Look, it’s 2022, and the idea that men are granted one little space in the garden (while women have dominion over the entire house) is outdated. HOWEVER, I’m not against the idea of anyone having somewhere they can escape to when they need it. Self-care (and a bit of quiet) is for everyone.
Where better to retreat to than into the garden, away from the house completely? The humble shed can quickly be upgraded to a cool, comfortable space for working, practicing hobbies or just chilling for a bit.
In this post, I’ve pulled together some of the coolest (but also realistic) ideas for garden man caves inspiration. Whether you want a personal bar, dedicated workout space or sound-proof chamber to blast your music – I’ve got your style inspiration covered.
Outdoor Man-Cave Myths
Let’s all agree on one thing before we start: your backyard man cave can look and feel however you want. Yes, there are some trends that celebrate conventionally masculine interests, but your cave should always be a reflection of you and your hobbies.
When sourcing inspiration for our post about garden woman cave ideas, lots of the suggestions included cushions and fairy lights. If you also happen to enjoy those things from time to time too, take a look at that post when you’re done here.
What are the myths of man-cave design?
“It needs to follow minimalist principles.”
Utter rubbish. Maximalism is the new minimalism. Display every treasured piece of bric-a-brac you own – if you want.
“Design themes should include sports, beer, video games, cars and chicks.”
This is only true if you actually like those things. If you prefer books, wine, painting and flowers, that’s cool for outdoor man cave ideas too. The posters of chicks (or “women”, as they sometimes prefer to be called) should have come down after teenage-hood though.
“Cushions and blankets are girly.”
Cushions and blankets are comfy. If you’re going to be pulling an all-night gaming session in the garden, there’s no need to be shivering.
“Plants and flowers aren’t cool”
Plants and flowers are scientifically badass. Plus, keeping most of them alive is a true feat of discipline.
Whaddya know, Luke-Woodward’s gaming man cave somehow manages to have plants AND stay masculine.
Now we’ve got all that cleared up, let’s get on to the good parts.
Building a DIY Garden Man Cave
Although there are loads of prefabricated sheds that you can buy as your man cave base, you might be more inclined to build your own. Given that shipping can take several weeks, it might actually be quicker and cheaper.
So, how do you build a shed from scratch? Here are the basic steps for building your man cave from the ground up:
- Clear the backyard area and choose the right location for your shed.
- Lay out the foundation then take measurements for the floor, walls, and roof.
- Cut and weatherproof all your building materials, especially for organic sources like wood.
- Install utilities for electronics and plumbing if they’re part of your design plans.
- Make sure your shed is insulated well to protect everything from cold, heat, and moisture.
- Finally, paint, decorate, and furnish your man cave with all the essentials you need.
If you want an idea of what these look like in practice, check out some details (and see interior pics) on the Garden Room Guy’s how to build a man cave on a budget guide.
6 Man Cave Decor Top Tips
I’m about to give you a huge list of cool man cave ideas that you can incorporate into your shed space. If you’re new to interior design, here are some quick rules of thumb for creating a cool, cohesive vibe.
- Define your decorating style.
This is about decluttering junk and identifying what style makes you tick. It’s not easy, but this awesome, awesome reddit post explains it perfectly (I even learned a thing or two).
- Know when to splurge.
Even if you’re man-caving on a budget, investing in the right places will take you from “dingy frat den” to “classy guy with taste”. The usual suspects are: seating, lighting and floor covering.
- Always have a focal point.
Doesn’t matter whether it’s a drum kit, a desk, a massive TV screen, a foosball table or a treadmill. It gives the room purpose.
- Frame. Your. Posters.
Having posters doesn’t make it look like a teenager’s room; tatty corners, creases and blu-tack make it look like a teenager’s room.
- Too much undefined clutter.
Without display cases or shelves, your collectibles aren’t visually different from toys. Anything on your surfaces should be there with intention.
Small(ish) Style Updates for Garden Man Caves
Dingy dude-sheds are overdone. Just because it’s called a man-cave doesn’t mean it needs to actually look prehistoric. This is a great example of how decent flooring and clean walls can make a relatively interior look grown-up. Although, if it were mine, I’d spend all day working on my Pac-man high score to notice the room around me.
There are feature walls, and then there’s u/cocacough’s feature wall. A perfect homage to comic book heroes and retro games, fitting perfectly with the arcade style of this man cave. Yes, it’s indoors, but there’s nothing preventing you from doing something similar outside.
You can never have too much storage, but you don’t need to break the bank for a cool set of shelves. This crate combination is perfect for keeping whatever bric-a-brac doesn’t have a place in the house, or could be used to store books, gardening gear or as a minibar!
Here’s a cool lighting idea from reddit user ymvbtown. The general setup is a little bit unfocused, but the red and blue lighting combo has a very cool Bladerunner vibe.
