Garden gym buildings – your questions answered


Keeping fit should be incorporated into our daily lives. Regular physical activity contributes to overall health by improving cardiovascular health, lung capacity, muscle strength, and flexibility while reducing the risk of chronic conditions like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. On top of that, physical fitness levels also play a vital role in mental well-being by releasing endorphins, reducing stress, and improving sleep patterns too. A home gym is the perfect way to commit to fitness in the comfort of your own home with no annual membership fees or set workout times to adhere too.

A garden gym building provides the perfect solution for fitness enthusiasts looking for a convenient, useable space to work out whatever the season, without impacting on the living space within the home. As experts in the bespoke timber building industry, here are answers to some of the most frequently questions about garden gym buildings that we are asked…

Why a garden gym?

There are numerous ways to expand and add value to your home, although it depends on what is right for you. Other forms of expansion can be intrusive to your home, as well as be expensive and take a long time to complete. We aim to provide our services and products with a minimal amount of disruption and install our buildings within five days. Other key advantages of having a garden gym include:

  • Convenience and accessibility: A garden gym provides the convenience of exercising at home, saving time and eliminating the need to commute to a leisure centre. It offers easy accessibility, allowing you to work out whenever you want, without worrying about operating hours or overcrowded spaces.
  • Privacy: Exercising in the comfort of your own garden gym provides privacy, which can be especially appealing for those who prefer to work out without feeling self-conscious or being distracted by others.
  • Fresh air and nature: Exercising outdoors in your garden gym allows you to benefit from fresh air, sunlight, and the beauty of nature. Breathing in fresh air during workouts can improve oxygen intake and provide a refreshing environment, enhancing the overall exercise experience and boosting mood.
  • Customisation: With a garden gym, you have the flexibility to customise the space according to your preferences and fitness goals. You can choose the equipment, layout, and design that suits your specific needs, creating a personalised environment.
  • Cost savings: While setting up a garden gym initially incurs an investment; it can lead to long-term cost savings. You can save on gym memberships, commuting expenses, and potentially costly equipment rentals.
  • Increase motivation: Having a dedicated space for exercise at home can significantly boost motivation. You eliminate excuses related to time constraints, harsh weather, or crowded gyms. The convenience and proximity of a garden gym make it easier to stick to a consistent workout routine, leading to better long-term fitness results.
  • Family and social bonding: A garden gym can also serve as a space for family or friends to gather and engage in physical activities together. It provides an opportunity to bond, motivate each other, and foster a healthy and active lifestyle within the household.
  • Versatility: A garden gym offers versatility in terms of exercise options. You can incorporate a variety of equipment catering to different fitness preferences and workout styles. You will also be able to design your building and layout, bespoke to your needs. If you want a changing area or bathroom area incorporated, extra windows, or bi-folding doors running along one wall, it’s not a problem. What may be your home garden gym today might just become a future garden office or cinema in a few years’ time. Our timber structures are manufactured with quality materials and workmanship to ensure your building will last a lifetime.

Do you need planning
permission for a garden gym?

Like any type of garden building, a garden gym does not require planning permission given that it falls within the permitted development rules. Generally speaking, you have permitted development rights which allow you to build a garden building within the curtilage of your garden when complying with the following key criteria:

  • It cannot take up more than 50% of the garden area and not exceed more than 30m² in size.
  • It must not be higher than 2.5m if erected within 2m of any boundary.
  • It must not exceed 4m in height if erected more than 2m from any boundary.
  • It must not be positioned between the front of the house line and road/path/pathway.
  • Restrictions will apply to listed buildings, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and conservation areas.

It is always important to check with your local planning authority or consult a professional to ensure compliance with specific regulations in your area.

If I do need to apply for planning permission for my garden building, how can you help me?

At National Timber Buildings we offer full drawings and elevations for your proposed building, free of charge. However, we well asked for a deposit of 10% of the gross value which is fully refundable should you be refused planning permission. Drawings are made available to you within three working days.

What is the best size for a garden gym?

