With so many of us working from home on a regular basis right now, there’s never been more pressure on our living spaces to provide a practical and stimulating working environment. And if your property doesn’t happen to have a room going spare, you’re probably struggling to create that ideal office space in an already busy home.
This is where a garden office could be the ideal solution.
The benefits of a garden office
A garden office can offer many practical benefits when it comes to working from home.
Taking your office space out of your home can free up valuable living space. If your home office is multi-tasking as a living room, kitchen or bedroom, locating it elsewhere is a great way to ease the pressure on an already busy home.
Having your own dedicated office is also a great way to boost productivity. It’s so easy to get distracted by chores and general family life when you’re working from home, and removing yourself from this distraction can work wonders on your ability to focus and work efficiently.
I also really like the fact that a completely separate building allows you to make a distinction between work and home. When you’re working from home, your work can easily creep into home life, making it difficult to really switch off from that to-do list. Moving your workspace outside the home is a great way to avoid this, as you will literally be able to walk away from the office at the end of the day.
Working in a garden office will most definitely reduce your commute time too. As well as helping to take some of the stress out of your working day, the lack of commute will also reduce your carbon footprint.
A garden office will also add value to your home, so while it is an investment, you can expect to recover some of the initial outlay if you decide to sell your property.
Key things to consider when choosing a garden office
If you’re considering adding a garden office to your home, here are some key factors to consider during the buying process.
What is it for?
You might think this is an obvious question to ask; it’s an office, isn’t it?! But it’s worth giving some detailed thought to how you’re really going to use this room, as this will determine the type of office solution that’s right for you.
Do you literally just want space for a desk, chair and some file storage? Or does your work require a more creative space for a specific skill? Would it be great to include a relaxed seating area for breaks – or even after-work socialising?
If you’ve got the room and the budget, it’s a great idea to include some additional storage space in your garden office too – especially if you’re already struggling with this in your home.
Do I need planning permission?
This is definitely something you need to think about right at the start of the project. The size and height of your garden office, it’s location, and whether your property is a listed building or located on designated land will all dictate whether or not you need to obtain planning permission before going ahead. The Planning Portal is a great resource here.
What type of material?
There’s a wide range of material options available for your garden office. Wooden structures, concrete buildings, brick buildings and conservatory-style structures are all popular choices. The style you go for will naturally be influenced by your budget, but you should also aim for a material that complements your house, and any other structures in the garden.
Once you’ve identified the ideal size and material for your garden office, it’s time to start thinking about practical features in more detail.
Natural light is a key consideration; providing a good source of this via windows, skylights and doors will help to create a more pleasant working environment. Ideally you should aim for double glazing wherever possible, as this will help you to maintain a comfortable temperature in the room.
Security is also very important, as your garden office is probably going to be home to some expensive equipment. Choose secure locks for any windows and doors, and ideally include window dressings that prevent intruders from seeing the contents of the building.
Finally, don’t forget to factor in any work required to bring power to your garden office. You will probably need an electrician to do this, but garden office suppliers may also offer this service. Think carefully about the number of power sockets you will need – don’t forget to factor in any electric heaters, desk lamps and even a kettle! It’s also well worth checking the wi-fi signal strength in the location of your office; if it’s patchy you may need to boost it.
Garden office installation
Most garden office suppliers will offer an installation service. This is a great option if you’re not confident about self-assembly, and will also provide reassurance that your office has been built safely. You can also add in extras such as insulation and electrical work if required.
A suitable base is essential for your garden office. A solid concrete base is a great option, but there are also modular, adjustable base options which are more cost effective. The ideal base for your garden office will be dictated by the type of building you choose and the site it will be sitting on; your garden office supplier should be able to advise you on this.
One last practical point that is easily forgotten is insurance. Your home buildings and contents policy may not cover your new garden office, so make sure you check with your insurance provider and arrange cover from the installation date. Doing this will mean you’re ready to move in and take advantage of your lovely new garden office straight away!
Are you thinking about adding a dedicated office space to your home?