Published: Sep 02, 2020 | Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Detached Living Spaces for Your Backyard

People need more living space to learn, work, play, and even quarantine other family members at home this year. We've found a great solution—garden rooms!

Birgit Loit Sbjirdc0h5q Unsplash

This year continues to bring new changes to our lifestyles and housing needs in America and around the world. We are seeing unprecedented demand for new home building across the country as people want more space—more room inside and outside of their homes.

People want the flexibility to work, learn, and exercise at home. They want more outdoor living spaces and also detached buildings to expand their living space to meet their families’ new needs.

What is a garden room?

Garden rooms have been a popular trend in the UK (United Kingdom) for a while. They are free-standing buildings in the backyard, or “garden” (as the British say), that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. 

Many times these buildings are open to the outdoors and simply provide a sheltered sitting area. But they can also be closed off and used as indoor living space separate from the main home complete with lighting, electricity, and temperature control. 

Whether you call it a backyard room, a she-shed, a man cave shed, or a backyard art studio—an extra building sure does come in handy when you need more space.

Most of the time these buildings are just one room and sometimes they also have a powder room or even a full bathroom.

A wooden building in the backyard that has electricity and is finished inside could be used for almost anything! 

Here is our twist on a garden room.

We recommend adding a luxury backyard outbuilding that has the same level of quality as your home but helps to meet your family’s needs in a new way. It could be something simple like a 12ft by 20ft building—essentially the size of a large shed. Or it could be 20ft by 40ft and have enough space for multiple purposes.

How might you use an extra building in the backyard, you ask?

How about one of these ideas for a backyard room or small building...

Backyard schoolroom or schoolhouse 

Home learning spaces and pandemic pods are hugely popular this year as parents seek to educate their children safely at home. If you have older children who are doing online school, they may be able to handle their schoolwork themselves in a building outside. 

With younger children, if you are bringing in a nanny to help oversee virtual learning or if you have hired a private educator for your children or for your children and some friends, a backyard classroom can be a perfect space for them to learn during the day while keeping your home calm and tranquil for you to get work done. 

If you have enough space, there may be room for an office or two, as well. You could even design glass windows or doors between your office and their study space so you can easily check on them to be sure they are doing their work throughout the day.

Backyard office

A backyard could be an excellent office space, providing a bit of distance from the house. Then you are close to home but not too close. This can make a huge difference mentally for some people to feel like they can leave home and go to work and then leave work behind to go home instead of having everything mixed together in the same space.

For a backyard home office, consider an office space with plenty of windows and natural light with an included bathroom. Then you won’t have to leave the office to wash your hands or take a restroom break. And you’ll also have a place for clients to use that doesn’t involve them going into your house.

Options for a backyard office include:

  • custom built small office
  • prefab office like:
  • office sheds
  • office pods
  • tiny office
  • modular office
  • shed converted to an office
Custom home gym

Home gym, home dance studio, or private yoga studio

Many people are looking for ways to exercise at home and skip the gym membership. With a building in your backyard, you can set up the home gym essentials of your dreams with several types of equipment and/or weights. You can even have a mirror, a TV, and a fridge with cold drinks. 

Or, if you prefer yoga or dance, you could have a mostly empty room with plenty of space for you to stretch and exercise without worrying about bumping into furniture. Maybe the whole family would like to exercise together in your private gym.

She-shed/man cave

Everyone needs a space of their own to relax and unwind. Whether the lady of the house desires a reading place or the man of the house wants a place where he and his buddies can watch the game and chill together, having a private living space in the backyard can help ensure everyone has what they need to have a bit of time away from the hustle and bustle of the home.

Backyard studio or writing shed

Anyone who has a hobby like sewing, painting, photography, or sculpting needs a craft shed or studio. Then the house doesn’t have to get messy and you have all the space you need for your creative juices to flow. Who knows? Your talent may even turn into a business.

Writers often need a space to get away from the noise and distractions. Many love having a small building in the backyard where they can concentrate deeply and get their best work done in solitude.

Image From Ios 4

Guest house, luxury tiny home, or detached mother-in-law suite

It’s great to have guests visit, but sometimes there is such a thing as too much togetherness. With a backyard guest room, plans are much easier to make. Your family has their space, your guests have their privacy and space away from your house. 

Be sure they have a full bath so they have everything they need. Then no one has to share a bathroom or even share walls.

With a kitchenette and a living area, a guest room can become a studio apartment, guest home, or cottage. It could also be a great mother-in-law apartment if needed for extended family members.

Quarantine room or isolation room

Another extremely practical use of a backyard building this year is a quarantine place. If your building has a full bathroom and a kitchenette, teens or adults who get sick or exposed to COVID-19 can quarantine away from the rest of the family while still being close by so you can care for them properly.

If you have at-risk family members, a backyard apartment or guest house can be a wonderful place for them to live and isolate themselves from COVID-19 even when they are not sick and haven’t been exposed to the virus. Then you can still connect and provide for their needs without having to share living space with them. 

Please be sure to follow all CDC guidelines about how to care for loved ones who are in quarantine.

Jesse Gardner Owwbuoibhdy Unsplash

Pool house

If you have a pool in the backyard, you can have a pool house to go with it. It’s a great place for friends and family to change, use the restroom, and find snacks without getting your home dirty or tracking water all over your main house. Some people have open pool houses that don’t have walls. But you can have retractable walls or panels that lift up or windows that fold back. Make the floors and furnishings waterproof and family members can hang out with friends for hours. 

You could enclose at least part of the building to house a kitchenette, a full bathroom with a shower, and an area for sitting make your pool house the most popular hangout spot. 

Looking for more luxury and elegance? Create a large pool house with room for a pool table, stone fireplace, large screen TV, bar, eating area, and sitting area. 

You could use this house for multiple purposes like a guest house, a quarantine space, entertaining, and storage.

Be sure to include plenty of storage areas for your poolside furniture and equipment during the winter months.

Home spa

Can’t get to the spa? No problem. You’ve got your own private little paradise in your yard complete with a sauna, a large soaking tub, a whirlpool tub, a hot tub, or even a small pool. Set up your own massage table, if you like. Invest in your favorite aromatherapy and some beautiful candles and you’re ready to relax!

Backyard pub

With your own private bar in your backyard, you don’t have to worry about crowded bars or restaurants, masks, or social distancing. Enjoy getting out of the house to your sweet little oasis. Hang a sign with your pub’s name. Have fun with it! You may even want a kitchenette and table there for family dinners.

Image From Ios 3

A detached garage with an apartment

If you need more garage space or a workshop, this is an ideal situation to build a two-story structure with a double garage on the bottom and an apartment on the second floor. You could create a large one-room space with a bathroom. Or you could have multiple rooms.

You can use the upstairs space however you like. A guest apartment, a home office, a home school space, a workout space, or any other living space you can imagine.

Converting a detached garage into a living space

Another option is to take a detached garage you already have and make it into a detached mother-in-law suite, detached apartment, guest house, office space, or additional living space.

Note: Please check with your HOA and local zoning laws before building a garden room in your backyard. 

Ready to build a home with a custom garden room near Lexington, SC?

We help people build their dream homes and provide luxury custom homes for our clients. With a custom home on your own lot, you can build the home and detached living space of your dreams!

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

We are a custom builder in areas like:

Lexington, Irmo, Ballentine, Chapin, Columbia, Blythewood, West Columbia, Forest Acres, Pine Ridge, the Lake Murray area, and more.


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