A garden office provides the perfect environment to stay productive whilst working from home and also creates a separation between work and home life. Lots of inspiration can be found online for a modern garden office design.
More of us than ever are now working from home. The shift has driven us to find new locations to work in that can get away from the distractions of busy family life. Working from a kitchen dining table can be challenging and many of us find it difficult to stay productive with lots going on around us. An increasing trend is to turn to the garden to create a new space dedicated to your home office.
The rise of the garden office has been spectacular, with lots of people now working from a garden building. Whether that’s a summerhouse, log cabin or garden room; each can provide the perfect set-up to work remotely without losing motivation. Those working from a garden office will appreciate the separation between work and home. Leaving the garden office at the end of the day provides the sense of leaving work-life until the next morning back in the garden office.
Designing a new garden office can be exciting and there are lots of great ideas available. Unlike using the spare room in your house, a garden office gives a completely blank canvas to start from scratch. Our favourite designs for a garden office are modern and contemporary. A bright and clean design creates an enjoyable atmosphere to spend many hours of the day.
Garden office ideas & examples:
Below you can find some of our favourite garden office ideas for all types of garden building.
A small & contemporary design
A single person garden office does not have to take up loads of space. This is the perfect example of what can be achieved in a small section of the garden. The interior design is clean with bright white walls and a matching wooden floor. Enough space is provided inside for a desk and chair, without feeling cramped.
The exterior design is modern and future-proof. The cladding has been placed vertically to stand out from other garden buildings. A high-quality finish is achieved using uPVC windows and doors in anthracite grey.
Traditional design with modern colours
This garden office summerhouse achieves a traditional design with features such as grids in the windows and brass fittings. The octagonal shape is unusual and ideal for areas where a rectangle garden office may not make the best use of the space. The shape provides plenty of room on the interior for a workspace and a place to relax and enjoy.
The sage colour scheme makes this garden office look modern and blend into its surrounding well. Double glass doors and plenty of windows let in lots of light from different sides of the building.
Dark colours and plenty of space
While many opt for a wood stain, sometimes painting a garden building instead can look great. In this example, the building is finished in a dark grey and stands out from the surrounding garden. The simple design features a flat roof, with doors and windows at the front and side. Plenty of light is achieved, without extra screen glare when working from a computer.
As a slightly larger garden building, there is plenty of office space but also the ability to be used as a multipurpose room. The uPVC doors will keep heat in during the winter, allowing for use throughout the year.
Mini office pod
If you really want an office but don’t think you have the office space, a pod could be the answer. The design in this example allows for one person to work and make use of their small available space. With no roof overhang, the building appears smaller and can be placed next to the boundary.
The colour scheme is similar to many garden buildings, with stained wood and anthracite grey used as a secondary colour. A 2.5m height flat roof means no planning permission is required.
A Minimal workspace
This outbuilding provides a great example of a minimally designed garden office. The light colour scheme of white and blue will create a cool feeling to the building in the summer, providing a comfortable environment to work from. A single window and door are enough to let light in and create a bright atmosphere.
The interior makes the best use of the space with a desk placed up against the wall. Additional space is available to the side for accessories such as printers and drawers. With the door shut you can get cosy in the winter and enjoy the space.
Ideas to reality: Building a garden office
Once you have an idea of the design for your garden office, the exciting work really begins. For most, the process takes a few months to go from an idea to a completed installation.
Start with planning permission
Before investing in a garden office, it’s important to understand whether planning permission is required. The good news is that this is usually not the case, and most garden offices won’t require a planning application.
A garden office will commonly be built as a summerhouse, log cabin or garden room. All of these are classed out outbuildings for planning purposes and therefore fall under Permitted Development rights. Permitted Development allows for certain work to be carried out (such as installing an outbuilding) without the need for planning permission. To fall under Permitted Development, the building must be within the scope in terms of size, location and usage.
Multiple requirements must be met for not requiring planning permission. The most common for a garden office is the size and location of the outbuilding. The garden office should be a maximum height of up to 4 metres if using a dual pitched roof design. Where the building is placed within 2 metres of a neighbouring boundary, the maximum height is 2.5 metres. Luckily, most garden building manufacturers design outbuildings to fit within these requirements. Additional requirements for Permitted Development include outbuildings not exceeding 50% of the original garden space and not building forward of the front wall of the main dwelling.
