Green Studios recently completed this stunning garden office building for clients in Hampshire. This contemporary style building features not one but two light and airy garden offices.
Garden Office Guide
The Garden Office Guide is 184 pages packed with all the information you will need to choose your perfect garden office and includes 28 supplier interviews
Rounding up our Garden Office Guide we chat with Insitu Garden Offices about planning permission, foundations, insualtion and much more…
We often get emails from people having trouble securing garden office insurance, we contacted Henshalls who have experience in securing garden office insurance for advice
We have asked each of the garden office suppliers included in this guide for a piece of buying advice, here are our tips for buying a garden office:
- Spend time doing your homework, research the market well, visit shows or ask to see previous garden office builds.
- Don’t go for the cheapest garden office, the installation of a garden office is a big project and some of what you are paying for is the personalised help you will be offered.
- Go with an experienced firm, if a website keeps showing the same picture it’s probably the only garden office they have built.
- Study photos of garden office designs – are they real buildings that have been built or CGI images?
- Buy a slightly bigger office than you think you need – you don’t often hear people say they need less space.
- If it’s a weigh up of size over specification – go for the higher specification
- If you want to use your garden office all year round don’t settle for a cheap shed like garden office
- Choose a highly insulated garden office – it may cost more today but it will reduce your annual heating bill so you will recoup the cost quickly
- Look for an office where each element is insulated i.e. the floor, walls and roof and the doors and windows double glazed.
- Don’t go for a quirky design that will date quickly
- Specify more electrical sockets than you think you need, also consider outside lights
- Don’t forget heating, however well insulated your garden office is you will need a heat source and maybe a way of cooling the office in summer
- Incorporate a communications channel in the trench with you electric cable so that future technology can easily be added.
- If you are buying a small garden office consider fitted furniture to maximise the space
- Consider outward opening doors to maximise internal floor space
- Don’t forget the area around your garden office, it can double your living space particularly in summer.
- Give some thought to security, you will be storing important stuff in your garden office so consider an alarm
When buying a garden office you are entering into a legally binding contract and your supplier will give you quite a lot of paperwork, this might include:
You want a written quotation for all work to be undertaken and detailing the size and specification of your garden office. Make sure you have a quotation rather than an estimate as a quote is a fixed price whilst with an estimate figures are open to change.
You should have a detailed specification detailing the materials and how your garden office is built.
Most garden offices are paid for in stages and your supplier should give you a schedule of the dates when payments are due and how much will be required; this will also inform you of the ways of paying.
You will sign a contract agreeing to your chosen supplier providing you with a garden office, your supplier should give you a signed copy of this for your records, the company’s terms and conditions normally accompany the contract and you should take time to read them carefully. You will normally pay a deposit as part of signing the contract.
Terms & Conditions
The terms and conditions of sale are very important and you should take time to read them carefully, if there is a problem a supplier will stand by them – some suppliers are known to rigorously enforce them! Pay particular attention to delivery clauses – some suppliers say that the customer has to have someone available to help unload the lorry! Other clauses to keep an eye on include reporting damaged materials – some say if you don’t tell the delivery driver before he leaves site it’s too late!
Some suppliers ask you to sign a delivery note to say you have received the goods and that they are all in good order. If this is the case take the time to check the materials – a big job we know, but once you have signed this note it may be too late to report damaged materials.
Not every supplier will issue with this type of form so you may want to make one yourself. At the end of your project, before the workers leave site go around your garden office with the specification and plans and check everything you ordered is there, and that it is all finished to the standard you expected, if it’s not make a note of the problem and take a photo then talk to your supplier and give them the opportunity to rectify the problem before they leave site.
Your supplier may ask you to sign to say that you are happy with the building and the work done, we suggest you go around the building with a snagging list as described above – hopefully it will remain a blank sheet, before signing this form. Once you have signed this form the final payment becomes due.
Most garden offices come with a guarantee; we’d be suspicious of those that don’t! The type of guarantee can vary from supplier to supplier.
Guarantee On Materials
Some garden office guarantees consist of the manufactures warranties on the different materials used in the garden office, for instance the roof covering may come with a 20 year manufactures warranty and the windows may have a 15 year manufacturers warranty – this is reassuring if a material fails but what about workmanship?