The ideal size for a garden gym depends on your personal fitness goals, the types of exercises or equipment you plan to incorporate, the available space in your garden, and your budget. You will also need to ensure your garden gym building falls within permitted development rules if you want to evade applying for planning permission.

The space you have available in your garden will play a huge part if the dimensions, shape, and location of your garden gym as will the equipment that you will be needing. For example, if you are planning to use your gym for stretching/yoga you will inevitably need less space than if you are incorporating strength training equipment and running machines etc. You’ll also need to ensure that you leave enough clearance around equipment to ensure safe movement and prevent accidents.  Adequate space between machines or workout stations allows for easy access and manoeuvrability.

As we mentioned earlier, your budget will also determine the size of the building. Setting a budget, will also help you prioritise your ‘needs’ over your ‘wants’ so you have a realistic and achievable wish list from the off. You should also anticipate your future needs and potential expansion. If you want to expand your workout space in the future, it is worth allocating a slightly larger area than your current requirements to provide flexibility for future modifications. Likewise, if you want the option of converting your gym into another function, such as an office, further down the line, it is advisable to consider this now, so you can allow for extra space/modifications if you think you may need it in time to come.

All our timber buildings are made bespoke meaning we can make your garden gym building to any size you require.

Why is timber a desirable choice for a garden gym building?

Timber is an excellent choice for a garden gym building for several reasons:

Natural aesthetics

Timber has a warm and natural appearance that can create a pleasant and inviting atmosphere in your garden gym. The natural beauty of wood can enhance the overall aesthetics of the space and provide a calming and inspiring environment for your workouts.

Insulation and comfort

Wood offers excellent insulation properties, which can help regulate the temperature inside the gym. Timber walls can provide effective thermal insulation, keeping the interior cool in summer and warm in winter. This insulation contributes to a comfortable and enjoyable workout experience.

Durability and strength

High-quality timber, can be incredibly durable and strong. Properly treated and maintained timber can withstand the demands of a gym environment, including heavy equipment, vigorous movements, and potential impacts. When well maintained, a timber gym building can have a long lifespan. At Nationals, we use sustainably sourced, high-quality, Tanalised® wood for all our bespoke timber buildings for guaranteed longevity.


Timber is a renewable and environmentally friendly building material. Responsibly sourced timber, such as ours, comes from sustainable forests and has a lower carbon footprint compared to other construction materials. Our sawmill for example, boasts a ‘four in one’ policy, whereby for every tree felled, four trees get planted in its replacement. Choosing timber for your garden gym demonstrates a commitment to sustainable building practices.

Acoustic performance

Timber has natural acoustic properties that can help absorb sound and reduce noise transmission. A timber structure will help create a quieter and more pleasant environment for workouts.

Construction efficiency

Timber construction methods, can significantly reduce construction time compared to traditional construction methods. This means your garden gym building can be designed, built and ready to use in no time at all.

Design considerations for
your garden gym

Our experienced design team will listen carefully to your needs and requirements and recommend customisations for your new garden gym build to ensure it is a perfect fit for you and your needs. We can help you plan the space you have available to determine the size and layout of the gym based on how you plan to use it. We will incorporate windows or skylights to maximise natural light and proved adequate ventilation for a fresh and airy workout environment.

We will kit out your garden building with full electrics, leaving you free to add on all the extra add-on heating or cooling options you like. Plus you’ll have proper electrical wiring and outlets for powering equipment and sufficient lighting to create a well-lit and save workout space.  It also means your garden structure will be usable and comfortable all year round.

We can also build in storage solutions, to keep equipment, accessories, and workout gear organised and easily accessible. Plus, we can incorporate soundproofing materials or design elements to minimise noise transmission both within and outside the gym.

Access and connectivity are other important consideration when design planning. Convenient access points to the garden gym and connectivity options for audio systems, TVs, or other media devices can also be factored in if needed.

Whatever your requirements, we can work with you to create a functional, comfortable, and enjoyable garden gym that meets your specific fitness needs and enhances your workout experience.

More information about our timber building design process can be found here.

Why not request our brochure for more product information and plenty of inspiration. We’ll send it to you completely free of charge.