Since the pandemic, the garden office is now a familiar feature of many homes.
As well as their main use as a home office for working from home reasons, they are frequently bought as a hobby room, teenage den or gym – and anything else which requires extra space!
However, choosing the right one for you is tricky, due to the wide range of garden offices on the market.
To help you decide, 24Housing discusses the advantages and disadvantages of garden offices, gives tips on what to think about before purchasing, and showcases some fantastic examples.
Why buy a garden office?
There are many benefits to setting up an office outside the home. They include:
- Extra space: if you simply don’t have a spare room for a home office, it’s a logical solution.
- The fact that a garden office is separate from the house is attractive to many people, giving them a sense of physically `going to work’ and leaving home life behind to give a work life balance.
- As it’s not connected to the family home, a garden office has fewer distractions and could well be quieter.
- Garden offices are a cost-effective alternative to an extension, being cheaper to build per square metre (and faster!)
- They don’t normally require planning permission; regulations don’t usually apply if the floor area is less than 15 sq. m., and it does not involve sleeping accommodation. They are often allowed under permitted development rights. If your house is listed or in a conservation area, you may need planning consent. If you’re in doubt, check with your local planning office.
The disadvantages include:
- A garden office will be further away from your internet router and may need a network cable running to it.
- Electricity will have to be installed.
- You may want to install plumbing for a sink or bathroom, which may need planning permission and the work must comply with building regulations.
- Loss of garden space.
What to think about when choosing a garden office
If you’re wondering how to buy the best garden room here are some key things to consider:
- Look at fully constructed examples of garden buildings before you buy. Think about extra costs such as decorating, furniture and installation if these are not included in the price.
- Insulation and double glazing. Depending on your budget, it’s best to choose a fully insulated garden office with double glazed windows. Some models come with insulation in the floor, walls, and roof. Check the U value of the wall construction: the lower the figure, the better the insulation.
- Wall thickness.
- The materials used: glass garden office buildings offer views and light, and cedar is a popular choice of wood. Bear in mind that wood may need staining and preserving.
- The type of foundation needed – some designs don’t need foundations, for example, Modulr garden offices use ground screws.
- Siting – don’t position your garden office too near trees as you’ll need to be able to access it for maintenance.
- Calculate the size you need for all your office kit.
- Connecting utilities. Most home office buildings come pre-wired with sockets. Some suppliers offer the option of exterior lighting, and cabling and may include connection costs to the mains supply. Remember that electrical work must comply with building regulations.
- Security. If you’re keeping expensive equipment such as computers or gym kit in the building, you need to be able to lock doors and windows securely. Toughened glass is the best option.
- Insurance. Check to see if your house insurance will cover an outbuilding and think about the value of any contents.
- Heating. Underfloor heating is a popular option, while more basic options include wall-mounted convector heaters or oil-filled radiators. You might consider a wood burner.
- Site selection: think about natural light, the view, and where the sun is during the day.
- Often, garden rooms can add value to a home if they fit well into your plot.
Here are some exciting examples of fabulous garden room buildings
Modulr.Space originated following the pandemic to cater to the new demand for working from home. They create flexible, eco-friendly buildings which make ideal home offices. The Moduls are created to a high specification by a team of architects and engineers and are designed with sustainability, longevity, and energy efficiency at their heart.
They don’t require a concrete base or planning permission and are easy to install and move. The team has also considered the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 during the design. The entire process of installation can take 1-2 days.
An ergonomically correct work desk is provided along with plug sockets, low-energy heating, and thermal glazing. The structures are insulated and can be delivered prefabricated or in 5 modular sections to access tight spaces. The Modul M2 model pictured measures 355cm x 220cm (external), and is priced at £28,200 + VAT.
These versatile offices made by officePOD are unique as they can be sited both outside and inside buildings and can create space in underused areas such as courtyards. Their modular construction enables rapid build times.
They have a high acoustic rating and create private, flexible spaces which are robust and can be easily dismantled, relocated, and refitted many times over. Garden office pods can be tailored to individual requirements and come in a range of sizes. They cost from £10,000.
Versatile Kyube Plus garden rooms are supplied by Eurocell Home. They are fully insulated buildings designed as a prefabricated modular panel construction and can be made from durable larch, redwood, or PVC cladding in a choice of six colours. Prices start from £10,940 including full installation, heating, an electric pack that includes internal and external lights, and an unfinished interior to fit out to your requirements.
They are built from sustainable materials, are long-lasting, low maintenance, and come supplied with all windows, doors, and facias. Kyube Plus comes in 13 sizes, from 2 x 2m to 5.8 x 3.3m, and has a 10-year guarantee.
The Green Retreats group makes luxury, environmentally friendly garden rooms which are clad in long-lasting composite materials making them maintenance-free. The company gets a five-star rating on Trustpilot and is recommended by Grand Design’s presenter, Kevin McCloud.
Designed for year-round use, Green Retreats offices have fully insulated walls, roofs and flooring, high-grade doors windows, and double glazing. They have a 10-year guarantee and are designed to last for 30 years.
These superior quality garden rooms start from £15,495 and the TGO1 pictured is priced from £19,495. The listed price includes everything from base installation, doors, windows, internal electrics, 3 double plug sockets, internal and external lighting, and oak laminate flooring. Upgrades can include bi-fold doors, air conditioning, plastering, and panoramic windows.
Work life balance
Frances Hooker from Green Retreats said:
Since the pandemic, we have seen a surge in demand for our buildings, with sales more than doubling. Our buildings’ most popular use over this period was as garden offices, which remains the top use today. Our garden offices accommodate the new age of hybrid working which has evolved from the pandemic.
Office workers are trading in their (on average) two-hour commute for a stroll down their garden, but still can close the door at the end of the day to separate work and home.
We offer eight garden building styles that can be used for a multitude of uses and are available in up to 70 size configurations, meaning customers can configure a space that is ideal for their needs. One of our most popular building styles is the TGO1 which has a traditional garden lodge feel, perfect for any office space.
It has the option of full or slatted side screens on both right and left sides and is ultimately customisable to the customer’s desired style finish. It also includes modern graphite or black flashing, creating an impressive, hooded feature that extends from all sides.
A wider spread of knowledge
Have I missed anything?
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