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Planning for your garden office project in 2024

A garden office can help to transform your living space, create a better work-life balance, and even increase the value of your property. We guide you through all you need to know to plan your dream garden office, helping you to navigate this project with ease.

A garden office creates a dedicated workspace in the comfort of your own back garden.

With an increasing number of people working from home, a garden office offers a peaceful escape from a bustling household, allowing you to create a focused environment to boost productivity.

In this post, we outline the benefits of building a garden office, what you need to know about planning and building regs, the key considerations to make, and the all-important costs involved.

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Ten reasons to invest in a garden office

A garden office offers a wide range of benefits – it’s clear to see why they’ve increased in popularity with UK homeowners.

1. Better work-life balance. Having a dedicated workspace outside of your house creates a clear boundary between home and work life.

2. Improved productivity. Away from the distractions and noise inside your home, you’ll be able to focus on your work, getting more done in less time.

3. Cost-effective. If you need a dedicated workspace at home, a garden office is more cost-effective than moving house or renting space elsewhere.

4. Less commuting time. Save time, money, and stress by avoiding the traditional commute and reduce your carbon footprint too!

5. More creativity. Working in a garden office allows you to enjoy natural light and fresh air while surrounded by the outdoors; all key factors in boosting creativity and concentration.

6. Quick installation. Compared with building an extension, a garden office is relatively quick to install.

7. Tax benefits. In some cases, using a garden office as your primary place of work may make you eligible for tax deductions. Speak with an accountant to understand the specific benefits of your situation.

8. Increased property value. A well-designed garden office can add value to your property, being a sought-after feature for many buyers.

9. Versatility. A garden office has more than one use. If you no longer need it as a workspace, it can be transformed into a home gym, children’s den, or guest room.

A garden office has a wide variety of uses: Credit  Quality Garden Offices

10. Customisation. Whether you choose a modular or bespoke design, you can create a space that perfectly suits your personal needs and style.

Lucas from Quality Garden Offices says garden offices have become an increasingly popular option, with many homeowners wanting a bespoke solution:

Most of my customers want to create something very unique for themselves. They often have a specific situation to solve. For example, they may have a new baby and need a quiet workspace, teenagers that need a chill-out area separate from the family living room, or a gym set up to save on gym fees. All these scenarios can be serviced by creating a new space in the garden. Getting the right solution can literally transform your life!

Key considerations for planning your garden office

In addition to understanding the planning permission, building regulations, and costs involved, there are a number of other considerations to make when planning your garden office.

1. Modular or bespoke?

A modular garden office is pre-built, offering convenience and faster installation, getting you up and running much quicker.

A bespoke, custom-designed garden office may take longer to complete, but the end result will perfectly suit your exact style and requirements.

2. Size

Your garden office needs to be large enough for your current needs, but also provide scope for future flexibility.

For example, you may just need space for a desk, chair, and a little storage now, but you may use the space as a teenage den or summerhouse in years to come.

When planning the optimal size garden office, make sure it’s in proportion to your house and garden so that it doesn’t overwhelm the space. Also, bear in mind whether its size and position will block the sunlight.

3. External finishes

Cladding

Aesthetics, durability, maintenance, and budget will all play a role in your choice of material for the outside of your garden office.

Wood, composite, brick, metal, UPVC, render, or even natural stone; there are various materials to choose from. Here are some of the key questions to ask to help make the right selection for your garden office:

  • Consider how you want your garden office to look – do you want it to blend in or create a contrast against your home and garden?
  • Think about your local climate and the best materials to withstand typical conditions
  • Research the lifespan of the various materials available – you’ll want the exterior of your garden office looking good for as long as possible
  • Will your chosen material require regular maintenance? Evaluate how much time you’re willing to spend on upkeep
  • Finally, if environmental-impact is important to you, look for sustainable materials

Garden office with black and timber cladding

Roof

While a pitched roof is a classic choice offering excellent water drainage, a flat roof design tends to be more popular for garden offices.

A flat roof has a sleek, minimalist look and is a great opportunity to create a living roof. It also has the added advantage of being more likely to come under Permitted Development Rights.

