From man caves to she sheds: Creating a custom backyard shed offers an alternative living space

Crafting the perfect little getaway spot out of that tired old backyard building

It has become a common term that everyone understands: the man cave.

It describes a place that men can go to unwind and do the things they love without the interruption of the wife or the family. Typically the tool shed was also a man’s world; however, “all things equal,” he can be in the man cave while she spends time in the she shed. This is a space that is becoming increasingly popular with women as it can be a place for gardening, crafts, a book, tea or a nap, not to mention a lovely glass of wine.

The physical structure of the she shed is determined on use and how many months a year the shed will be used. Some plan for a space that can be used year-round and therefore need to have things like a heated floor and insulation throughout, along with a space heater. Others want it just for spring, summer and fall and therefore require less of the structure when the temperature drops low. You do want to be certain that you can build the premises as it relates to your neighbours.

The more complete the space is, including electrical, plumbing, heating, etc., the more likely you are to require a clear permit beyond a simple shed. The effort can be worth it for the added space and she-enjoyment.

For those who have a green thumb and want a greenhouse, then the glassed-in roof of a typical greenhouse works best. A wrought iron structure or a wooden structure is not only appealing in the yard year-round, but it is a perfect sunny place to spend a few hours cultivating the glories of the garden.

Build the she shed with electricity and the possible uses increase dramatically. Add a little bit of furniture. Perhaps a table and chairs or a day bed and side tables will give you what you need. Now you can surf the Internet for gardening tips, stream music, watch television, read a book or have a nap. The space is entirely your own to do with what you will.

She sheds are also very useful for those with a home-based business. It can be very beneficial to create a space that is “the office” simply to have a change of atmosphere between the house and work.

One friend who built her shed quarters at the back of the garden finds that she is far more able to concentrate and feels far more productive when she makes the effort to go to the “office.”

She finds also that “having a little more work to do” allows her to escape the house for a well-deserved break from the family for some private time.

There is no need for the space to be constrained by the confines of the shed.

You can build it with a double door entrance that gives you access to the garden and yard around the shed.

A carpet placed outside the shed can be great as a place to do some exercise, to practise yoga or as a private place for meditation.

Add a table and umbrella, a chaise or a simple Muskoka chair and you will have created your own little cottage in the garden.

You don’t really have to practise yoga. You could simply enjoy a glass of red and a great novel while you wear your yoga pants! With added flower boxes and potted plants to surround the exterior, you will have created a perfect space for a “staycation” that will be good for both your soul and your spirit.

Glen Peloso is a design expert on The Marilyn Denis Show and Restaurant Makeover. For further info:

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