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How-To Guides Archive

How to build a children’s garden den

A garden den gives your children an outdoor retreat where they can escape from the adult world to imagine, explore and play. So, what better way to spend your summer than by building an outdoor den for your little ones?

Here we share our favourite garden den ideas to inspire you to design your own enchanting outdoor retreat, with practical steps to help you build something special for your children.

Children’s garden den ideas

Playhouses

A playhouse is a great way to create an exciting space for your little ones. Once you’ve built the basic structure, your kids can let their imaginations run wild and create all manner of fun play environments – from a playhouse or shop to a hospital, pirate ship or even a rocket!

A playhouse is also versatile. You can adapt it as your children grow, and their interests change.

If you have an existing shed or decking area, why not convert this into your playhouse? Alternatively, you can call in the professionals. A professionally-built playhouse will typically cost between £430 and £1,300.

Children's playhouse

Wicker tepees

Ideal for larger spaces, a tepee will provide a magical, natural den that your kids are sure to love! Not only will a wicker tepee offer a secret hideaway and shade on sunny days, but it will also look impressive in your garden.

Add cushions, blankets and outdoor lights to create the perfect retreat for your children to relax, explore and play.

If you’re considering building a wicker tepee, it’s often better to call in professional help. A wicker tepee will typically cost around £200.

Treehouses

The classic garden den, a treehouse will make your little ones the envy of all their friends! If you’re lucky enough to have a suitable tree in your garden, a treehouse will give your children the perfect secret hideaway.

Whether they transform it into a castle, a pirate ship or a watchtower, there’s something truly magical about being able to hide away amongst the branches and watch the world go by.

If you’re considering building a treehouse, you might need planning permission. It’s worth calling in the professionals to ensure your treehouse is safe and structurally sound. This will typically cost around £2,459 on average.

Children's treehouse den

Plan and create a garden den for your little ones

Here are our top tips for creating the perfect raised platform den in your garden – trust us, your kids will love it.

Step One: Set the budget

Firstly, think about how much you want to spend on your outdoor den. This will determine factors such as the size, style and features of your den.

Step Two: Futureproof your design

When planning your garden den, don’t limit yourself to thinking only about what your little ones will appreciate now. Consider how you can adapt it to ensure that it provides an enjoyable outdoor space for years to come.

Step Three: Choose the best spot

Think about where the den will fit best in your garden. Try to find a spot that’s away from other outdoor sitting or dining areas so that it’s a separate area just for kids.

Step Four: Design the concept

This is the fun bit! It’s time to design the concept for your outdoor den. Use the inspiration above and let your creativity run wild.

Of course, it’s essential to ensure that your plans are achievable, so think about the space and anything you’ve already got. Do you have a shed you can recycle for example or an area of raised decking?

Step Five: Seek expert advice

If you’re building a den from scratch, it might be worthwhile arranging a video call with an outdoor building or shed expert to discuss the practicalities of bringing your ideas to life.

Step Six: Explore your options

Once you’ve developed your ideas and you understand how to bring your garden den concept to life, it’s time to work out which ones will fit in with your outdoor space and your budget.

Step Seven: Share the plan with your kids

Run your plans past your children to see what they think – you’re building it for them after all!

Step Eight: Consider your skills

Before you start building your den, you need to consider whether you’ve got the skills to build it properly and safely. You’ll need to create a platform from decking and then assemble a pre-bought shed or build your own – are you confident you can do this, or do you need to call in the professionals?

A pro will be able to suggest the best materials and expert ideas, ensuring that your den is good quality, lasts for years to come and most importantly, is a safe space for your children to play in.

If you’re planning children’s garden den, search our directory of trusted traders to find a skilled and experienced professional in your local area.

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How to maximise your small garden space

If you think your garden is too small to create a beautiful outdoor area, think again. The size of your garden needn’t limit your creativity for designing a beautiful and functional outside space. You may even be able to accommodate a small garden room!

By combining your imagination with clever planning, you can maximise your outside space to create a garden you will love and use all year round.

How to maximise a small garden

Garden buildings, such as sheds and summerhouses, add an extra element of functionality to an outdoor space. However, you don’t need a huge surface area to add an impressive outdoor building if you opt for smart, space-saving designs. Small garden room ideas include:

Garden shed

A classic garden shed is perfect if you need outdoor storage that doesn’t take up too much space. With a range of size and design options, you can build a shed to suit any garden, even in the smallest of corners.

Small garden shed

Bike storage shed

Bike storage sheds are far slimmer than most sheds, so they can easily sit against a wall and provide extra storage space for everything from bikes to garden equipment. They’re also a great solution for those who don’t have a garage and need the practical benefits outdoor storage can offer.

Corner summerhouse

If you’ve always dreamed of having a summerhouse, but your garden is too small, why not consider corner designs that are great for filling those awkward spaces? This will give you the freedom to use your garden all year round, even during the colder months.

Mini garden studio

Whether you want a private space in which to work, focus on a hobby or just relax, a mini garden studio is a great way to get the most out of your garden in terms of functionality and enjoyment.

Small garden room

For more ideas, take a look at our article covering a whole host of garden room ideas, including children’s dens and dining areas.