It does, however, require proper waterproofing and drainage systems to prevent water from pooling on the surface.

Windows and doors

The windows and doors you opt for not only need to match your aesthetic, but offer good ventilation, and adequate security.

Choose glazing that allows the interior to flood with natural light, but ensure it’s double-glazed to help with insulation year-round.

Bear in mind, that while floor-to-ceiling options, such as bi-fold doors, are attractive, they could limit the scope for the placement of furniture and storage inside your garden office. Skylights can be a good solution.

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4. Interior fit out

Proper insulation is vital for regulating the temperature of your new space, while also reducing noise and helping with energy efficiency.

Decide what heating and cooling systems you’ll need, such as electric heaters or radiators for a comfortable work environment, year-round.

Remember to consider the smaller, but important details in advance. For example, how many electrical sockets you’ll need for lighting and electronic devices, and the optimal positioning for these.

And don’t forget to choose your flooring wisely. Laminate or engineered wood are both practical and stylish.

When it comes to furniture and decor, why not make some bold design choices? A comfortable chair and desk and adequate storage are a must. Add the finishing touches – artwork, greenery, and wallpaper – to put your stamp on the place.

5. Utilities

Depending on how you intend to use your garden office, you will need certain utilities.

Electricity is what will turn your garden office into a usable space. Not only as a power source for lights and electronic devices but also as a means to heat the space via electric radiators or convection heaters.

There are other means of heating a garden room, such as a log-burning stove, oil-filled rads, or underfloor heating. A qualified tradesperson will be able to guide you.

Finally, if you plan to incorporate a toilet, shower, or kitchen, you’ll need to think about how you’ll get water in and waste out, of your garden office.

For further inspiration, check out our post on garden office ideas – helping you to plan for garden rooms of all sizes, styles, and budgets.

Do I need planning permission for a garden office?

When planning your garden office, you’ll need to know the rules and regs surrounding planning permission.

In many cases, a garden office falls within Permitted Development Rights (PDR), subject to specific limits and conditions. This means that planning permission is not normally required.

The limits and conditions relate to a number of factors, including:

  • The intended position of the garden office
  • The height of the planned installation and any verandas, balconies, or raised platforms
  • The size of the garden office in relation to the land it’ll reside on

There are also separate rules that apply if you live in a listed building or a conservation area.

However, whether your garden office falls under PDR also depends on how you intend to use it.

A garden office occasionally used when working from home may be viewed differently by your local authority from a garden office used five days a week.

We strongly advise checking whether you require planning permission from your local planning authority before starting your project.

For more detailed information, read our guide to garden room planning permission.

Woman sat in metal clad garden room

Need some professional advice?

An experienced builder will be able to guide you through the structural considerations, building regulations, and planning permissions for your garden office.

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What are the building regulations for garden rooms?

Even if you don’t need planning permissions for your garden office, you may still need building regulations approval.

Building regulations outline the required standards for safety, structural integrity, insulation, fire safety, and accessibility.

Building regulations for a garden office will not normally apply providing:

  • The floor area is between 15-30 m²
  • It contains no sleeping accommodation
  • It’s at least 1 m from any boundary
  • And is constructed “substantially of non-combustible materials”

However, the garden office electrics will need to comply with Part P of building regulations. A qualified electrician will need to connect it to the mains supply and provide a completion certificate.

Building a garden office

How much does a garden office cost?

The cost of a garden office will vary depending on a number of factors, including:

  • The size and style of the garden office
  • Whether you choose a modular or bespoke design
  • The cost of labour for building or installing the structure
  • The cost of materials, fixtures, fittings, and furniture
  • The cost of any hard landscaping, e.g. decking or paving outside your garden office

As a guide, the average cost for a basic, small, insulated office (assembled) is around £5,500.

A home office pod can cost in the region of £20,000.

Our guide to the cost of garden rooms provides greater detail on the various options available.

A large, timber garden office

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We recommend sourcing a number of quotes for your garden office project. Simply fill in our ‘request a quote’ form to receive quotes direct to your inbox.

Alternatively, search our leading directory of trusted and approved tradespeople.

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