11 Great Ways To Use Backyard Sheds And Outbuildings


Outdoor Living Today Storage Shed – Lifestyle Series 8′ x 8′ The Gardener’s Wooden Cedar Shed from BuildDirect.

Forget garden tools and storage. Let’s talk about all the possibilities that exist in the world of creative backyard shed planning. Here are 11 shed ideas beyond the norm.


In the old days, you’d have to block off a few weekends to erect a great shed, or maybe buy some flats of beer and invite all your friends to come and help in a backyard “shed raising” party.

Thanks to the magic of the modern age, you can cut it down to a weekend and a few minutes spent online, picking out the exact style and size of shed you want. Take our “Gardener’s Wooden Cedar Shed” as an example. It’s 8×8’ and can accommodate all kinds of lifestyle needs.

Whatever your budget and size requirements, there’s a backyard shed design or outbuilding that’ll work for you. If you think a shed is only useful if you’re looking for a place to store your gardening equipment, you’re totally off-base on that one. Let’s talk about all the possibilities that exist in the world of creative shed-planning.

1. Zen world

If you’re a busy person with a demanding life, you might find it easier to disconnect from your world by creating a separate relaxation retreat in a shed. From color therapy by way of paint and fabric, to throw rugs and seating, it’s easy to create a spot where you can zone out with a nap, meditation, or even just tackle some reading.

2. Home office

Working at home is becoming the best way for people to improve their work-life balance. If you’ve got a job willing to let you work remotely, or you’re self-employed, you may even be eligible for tax deductions while creating a new home office in the backyard.

Consider how much space you’ll need for working, what the electrical load should be, and all kinds of other variables. Look into solar panels for the roof, too. When separated from your family life, you will be more productive and you’ll also be better able to disconnect from work mode when it’s not in your home.

outbuilding shed with path

3. Pool house

If you love entertaining friends for poolside summer parties but loathe having them all changing their clothes in your home, a shed could easily function as a pool house, to not only hold a few swimming noodles or other essentials, but also serve as a change room and wetbar. It’ll all come down to how much space you want to allow for.

Browse for sheds.

4. Personal gym

If you’re able to accommodate a slightly larger backyard shed, you could easily turn it into a workout room in the backyard. Some music, a yoga mat, some weights, a cardio machine, and you’re in business. Heck, you could get enterprising and rent the space to some neighbors looking for a more convenient place to get buff too.

5. Guest accommodations

With some insulation, drywall, and solar-aided power, you could have a great little guest room out back for in-laws or others who might come visiting. The “no bathroom” problem of a smaller shed can be easily solved with a nice short paved walk to your home and access to your bathrooms.

light blue outbuilding guesthouse shed

If you wanted to opt for a slightly larger shed, you could outfit it with a sink, microwave, toilet, maybe build a private outdoor shower, and you’d have not only a great space for visiting friends and family, but a potentially popular AirBNB room too. If you use it for additional income, then it’s possibly also a tax deduction. Gotta love that!

6. A pottery barn

If you enjoy creative pursuits like pottery, you know how messy it can get. A shed can be a great place to not only store your supplies but to do your work in a non-distracting environment. Pin your sketches to the walls, install shelving for your essentials, get a good working space going, and really let yourself tap into your artistic side.

7. Painter’s or writer’s studio

Creating can require unplugging from your life. Imagine a quiet safe-zone offered by a painter’s studio where your phone doesn’t ring and the stresses of home are not distracting. A shed with a sunroof or window or both will allow for natural light and a pleasant atmosphere, perfect for painting.

Consider a southern exposure layout for maximum use of light and warmth. Install shelves for painting materials or reference books, get a good Bluetooth speaker for music, and you’re ready to create.

outbuilding shed outdoor living space

8. Quilting & crafts space

If you love to sew or scrapbook or quilt, you know how “disastery” it can look when you’re in the middle of a project. Imagine not having to clean up or shut the door every time you finish working for a day.

Instead, you can install long work benches, leave things exactly where you finished off so you don’t have to reorient yourself every time you resume work. There’ll be space for supplies, quiet for working, and laying things out for planning.

9. Woodworking room

When the sawdust flies, you know you’re making great progress on your woodworking projects. The problem with having an in-house work space, like in a garage, is that there’s always the trail of dust that didn’t stay where you shook it off.

With a backyard shed or outbuilding, you can dust yourself off both in the shed and the yard, and you’ll enter the home without that telltale trail. It’ll also ensure more sound separation from the house so the rest of the family isn’t suffering from the chugging of jigsaws or the whirring of rotary sanders.

10. Potting place

Garden sheds are one thing, but a potting shed can be of great help for anyone who loves growing shoots off plants and bringing green things to life. It could easily become both a plant-potting space and a greenhouse.

Installing a great big skylight and windows can help make a greenhouse for establishing all kinds of gardening plants, and a little floor and counter space will make potting an enjoyable pastime that won’t leave you fretting over messes.

11. Puzzler’s paradise

Jigsaw puzzlers are a misunderstood lot, but those who love to do it really love it. Sure, these days you can do “online” jigsaw puzzles, but who’s kidding who? The tactile experience of feeling the edges, seeing if it fits, arranging pieces on a table, making groups, gosh, well, that’s what puzzle-solving is all about.

Did you know you can buy puzzles with up to 32,000 pieces? What living room do you want to start THAT puzzle in? But in a puzzling shed, you could install a big table, hang completed puzzles on the walls, have a space heater for winter nights, and your hobby will never be a headache.

Or… whatever you want

A backyard shed can be anything you want it to be. Just be aware it may need modifications to deal with things like humidity or electricity and water, but if you’ve got the savvy and the determination, these are easily achieved tasks.

Have you modified a shed for an “alternative” use at home? What have you done, and how has it worked out for you?

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