How to build a garden office

Cassie Pryce

Your home workspace doesn't have to be cramped, here's how  to build a garden office

With more people choosing to work from home, having a designated workspace is becoming an important factor in many houses around the UK. If you don’t have the option of a spare bedroom or would simply prefer to have an independent office space, erecting an outbuilding in the garden is a perfect way to separate your work and home life and create a tailored space to suit your working needs.

Linea garden room 5m x 3m with integral store room and blended door, fully insulated and double-glazed, larch exterior stain finished with painted doors and windows, from £9,755, Garden Affairs 

 

Planning permission

Usually, an outbuilding of this kind won’t require planning permission from your local council, as long as the floor area is less than 160 square feet and doesn’t house sleeping accommodation.

The structure should have a maximum eaves height of 26ft (with an overall height no more than 33ft) and not be situated within 54ft of your main property, as this will be treated as an extension of your house.

It’s always a good idea to check with the planning department of your local authority before starting any building work and ensure that the outbuilding won’t overlook or block any light into your neighbour’s properties on either side.

Midi garden office 3m x 1.8m, 44mm solid timber walls, double-glazed (available insulated in roof/floor), from £2,833, Garden Affairs 

 

Building types

The materials you choose for your garden office will impact the overall cost of the build and some are better-suited to different requirements than others.

One of the most common choices for this type of outbuilding is timber; with pine, cedar and larch being popular options thanks to their natural or easily-treatable resistance to rot, weather and UV damage.

Workshop trestle desk, £550, Garden Trading

Brick or block structures are also an option although be prepared to pay more for this, as the labour is more intensive, and it will take considerably longer to erect than a timber frame. Depending on the size, materials and finishes you choose for your garden office, prices range from around £5,000 to £25,000.

Glazing, insulation, heating and phone lines can all add to the overall figure so speak to a specialist designer to figure out the best options to suit your space and budget.

Belle Solo, from £8,640, SMART 

 

Functioning workspace

If you’re going to be using the space as a home office, you will most likely require electricity, heating and possibly running water. Most specialist garden offices use materials with insulation already incorporated so you won’t need to worry about that separately but be aware that more basic models will need extra insulation to make them usable in the winter months.

Double-glazing is a good option to help reduce cold draughts and trap the heat inside. Renewable energy sources can also be used to heat the outbuilding, such as solar panels, and although they may be costly at the outset, they could help reduce your energy bills considerably in the future.

Suffolk Barn micro, from £8,700, SMART 

If your building is connected to electricity (which is likely if you’ll be using a computer or any sort of electronic devices), electric heaters are a good option as it will already be set up with the mains.

If you require running water, for example in an artist’s studio, consider whether you will need to be connected to the mains water or whether a water butt will be sufficient. The latter is a cheaper alternative and can be installed quickly, although won’t provide hot water.

Ultra duo, from £10,542, SMART 

 

Interior appeal

Executive log cabin 5m x 4m, with double doors, 35mm tongue and groove Baltic-sourced pine, £2,599.95, Waltons 

Once the main structure is decided, it’s time to think about how you want to lay out and utilise the space inside your new office. If you mainly do computer-based work, position your desk by a window to make the most of the garden views and maximise daylight.

Depending on the size of the building, you may want to include a small sofa area to relax or have somewhere suitable to hold meetings if you regularly have face-to-face client contact.

Treat the interior as another room in your house when it comes to designing the space and think about colour, pattern and functionality. Embrace the exposed cladding inside the studio for a natural finish, or paint or wallpaper the walls if you want to make it more personal.

Rugs, artwork and lighting will bring the space to life and make it a homely and welcoming environment for you to work in throughout the year.