Garden Man Cave Ideas to Show Off Your Collections
Showing off a treasured collection is the perfect way to decorate. Whether you have a hoard of figurines, beloved lego models, endless DVDs or simply a huge stash of bottle caps. This is your space. All you need to do is invest a little in the perfect display.
Chances are, music practice has been relegated to the back garden. If you’ve got a banging collection of guitars like chet_barnacle2020, who needs posters – except that sneaky signed photo of… Freddie Mercury?! We see you.
Is your back garden man cave your safe space for yelling at video games? Make sure you’re celebrating your console collection in a respectful way, like this shed games room. You might want to DIY some shelving to house each console uniquely, but this FLYSTA unit from IKEA works perfectly too (KALLAX is a very similar style). Just measure your consoles before you buy.
Garden Man Cave Ideas with a Mission
To make the most out of your man cave, it should have a specific purpose. Maybe it’s a home office, or personal gym. Perhaps you need a spot to read, watch films, or game. Here are some specific setups for studios, bars and workshops.
Music Room Sheds
If you need a creative space, check out this garden music studio from Green Retreats. Although it looks compact, there’s a surprising amount of space inside, if you use it well.
I’m totally sold on the 70’s vibe I’m getting from this little shed studio. The wood panels look really cool, and the comfy armchair means it’s not all business.
With a garden music studio, it’s really important that your shed is soundproofed and insulated, especially if you’re keeping sensitive equipment out there. Here’s a pretty thorough video about soundproofing a shed.
Man Cave Bar Ideas & Home Pubs
If national lockdown has made you miss the pub half as much as I have, maybe it’s time to bring the bar to you. The flat-screen TV steals the limelight, but it’s really the bar that needs credit. If you’re feeling handy, building your own is a perfect DIY project, especially if you include the LED lights and minibar.
…Or, go for a more exotic style? This mini tiki bar is INSANE, with neon lights, a good looking back bar and, yep, even a grass roof inside. Weird and wonderful.
Okay, recreating this bar would be impossible, but you can steal their look with awesome lighting. The nanoleaf aurora triangles can be rearranged however you like, and change colour to suit your decor – or even to the beat of music, if you want. They start from £17.99 a panel though, so you could soon tip over into splurge-level styling.
Garden Workshop Man Cave Ideas
When your garden man cave is a practical spot for building things, fixing things and taking things apart, organisation is key. This tool wall is an absolute goal, and the vintage desk-workbench is pretty cool too.
This brew-shed from reddit user dbthedon is a homebrewing haven. It looks like it’s pulling double-duty with a bit of tool storage too, but it’s mostly beer-making paraphernalia. Again, it shows that you don’t need endless amounts of space for a practical garden man cave.
Sometimes a garden shed doesn’t need to be anything other than a garden shed. If you just need somewhere to potter around, keep your garden tools and deal with plants, take a look at this rustic gem.
Chilled Out Garden Man Cave Ideas
Film lovers looking for somewhere comfy to watch their flicks? Look at getting a projector and a white roller blind for watching all the films you could want. Or, take inspiration from this simple boho-styled shed interior, and paint a wall white to use as a backdrop.
Ever dreamed of sitting in a rocking chair, looking out from your porch across the Wild West? This old-world style shed looks just like a cabin on the frontier, making it a mighty fine spot for letting your phone battery die and enjoying a quieter side of life.
Small Man Cave Office
Your workspace needs to be somewhere you can focus. If your garden man cave doubles as a home office, check you’ve got power to charge your laptop, a good internet connection, and a comfortable place to sit.
Garden Man Caves for… Whatever Your Hobby Is
Personally, I believe that there should be room in the home for everyone’s activities… Except for table tennis. It’s possibly the world’s most annoying game, and takes up SO MUCH SPACE. Take inspiration from this garden man cave and, whatever your annoying hobby is, set yourself up a games den outside.
Game-Changing, Luxury Garden Man Cave Ideas
Ready to make a bigger investment into your hang out space? These next ideas are going to need a bit more time or money to pull off, but it’ll be absolutely worth it.
Not all hobbies are created equal. Writers and readers can get on with their pastimes in almost any space, but if your weekends are spent taking apart Minis and putting them back together, you’re going to need more room. The double doors on this man shed is ideal for wheeling any small vehicle in and out as you’re working on it – just make sure the foundations are set up to properly support the load.
Maybe you already have a pretty sweet man cave setup, but want ways of enhancing the outside. Well, how about a hot tub? Chances are you’ll never leave your garden man cave haven. Check out our hot tub post for more garden hot tub ideas.
Nothing short of “baller” – this man cave has everything. A massive sofa, a pool table and even a fully-stocked minibar… I think this might actually be nicer than my entire flat. Another one from the Green Retreats site, the “shed” itself is listed as 5m x 5.5m, so you’d better have a big garden.
Like we said at the top of the article, don’t forget to check out our post on woman caves for even more ideas about cool outdoor spaces (I’ll admit, they’re much prettier than the ideas here)!