Working from home looks like it’s here to stay – so it could be time to say goodbye to the kitchen table or that small desk in a nook and set yourself up with something more comfortable and more permanent.
If the interior of your home is lacking space for an office, you could consider creating a garden office.
Not only will a great garden office give you the space you need to work from home long term, but it could also increase your property’s value if you ever come to sell.
But where do you start and how do you go about creating the perfect garden office space?
We’ve put together some great ideas to inspire you…
Can you build an office in your garden?
If you have the space, there’s no reason why you can’t build an office in your garden.
But you may have a whole host of questions about permissions required to build one, which we’ve answered below…
1. Do you need planning permission for a garden office?
Garden offices don’t usually require planning permission as most will fall under permitted development rights.
However, there are occasions when planning permission may be required:
• If your property is a listed building
• If you live on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI)
How your garden office looks may also affect whether or not you need planning permission.
To fall under permitted development rights, your garden office must be:
• No higher than 2.5 metres to the top of the eaves
• No higher than four metres if it has a dual pitched roof
• No higher than three metres for any other roof
• No higher than 2.5 metres in total if it’s within two metres of your boundary
Finally, if your garden office has a sleeping area, or you’re using it solely for business purposes eight hours a day, five days a week, you may need planning permission.
To be absolutely certain of planning and permitted development, contact your local planning office before undertaking any work.
2. Do you need building regulations approval for a garden office?
If your garden office has an internal floor area of less than 15 square metres, you shouldn’t need building regulations approval.
If it’s between 15 and 30 square metres, however, you may require approval if the garden office is built less than a metre from your boundary. For garden offices over 30 square metres, building regulations approval is required – and if your office has sleeping accommodation, it will need approval regardless of its size.
10 great garden office ideas to inspire you
While creating an office space in your home is sometimes just a case of converting an existing space, building a garden office can be a full construction job.
That means it can be daunting and difficult to know where to start – but these 10 inspiring garden office ideas can help…
1. Consider a garden office pod
Pods are great options if you don’t need a huge amount of space for your garden office.
Most office pods are around 2.5 metres squared, so will fit into almost any space in your garden.
They’re also usually built using prefabricated materials, meaning they can be simple to construct.
2. Create a garden office shed
If you don’t have the space, or you’re not keen on the work involved to build a new office in your garden, why not use some space you already have?
Sheds are simple, cost-effective renovation projects and can make excellent garden offices for the warmer months of the year.
3. Go Scandinavian with a log cabin garden office
Wood will always look fantastic in any garden, so if you’re not keen on a modern pod, a log cabin-style garden office can be a great option.
It can also convert easily into a garden room or even a sauna if not required as an office in the future.
4. Best garden office designs with storage
Most garden offices aren’t going to be huge, so how you create storage in them can be key to comfort and accessibility.
Shelving is a great way to keep things off the floor in a tight space and can be custom-built to fit and fill any odd-shaped spaces.
5. Small garden office inspiration
If your garden office is housing only you, there are some great options for small spaces in tight gardens.
A small garden office can also be tucked away and won’t dominate your garden space, leaving plenty of room for barbecues and summer relaxation.
6. Cheap garden offices if you’re on a budget
The cheapest way to create a garden office space is to convert a building you already have.
A shed or existing garden room can be easily turned into a welcoming office space with a lick of paint, a desk and some storage.
7. A maintenance-free garden office
A large number of garden offices are made from wood – and that means some year-round maintenance to keep them looking great and protected from the elements.
So, if you’re keen on a lower-maintenance option, why not consider a converted metal shipping container?
8. Create a corner garden office
Placing your office in a corner can be a great way to keep hold of more garden space.
Properties in cities, in particular, tend to offer smaller garden spaces, so a corner office is a great option when space is also at a premium inside.
9. Large garden office spaces
If you have the space available and you’re looking to either grow your business or just have a more spacious office to work in, a larger garden office could be a great investment.
10. Garden offices that work with nature
Although a garden office can be a great way to create the perfect work-from-home space, maintaining your garden as a great outdoor space is important, too.
Think about planting and how you can create some privacy for your office space.
How to build a garden office
If you have the money to spend on your garden office, there are a whole host of companies that can come in and create your new space from scratch.
But if you’re working to a tighter budget, you could consider creating your own office or building one with a flat-pack process.
Here’s everything you’ll need to consider before you do:
1. Planning permission – check with your local authority what you can and can’t do without planning permission and find out if your office will require building regulations approval
2. Establish the location for your office – work out where you want to put your garden office and check how level the ground is and whether or not there are any obstructions such as trees or underground pipework / drains
3. Which way do you want your office to face – think about where the sun rises and falls and how this will affect your work space
4. Size – think about how big you want your office to be and if you need planning permission, apply for it as soon as possible
5. Electrics and heating – you’ll need power and also heating if you plan to use your garden office all year round. Speak to a qualified electrician about the best options
6. Structure – think about how you want to support your office. A plinth support can be cheaper, but a solid foundation will provide the most stable, long-term solution
7. Insulation – consider how you’ll insulate your office and the type of material you’ll use for the walls and cladding
8. Roof – you could opt for a pitched roof or a flat surface. A flat roof will generally be cheaper