If working from home is your new normal, you’re probably thinking about how you can create more space. A garden office is the easiest and most sensible solution for many. However, with so much choice and different specifications, how do you know what you really need?
At Ecosafe, our garden office experts know that you need to take some time to put some thought in at the beginning. We also know that there are lots of elements you may not have considered. This article takes you through the key things you need to know so that your garden office ideas result in a perfect office space for you and your home.
Shape, space and design
What your garden office looks like matters. This is part of your home and garden. It also needs to be functional and also pleasant to look at. Aesthetics and functionality need to come together. It’s also worth considering versatility; whilst it’s a garden office now, one day you may want it to become a teen den, summer house, hobby room or gym.
However, as a starting point, your ideas should stem from what you need from your office space. How much desk space do you need? Will multiple family members be working in there? Are you desk-based or will it be a workshop as well? Do you need a break-out area with relaxing seating or meeting space? How much storage space or shelving will you need for your online business for example?
Positioning of your garden office
Once you have a clear idea of what you need from your garden office, you can move onto what’s possible with the space that you have.
Think about your space wisely and get help and advice from experts. A garden office has the potential to overwhelm a small garden, or be too distant (in terms of practicalities, wiring or Wi-Fi) in large gardens. However, when positioned thoughtfully it can help to frame the garden and add to the overall aesthetics.
You shouldn’t need to worry about planning permission as most garden offices come under permitted development. However, for this to be the case, it must be built at the back of your house, and be less than 2.5 m high if it’s within 2 m of your boundary. If your office is further than 2 m from the boundary, there are still height considerations. Get in touch to find out more.
It’s also important to think about the base. You need a level and sturdy base to site the cabin. Even a slight variation in the base can cause a wooden garden office to ‘settle’ in a way which causes gaps in the structure. Furthermore, the base will help to ensure that there is minimal water ingress from the ground below. Again, get professional advice on creating the right base for your garden office.
Features of a garden office
With the basics in place, there are a range of different features you’ll need to consider:
• Windows and doors
For a garden office we strongly recommend double or triple glazing. This will improve security for stored technology, but also bolster insulation.
You then need to consider your windows and doors in terms of some other elements. Natural lighting is wonderful, but consider which direction the office faces and trying to work on a computer screen (if relevant).
Many opt for bi-fold doors because they make for a wonderful seamless space marrying office and garden. However, do consider how much privacy you need. For example, if you are overlooked by neighbours and your garden office will be a consulting room, you’ll need smaller windows or suitable window dressings.
Roofing is an important consideration too and there are a range of different options to choose from such as apex, flat, pent and pavilion. An apex roof will give the greatest internal head room in the centre of the garden office. A pent roof will give the same headspace, but to the side. These styles allow good flow of rainwater, especially when combined with a guttering system. Flat roofs are popular for their contemporary looks but you may find it needs replacing more quickly, or pose problems with drainage.
• Electricity and Wi-Fi
When creating a garden office, you almost certainly will need electricity. It’s sensible to consider this from the design stage so that you can ensure it meets your needs, especially if you will be running large amounts of technology or tools in it, as well as lighting and heating.
Lighting and heating are important considerations to make your wooden garden office a year-round space.
We also recommend that you consider how you’ll ensure adequate Wi-Fi and band width in the garden office. All too often people overlook this essential feature and are then frustrated when the office’s use is limited.
At the design stage, it’s important to think about security. Suitable locks should be incorporated into the design on all windows and doors. You may also want to consider an alarm with a motion sensor.
The summer-winter conundrum
It’s absolutely essential to think about how your garden office will work through the year. Here, the primary consideration is insulation. Insulation can be placed in the roof, walls and floor. If you plan to use the office year-round then you will need insulation in all three areas: it’ll make it warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Don’t forget to also think about how you get from the cabin to your house without creating a mud trail or untold amounts of cleaning! Consider an overhang on the cabin, as well as a small external decking area where you can stand as you unlock the door. Also ensure there is a solid pathway between the office and your house.
Bespoke or standard garden office?
It’s tempting to think that choosing a bespoke garden cabin will be the expensive option. You’ll be surprised to discover that’s not true. It may be possible to choose a standard design to meet your needs, but don’t be limited by this.
Bespoke garden cabins are sensible choices for a number of reasons. All of the design factors above will be considered in the context of what would really work for you and your budget.
Our specialist home office team can create a wonderful bespoke wooden garden office design for you. We will build it in our own facility to the highest standard and can deliver and install it for you. Working from home in your own garden office has many benefits.
When you have decided that this is the best option for you, please get in touch to find out more.