Budgeting and planning

Once you’ve decided on the type of garden building you want to add to your garden to maximise the space, you will need to consider the budget and planning involved. Depending on the type of building/garden room you choose, you may need planning permission. You should also consider if a new garden room would disturb your neighbours in any way. Other considerations include:

Once you have weighed up your options, you should speak to a professional who can measure your available space and help bring your vision to life. You may need multiple tradespeople depending on the complexity of your project, from the electrics, foundations and building itself.

Here at Checkatrade, we have a trusted network of recommended, vetted and monitored tradespeople. Simply use our Checktrade Search to find professionals in your area who can provide you with a quote for the work you require.

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How to make a garden man cave

A garden man cave is a perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy your favourite pastimes in peace and quiet. It’s a quiet spot away from the rest of the house where you can retreat and indulge in whatever hobbies or leisure activities you love the most.

And, despite the name, there’s no reason why a man cave has to be reserved for the male of the species! You can create a garden room/man cave to suit anyone – the important thing is that it’s a place dedicated to well-earned R&R.

If you’re thinking about creating a man cave in your garden, here are some ideas to give you some inspiration.

Garden man cave bar

If you’ve always dreamed of opening your own bar, why not create your own man cave bar in your garden? Build a bar area, add some seating, and make sure there’s a fridge to keep your beverages cool.

Then invite your friends round for a sociable drink without needing to leave your house. You could even add a tv for sports or a dartboard to add to the authentic pub feel.

Garden man cave bar

Garden man cave chillout den

To create the ultimate space to relax and unwind after a long, hard day at work, kit your man cave out with comfy seating, a big TV and a pool table. Keep the décor minimal for extra tranquillity.

Garden man cave workshop

Whether you’re a professional tradesman yourself or you simply like working on DIY projects in your spare time, a man cave workshop will provide a practical space where you can retreat to make, build and work. Incorporate plenty of functional storage for your tools and a workbench.

Garden man cave workshop

Garden man cave gym

Workout in the comfort of your own home with a man cave gym. If you’re planning on making your garden man cave into a home gym, make sure there is plenty of ventilation, whether that’s windows that open nice and wide or even an AC system.

Garden man cave gym

Man cave studio

Are you a musician in need of a music studio? Or maybe a budding musician with an instrument you’d like to master?

A man cave studio is an ideal place to practice and/or record, either on your own or with friends. Think about the type of storage that will be best for all your kit, and definitely make sure you soundproof your den!

Garden man cave studio

Garden office man cave

If you work from home and need somewhere to concentrate in peace and quiet, away from the rest of the family, a garden office man cave could be the perfect solution.

Add a desk, an office chair and plenty of storage, and you’re good to go.

How to make a garden man cave

Here’s our step by step guide to how you can make a garden man cave:

Step One: Consider Usage

First things first, you need to consider what you’ll use your man cave for. As we’ve already mentioned, the possibilities are many, from a relaxing chillout den to a gym. Check out our ideas above for inspiration.

Step Two: Should you go new or repurpose?

If you’ve already got a shed, garage or summerhouse, you might decide to convert it into your man cave. Alternatively, you could build a structure from scratch. This will have an impact on the cost, scale, and difficulty of your project.

Step Three: Get down to serious planning and design

Once you’ve decided what your man cave will be used for, it’s time to think about the design. How big will your man cave be? How will you decorate it? What features do you want it to have?

Step Four: Set your budget

Now you have a rough idea of the design and type of man cave you’re going for, and you need to calculate how much it will cost. As a rough guide, a low shed with insulation and power will typically cost in the region of £1,000, a medium log cabin style man cave generally costs from £5,000 – £6,000, while a large, high-spec log cabin will cost an average of £15,000.

Or, if you opt for a custom, brick-built structure, you can expect to pay around £30,000. If you don’t feel up to building this yourself don’t forget to search on Checkatrade for a local expert who can offer you advice on your best options to suit your budget.

Step Five: Prepare the ground

Clear the spot where your man cave will stand, removing grass, shrubs and any other vegetation. Level the ground out as much as possible.

Step Six: Lay the foundations

This is a key stage in building your garden man cave. The foundations will strengthen the structure, prevent it from sinking into the ground and help prevent the wood from rotting.

Step Severn: Build the structure

The next step is to build the structure of the shed. This might mean building a brand new one from scratch, or adapting a shed, garage or outhouse you already have.

Step Eight: Waterproof the outside walls and the roof

To keep your garden man cave, and everything in it, safe, it’s important to waterproof the outside walls as well as the roof. Lining the walls with polythene will protect your man cave from moisture, which could result in the walls and roof rotting.

Step Nine: Insulate and soundproof

If you’re planning on using your man cave to play music, practise your favourite instrument or gather with friends, it’s well worth soundproofing the walls to avoid becoming that annoying, noisy neighbour.

Step Ten: Connect to utilities

Whatever you’re going to use your man cave for, you’ll probably need electricity for light and power. Depending on your plans, you might also want to consider water and an internet connection.

How to build a man cave on a budget

If your budget is limited, an excellent way to keep costs down is to convert a shed, outhouse, or other garden structure you already have into a man cave, rather than building one from scratch. A quick lick of paint, some minor repairs and new furniture and you’ve got your very own garden man cave, without having to spend big.

Call in the professionals

If you’re planning a man cave in your garden, it’s undoubtedly worth calling in the professionals to take care of the construction work for you. A garden structure is no small undertaking, so rely on the skills and experience of a trusted tradesperson to build you a man cave you can enjoy for years to come.

Search our directory of trusted traders to find a skilled and experienced professional local to you.

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