Garden Office Guide: Size Matters


One of the questions we’re most often asked is what is the best size for a garden office? It’s not easy to answer as there are so many variables and everyone’s space requirements are different – one user may be able to run their office with just a chair and a laptop whilst another worker will require a large desk, filing cabinets and miles of shelving. Your choice of office will also be dictated by the size of your garden and your budget.

The smallest useable space is probably a 2m x.2.5m footprint which with 150mm walls would give you an internal space of 3.69sqm this footprint would be enough room for one worker, you would probably want to opt for fitted furniture to maximise the space.

A 3m x 3m footprint would give you an internal floor space of 5.76sqm and this would be enough room for one worker to work comfortably – as a size comparison this is roughly the size of a small double bedroom.

If you are looking for room for future expansion a 4m x 3m garden office is probably the smallest size office for two workers, as you can see from the graphic above there’s room for two desks and space to move around.

In our Q&A sessions with garden office suppliers which we are interspersing with this guide we ask the suppliers to recommend the best sizes for one person and two person offices, this is a valuable guide as they have worked with many customers to get the perfect fit!

The size of your garden office is one of your most important decisions, get it wrong and you will have a spent a lot of money on a building that’s not fit for its purpose. Think about the space where  you are currently working, is it big enough or too small? Well measure it and use that as the basis for your decision.

Another method is to measure the furniture you plan to use and work out how much space it takes up, why not draw up a floor plan and cut up pieces of paper to represent desks, filing cabinets etc and play around to find the best layout – if you choose an office with inward opening doors allow some clear floor space for the swing – to do this measure the width of the door, draw it on the plan in the open position and then draw an arc back to the frame. If you draw up a floor plan, a scale of 5cm to 1meter will mean most office sizes will fit on a sheet of A4 paper.

There are a few regulations that apply to garden office size, garden offices between 15sqm and 30sqm that contain sleeping accommodation will need to comply with Building Regulations unless they are more than 1m from the boundary or constructed of substantially non-combustible materials. To check the footprint size of your garden office multiply the external width by the external depth of the office this will give you the square meter size.

Planning permission is more concerned with height of the garden office than footprint size* (well, unless extensions and out buildings like a garden office cover more than 50% of your original garden) garden offices under 2.5m high can be placed within 2m of the boundary line, single pitched garden offices should be no higher than 2.5m at the eaves and 3m at the ridge, whilst dual pitched roofs should be no higher than 2.5m at the eaves and 4m at the ridge, both types of pitched roof garden office need to be sited more than 2m from the boundaries of your garden. We will look at planning in more detail in the Garden Office Guide: Planning Permission.

*These details are for England if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland you should consult the governments planning portal. If you live in a Listed Building National Parks the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Conservation Areas and World Heritage Sites you will need to apply for planning permission for all garden offices.

Most garden offices are listed as external sizes, a few also give you the internal floor size but if not it is worth working out what space you actually get. Garden office walls can vary in thickness from 50mm thick to 300mm thick which can have a significant effect on floor space for instance a 2.5m x 2.5m garden office has an external footprint of 6.25sqm with 50mm walls the internal space would be 5.76sqm but the same size office with 250mm thick walls would have an internal size of 4sqm – quite a difference! Thicker walls tend to be better insulated than thinner ones so you have to balance thermal performance with space, we will look at wall thickness and insulation values in the chapter Garden Office Guide: Insulation.

This guide should have highlighted some of the ways to work out the best size for your garden office;  the next part of this guide is Garden Office Guide: Comparison

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