In general garden offices are very well built but sometimes problems occur due to poor workmanship – problems could include badly fitting doors, a loose piece of cladding or a leaking gutter, these problems wouldn’t be covered by a material or components manufactures warranty as the problem arose because of poor installation rather than component breakdown. You should check with your garden office supplier how this type of problem is guaranteed and for how long. Will your supplier return to rectify problems personally or will they engage a local tradesman. You may be told that they have never needed to rectify such a problem as their garden offices are so well built, this is obviously reassuring but it would be good to know they have a procedure in place.
How Long Is The Cover
Most garden office companies clearly state how long their warranty lasts, our research has shown anything from 12 months to 10 years is common. It’s worth noting that a new house has a 10 year guarantee, so 10 years on a garden office is very good.
Insurance Backed Guarantees
Some garden office suppliers offer a insurance backed guarantee on their offices, this offers the consumer additional peace of mind because in the unlikely event that your supplier goes out of business during the period of your guarantee all repairs will still be covered under the insurance policy. Most insurance policies are covered by the Consumer Protection Association who vet the companies they insure to ensure high levels of workmanship which is good in itself.
Are Guarantees Free
You may have noticed in our Q&A session with the garden office suppliers we have asked if guarantees are free, we ask because in some cases where an insurance backed guarantee is offered, the customer has to pay the premium for the policy.
As we say garden offices are generally very well built, but a guarantee will offer you long term peace of mind on what is a very significant investment.
Which is your most popular office design?
We recommend our 3.6m x 3.6m design which is compact and perfect for a small office in the garden. All of our designs are fully insulated and heated and have electric and data points. We are happy to design bespoke offices for customers to ensure that their office meets their business needs.
Why does your design make the perfect garden office, how have you made it user friendly?
Our design concentrates on ensuring that the office is perfect for year round use. As it is fully insulated and comes with underfloor heating, as standard, it is kept warm in the winter and can be easily cooled in the summer. Again, as standard, we provide stainless steel data and electric points and if required can easily incorporate a TV/entertainment system (if that is what is wanted for a modern office suite).
As standard we install high quality windows and doors with multi point locking system ensuring you and your office equipment are safe as can be.
All lighting is low voltage and the thermo efficient double glazed folding doors combined with highly efficient insulation ensure that our garden offices are minimising energy consumption, saving money in the long run.
How do your garden offices comply with Planning Permission?
In most cases our garden rooms do not need Planning Permission. However if it is required we can work closely with the client to ensure the process is smoothly and efficiently actioned.
What size garden office do you recommend for one worker to work comfortably?
We would recommend our 3.6mx3.6m workspace. This offers space for a desk and chair, plenty of room for filing and shelving plus you could easily fit in an extra couple of guests chairs so you can use your office to hold business meetings. The 3.6mx3.6m offers plenty of flexibility within the space, you can even incorporate a small tea making corner!
And for two workers what size garden office do you suggest?
Well this really depends on the space you have in the garden. You could actually fit two people in the 3.6m x3.6m space but it would a squash and you may have trouble when on the phone!
With our clients we would ask lots of questions about how the garden office will be used, will there be visitors? How much storage is required? Will you need toilet facilities? Will you need tea making facilities? Is the business desk based or is a treatment/therapy? Using this information we would recommend a size to meet the needs of the business.
Are the foundations included in the price, if so what type?
Yes the foundations are included in the price and undertaken by eDEN’s team of specialists. We use a concrete pad plinth system which allows for variances in the level of the ground and ensures eDEN has air flow around the base of the building and avoids ground moisture. Concrete plinths also have the added bonus of being eco friendly compared to the traditional method of a concrete base.
Are your garden offices suitable for year round use? What type of insulation do you use? How thick are your walls?
Yes eDEN is suitable for year round use. We use a premium multi purpose rigid polyisocyanurate foam (PIR) thermal insulation board which offers excellent U values and ensures eDEN is better insulated than the Building Regulations require for new builds!
What is the exterior cladding on your garden offices?
Timber clad in Western Red Cedar or Larch (whatever the customer prefers) with powder coated aluminium fascias (can be in the customers colour choice). All require zero maintenance.
What is the roof covering?
Single Ply Membrane. We have extensive experience in installing living/green or sedum roofs in new home builds and this is always an option for our customers. Living roofs help the Garden Office blend into its surroundings as well as offering thermal and acoustic insulation and a perfect habitat for the local wildlife.
What is the interior lining and floor covering?
We plasterboard and then finish plaster the walls. They are then painted by our specialists in the customer’s choice of colour, we also offer the option of feature walls and built in cupboard systems – a great choice in a Garden office as it offers ample storage, hidden behind doors (thus reducing clutter!).
The floor covering is REAL wood and is available in a choice of finishes.
