that might be relevant.

A treehouse may need full planning permission, and factors including your neighbours’ privacy will need to be taken into account.

A summerhouse

For bigger budgets or those looking for a permanent extra room, perhaps with a bathroom or kitchen as well as a sleeping area, a summerhouse can transform your home as well as the value of your property.

As it’s constructed separately from your house, installation is a lot less disruptive than an extension.

An off-the-peg garden room such as this one from John Lewis (£19,450) is ideal if the design fits your space.

You can then give it some personality by designing the interior, or even getting a designer on board, to make it feel totally unique.

A bespoke summer house designed by an architect can be tailored to your tastes as well as to the exact dimensions of your garden.

It’ll cost more than an off-the-peg model, but it’ll meet your exact requirements - so you can make your dream room with no restrictions.

Just remember to check local building and planning regulations before you start.

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.