There's recently been a shift in working patterns which may have got you thinking about the space you need at home. If you've been working from home and are likely to continue to on a permanent basis - you might well be considering a proper office area.
And what could be better than an outdoor office? You can work while enjoying nature and spending more time in your garden. You’ll have a dedicated workspace, which you can leave behind at the end of your working day. You’ll also be able to escape any distractions inside your home by declaring your office a kid-free zone.
But how do you create a garden working space?
There are few things to consider before choosing a garden office.
Choosing whether or not to opt for a garden office is a big decision; after all, it needs to be a proper room, that you can work from come rain or shine. There are plenty of questions to consider, such as:
- Are you likely to continue working from home in the long term?
- Do you have space in your garden?
- If so, are you happy to sacrifice part of your garden to use as a working space?
- Would it be better to spend your money on an extension or loft conversion?
- Will your Wi-Fi reach your office? (don’t worry, you have options here, such as running an ethernet cable from your house to your office)
- Will there be enough space for every household member who might want to work in the office?
Of course, another key question is whether you can afford a garden office.
How much will it cost me to buy a garden office?
If you choose to buy a garden office, your outlay will depend on its size, the materials used and what features you want. In short, the cost can vary hugely.
For example, the smallest garden rooms offered by Green Retreats cost £15,745 based on a 4 square metre building. That includes the foundations, insulation and installation, and features including heating, sockets and external lighting. The largest garden rooms with the same company cost £28,245 based on a 30 square metre building.
Once you start looking through the glossy web pages and ogling some of the nicer garden rooms, it can be very tempting to blow your budget. So before you start, make sure you set yourself a limit and stick to it!
Do I need planning permission for a garden office?
The good news is that most garden offices don't require planning permission. As they’re considered outbuildings, you can add one as long as you have permitted development rights - check with your local planning office if you’re not sure if this is the case.
They do, however, need to meet certain requirements and not exceed height requirements. You can see a full list of the requirements to be considered a permitted development in:
Also, before you start on any major work, please remember to check the terms of your home insurance as you may need to inform your insurer before any works commence, so that they can assess the risk.
Can I build my own garden office?
Yes, if you have the right DIY skills, you can certainly build or install your own garden office.
You could buy a basic garden office kit and build it yourself. Or, alternatively, you could spend more on the complete garden office solution (fixtures and all included), but install it yourself rather than paying for the manufacturer to do it for you.
If you want to design your office yourself, there’s a great free tool called Sketchup, which enables you to create a 3D model of your office.
Some people prefer to just go for it and have a go at building their office. There are also plenty of DIY garden office YouTube guides, such as this one from television personality and builder Craig Phillips. One DIY dab-hand created their own office for under £2,000. But this approach isn’t for everyone, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into!
Will a garden office add value to my home?
Garden offices have become highly desirable now that so many people are working from home. So, adding one could definitely make sense financially. It has been suggested that most garden rooms add approximately 5% to the value of a property. So, even if you shell out for a high-end version, you may still recoup that investment.
But perhaps the most important thing to consider, is that you’ll benefit from a calm, dedicated workspace, from which you can escape at the end of the working day.