How many electrical sockets do you include as standard?
We offer stainless steel faced light switches and 4 double sockets plus data points, this can obviously be easily increased depending on the size of the Garden Office
What sort of lighting do you use in your offices, why have you chosen this type?
We have chosen low voltage lighting throughout, for the interior lighting (standard) and the exterior security lighting and decking lighting (optional).
It is important to us that every eDEN we build is a low energy building and we chose products that ensure this target is achieved every time.
Do you include heating in your garden office as standard, if so what type?
We believe that if you claim that your Garden Office is suitable for year round use then you MUST include heating as standard! As standard we include underfloor heating which can be thermostatically controlled.
Broadband and telephone are important in a garden office, how do buyers get these to the office?
This would depend on the setup in the customer’s home. For example the simplest and least disruptive is WI-FI – we would work with the client to understand their individual setup and their requirements to develop the method for them. It may require Ethernet cables to be installed at the same time as the armoured cables – the price for this would be additional.
What optional extras would you recommend to create the perfect office setup?
Well we would certainly recommend a tea station and if the space allows a integral toilet – this means that customers won’t be dashing up and down the garden in the rain!
We would also recommend the built in cupboard system for clearing away all the files and office clutter.
What is the lead time on your garden offices?
This varies dependent on the time of year but generally 6-12 weeks from placement of order.
What is the typical on site build time?
We like to allow 10 days but in most cases it will be considerably shorter.
How much does a typical one person office cost?
Our Garden Offices are high specification rooms which will be fully useable all year round and built to a high and exacting standard – we are experienced in building new homes and effectively eDEN is built to the same Building Regs required for a new home. Therefore don’t compare the price of an eDEN with a glorified shed, compare eDEN with the price of an extension or moving home.
The one person office of 3.6m x3.6m costs in the region of £13,500 (excl VAT). We are running a special promotion at the moment and if customers mention THE GARDEN ROOM GUIDE we will incorporate the built in cupboard system FREE OF CHARGE.
How much does a typical two person office cost?
The two person office of 3.6m x 4.8m costs in the region of £18,000 (excl VAT). Again the promotion applies… if customers mention THE GARDEN ROOM GUIDE we will incorporate the built in cupboard system FREE OF CHARGE.
Are there any hidden extras? (planning fees, electrical hookup etc)
We don’t do ‘hidden extras’! All are prices and what is included as standard are clearly explained.
However electrical power, Ethernet connection and waste/water supplies to eDEN are an additional cost and will be priced according to the site.
What is the lifespan of your garden offices, is there any ongoing maintenance?
eDEN is constructed to the same standard as a new home so is built to last and will withstand the English weather. The lifespan is at least 30 years but we would expect 50 years.
Is there any ongoing maintenance – well you have to clean it! Other than that it is maintenance free.
What guarantees come with the office, are they free?
We offer a 10 year guarantee as standard – yes it is free!
If you could give a buyer one piece of advice about buying a garden office, what would it be?
Think carefully about how much time you will spend in there, how you will use the space and how much it will cost to run before you rush out and buy the cheapest on the market.
A garden office is an investment and should be a comfortable and secure place to work because you could be spending as much time in your Garden Office as you do in your home. For example if you are awake for 15 hours a day, 7 of those awake hours are probably going to be spent in your Garden Office – make sure what you spend your hard earned money on is going to be fit for purpose!
Like what you read? Contact eDen Garden Rooms on 01227 833010 or visit www.edengardenrooms.com
So, how are you going to pay for your garden office? Many people extend their mortgage to cover the cost of their garden office project or some of the cheaper garden offices fall in the price band of a personal loan or even a credit card, if you are in business you could apply for a business loan to pay for your office, but there are other options.
Many garden office suppliers offer finance options on offices so you can spread the cost of your garden office:
Interest Free Credit
Some suppliers offer interest free credit on a garden office, with this type of agreement a deposit of around 20% is paid and then a fixed number of monthly payments, the number of 0% months varies from supplier to supplier but typical examples are 10, 12, 24 and 36 month periods.
Buy Now Pay Later
If you want a garden office today but don’t want to pay for it for a year you could consider a buy now pay later deal. With this type of finance you pay a deposit of around 20% and defer the final payment for 12 months, if you pay the final payment before the end of the 12 month period you don’t pay any interest but if you go over the agreed period you will pay a high rate of interest.
