10 GARDEN OFFICE IDEAS, TIPS & INSPIRATION TO ENHANCE YOUR REMOTE SPACE
If you’re working from home and looking for garden office ideas, we’ve got plenty of advice to get you started. We look at why garden offices are a great idea, the best way to build a garden room office, whether you need planning permission, whether a garden office adds value to your property and our top 10 garden office ideas, tips and inspiration for creating a calm, inspiring and productive place to work.
The way we live has changed
When the pandemic first struck, none of us had any idea we were about to spend so much time at home. As a ‘return to the office’ continues, most companies are now offering a more flexible and hybrid approach, with some degree of ‘working from home’ set to stay.
This means that the gardens we once spent a few warm days or evenings in suddenly represent precious additional possibilities. Gardens open a wealth of opportunities to satisfy a multitude of needs – including a stunning garden office.
Multifunctional garden rooms are perfect for this new way of living; they can be adapted over time to serve you and your family in any way you choose – permanently expanding your home.
5 benefits of a garden office
Home working has given many of us a taste of wide-ranging benefits; no commuting, more time with family, flexible work hours and less office politics. The result? A generally happier and more relaxed lifestyle. A garden room office allows you to reimagine how you work even further, offering:
- A dedicated workspace: Garden offices feel like an extension of your home, but give you physical separation and headspace to ‘switch off’. You can more easily step away from, and back into, family and home life. Plus, they can be adapted over time to fit your future needs whether that’s creating space for a hobby, to exercise or for a teenage den.
- Control over your workspace: You get to choose the temperature, the décor, what equipment you have, the perfect lighting, what desk/chair suit you best and whether or not you listen to music (you can even curate your very own garden room playlist).
- Increased exposure to light: We’re passionate about the impact that increased exposure to light can have on our wellbeing – so much so, the name of every garden room in our signature range was inspired by the theme of light. When positioning your garden room, think about making the best use of the use of sun and natural light to enhance your wellbeing.
- Time in nature: Garden offices bring the ‘outdoors indoors’ and provide a personal sanctuary away from the hustle, bustle and noise of everyday life. Mental Health Charity Mind explains how being in nature can benefit your mental and physical wellbeing – helping to reduce feelings of stress, while improving confidence and self-esteem.
- Less disruption: A garden room office can be installed with minimal mess and disruption, unlike an extension or loft conversion (and at a lower cost), without compromising on quality.
What’s the best way to build a garden office?
Based on our experience, alongside feedback from customers, there are 4 key considerations:
- Think ahead: We recommend looking at your lifestyle, and not just your space. You may need a garden office now, but your needs may change over time and so aim for a multi-functional space that can be adapted to evolving circumstances and home/family life.
- Make it timeless: Use high-quality materials and finishes representing the latest in contemporary design for a garden office look that never becomes tired or outdated. Choose a design partner who looks ahead and is proactive in identifying and setting new trends.
- Opt for a headache-free solution: Work with a partner offering a personal approach and who will take care of everything from planning and design, through to construction. Working directly with designers and architects allows you to better share and bring your vision to life, and you can’t put a price on trust.
- Look beyond the office: Don’t overlook finishing the job by settling your stunning new garden room office into its new home with stylish landscaping. This is where you’re going to be spending most of your working day, so make sure your garden is just as beautiful and relaxing.
Do you need planning permission to build a garden office?
In short, no. Most garden offices don’t require planning permission, but it does depend on the planned size, what you intend to use it for, where you plan to put it and whether you live in an area under any special restrictions (such as a conservation area, or one of outstanding natural beauty).
Under the governments ‘permitted development’ rule (which covers outbuildings like garden offices), planning permission is not typically needed if a house (flats and maisonettes don’t have permitted planning rights) is not listed, and if the planned garden office:
- Doesn’t take up more than 50% of your garden
- Is single story and no higher than 2.5m from the bottom of the building to the top of the roof (if within 2m of the boundary)
- Is not in front of your house
- Doesn’t have a balcony, veranda or raised platform (decking can be fitted around the garden office up to a height of 300mm)
- Is not used as a regular base for client meetings/appointments e.g. it will not create a ‘marked’ rise in traffic, or people coming to the house
There are other factors (which we’ll be going into in more detail in a later blog), but these are the main ones.
Does a garden office add value to your home?
Yes, they do; high-quality, stylish, and contemporary garden offices add extra square footage. They also add to a property’s wider appeal – delivering that extra ‘wow’ factor.
Housebuilder and Developer magazine estimate that most garden rooms add around 5% to the value of a property, which means they pay for themselves. Ideal Home magazine cites Robert Ellis of Nutbrook Property estimating that adding a garden room creates around 1.5 times the cost of installing it.
