It was an absolute joy to work in the shadow of a beautiful country house in Surrey for this garden gym build. The client had a large established garden, although part of it was underused.

Adjacent to the site for the new garden gym was an old WW2 air raid shelter, so we decided to tuck the gym just behind it as the space was currently wasted. It was also a good spot to choose as windows could be positioned to give a great view of the rest of the garden, an aspect currently not seen often.

In this case our client didn’t have a predetermined idea of what they wanted. They just knew that they needed some extra space to use as a gym, close to home. Chris from Vivid Green set about designing a studio with a 5m x 3m footprint, using double aspect windows in order to provide loads of natural light and also make the most of the views to both the left and front elevation – a great trick to make a room feel bigger and part of the garden.

More head height

In order to increase the internal head height from 215mm to 225mm, the floor was lowered by 10mm into the ground. This provided precious space for overhead gym work, or a more comfortable head clearance when using a treadmill. 10mm doesn’t sound like much, but can make a huge difference to how a space feels, even for shorter people. This building was sunk into the ground, rather than raising the roof height, as it kept the garden gym within permitted development regulations for total build height and negated the need for planning permission. A simple fix!


Once Chris had completed his design, it was provided to the client as an animation. These are brilliant for getting a feel for the building and the scale of it’s features.

This animation shows the double aspect windows mentioned above. The largest of the two is a 3m sliding door.

Finishing touches

The building was clad with black stained Thermowood, a durable and long lasting option which has the added benefit of being super stable and has a high resistance to decay and fungal attack. Check out our cladding options here.

The PVCu window frames were fitted in a matt black to match the cladding, and interior and exterior LED downlight were installed. These are energy efficient and save head height.

Ceiling brackets were installed for a TRX (Total Resistance eXercise) system. In this case, the celling did not have to be reinforced as we could use the existing standard beam to suspend from.

To make the garden gym comfortable year round, we added a slimline climate control unit to the building. Climate control units provide both warming and cooling functions and make for a much more enjoyable work out.

The finished build

For a free site survey, or just a chat about your idea contact us here.