Fixed Monthly Payments
If you want to pay for your garden office with fixed monthly payments you might consider this option, a deposit of around 20% is paid up front with fixed payments over 12,24,36 or 48 months, you pay interest on this type of arrangement and although longer terms have lower monthly instalments you will pay more interest over a longer term.
You might of course just want to pay with cash!
We wouldn’t be surprised if you are reading this section of the Garden Office Guide before the others, and why wouldn’t you, we all want an idea of what the project may cost us!
You will see in this guide (suppliers were asked to give a price guide for 1 & 2 person offices) that prices for garden offices vary greatly, you can pick up a garden office for around £5,000 from some suppliers whilst others may charge £30,000.
In our opinion garden offices come in three quality/price bands – cheap and cheerful, functional and well built, and high specification designer units.
You can pick up a garden office for under £5,000 but they tend to be cabin style buildings which owe their origin to the garden shed, they tend to be poorly insulated and of flimsy construction compared to more expensive garden offices, on the plus side you can gain quite a lot of space for little outlay but you have to weigh up low initial investment against future running costs and longevity. You have to be aware when looking at offices in this price band that there tend to be a lot of additional costs such as delivery, installation, foundations, double glazing, and electrics which will all bump a low initial price up.
In the mid range of the market you are looking at prices between £5,000 and £12,000, in this sector garden offices are built using house building techniques rather than being posh sheds. More attention is given to design and the material choices – most have been chosen for their longevity and low maintenance properties, the build quality on this range of garden offices is good. Many garden offices in this price band include the foundations and offices tend to be well insulated making them comfortable to use all year round. Many of the high end garden office designers have designed standard design units which fall into this price band and they incorporate all of the popular features at a great price point.
Garden offices in this band can range in price from £12,000 to in excess of £30,000; they tend to be cutting edge design with high spec materials. Offices in this price band tend to incorporate the latest building techniques and are designed by architects and other design professionals. Projects of this cost tend to be turnkey developments whereby the garden office supplier handles everything and hands the keys to the office over when the building is ready to move into. This band of garden offices are highly insulated, often exceeding the regulations for new housing meaning they will be very comfortable to use all year round, cost effective to heat and cool and kind to the environment.
Compare like with like
It’s important that you compare like with like, don’t try comparing a £3,000 log cabin with a £20,000 fully insulated office – there’s no comparison! Set your budget early and then compare garden offices in that price band, compare how well insulated the offices are, the longevity of the materials, and what the package includes – pay particular attention to delivery, foundations and heating.
How do garden offices compare with other types of extension?
This is a question we are often asked, a mid range garden offices start at around £800 per m2 (based on a 13sqm office) high spec garden offices start at £1400 per m2 (based on a 13sqm office) compare this with prices for an house extension built to a standard specification with standard quality fixtures and fitting and you’re looking at approximately £1500 sqm whilst high spec, complex buildings with bespoke features and designer fixtures and fittings can set you can set you back £2000 per sqm. So, significant cost savings can be made by installing a standalone garden office as opposed to a traditional extension, in addition to the cost savings garden offices are normally less disruptive to build with onsite build times varying from 1 day to 2 weeks and totally project managed.
Do they add value to a house?
It is generally agreed that an outdoor room or designated office space adds value to your house when you come to sell up; we think it is fare to say the better quality the garden office the more value it will add. Estimates vary on how much a garden office adds to a houses value, some people predict they add 5% to the value whilst others say you will make back your initial investment. Our advice if you are planning on adding a garden office to increase the value of your house is to choose a design that is not going to date and will appeal to a large audience.
Cut commuting costs
You can find lots of statistics on the Internet about how much we spend on commuting to work each year, a typical commuter travelling from Guildford to London spends £3,300 a year on train travel this is expected to rise by nearly £1000 over the next four years, if you were to work from a £15,000 garden office this would have totally paid for itself in less than 4 years and you would have at least 2 hours a day more productive time and a great work / life balance.
Garden offices for business use
If you are running a business from your garden office and are VAT registered you can claim back the VAT part of the cost, you can also set a garden office against tax, we recommend you talk through the options with an accountant.
You will usually pay for your garden office in stages, your order will be confirmed on receipt of a deposit this can be anything up to 50% of the project cost, a further payment is normally due as the office is delivered to site, often around 45% and a small final payment is due on completion of work, normally 5%.
When budgeting for your garden office project don’t forget that the majority of garden office suppliers don’t include the cost of the electrical connection of the office to the mains supply, this cost can vary depending on your site and the location of your garden office but as a guide you should allow £500 to £1200 on top of the cost of the garden office