Adding a studio or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to your backyard instantly provides you with extra space and a whole world of possibilities. You’ve probably spent time dreaming about how you’ll use your Studio Shed, but have you considered how you’ll landscape around your shed? The landscaping experts from our partner, Tilly, are joining us to share their advice on how to integrate your lifestyle shed into your backyard.
Tilly is an entirely online landscape design company that makes expert landscaping accessible to more people across the U.S. and Canada. Homeowners are matched with a landscape designer who has residential experience in their specific area. Through photos and a video walkthrough of the space, a custom landscape plan is created that matches the homeowner’s goals, specific climate and needs. Tilly will then deliver your plants to your curb, making the process easy and fun. Best of all, everything is done on your schedule and your budget.
They’ve mastered the art of making your shed or ADU an organic and beautiful part of your landscaping. Here’s their advice on how you can do the same.
Everyone wants a beautiful landscape that feels like a backyard retreat—and a Studio Shed makes that oasis even better. However, simply placing an ADU in the middle of your outdoor space won’t make it feel like an integrated part of your yard. By landscaping around your ADU, you can create a natural flow throughout your space and turn your shed into a striking focal point of your backyard.
The other factor to consider is accessibility to your shed. If getting to your backyard home office or She Shed requires weaving between garden beds or slogging through mud, that’s a sign that your shed isn’t working with your landscaping. Whether you’re using your shed as a home gym, guest suite, an office space or man cave, creating a clear, intentional path from your home to your backyard home away from home will make every trip to and fro easier.
With that said, check out some easy shed landscaping tips you can try in your own backyard!
First things first, the shed's location within your space is important. In addition to town codes and practical concerns like distance from the house and routing electricity to your space, you’ll want to consider sun exposure when designing and positioning your ADU. Also think about the views from your windows and either direct them toward an existing landscape feature or plant something beautiful to gaze out at while working from home or powering through your workout.
Making your space welcoming and easily accessible all starts with a clear path to the front of your shed. You have a wide range of options to suit every design style and budget from a rustic stepping stone path to colorful tiles to the soft touch of decomposed granite. If you live in an area with snowy winters and you’re going to be using your Studio Shed daily all year round, you may want to consider a heated pathway or a surface that’s easy to shovel.
Adding outdoor lighting to your landscape adds ambiance well into the night and is an important safety feature to make your nighttime journeys to your backyard shed easy and stumble-free. Incorporate path lighting from your home to your shed, add exterior sconces to light your way or hang string lights around a fire pit that's nearby. This way, you can keep enjoying your backyard retreat long after the sun sets.
Why stop with the extra square footage that your ADU gives you? Add a patio with a sitting area outside your shed to seamlessly move into outdoor living and lounging. Add a pergola for extra shade to create a perfect spot for a sunny brunch. If your ADU is an exercise studio, you can easily use this space for outdoor yoga or meditation.
Once you decide what the perfect feature for your space is, all you’ll need to do is open your shed doors to take advantage of the best of both indoor and outdoor living.
It’s great if your Studio Shed stands out as a focal point of your backyard—it’s less good if it stands out as a confusing addition to an otherwise cohesive landscape. Make it feel like a seamless extension of your space by surrounding it with some of the plants that you’ve already used elsewhere in your landscape and match your garden style. Use your plantings to hug your studio and nestle it in your yard or to frame and highlight the shed’s design as a showpiece all its own.
For example, if your shed has a modern edge, use minimalist landscaping, ornamental grasses, a smaller color palette and plant in clean lines. Going for a cottage feel? Focus on natural materials, curved lines, colorful flowers and full lush garden beds.
Even if your shed is in your backyard, it helps to think about its very own curb appeal! You’re going to spend a whole lot of time looking at your Studio Shed, so why not make it as beautiful and welcoming as possible?
The simplest way to do this is to frame the entrance. Group beautiful plants on either side of your door- this can be in garden beds, on a paver patio in planters or flower boxes. If you prefer your plants elevated, hanging potted plants and window boxes add some whimsical charm to your ADU.
You can also landscape the shed's perimeter. If you aren't sure where to start, remember that sometimes less is more. Start simple and use repeating patterns. You can add to your garden as you like. Focus on evergreens that will provide color year round and you can plant seasonal flowers for a pop of color. Layer taller plants or shrubs in the back, then medium and low lying ground plants. Having multiple levels will give your garden a full feel.
Think about the purpose of your Studio Shed and then consider the functionality you need to make it a great addition to your backyard. For example, if it's a guest room you may want to focus on privacy. Utilize your landscaping to achieve this! You can place tall hedges, fencing, or screens to block the view of the neighboring properties or your own kitchen window. Is it an office and you'd love a patio to enjoy breaks and a morning cup of Joe? Add Adirondack chairs or a bistro table to a front patio.
There is also functionality in terms of upkeep for your Studio Shed. If you plant flowers in a garden space around the shed, maybe you'll want to add a piece of furniture that can be a storage space for garden tools so you don't have to trek back and forth to maintain the area.
At Tilly we always recommend low maintenance landscaping. There are a few ways to achieve this! The first is to focus on native plants. Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, making them more likely to thrive without requiring excessive watering or fertilizing. These plant options will also support the local ecosystem by providing food and habitat for your local wildlife (yes - you can purposefully plant so you see more butterflies and hummingbirds!)
Using plants that thrive in your area will also mean they require less water than non-native plants. This can help reduce your overall water usage and save you money on your water bill (yay!).
Native plants are often more resilient and long-lasting than non-native plants. They can better withstand extreme weather conditions, such as heat waves or droughts, and are generally more disease-resistant. When in doubt, go native!
If all of these design ideas are inspiring you to add a shed into your landscape or update the landscaping around your current shed, let us help. At Studio Shed, we’re experts at designing the perfect shed for your style and your space. Over at Tilly, they’re the experts at designing beautiful landscapes and incorporating all the elements you love—including your Studio Shed. Together, we’re ready to take your backyard to the next level!
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Design Your Studio Shed
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