Get the base right
If there’s one tip we could give to everyone purchasing a garden building, it would be to invest in a good quality base. The base is the foundation to any good garden office and must be 100% solid and level to avoid structural issues. Without a solid and level base, you may experience challenges putting the building together. In the case of log cabins, the interlocking logs are precision cut and slot together, any unevenness may cause some of them to not slot together tightly and create gaps.
When deciding where to locate the base, the external measurements of the garden building should be used, including any roof overhang. The ideal location should allow access around every side for future maintenance and plenty of height above. Where the garden office is positioned can make a noticeable difference to how warm and cool it is inside.
We recommend using a concrete base where possible for a garden office. This ensures a solid and level base with plenty of structural integrity. Installing a concrete base is a fairly easy job and could be completed by yourself over a weekend. The concrete will usually take a few weeks to dry out so plenty of time should be left before the delivery day of the garden building.
Find the right building
A number of different building choices are available for use as a garden office. The decision will depend on price, size and how often it will be used.
Summerhouse – A summerhouse is not just for the summer and can be used throughout the year providing some modifications are made. Summerhouses are a popular choice for good value and the huge number of designs available. Many pre-designed summerhouses can be purchased for fast delivery online but may not be equipped for use as a garden office.
If available as an option, we recommend purchasing double-glazed windows and doors to reduce heat loss during the colder months. Insulation is also essential for a garden office and can be completed once the summerhouse is installed. Summerhouse interiors feature wooden framing which where insulation can be placed in-between and then boarded over. Without insulation, a summerhouse office will not be usable during the colder months of the year.
Log cabin – A log cabin makes a great choice for a garden office. Popular sizes are 3x3m and 3×4 metres which offer the perfect space for your own private office. A good selection of designs is available from contemporary to traditional. The construction of a log cabin differs from a summerhouse as timer interlocking logs are used and placed on top of each other.
Log cabins come in several different wall thicknesses. Our recommendation is 44mm which is the ideal combination of price and heat retention. This will provide plenty of insulation for a garden office to be used throughout the year. Professional installation is recommended, particularly if a complex design is purchased.
Garden room – A garden room is a noticeable upgrade compared to a summerhouse or log cabin. Garden rooms come with many house-quality features as standard such as uPVC doors and windows. The wall thickness is also thicker to provide superior heat retention and sound insulation. The cost of a garden room is also higher and will often cost several times more than the equivalent size log cabin or summerhouse. Many garden rooms can be custom designed to fit your requirements making a great choice if you already have a design in mind.
Guide: Insulating a summerhouse
Connecting to the internet
A key requirement for any garden office is a solid and reliable internet connection. For everything from Zoom calls to research, a fast connection can avoid frustrations and keep you productive. If you are lucky enough to have the garden office positioned next to your house, the Wi-Fi connection from inside may be fine, but for most of us, an additional connection will be needed.
We recommend installing a wired internet (ethernet) connection into a garden office. This will provide the best speed and reliability, eliminating wireless dropouts. To install a wired connection, a Cat 6 cable can be run from the router inside of the house to the garden building. An access point can be used to provide a Wi-Fi connection to devices inside the office.
Alternative choices include Wi-Fi extenders. These work by boosting the wireless signal for devices further away from the router. For best performance, they should be placed in between the garden office and the home router. But if the garden office is far away from the house, this is not always possible. A Powerline connection can also be used if the electricity is on the same circuit.
Guide: Internet in a garden office
Set up your garden office equipment
Once your new garden office is installed, it’s time to kit it out with equipment and start working from there. A good quality chair is recommended if you plan on spending most days working from inside. Look for one with good lumbar support and ergonomics in mind. Additional computer equipment includes a monitor, keyboard and mouse to take advantage of all the space available. An electric heater is perfect in a garden office to provide instant heat, especially on cooler days. We recommend an oil-filled radiator or fan heater, both provide quick warm-up and quiet operation.
Lots of garden office ideas are available online. Whether you prefer contemporary or traditional, we are sure you will be able to find a design example to suit your requirements. Above you can find some of our favourite examples of converting a garden room into an office. Most garden room manufactures will also have their own portfolio of previous builds that they will be able to share.
A garden room office is a great idea if you are going to be working at home more often. A separate space to work is invaluable and a great long-term investment. Most garden office projects take a few months from idea to completion, although this could be longer for example with a custom-designed building.