It's a luxury space with all mod cons where you rest, work, or play...

No, not your home - this beautifully equipped sanctuary is now just as likely to be your garden retreat.

Fancy perking up your plot with a shepherd hut, log cabin or chalet, or even an ultra-indulgent contemporary garden suite or state-of-the-art pod? Here's how to rustle up the backyard boutique of your dreams...

1. She-sheds


Although traditionally seen as a man's retreat, recent research by garden buildings specialist Waltons found that more than 50% of sheds bought this year were snapped up by women, mainly in the 25-44 age group.

"We're seeing the growing emergence of the 'she-shed' - an area of backyard bliss - where people can get some headspace and have a special zone for themselves. A well-furnished shed can be a perfect little oasis of calm," says Sophie Robinson, a presenter on BBC Two's The Great Interior Design Challenge, who's styled a she-shed for blinds specialists, Hillarys.

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"This is somewhere where you can be wildly creative with design. I painted this one black inside for a cocooning effect, with added blocks of bold colour and eye-popping neon accessories. I love mixing patterns, and chose contrasting floral geometric blinds and an abstract floral oilcloth.

"As it's a workspace, it had to be practical, so I fitted a central light and wire shelving, sprayed in neon bright colours. I upcycled an old junk shop chair by painting it turquoise, and added a pegboard organiser."

Think hard about how you're going to use the space. If you plan to use it all year round, full insulation would be sensible. Harmonise your shed's interior with the outside by using weathered woods, and natural fabrics such as cotton, wool and linen, in soft, earthy colours which will blend with the view.

2. All the mod cons

All the mod cons

Today's state-of-the-art garden rooms boast every modern comfort and convenience for those who want to 'live outdoors'.

"People are looking to maximise their personal space, add value to their property and enhance their lifestyle," says Chris Hill, managing director at Garden Hideouts.

[Related story: Shady spots: 6 tips for creating a cool haven in your garden]

"They're looking for a 'home away from home' that's only a walk away. There's a big retro trend, and our Shepherd Hut offers the nostalgic appeal of a traditional exterior. Our streamlined timber clad Pod can be used for everything from an office to a gym or games room, while our luxurious Garden Rooms can be interior designed to evoke the style of a library in a country home, the luxury of a boutique hotel suite, the stripped-back look of a loft apartment, or equipped and decorated to resemble an entertainment hub which is pure South Beach, Miami.

"Our structures are completely weatherproof and superior insulation means they're toasty warm in winter and cool in summer, and offer total peace and quiet."

3. Perfect for youngsters

Perfect for youngsters

Little people also love their own homes, where they can play house and let their imaginations run wild.

"One of the most popular choices are our bespoke, scaled-down versions of a family home, but we also make tree houses, castles and palaces," says Bernadette Day at Flights of Fantasy, specialists in bespoke luxury play equipment.

"We go to enormous lengths to make dreams come true, and create everything from magical to practical settings for youngsters, rightly regarded as future family heirlooms. We've created lavish homes with six bedrooms, large enough so adults can enter - only 'by invitation' from the owners, obviously!

"Or we can conjure jungle-style tree houses on stilts; one we built in Ireland was accessible by climbing and balancing, so it was an activity centre as well. It's totally up to the client and their inspiration.

"People are increasingly conscious of using their outdoor space well, so it encourages children to play outdoors, but knowing they're in a safe and secure area where they're on hand. As the children grow up, the 'homes' can be turned into teenage dens, hobby rooms or home offices. They're very adaptable."

What do you use your shed for? Let us know in the Comments section below.