Which is the right garden office for you? Style, space, cost… there’s so much to think about.
‘Which garden office…?’
It’s a bit like asking ‘Which Netflix movie...?’.
With so much choice, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You can waste an entire evening scrolling, in a daze of indecision, and eventually give up.
Choosing a garden office isn’t easy. There’s so much out there. How do you know what you’re looking for? What size? What material? How will you stay warm? What’s it going to cost?
In this blog, we’ll take you through the essentials of what to look for in the perfect garden office. You’ll be investing a lot of money. We want you to make the right decision.
Garden room. Office pod. Shoffice. Studio. There are loads of terms to describe the garden office. And they all come down to one thing.
That precious resource. We can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s always running out on us. And the price of it just keeps on going up. This is why more and more of us have been looking to the garden to make the very most of the space we’re lucky enough to have.
And, since the COVID-19 pandemic has driven so many of us into using our homes as our workplace, the garden office has really come into its own.
It’s an affordable and practical solution for space-starved homeowners dealing with WFH as the new normal. And, if you make the right choice, a garden office is a fun and attractive addition to your outdoor space.
1. Security. You may think your office is safe because it’s in your garden, but take nothing for granted. An unoccupied building is always an easy target for criminals.
Look for an office with secure locks on the windows and doors. Consider installing an alarm system and CCTV if you’ll be leaving valuable items like computers in your office overnight.
2. Comfort. Your office should be a place you want to spend time in. It’s important you look forward to the short commute across the grass to your new place of work.
You should feel motivated, inspired and ready to be productive. If your workspace is cold, dark and musty, with a view of a brick wall, you’ll stop using it.
Look for a well-insulated, breathable building that will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter months. Timber is an excellent material, as it’s a natural insulator. And there are non-natural materials that also do the job of regulating temperature and airflow.
Even the most effectively insulated building will need some extra help. You may want to look into adding an electric wall heater and/or air-conditioning unit.
And be sure to spend some time working out the best location for your garden office. Take a chair out into the garden and test all possible locations at different times of the day. You want lots of natural light, but privacy too.
3. Damp-resistance. Moving a desk and chair into your shed may be a tempting solution from a cost point of view. But shed timber – usually, around 10mm – won’t be thick enough to provide long-term protection from dampness.
Without serious insulation – which is likely to reduce the internal space – you’ll soon find your shoffice is letting too much of the outside in.
The most common damp problems for outside buildings are:
Rising damp – from the natural moisture in the ground attacking the fabric of the building.
Condensation – caused by the air inside the building warming up then cooling down rapidly and condensing on the internal walls and other materials (including your documents and electrical equipment).
Moisture penetration – when rainwater soaks into the walls and roof and is gradually absorbed, rotting the material itself and creating damp inside.
To ensure the elements don’t dampen your outdoor office experience, make sure you:
Invest in optimum building material to create a barrier against the elements. Timber is a safe bet, as long as it’s thick enough. We’d recommend a minimum depth of 45mm.
Treat your timber to reduce the risk of moisture penetration. Ensure your building is painted or stained with an anti-rot, preservative treatment. You’ll need to retreat the timber every few years.
Protect your garden office from ground moisture. Lay a concrete slab, and/or raise the building to create an air void between the floor and the ground. This space can be insulated for additional protection.
4. Enough space. Your office needs to be big enough to accommodate you and the equipment you need. How much space will you require?
Just a desk and chair for you and your laptop?
Extra space for meetings with customers?
Do you have colleagues or employees who will need a desk too?
Have you got plans to expand your business?
Be as generous as you can afford to be with your space. Of course, there will be restrictions – both financial and in terms of the physical space available to you.
But better to have more square metres than you need now than to decide in a few years’ time that you’d like to hire out your building to the local yoga group and realising you can’t because it’s too tight a squeeze.
5. Connectivity. You’ll have to be connected to the services you need to run your business efficiently. Think about:
Getting online. Are you close enough to the house to use the home WiFi router? Or do you need to invest in a separate data point? Consider a WiFi booster to extend the signal from the house, or a data-run portable router, which runs off a SIM card.
Electrics. You’ll need electricity for the basics: lighting, IT equipment and brewing a cuppa. Depending on your needs, you may need more. The most common solution is to run a line from your house to the office.
Be very clear on why you want a garden office, and what you want it for. Is this a temporary WFH space, to give you a bolthole before you return to your old way of working?
Or are you after a more permanent office? Maybe you need a versatile space, that the kids can enjoy as a hobby space at weekends, and that you’ll still be using for years to come.
Once you’ve identified the purpose, you can start exploring the options.
We offer a wide range of garden buildings, from bijou studios for solo-working, to large luxury log cabins with room enough for you, your colleagues and clients.
Small and stylish. If you’re short on space and don’t want to skimp on style and comfort, try the no-overhang Linea. This fully-insulated office will tuck neatly into a corner close to your boundary. A high-quality office, the Linea also includes internal lining, fully insulated roof, floor and walls, and a sleek, modern exterior.
Simple and secure. If it’s simplicity you’re after, the Prima Office and Log Cabin ranges are both timber-based constructions with individual boards lining the walls, roof and floor. These brilliantly simple rooms are highly secure. The natural timber helps insulate the walls, helping keep the inside at just the right temperature, whatever the weather.
Spacious and natural. Maybe you want a bright and airy space that can be transformed into an annex in a few years. A 70mm Log Cabin could suit you perfectly. These gorgeous buildings can give you up to 40 square metres of floor space. And you could opt for a built-in, covered veranda for outdoor meetings and socialising.
Low-maintenance. Our Proline range is made from Tricoya, an innovative, super-stable all-weather-resistant wood composite. It has a 50-year above-ground lifespan and is amazingly resistant to warping, rot and fungal attack.
Space from a shoestring. If you want to get the best deal on a tight budget, take a good look at our Prima Mini Office garden offices. No skimping on quality, just exceptional value for money. Priced from as little as £3,570.
Made-to-measure. If you need to customise the size of your building, down to the last millimetre, Linea is the range for you. It’s available in your choice of door and windows, and the exact size and style to fit your space.
Self-assembly. Not all our buildings are available for self-assembly. So if you fancy the exciting challenge of putting up your garden office yourself (and saving some money), check out our Prima Offices and Log Cabin ranges.
A basic, but decent, garden office could cost you as little as £3,500. From there, the sky’s the limit – although you won’t find yourself spending much more than £30,000 with us. Find out more about the money you’re likely to need.
Ready to choose?
We’d be delighted to share our passion for our huge range of garden buildings, and help you choose your ideal garden office.