Need Some Inspiration for Your Personalized Garden Shed?

Need Some Inspiration for Your Personalized Garden Shed?

by / 10 Comments / 315 View / November 28, 2008

Need some inspiration for your personalized garden shed?


I've been challenged  by Debra Prinzing's book, Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways to consider the creative use of sheds within the garden as personal retreats, work spaces and hobby rooms.

Although I'm a landscape designer who relishes the unconventional, I haven't crossed the bridge yet to design a "non-gardening" related shed.

Garden sheds are very common, yet I bet you haven't seen sheds like the ones presented in Debra's book before.


Photographed by the talented, William Wright, the book is visually stunning and offers inspirational accounts of how these customized retreats have enriched the lives of its keepers.


Caution: Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways may cause uncontrollable desire for a shed of ones own!


Usually, I don't care to read about the homeowner's lives in  a design book, I just want to see the pictures!

The profiles about the shed owners in the book, complimented my appreciation for the sheds.

It opened my eyes to how a well designed garden structure could meet a variety of needs.


One shed was used as a design studio, another as an artist retreat, another for writing, yet another as a children's playroom.


With descriptive names for each shed like "Planting Paradise, "Mod Pod," and "Hampton Hut," I finished the book with the impression that there is a perfect shed out there for everyone and everyone should have one!


Here are a few examples from Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways:

One of the smallest sheds profiled in the book is an 8' x 8' foot potting shed in Santa Cruz, California owned by Martha Mendoza that Debra dubbed, the "Newsroom."


Martha, a Pulitzer-prize-winning investigative reporter, finished the interior of an old wood shed and uses it as her office.

She now has a private place to write that is close to home and her family.

The "Newsroom" is a good example of a shed that is accessible for many people.

I can just see Martha "digging up some dirt" for a story while enjoying the sweet view of her vegetable and flower garden!



Pictured above is one of my other favorite sheds that Debra named the "Rec Room."


Lin Su, a young technology professional for Yahoo, felt cramped in her 600 square foot Santa Monica cottage and needed more space for work and entertaining.

Lin opted for a prefabricated structure designed by Ryan Grey Smith of Modern-Shed and found the 10-by-12-foot studio perfect for her needs and budget.

Set in her modern garden, Lin's shed allows her to enjoy urban living at its finest!



I fell for this romantic shed, named the "Sweet Retreat!" Can you see yourself in this room?


Designers Rand Babock and Tony Nahr, created  this garden retreat and filled it with their favorite antiques and mementos.

Debra writes that Rand and Tonyr often use the room for dining, reading and intimate gatherings.

I wouldn't mind ironing mountains of clothes if I could do it in this room!


The "Sweet Retreat" measures a mere 10-feet-by-10-feet proving again that great things come in small packages!



Thank you Debra for including a Mediterranean-style shed for us "dry gardeners" who thirst for an oasis to relax in!


William Wright's camera lens closes in on this open-air pavilion aptly found under the "Extravagant Gestures" section of the book.

Located in Fallbrook, California and proudly owned by Les Olson and Patrick Anderson, the golden retreat is a crowning jewel in the two acre Eden that is home to plants that spike, whorl, fan and delight!

Debra devoted 8-pages to this jaw-dropping-gorgeous retreat and garden, so you will have to  buy the book to see the close ups!


Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways is a well-crafted book and  includes highlighted sections specifying information such as material used, design challenges, creative solutions and featured decor.

Use it as guidebook and muse for creating your garden hideaway.


All you need is a little yard space, lots of imagination and a small or generous budget.


Watch author, Debra Prinzing as she "sheds some light" on creative shed lighting techniques on "Garden Authority TV," a garden web series I created!



Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways should be on every one's coffee table for the beauty it shares and the dreams it provokes in us to "escape to our own backyards."

10 Comment

  1. Hi Steve,
    My husband can hang out in a shed with his buddies as long as they clean up and vacate when its my turn to use it!

  2. Shirley, those sheds are somewhere beyond cool, as is the book. The problem with many garden sheds will be the insertion of a TV, a couch, a small refrigerator and the man of the house and his mates on Sundays. It then becomes another thing altogether – a “doghouse”. This is a serious development!

  3. Hi Anna,
    I can see you getting the party ready! I’m looking forward to meeting you one day, and who knows, it may be next year. I’m ready to learn to clog, how fun! Do you think your shed will be done soon?

    Hi Kathryn,
    So we have a book in common? I knew I liked your taste!

  4. Hi, Shirley! I’ve also been inspired by Debra’s beautiful book. So glad to see you’ve shared your copy with your readers!

  5. Shirley!!!, I’ve got a bluegrass band to play for us when you come. Word has gotten around that you’ll be my way and there are a few friends in the blogging world who want to meet up. Cameron @ says her husband plays in a bluegrass band. I said… well you just got to come when Shirley comes so we can teach her to clog! So she said it sounds like the party is on. It will be the very best Copper Top Cottage open house.

  6. Hi Dee,
    Good to hear from you! After reading about all the great uses for sheds, I almost forgot that they can also be used for gardening tools. I would probably use my shed for tools and set up a corner for writing.

    Hi Anna,
    How is your shed coming along? I know that this book was an inspiration for you.

    Hi Anne,
    I hope you get to build your tea house one day. I actually did incorporate a shed that I designed as a children’s “little house on the prairie-style” play house for one of the HGTV “Outer Spaces” shows that I did. The episode was called, “Prairie-Style Garden.” I’ll have to post some photos.

    Hi Debra,
    It’s my pleasure to spread the word about things I get excited about! The customized shed is so practical over building or adding to the main house for more square footage. The fact that it is a garden structure within the garden gives it a special appeal to me.
    Keep me posted on your next book idea.

  7. Hello Shirley and friends of Eden Makers’ Blog ~ thank you so much for the kind review and attention you’ve given to our book!
    You are a true friend, Shirley. We love the way bloggers like you continue the conversation about personal “escapes” in the garden. You “get” it! The utilitarian potting shed has reemerged as a premium garden destination for sanctuary, solace, creativity and social pursuits. I wish that everyone could fine his or her dream shed!
    xoxo Debra

  8. What a great book recommendation! Reading it is sure to cause me very serious shed envy, though, since i don’t have a spot for one… (but maybe, if i cut down that tree, ….)

    My real dream is a Japanese tea house over a stream, and in my future dream house, I will build one.

    It would be fun to see picture of any garden retreats/structures that you have designed or come across in your garden travels, Shirley!

  9. Wow Shirley!! This is a most excellent book review. If I didn’t already own the book, I would certainly buy it due to this recommendation. I’ve read it cover to cover a gazillion times.

  10. Shirley, it is a wonderful book and made me want a room of my own too. A room to pile garden tools, potting soil, plants and a sick, and . . . .

    Well, you get the idea.~~Dee

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