Our top 10 garden office tips and ideas for your workspace
What makes for a great garden office? Here are our top 10 inspirational tips and ideas:
- Customised: An entirely bespoke build gives you full freedom to express yourself – creating an entirely unique garden office that perfectly fits your space. As well as our fully bespoke service, if you’d prefer some helpful inspiration, we also offer a pre-selected range of attractive and contemporary designs. Crafted using durable and sustainable materials, they allow easy decisions and are still customised through a choice of materials and finishes.
- Contemporary: Many companies pride themselves on investing in high-quality, stunning, and contemporary offices. They’re pleasant to work in and motivating to walk into each day – helping with overall happiness and productivity. Garden room offices are no different; you can create a calm, comfortable and inspiring luxury garden office with the same wow-factor, just a few seconds commute away.
- Eco-friendly: As you reduce your carbon footprint by travelling less, you can take this a step further with an eco-friendly garden office built using beautiful, contemporary, durable and sustainable materials. Energy efficient and sustainably sourced, they allow you to create luxury eco-friendly garden office that doesn’t ‘cost the earth’.
- Multi-functional: Using multi-functional design and zoning techniques, your garden office can be so much more than just a space for working. L-shaped designs allow for distinct ‘zones’, ideal for creating a side gym, yoga studio, or relaxation area for those all-important breaks.Modern box shelving also serves as a contemporary room divide, while doubling up for storage and displays. Rows of tall potted plants give a natural and calming divide – perfect for a relaxation, mindfulness, or yoga space.A pull-out bar can turn your relaxation space into an area to enjoy with family and friends in the evenings, and a ‘covered’ hot tub area makes for the ultimate after-work zen.
- Personalised: While your home often involves compromise, your garden office is an opportunity to express yourself. The quality of the build needs to match your home, but your interior décor doesn’t need to tie in. You can create a cosy log cabin look, use Scandinavian-inspired colours and materials, display travel memorabilia, or fill a ‘zoned’ area with records, CDs, trophies, or collectibles previously banished to the loft.
- Productive: Colour can be used to influence productivity, creativity and mood, so it’s time to get creative with the colour of your garden office. Colour experts recommend green for soothing calmness and balance, pale blue, warm grey-beige or warm browns for focus and productivity, peach and soft coral pinks for inspiration and energy, white for creativity, yellow for positivity and orange for enthusiasm and high-energy.
- Ergonomic: Garden offices give you free reign to personalise your workspace with ergonomic features to enhance your wellbeing. If you suffer from back issues consider a kneeling chair, or a sit-stand desk along with a monitor or laptop stand for good head, neck and back posture. Ergonomic split V-shape keyboards, paired with an ergonomic mouse and mousepad, can help to reduce muscle strains.
- Light: Natural light is one of the main draws of a garden office, but you may need windows with contemporary built-in blinds, or stylish ‘moveable’ sunscreens to manage those extra sunny days.In the winter, when the days are shorter, you’ll need to think about lighting. Recessed downlighters, or surface-mounted spotlights provide great ambient lighting, but you’ll benefit from supplementary lighting for certain tasks. You could consider track lighting over your desk that works independently from the rest of your lighting, or a free-standing desk light.Don’t forget outside lighting too – you don’t want to be tripping over decking in the dark, and it adds a truly magical look and feel from the house.
- Fresh & Airy: Garden room offices already bring the benefits of outdoor living indoors, which can be extended further with a variety of green potted plants, fully opening bi-fold doors and long opening side windows. These all improve air flow, which can positively impact health and productivity. Research by the World Green Building Council recorded up to an 11% increase in productivity thanks to fresh air at work.
- Connected: Garden offices are rarely close enough to a home’s WiFi for a good internet connection, which is essential. However, there are plenty of workarounds that don’t require an IT professional.Wi-Fi extenders are a good choice if your garden room is less than 30 metres away, while a powerline network (which uses the electrical power cable between your home and garden office using plug-in adapters with short ethernet cables) is better for longer distances.Here at Into the Garden Room, we always recommend installing a Cat 6 ethernet cable to your garden office. It’s laid alongside your power cables during the build – providing a reliable and secure connection that’s truly up to the job.
Reimaging home working with an inspirational garden office
A garden room office provides an ideal sanctuary for home working, allowing you to create a calm, comfortable, personalised, inspiring, and productive space that you’re proud of.
You don’t typically need planning permission to build a garden office. Plus, it’s less disruptive and expensive than an extension or loft conversion, frees up space in the house, adds value to your home and can be re-purposed for any new home life ‘phases’ – whether a teenage den, hobby/workout area, or a home bar.
In these uncertain times one thing is certain; some element of home working is here to stay. So, we hope you enjoy getting creative and making your dream garden office your own with these simple tips, ideas and inspiration.