Working from home can be great but the kitchen table doesn’t really cut it for most people. You need a dedicated workspace, but rather than give up a room in your home to work, if you have a garden, then adding a purpose built garden office is a brilliant idea.
Here’s how your garden office could be the very best thing you invest in this year.
Be practical about where you place your Garden Office
Paths are really good. If you have to walk across a boggy mud patch to get to your office you will not enjoy the day half so much. Similarly, if your prized perfect lawn is not normally walked on they you traipsing over it four times a day to and from the office will take its toll. So, think carefully about where the office will sit.
Then think about its rotation. Consider the sun. A south facing office could become a serious sun trap making summers unbareable.
The view matters
Don’t place your office so that you are staring at a wall or fence. One of the joys of a garden office is that you get to see your garden. You could also consider re-landscaping some of the garden to improve the view from the new office further still.
Natural light is good
An old fashioned shed does not make a good office because the windows are small and there isn’t lots of natural light. This matters because research backs up what we all know instinctively; that natural light makes us happier and more productive.
Choose the best garden office you can afford.
You may well be spending up to 40 hours per week in your new garden office so make it a good one. You won’t regret spending a little extra on size and materials. Whether it is a home built office made from recycled palettes, a £3000 prefab or a £20,000 luxury garden office that ends up being nicer than the house at the other end of the garden, get the best you can afford.
Garden offices can look really cool
Sure an office pod is a practical solution, but that doesn’t mean they have to lack style and sophistication. In fact, there are loads of amazing designs out there so you have the opportunity to have an office that is pretty unique if you want.
Heating and insulation are key
Earlier we mentioned the problem of too much heat. The opposite is also true in that an unheated garden office in winter is also no fun at all. A well designed garden office needs good insulation as standard. 100mm Foil backed kingspan insulation board in the floor, walls and roof is the standard for UK home office pods. Dont go much below this. A benefit of good insultation is that the heating requirements are lower. This could mean you can save on the expense of electric cabling and have a solar powered home office instead. Underfloor heating is a great option in any home office and is especially useful if space is at a premium.
Get yourself a good chair
A desk is a desk is a desk, but a good chair is hugely important. Proper seating is essential to the success of your home working career. Anybody who has worked at home will attest to this advice. A good chair can make all the difference. You really will thank me for this tip.
Good lighting lifts your mood
We talked earlier about windows, but electric lighting is also needed. In winter the sun will set way before the end of the working day. A combination of downlighters, spotlights, track lighting and desk lamps will ensure you are never working in a gloomy environment. If you are unsure about what is best, you can always pop into a DIY store or Ikea or some similar place and talk it through with a specialist. Just remember, you can never have too many lights.
A Fast Internet Connection is essential
Broadband gets weaker when to has to travel any significant distance, and a strong signal in the kitchen might be barely a whisper at the far end of the garden. Thankfully WiFi Boosters are easy to get hold of or you might want to permanently wire in a cable from the back of your router. If you are doing the latter, you will need extra shielding cable sleeve to protect the wifi cable from garden spades.
You will need to plug in your computer
Electricity is an obvious necessity in the modern home office, but with solar panels and a battery, the entire supply can be separate from the mains if you want. The average home office pod really doesn’t need a big supply. Don’t go lower than 100W systems and if you need a drinks fridge and loud music pumping all day you will need significantly more than that. On this topic we advise that you do your homework and speak to solar power experts.
The other option is a trench cut from the house to your office pod with an armoured cable supplying power direct from your home. This will require a professional electrician to certify the work.
Make your garden office your own
Don’t forget to give it some personality. Remember it is not ‘the office’, it is ‘your office’ so add personal touches and items that make you feel at home.
Whichever option you choose, a garden office is almost never regretted. And when in the future you retire, it can always become a craft room, gym, potting shed or summerhouse to relax in.