What size should your garden office be?
Working from home has become the new normal for most of us. Freedom Day came and went, and the anticipated post-COVID return to the office came and went too.
Most employees have got used to the flexibility and freedom WFH offers. No commute, more time with family, fewer germs. And many bosses see the sense in allowing their staff to stay away from shared workspaces. Technology allows for business as usual, with teams able to come together virtually just as well as they did before.
But all this is putting a strain on resources at home. We may be saving on train fares and meal deals, but we’re losing on space as families fight over the optimum room to work in.
And with distractions around every corner, working from home can be tough without a dedicated office. This is why many workers – employed and self-employed – are looking to their garden for a suitable working space.
But what sort of size should you be aiming at?
- Are short on working space in the house
- Aren’t sure what to look for when you’re choosing a garden office
- Don’t know how much space you need
- Don’t want to compromise your garden space with a massive building…
…read on for some bite-size tips to help you find the garden office that’s right for you.
Size matters. Now, and for the years to come.
You’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what you need from your garden office right now: desk, chair, computer… your own WFH space. But before you buy, think about whether your choice will last the test of time. What other purposes might it serve in the future?
Your new garden building should last you many years. It’s an office today, but in five years’ time, you may have changed your career and want to use it as a gym. After you retire, who knows, it could be the perfect playroom for your grandchildren.
So when you’re deciding on the dimensions of your garden office, give yourself enough flexibility to adapt the space to future uses.
Think it through.
We’ve had a fair few work-from-homers come through our doors over the last 20 years, so we’ve got a pretty good grasp on sizes to consider, and sizes to avoid.
Here are some size-related things to remember in your initial ideas stage:
- No-size-fits-all. There are loads of options out there. Be sure to find the size that works for you.
- Scope out your internal plan. Use newspaper to map out the space you’ll need.
- Research the size of furniture. Your dream desk may be bigger than you think.
- Don’t skimp on space. If you can afford to, allow room for extras like meeting spaces/tables, sofas, storage and a veranda for outdoor working, with shelter from the wind and rain.
- Location, location, location. Outlook, privacy and availability of natural light are big influencers on where you locate your office. Don’t go for a size of office that doesn’t work in the spot you’ve selected.
- Factor in space for essential maintenance (40cm on each size is a recommended minimum).
The right size for you.
Are you certain your new garden office will always be just that? Or can you see it taking on other roles in the future, like an art studio or games room? Is your choice limited by the size of plot available in your garden? Are you looking for a flexible space you can adapt and add to later?
With such a wide range of garden buildings to choose from, it can be hard to make a decision. Here’s a snapshot of some of our beautiful offices, studios and log cabins, all made to last from sustainably sourced timber or innovative, rot-free wood composite, Tricoya.
- Option #1: all work and no play.
If you’re confident your office will always remain an office, and you’ve got a small outside area, or just want bare-essentials office space, have a look at our Mini and Prima range.
A 1.8m x 2.4m mini office is the most popular size, and will happily accommodate a simple office set-up of a single desk, chair and shelves. Stylish and modern, these offices are ideal for small gardens.
- Option #2: potential for play
A new garden building is a big investment. And it’s certainly worth spending time and money on ensuring it will last. It makes sense for a quality building like this to have a role beyond its day job as an office.
Maybe you’re thinking you’d like your new office building to double-hat as a games room. You could do a lot worse than our Kubus log cabin. At 3m x 2.5m, this will make a very comfortable office now, and a decent size games room down the line.
Or how about a stunning 5.5m x 3m Salcombe. This premium log cabin, with a combined storage area, is a flexible space, with potential for internal partitioning. Its versatility allows you to create a multi-use space where you can work while the kids are gaming (or even vice-versa!).
- Option #3: gym-ready
If you’d like to maximise the potential of your new office, why not create a space you could use as a gym, now or in the future?
You’ll need flooring that will take the weight of your equipment. Like all our buildings, the Tewkesbury comes with heavy-duty floor joists. At 5m x 4.5m, it’s fully customisable – so we could change the lay-out or size to create a two-room office-gym combined space, with an internal partition wall.
With that short a journey from desk to workout, you’ll soon be the envy of the neighbourhood!
- Option #4: bigger and higher
With property prices still on the rise in most areas, capitalising on the assets you’ve got at your disposal, like your garden, is an economical way to meet your need for more space. And a lot less upheaval than moving house.
If you see the growing demand for a WFH office space as a good excuse to invest additionally in an extra guest room or teenage den, you may find you exceed the limits of permitted development.
With a traditional pitch roof and integral canopy for shelter and architectural interest, the Brooklyn log cabin makes a beautiful and spacious home office, with plenty of scope for additional accommodation. Its internal dimensions are 3.5m x 6m, with a roof height of 3.1m.
Any building within 1 metre of the boundary and bigger than 15 square metres or higher than 2.5m is likely to require planning or building control application. And if you’re thinking about using the space for frequent overnight accommodation, beware: planning constraints may apply.
Most of our buildings are built to comply with permitted development, and we’ll advise you if you should consider planning. But it’s always worth checking with your local planning authority to make sure there are no additional rules applying to your property or area.
If you want advice on how to pick the right size office to give you a versatile garden room that adapts as your lifestyle changes, do get in touch. Or visit our showroom and see our range of garden offices for yourself!