17 Enclosed Garden Structures for a Cozy Backyard Retreat

white greenhouse shed with open door
Photo: Lynn Karlin

An enclosed pergola, pavilion, or other outdoor structure can provide a private retreat in your own backyard. Create a cozy spot to relax with a book, entertain guests, or simply enjoy the view of your garden. These garden structure ideas form a pretty focal point that invites relaxation.

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Garden Structure for Outdoor Dining

patio pergola outdoor dining space
Nathan Kirkman

Build an enclosed garden structure to make outdoor meals feel like a fancy dinner party. Position a table and chairs under a pergola, which helps create the feeling of an outdoor room while offering shade during the day. Enhance privacy by hanging curtains around the sides, and string up lights overhead to provide a warm glow at night.

02 of 17

Backyard Greenhouse

white greenhouse shed with open door
Lynn Karlin

A greenhouse provides a spot to start seedlings, offers protection for delicate flowers, and allows you to grow out-of-season plants. Construct a small-scale version in your backyard to level up your garden. Greenhouse kits make it easy to assemble one of these enclosed garden structures yourself.

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Trellis Garden Shed

garden shed with trellis walls
Edward Gohlich

Combine a shed with trellises to create an enclosed garden structure that welcomes in fresh air and cool breezes. Serving as a potting shed, this structure features trellis screens for walls and a slatted roof that filters sunlight. It offers a handy workstation, storage for pots and gardening tools, plus shade for plants that can't tolerate too much light.

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Gazebo Garden Structure Ideas

backyard tent seating area
Marty Baldwin

Freestanding metal gazebos provide an affordable way to create an enclosed garden structure. Choose one with a canopy on top for sun protection, and hang curtains across the open sides for privacy. Arrange patio furniture inside to form an intimate dining area or a cozy outdoor workspace.

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Classic Pergola Structure

pool house with pergola
Gordon Beall

Classic columns support this attached pergola, creating a dining space in front of the pool house. The adjacent outdoor cooking area makes al fresco dining a breeze. A pergola with open sides lets you enjoy some shelter from the elements without obstructing your view or connection with the rest of the outdoor living area.

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Screened Gazebo Garden Structure

flagstone patio in woods
Emily Minton-Redfield

Positioned at the corner of a deck, this gazebo provides an outdoor dining spot that's sheltered from sun and pests. The gazebo's windows were strategically positioned to overlook the surrounding scenery. See-through screening allows great views while keeping insects out.

07 of 17

Private Garden Pavilion

enclosed gazebo with outdoor furniture
Laurie Black

Create an extraordinary private retreat by perching a pavilion at the edge of a deck. This enclosed garden structure features sliding glass doors and full-length curtains that can be drawn to create a separate room. When the doors and curtains are open, the pavilion feels like a natural continuation of the deck.

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Enclosed Garden Structures for Small Yards

brick patio with white trellis
Bill Stites

An enclosed garden structure can make a small yard feel grand. This charming lath house is a tight fit on the patio, but it creates a cozy dining area that adds function to the tiny yard. The peaked roof is a smart feature that screens the neighbor's garage and home.

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Lath House Garden Structure

lattice pergola in garden
Langdon Clay

With an open grid that suggests window muntins, this lath house keeps views relatively clear. Note that the lath pattern on the roof is more linear and much tighter than on the walls, a common feature of these enclosed garden structures. This provides extra shade overhead while allowing breezes to flow easily through the walls.

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Insect-Resistant Enclosed Garden Structure

enclosed gazebo on water
Marilyn Stouffer

Waterfront settings are breeding grounds for insects, so a space with screens is especially valuable during the summer. If the structure is built on a wood deck, be sure to attach the screen fabric to the underside of the floor planking to close off the gaps. This enclosed garden structure provides waterfront views and protection against pests for outdoor meals, entertaining, or relaxing.

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Elegant Pavilion Garden Structure

brick walkway with white gazebo

With its prominent columns, conventional entry door, and window screens, this pavilion provides hardy protection against the elements. The enclosed garden structure provides an elegant retreat that wards off sun, rain, and insects. The brick paver approach and white paint give it a formal look that's classic for a pavilion.

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Well-Lit Summerhouse

lattice covered patio
Peter Krumhardt

With electricity, an enclosed garden structure can become a favorite nighttime gathering spot. This summerhouse with lath walls and a shake roof can be enjoyed well into the evening hours. Inside, the painted light blue ceiling creates a fun visual surprise.

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Garden Shed Ideas

shed with curving porch column
Dan Weeks

A shed is an opportunity to add character to your backyard. This enclosed garden structure features rich architectural elements, including a cross-gabled roof and entry archway that shows off the deep red salvaged entry door. Asymmetrical landscaping and plumb-but-curving porch columns add quirky charm to the building's simple symmetry.

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Poolside Garden Structure

white lattice pergola in gardens
Tom McWilliam

Aside from the obvious benefit of keeping insects and birds out of your garden structure, screens filter sunlight and increase privacy. This screened poolside pavilion could double as a sleeping porch on warm summer nights. In the afternoons, it provides a shady retreat when the sun gets too hot.

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Screened Garden Shed

shed with green metal roof
Dan Weeks

When it comes to roof considerations for your enclosed outdoor structure, think beyond mere aesthetics. On this screen room, the eaves overhang the siding for a handsome look that's also practical. The overhangs help keep both the interior of the room and the rough-sawn siding dry.

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Outdoor Garden Room

white lattice gazebo patio
Jay Graham

Consider adding a garden room like this one to provide welcome shade in full-sun areas. Openings around the sides provide come-and-go access, and lattice panels strike a balance between privacy and garden views. The covered roof keeps it comfortable from morning to evening.

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Inviting Lath House

poolside gazebo with planters
Sherry Lubic

A lath house is a practical compromise between a screened-in pergola and a wide-open pavilion. With a hip roof reminiscent of an old railroad depot, this structure is dense enough to provide substantial shade. A small garden enclosure like this is still comfortable, even though it does little to combat rain or cold temperatures.

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