Are you one of the millions of Britons to ditch the 5-day commute and switch to hybrid working? Brilliant for your work-life balance. But if you, like so many, spend your WFH days stuck in the dingy box room or camped out at the kitchen table, then it’s not so great on your overall wellbeing. That’s why garden offices have become such an attractive alternative.
A comfortable, light and airy garden room could be just the answer. But however affordable, garden offices don’t come cheap (not one that’s built to last anyway), so it’s important to get it right. From planning permission to the windows, getting it wrong can be costly. To help, we’ve used our 10-plus years of experience designing quality hand-built garden rooms to offer up our best tips. Read on for our top 5 mistakes to avoid when designing your very own garden office.
1) Timings: you can’t rush quality, so don’t.
Enticingly, a number of home-office suppliers boast delivery times of as little as 2-4 weeks. But as well as ranging in price, garden offices can differ dramatically in quality so it’s important that you take the time to consider your options, get comparative quotes and look at the detail. What fixtures and finishes come included in your finished room? Done properly, garden offices can take as little as 6-weeks, from planning to completion, before you’re sat in your shiny new workspace. Hardly any time at all. So why rush?
Avoid being pushed into making a quick decision. Be it choosing your garden office’s supplier or the final design, if you feel under pressure to commit then alarm bells should be ringing. Any sales team worth their salt knows that details matter. From budgetary restraints to the bespoke finer details, you the client is the one making the investment, so it’s got to be right for you. Keep asking questions and making tweaks until you’re 100% happy.
2) Planning Permission: be sure of the rules.
So long as you’re not planning to sleep in it regularly, the good news is that planning approval isn’t required for most garden offices. But there are exceptions that are worth being aware of, as building without the appropriate planning can be costly to correct.
Building above the standard 2.5m?
Garden offices with extra head height are very popular. So, if you’re looking to create a more spacious office room, or you’ll be filling your space with large-scale tech. We favour at flat roof at eDEN, which can be raised as high as 3m. However, if you’re building within 2m of the garden boundary, this is when you’ll need to get official planning sign off.
Does it break the 50% rule?
Simply put, the area of land around your original house should not be more than half-filled with buildings. Be that sheds, summerhouses, garden offices or any other buildings. Get a calculator and tape measure out to make sure before you commit.
3) Space: get the ideal room layout nailed.
When it comes to garden offices, one size certainly does not fit all. Imagine moving into your shiny new office and finding your door won’t open properly due to the size of your desk. Make sure your space is going to be fit for purpose and roomy enough for you to work comfortably. Where will the door be? Where will you place storage? What about any larger electrical equipment? Where will you need power sockets and how many? Consider all the furniture and fixtures you’ll need to fit in and share this with your design team to help you maximise your room layout.
Unmissable optional extras to enhance your space?
On top of the essentials, there are lots of lovely ways to add to your working from home experience. Why not consider a slightly bigger building and going for an office-come-gym, or an office-come-lounge? Wraparound decking and large bifold doors can also help you fully enjoy the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. For the ultimate luxury, you might also want to include a WC, especially useful with garden offices positioned a far from the main house. Speak to your garden office specialists to explore all the options available.
Trying to do too much with one space?
Don’t lose sight of the real purpose of your garden building – a place to work – and try to cram too many uses into too small a space. An office-come-bar-come-cinema-come-gym is no place to get your job done. However, garden offices can be built with a 2-room option, a great way to separate your work and living space without losing the integrity and comfort of your working environment.
4) Office essentials: get everything you need included in the cost
For garden offices there are a few necessary essentials you’ll want to be set up and running ready for when the build team leave. While some garden room design companies might seem good on paper, if you look closer at what’s included in the basic cost, you may be disappointed. Avoid basics that are listed as ‘optional extras’. It’s an easy way to make costs seem low, but in reality will soon add up. With things like plastering and electrics, you may even find you need to source your own tradesmen to finish the job which will cost you in both time and money. Avoid going over budget by making sure you check the details, and ideally opt for a finished garden office with everything you need included as standard, as with every eDEN.
Have you checked your tech?
“Sorry… you’re breaking up…” Garden offices with dodgy WIFI are a big no-no. All the necessary electric fittings to make your office function effectively should be included. That means a hard-wired ethernet connection, phone sockets, roof lighting, and plenty of plug sockets. We can also offer extra WIFI boosters and extenders where needed.
Set up to work in year-round comfort?
Garden offices should be warm in the winter and stay cool in the summer so don’t overlook the need for quality insulation fitted in all external surfaces. Heating is an essential too so this should come as standard. And with high-grade insulation, your heating bills will be significantly reduced. Of course, in the hottest summer days, and with lots of high-tech equipment, rooms can warm up so compact air conditioning units are a great addition and well worth a small extra investment. Alternatively, eDEN fit a high grade compact combined heating and cooling system good enough to do away with the need to include underfloor heating at all.
Installing windows and doors you can trust?
Security will always be a concern with garden offices. Less trusted garden room suppliers are known to scrimp on window quality which will put the building’s security at risk. As a minimum, ensure all your windows and doors are double glazed and fitted with residential standard locks. Better still, as with every eDEN garden room, look for the ‘Secure by Design’ accreditation. For extra peace of mind, additional smart security systems can be added so speak to your design team if this is something you’d like to include.
Plastered and painted walls?
For a home-from-home feel painted, plastered walls are the way to go. Saving you time and money, garden offices built by quality suppliers will come fully finished, plastered to a high standard, and painted in your chosen colour – all part of the quality as standard included in your eDEN building.
5) Future-proof: choose rooms built to last with aftercare and guarantee
You want your new office room asap, so it can be easy to forget about what happens next. What if something fails? Will it last? Garden offices are a great investment and inevitably add value to your home so make sure you look for a company that offers comprehensive aftercare and a 5 to 10 year guarantee as a minimum, for that added peace of mind.
There you have it, our top tips for avoiding costly and frustrating mistakes when designing your garden office. Take your time to choose a quality supplier you trust and get your room details just right. There’s no such thing as paying too much attention to detail. And you won’t regret it if you do. Speak to one of our team if you’d like to know more about eDEN garden offices and how we ensure every detail is just right.
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