20 favorite garden cottages & sheds

Creative ideas for backyard retreats, detached home offices, and reinvented sheds

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Cozy garden shelter
Alex Hayden

A healing place

It's more than just a place for plants: For Sheila McConnell, the little shed in her backyard in Bellevue, Washington, became a quiet, healing room where she recovered from breast cancer. "Out here I don't get caught up in the pace of life," she says.

The handsome retreat was designed and built by stepson Andy McConnell, who heads his own garden-carpentry firm in Seattle. "It started off as a toolshed and then it just blossomed," he says. Instead of lawn mowers, the 8- by 12-foot structure houses books, a TV and stereo, and an L-shaped counter for orchids and crafts projects. 

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