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How to Build an Outdoor Home Gym (5 Things You Need to Know)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico | Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Last updated: August 15, 2023

Building an outdoor home gym can be even trickier and more demanding than building an indoor one. As I witnessed quite a few gym constructions, I know there are many important factors to consider.

Therefore, I asked five of my colleagues who already have an outdoor gym in their backyard to walk me through their process and the obstacles they faced. I also visited their gym sites and compiled my data to write this article.

Here’s what you need to know.

Quick Summary

  • When building an outdoor home gym, you need to take into account important factors, such as whether you’re covering your gym and whether it’s temporary, seasonal, or permanent.
  • You should also consider things like ground cover options, equipment type, privacy levels, etc.
  • The outdoor home gym brings many benefits - from spending more time outside to saving money.

Five Things You Should Consider When Building an Outdoor Home Gym

Using two dumbbells as an exercise outside his home

Building your own backyard gym may be challenging, and no matter the backyard gym ideas, you have to consider several things to get it right the first time.

Let’s see more closely what five things you must take into account when creating an outdoor space for a workout.

1. Uncovered or Covered

Uncovered outdoor gyms (open-air gyms) usually require weather-resistant gear or equipment that can easily be stored when not in use (yoga mat, step platform, dumbbells, etc.).

On the other hand, a covered space will enable you to expand the equipment options, especially if you plan to include machines that require electricity.

It also enables more private year-round workouts, which are less dependent on the weather.

Covered patios, gazebos, canopies, shade sails, or pergolas will make your gym covered to varying degrees.

You can also build a small shed for your equipment that needs to be stored.

2. Permanent or Temporary

A man lifting tractor wheels

If you want to build a permanent outdoor home gym, you need a dedicated workout area that you don’t use for other purposes.

You can pack a large enough home gym space with larger workout equipment that’s difficult to move (compact rowing machine, elliptical, weight bench, treadmill, etc.), so you don’t have to.

But, if you are renting your living space or primarily practicing yoga, pilates, or tai chi, a much more practical option would be an open space with appropriate ground cover.

In that case, you’ll also need to opt for portable equipment like resistance bands, step platforms, exercise mats, blocks, etc.

3. Ground Cover

If you plan to place your outdoor workout space on the patio, paving stones are the best choice as they have a solid and slip-resistant surface.

If you don’t have a patio, you can use mats or mulch (they provide a good cushion under exercise equipment).

A wood deck can be an option for a temporary gym since it can be easily stored when not in use, or you can use artificial grass to provide a stable surface.

If you’re blessed enough to have a basketball court in your backyard, that’ll do the job quite nicely as well.

Natural grass is the last resort and the one I can’t recommend as it can become muddy and a  tripping hazard in the form of clumps or small holes.

4. Gym Equipment

Bearded person using fly's machine outdoors

Workout equipment is one of the most significant factors which can be quite limiting, especially if you have an uncovered gym in mind.

Either way, it’s best to use smaller and more portable gym equipment to protect it from the weather or outdoor gym equipment designed to withstand the elements (pull-up bars, climbing domes, exercise balls, etc.).

5. Privacy

If you can’t hide your backyard gym away from neighbors, you should make some adaptations to increase privacy.

Being comfortable enough to work on a proper form and technique is crucial for your safety and ultimate success [1].

You may install temporary fences like bamboo that don’t require a permit, with some additional options being hanging planters, trellis, or privacy screens.

If you worry about your neighbor’s upstairs windows, you can install a shade sail that will block their view and protect you from the sun as a bonus.

What Benefits Does It Bring?

Spending time with family performing workouts outdoors

The outdoor gym brings various benefits, like spending more time outside in the fresh air and staying active.

These benefits make the extra care and maintenance worth it.

Besides that, backyard gyms will save you time and money, as you won’t need to get in the car to go anywhere.

Also, the initial investment will pay itself off over time as there will be no more gym membership fees or other associated expenses.

You’ll also enjoy having all the equipment available at all times, as you will never need to wait for someone on the bench press and cool off due to long breaks between sets, waiting for your turn.

Lastly, an outdoor home gym will save you some indoor space and you will not need to work out in a small backup room or dark basement.


Do You Need Planning Permission for an Outdoor Gym?

No, you don’t need planning permission for an outdoor gym as long as it’s not larger than 10m x 10m, no higher than 4m, and the eaves shouldn’t exceed 2.5m high. Additionally, if it is placed within 2m away from any property boundaries, it should have a maximum weight of 2.5m.

How Do You Weatherproof an Outdoor Gym?

You weatherproof an outdoor gym using oil coating or silicone sprays, occasionally repainting the equipment and keeping the free-weights off the ground. The other option is buying special weather-proof gym equipment or covering your outdoor gym.

Enjoy Open-air Activities

Building your own gym can be an exciting experience and a good investment. Good backyard gym ideas with appropriate equipment can make your workouts much more enjoyable.

To make the gym long-lasting and highly functional, you need to pick high-quality equipment:

Our team has thoroughly tested a lot of equipment in various conditions to come up with these lists of the best ones out there, so make sure to check them out.


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