Cargotecture: Transform your Garden with a Shipping Container

Cargotecture – it’s the art of creating a beautiful outdoor living or working space on a tiny budget – using beautifully re-crafted… wait for it…shipping containers.  Yes, I was sceptical too but there’s a whole movement around low cost renovations (good quality used shipping containers with creature comforts built in start at under $5K) that give you more living space out in your favourite place,  the garden!  Check out these amazing, surprisingly affordable Cargotecture projects and let your imagination run wild – how would you create your space?

Shipping Containers for Guests

shipping container granny flat as an extra room or office

Image: http://abcnews.go.com

This award winning little home-sweet-home delivers solar power, a kitchenette, bathroom and sleeping area for four. This is perfect for your teen – and ideal for when guests come to stay.  Finally a way to maintain privacy without forcing them into a hotel!

Chic Cargotecture

shipping container studio office area

Image source: Inhabitat

Hip, chic and in the heart of New York City – this artist studio proves the humble container can make quite a slick design statement.  The artist kept with solid, simple grey to help it blend naturally into its green backdrop.  Inside it’s white and bright and positioned for optimum sunlight by day – perfect for its artist owner.  Do you have a little home business?  Imagine how impressed your customers would be if they saw you working here!

Much needed mum space!

turn a shipping container into a studi0

Image source: English Over Coffee

If baby number two meant a good-bye to your sewing or crafting room, consider hiding away in the back of the garden, creating beautiful things, without distraction or interruption.  Paradise right?  If your husband has taken the garage for his “man cave” then surely you deserve a “lady cave” of your own? Remember to budget for electricity hook up and if you’re in the warmer states, opt for a container with a built in air-conditioning unit.

shipping container farm to grow vegetable plants

Image source: Design Boom Architecture

This terribly clever idea that’s sweeping Europe right now, has been dubbed an “Urban Farm”. It combines a shipping container with a plastic greenhouse to create a hydroponic based food, all monitored by a nifty iPhone app.  It creates an incredibly eco-friendly space to grow and can be “popped up” anywhere – which has taken the humble shipping container to the forefront of disaster relief management. Fast, flexible, fresh food in a crisis – so clever.   

Cubby House or Teen Hang Out  Space

shipping container kids space

 Image source: Wild Flower Turf Blog

Need a little quiet in the house? Especially when your teen has several other teens constantly in your house?  Give them a private space to “hang out” where you can be sure that they’re safe.  Keep the noise at an arm’s length but your teen close by.

How to start your backyard shipping container conversion

Talk to your local council first. If you’re planning on having a shipping container on your property for any significant period, you must ensure that it complies with local council building codes.  Some councils will make you clad it, obscure it from public view or paint it.  Others may limit the size or number of containers you can have (don’t laugh, once you get yours, the whole family will want one!).

Consider access and space. Once you’ve got the nod from your local council, plan the space you’ll be using. Ideally, your container should go on a concrete slab but level ground with concrete blocks or wooden sleepers will usually suffice.  Ask the shipping containers supplier for specifics.  You can usually get a container delivered quickly, and comes on a rather large truck – be sure that your delivery guy has access to your chosen spot.

Shop around.  Don’t just shop based on price – remember that your pre-loved shipping container has worked hard all its life!  Only choose a reputable seller for your cargotecture project – you don’t want a rusted out leaky disaster in your backyard!  Ask for guarantees!

Don’t skimp on the features. If you live in a hot environment, pay a little extra for a window box air-conditioned.  If you plan to transform it more dramatically, be sure to check with your builder and your local council as there may be laws you need to abide by.  Remember to budget of electricity connection!

Cargotecture is so hot right now across Europe and Asia.  It’s being hailed as an ecological triumph that creates vital spaces fast.  For us here in Australia, blessed with big roomy blocks and perfect weather, shipping container conversion offers yet another way to adore your garden all year round.


Thanks to the guys at www.tigercontainers.com.au for their tips on how to best make more space with the latest trend in eco-design, shipping container Cargotecture.  

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