10 modern garden ideas to spruce up your space for summer
Sheds have their place, but there’s more to outdoor wooden buildings than just a place to hide the lawnmower. Timber is a versatile material. It is capable of being bent, cut and painted into almost any type of structure. As an added plus, wood is much cheaper than steel in raw material costs. The freedom and malleability of timber allows maximum experimentation and customisation. So, if you’re after modern garden ideas for summer, look no further.
Enable imaginative play with a wooden wendy house for the children. Ensure the plans are sufficiently sized for children. Doorways don’t need to be full-size – no grown-ups allowed! Not only does this help to conserve space, but having their own tailored space will keep kids engaged in this investment.
Theme the interior and exterior with their favourite things and watch them disappear into their own magical world. Arm children with paintbrushes and a palette of their favourite colours and let them make their own mark. Best of all, it keeps them off the sofa and away from screens. The wooden wendy house could even be home to some kid-friendly gardening equipment, kitted out with everything they need to harvest juicy strawberries.
You’ll probably want to keep window frames empty, especially for under-10’s. Without panes, you’re free to think outside the box. How about a fast food restaurant style drive-through window or a seaside-inspired photo cut-out board?
The perennial choice for the overworked career guy – the Man Cave offers maximum comfort and solace from the world at large. A pinball machine, a home cinema set-up, a snooker table… anything is possible as long as it involves maximum relaxation. Transform a simple wooden shed into a man cave with custom LED neon signage, framed movie posters and whatever else you’d love to be surrounded by. Windows are optional, this is a place to get away from it all.
Electricity is a must-have – always use a qualified and TrustMark-approved electrician to install underground wiring in your Man Cave. Don’t forget to specify enough sockets – you’ll need to plug in the beer fridge, too!
Put this summer’s entertainment budget into your garden and invest in your own personal garden bar. Escape the crush of the busy pub queue and say “never again!” to stingy pours as you host friends and family in the comfort of your own garden. Free up space in the kitchen by giving your fine wine and spirits collection its own dedicated storage space.
Garden bars are relatively simple structures, usually consisting of a narrow building with a long window running across its length.
A shutter window protects those precious bottles from weather and burglars, with lockable access through a handy side-door. Alternatively, go open with a simplified structure featuring just a bar and roof. Just make sure you bring the valuables inside at bed-time! Learn the art of mixology and impress your guests with a fantastic new garden focal point with a fresh new garden bar.
The line between work and home is thinner than ever. In this new world of hybrid working, manage a healthy home/life balance by sending work out into the garden. Loads of building companies specialising in idyllic garden offices have popped up in the last two years, but it’s a manageable enough project for any reasonably skilled DIY enthusiast.
Plan out the dream garden office complete with a desk, chair and shelving. Always make sure you call an electrician for those all-important power sockets. If your garden is an inspirational force, think about sliding glass panel doors to stay in touch with nature.
Pergolas offer shade from strong sun and light showers without shutting the world out. Adorn the simple wooden frame with climbing or flowering vines to turn it into a fantastical hideaway. Alternatively, combine with drapes to nurture an inviting ambience that encourages garden recreational time.
Simply park a chair and small coffee table underneath the protection of the pergola and enjoy peace in the shade. As well as acting as shelter, pergolas are perfect for outdoor BBQs, pizza ovens or fire pits. Just what we ordered on a balmy summer evening. Ensure any heated element is kept far away from the support posts.
The simple construction of the pergola makes it an excellent first project for amateur woodworkers to tackle.
Growhouses are also known as mini greenhouses and are great for the avid gardener lacking in space. Unlike some of the other structures outlined here, growhouses are purely for growing plants. These useful little buildings are great for cultivating seeds into harvestable veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes.
If your approach to gardening is all business and you need a safe haven for your precious plants away from roaming dogs and inquisitive toddlers, a growhouse could be right for you. Erecting the timber framework is a relatively small job.
Make sure to consult a professional when it comes to the window panes. Consider acrylic or polycarbonate instead of glass. They perform similarly at a lower cost and with a lower risk of injury in case of accidents.
Short of space or just looking for somewhere to sit with a good book? Spruce up the bottom of the garden with an arbour. Usually a small single or double-sized seat framed by a small arch, modern arbours can be spruced up with cushions for maximum comfort.
Traditionally, arbours are used as frames for creeping vines, ivy and other climbing plants, but look just as good unadorned or decorated in any fashion you choose. A much more flexible and aesthetically pleasing option than a bench, a garden arbour is a simple structure with maximum impact.
The precursor to the greenhouse, lath houses are sheds built from narrow slats. This allows them to let in light and mild wind while shielding them from more extreme weather.
Lath Houses are perfect for fragile and ornate flowers. Orchids, for example, need a strange combination of heat and shelter that greenhouses just cannot provide. The combination of wooden slats with flowers peeking through is very effective for plant cultivation and striking in appearance. The slats can be made narrow or wide, depending on your preference and needs.
Despite their usefulness, Lath houses are rarely seen in 2022. Maybe it’s time to start a new trend?
Grillkota (Scandinavian Greenhouse)
We won’t blame you if you’ve not heard of this one. Popular in Finland, Norway and the rest of Scandinavia, Grillkotas meld the Scandinavian love of the sauna with the British obsession with the humble BBQ.
A roaring fire sits under a chimney at the centre of the cylindrical Grillkota. Huddle around with friends or family and roast all your bbq faves over the fire. If you’re not hungry, just cuddle up and enjoy the warmth. Great for summer evenings and an absolute live-saver during winter.
There’s nothing teenagers crave more than privacy, so why not give them their own space in the garden to unwind after school? Acoustic foam sound-proofing is a must to muffle their fave playlist from drifting into the lounge. Cultivate the ultimate calming space with bean bag chairs and kit the den out with a WIFI range extender to ensure they stay connected.
If lack of space in the home is a concern, add a desk for somewhere they can study in peace.
Dens for teenagers come in all shapes and sizes. For a more open approach and that all-year festival feel, how about a triangular wigwam? Or add a minor elevation for a treehouse inspired design. Be careful – anything above 30cm will require planning permission.