7 Types of Outdoor Buildings for Storage and Style

April 1, 2020

Whether you want to store an antique car, practice a new hobby, or host out-of-town guests, there’s an outdoor building style that’s perfect for you.


Outdoor buildings are a great way to experiment with your home’s decor. That’s because it’s easier to take risks with a standalone building than to remodel part of your main house. And because outbuildings come in so many varieties, they can match your existing style, or take you in a bold new direction.


The following ideas for residential outdoor buildings can help with your brainstorming:

#1: Modular Greenhouse: The True Garden Shed

outdoor buildings - modular greenhouse

A garden shed can do more than just store your watering cans and fertilizer. Turn it into a greenhouse and a garden shed can be part of your garden.


A greenhouse doesn’t have to be made up of a large elaborate building. Just add a clear roof and some south-facing windows to a modular shed design and you’ve added an extra month to your growing season. Later, you can add a supplemental heat source and grow all winter.


Here in central Illinois, the outdoor growing season doesn’t get going until early April. Getting flowers and vegetables started indoors gives you a head start and lets you plant varieties that wouldn’t otherwise be able to grow.

#2: Lofted Garage: Car Below, Gear Above

outdoor buildings - lofted garage


If you’re looking for outdoor storage buildings and don’t already have a garage, a detached, lofted garage is an excellent option.


You may not think you need a garage, but if you’re adding storage space anyway, it’s smart to consider bringing your vehicle indoors. Keeping them out of the elements prolongs the lives of vehicles.


They’re especially nice in cold climates. It’s hard to go back to digging your vehicle out of the snow once you’ve pulled out of a garage on a snowy morning.


Meanwhile, the footprint of most vehicle garages provides ample storage. The garage pictured measures 12 by 28 feet.


#3: Finished Cabin: A Refined Storage Solution 

outdoor buildings - finished cabin


Sheds and garages are great for storing lawnmowers, camping gear, or boxes of Christmas decorations.


But what if you want to store nice indoor items like furniture, books, and art?


Your storage building can double as a living space to hold those items if you design it as a cabin. The cabin interior pictured here is a fully-finished 14 by 40 foot building, complete with wood flooring, paneling, plumbing, and electricity.


You can start small and see how your cabin works as a rustic guest room before committing to fully finishing the space. If it’s nice enough, you can eventually turn your finished cabin into an Airbnb.

#4: Hobby House: A Place for Outdoor Gear

outdoor buildings - hobby house


If you have lots of gear for outdoor recreation, ditch the closet and store everything in a standalone building. Doing this will make it easier to quickly load and unload for each expedition.


An outdoor gear shed can be a useful and aesthetically pleasing feature for your yard.


Double doors are helpful for moving bicycles, camping equipment, and backpacks in and out of storage. Meanwhile, windows let in light and make it easier to find everything.


The pictured shed measures 10 by 16 feet.

#6: Chicken Coop: Grow Your Brood

outdoor buildings - chicken coop 

More than one percent of U.S. households keep chickens today, and the number is growing fastest in urban and suburban areas.


If you want or already have a few hens, a new chicken coop will keep your birds contained and safe from predators. A well-built chicken coop is a prized amenity that will add resale value to your home if you live in an area where chicken-keeping is common.


If you decide to give up chicken rearing, chicken coops can still be useful outdoor buildings. There are plenty of other uses for nest boxes, ranging from firewood storage to planter boxes.

#6: Storage Barns: Classic Outdoor Buildings for a Reason

outdoor buildings - storage barn


With their gambrel roofs and wide doors, the classic barn design is an iconic American image.


There’s a reason barns have been popular for so long and why we chose to name our business Countryside Barns. Barns are flexible, useful, and versatile. They’re great for housing horses on rural properties and for storing lawnmowers in smaller suburban backyards. 


Traditional barns need to be large enough to hold livestock and farming equipment. But backyard storage barns work well on a small scale: the storage barn pictured above measures 10 by 16 feet.

#7: Hot Tub House: Store (and Use!) That Whirlpool Bath Outdoors

outdoor buildings - hot tub gazebo


Outdoor buildings don’t need to have four walls. No matter how cold it is outside, you and your guests will be plenty warm if you’re relaxing in a hot tub. 


A hot tub gazebo isn’t a traditional outdoor building.  But like a shed or garage, it serves the same purpose of moving indoor equipment to where it’s more useful, conserving precious indoor square-footage in the process.


A backyard gazebo is also a great place to store barbecue grills and outdoor furniture.


Rather than adding a jacuzzi to your master bathroom, think about bringing that whirlpool to the backyard where it will be easier to enjoy with guests.  

Final Thoughts: 7 Types of Outdoor Buildings for Storage and Style

Haven’t found the right style of outdoor building on this list?


Don’t worry. Outdoor buildings are easy to customize. A simple modular shed can quickly become an elevated hunting blind or houseboat. Combine two modular sheds and you’re on your way to a double-wide cabin.


Find more inspiration for your next outdoor building project in our shed gallery. Or, try designing your own outdoor building using our shed designer tool — it will calculate available storage space as you go.

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