Thinking about working from home? Maybe you need some more space? Find out how building a garden room might just be the answer you’re looking for.
How to Choose the Right Garden Office Room
An extension or loft conversion will cost you tens of thousands of pounds and turn your house into a building site for months. Not to mention the time, expense and hassle that goes into getting planning past the council.
Rather than expanding your house or tearing off your roof, look at that patch of grass, lying neglected in the back of your garden.
A Garden Room with Many Names
Man-cave, she-shed, garden office, writer’s den.
Call it what you like, but one of these could cost you a fraction of the price of an extension. And in most cases, you won’t even have to apply for planning permission.
However, always check on Planning Portal or with your local authority before breaking ground. If you build outside of your permitted development rights, you could be forced to tear down any structure.
The five principles of building always apply, no matter how big or small your project is. Speed, money, finish, safety and impact on the environment. If you plan ahead and keep these in mind, you’ll save yourself from injury, bankruptcy and heartache.
Whether you’re aiming for a rustic timber-framed cabin with a wood burner or a contemporary glass and steel garden office, the possibilities are vast. You’re only limited by your budget and your imagination. Because there are so many options available, let’s take a closer look at three garden room ideas that could be right for you and your wallet.
A Bespoke Garden Office Room
Architect designed and installed by a team of builders. If you’re looking to create a customised space with a complex structure to fit an awkward shape (think Grand Designs), you’ll need expert professional help from start to finish.
You work with the architect on the design, point to the spot in your garden where you want it to go and everything else is taken care of. You have a free hand to create precisely what you want. You can build to exact specifications and add as many custom features as you want, from a living roof to a fully integrated media centre. The downside is the hefty price tag and longer build times.
Off-The-Shelf Garden Office Rooms
By far the most popular garden room ideas is to buy a ready-made garden room. Delivered as a finished item or in kit form like a flatpack wardrobe, it’s the most straightforward garden room solution. Save some money by putting it together by yourself, or employ a team to do the hard graft if you want. Companies have sprung up across the UK offering everything from shepherd’s huts and log cabins to glass igloos and even hobbit houses.
You might not be able to choose exactly where each window or plug socket goes, but this has to be the easiest option of them all. You don’t have to design a thing. Don’t forget that you will still have to build the foundations, which takes time, experience and skill to do properly.
Self-Build Garden Office Rooms
The most cost-effective way to create the garden room of your dreams is to take the reins, sharpen your builder’s pencil and Do It Yourself. It’s hands down the most rewarding option of the three, but not for the faint of heart.
You’ll have to design the structure, find the building materials and put it together by yourself.
It will take longer, but the most expensive part of any modern building project is in the labour. Anyone with a proper plan, a practical mind, and a set of tools could build a garden room to be proud of. It’s not as hard as you might think.
We’ve explored the routes to getting a garden room, now let’s look at some of the options available in materials and techniques for each stage of the build.
Building on a Solid Foundation
Whether you’re pouring a concrete slab, digging pier foundations or using screw piles, it’s vital that you start with a level base. It all depends on the soil type in your garden and the dimensions and weight of your building.
Start From The Ground Up
If you go for a concrete slab or a timber frame on piers for your floor, they’ll need damp proofing. This is essentially a sheet of breathable plastic that stops water from seeping into your garden room and rotting it out. Floor coverings can be poured concrete screed, vinyl, laminate or timber depending on the finish you desire.
Putting Up Walls
Think of the walls as the skeleton of your building. You can opt for stone, steel or concrete, but the most common choice is a timber frame. On these stud walls, you hang sheet materials like OSB or ply to add strength. Don’t forget your damp proofing and where to place your doors and windows. Natural light will turn a dark room into a welcoming space, and save on lighting bills.
Keeping Out The Cold
Long gone are the drafty sheds of your childhood where your dad would hide for hours, no matter how uncomfortable it was in there. The options for insulation run from cheap polystyrene sheets to eco sheep’s wool, but investing in good insulation will make your garden room cosy all year round.
Putting A Roof Over Your Head
Essential for keeping out the weather, your roof shouldn’t be overlooked when building a garden room. You can clad it with slate tiles, wrap it in rubber or even decrease your carbon footprint with a living roof of grass and wildflowers. You’re going to be looking at it from your bedroom window for years, so make it look good.
Don’t Just Dream It, Do It
With a bit of creativity, inspiration and hard work, you can create something that adds value to your home and your life. Don’t reach for your garden slippers and tape measure just yet though. We’re detailing a real-life garden office build from start to finish, right here.