When Morgaine Ford-Workman and Wren Workman bought a house with a backyard shed, they saw the potential for something more than storing garden tools.
The couple transformed the 10-by-12-foot building into a bar to use during outdoor parties at their house in Morrisville, Pennsylvania.
"We're involved in community theatre and we like to throw a lot of parties," Ford-Workman said. "It's an extra place to hang out."
People looking to get more use out of their backyards are building or converting sheds for a variety of purposes. There are backyard pubs. "She sheds," when they're built by women. Home offices. Art or yoga studios. TV rooms.
"As we continue to explore other ways we can utilize our backyard space, we will continue to see trends like this," said Stacy Nelson, who owns a backyard-design consulting firm, Backyard Mamma, in Weston, West Virginia. "We want to be in nature and unwind."
The do-it-yourself element and the sheds' visual impact have made them popular on social media sites, Nelson said.
"It's gaining in popularity. It's all over the board what people are using them for," she said.
The sheds range from stylized structures with sliding glass doors to buildings made from repurposed materials.
Ford-Workman and her husband spent about $300 fixing up their structure, which friends have dubbed "Barshed." They furnished it with cast-off furniture from friends.
"Our Barshed is nothing to put in a home-design magazine by any stretch of the imagination, but all our friends rave about its existence," she said.
Studio Shed in Louisville, Colorado, sells prefabricated structures to people who want more living space or to enhance their backyard, said Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, the company's creative director. The buildings, which range in price from $7,500 to $20,000, offer flexibility and are less expensive than adding a room to the house, he said.
Jennifer and Eric Antonow added a shed to their Palo Alto, California, property because they can't afford a bigger house.
"It made so much economic sense," she said.
They use their shed as a home office and recording studio. It sits next to their hot tub, so sometimes they use it as a changing room. She also anticipates serving drinks there while entertaining outside.
The Antonows needed a permit to install the shed, which rests on a concrete slab. City and county rules vary, so check with the local zoning department before adding a structure, said Jim Ayers, a contributor to hometalk.com, an online home and garden forum for do-it-yourselfers.
He did not need a permit to build the gardening shed that he later converted into a tiki bar at his Nashville, Tennessee, home. The building, which sits on concrete blocks, is not a permanent structure, he said.
He transformed the shed into a party spot at the urging of his wife, Monika. "It didn't take much for me to go her way," he said.
He estimates he spent about $500 on the project. He already had some of the lumber. Many of the items are repurposed.
The Ayers spend a lot of time in their backyard, and love to invite friends.
"If we're not at somebody else's place or away on a trip, we're out there," he said. "My wife loves it. In her younger years, she was a bartender."