Garden cabinsIf you've got a bit of free space in your back garden, and need a place to wind down of a breezy summer evening, a garden cabin ticks all the boxes. In case you've never seen one before, a garden cabin is essentially a "posh shed" erected at the end of your backyard, designed to host shindigs like family barbecues, or simply function as a relaxation chamber or even a second office. From desks and televisions to bunk-beds and dining tables - what you put in there is up to you.
The only limit on what you can do with your garden cabin is your imagination - OK, that and your budget. But there are genuinely a world of possibilities:
If you have visitors during the warmer months, a spruced-up garden cabin with a small bed can function as a handy summer guest room.
Study / office
Natural light and seclusion from the outside world can be a big help if you're looking to kickstart a new hobby or get your tax returns sorted out.
Yes, really. Some people have taken to turning their garden cabin into a makeshift home cinema.
If you regularly host barbecues and summer shindigs for your friends and family, a garden cabin can be a great place from which to serve drinks and lay on a spread of nibbles.
As mentioned above garden cabins can be size and shape you like and do not need planning permission to be built as long as they are enough far from the boundary and are high no more than 2.5 m from the ground level. So a flat garden shape is most preferred.
A plain wooden shack of 10 by 10 metres with a couple of windows and a pointed roof will probably set you back a little under a grand. More elaborate designs with double doors and curvy tops are going to be in the region of two or three grand depending on the size. You'll have to factor in the cost of erecting the thing and possibly getting utilities such as electricity and water hooked up as well.
Where to shop
Your first instinct is probably to try and find a garden cabin fresh off the shelves, but it is possible to find a serviceable second hand one if you do the legwork on websites like eBay. As always, this does come with the warning that panels might be damaged (or even missing).
Stores like Argos, Homebase and Wickes each have a surprisingly extensive range of garden cabins, with their most expensive products listed at around two to three thousand pounds. The former also promise the offer of a free delivery (although you will miss out of the installation service provided by a company which specialises in garden buildings).
If you are looking to go upmarket, check out companies like Dunster House and Smart Garden Offices - the latter of which nominally pitch their products as offices but can easily double up as dining rooms or guest rooms with a few cosmetic changes.