The garden office market is booming on the back of the workspace revolution that has happened since COVID 19 crisis began. People are finding they like working from home, and employers are seeing increased productivity. So, working from home is going to be a longterm situation for many. However, people still want to create a separation between work and family life and are turning to the space in their garden to create a home office.
The same is true of people who have historically belonged to a gym to exercise. With gyms being closed for so long, and now reopened with limitations, combined with people not feeling comfortable to workout in spaces where people they don't know have been. They too, are looking to there garden to create a home gym.
But what if you need a place to work from home and want to create a gym room? Well, a garden room can offer a solution to both needs.
Garden rooms are versatile enough to have more than one use
Garden room buildings are versatile enough to serve more than one use at a time. Because you can have input into the size and layout of a garden room, you can design a space that works for your needs.
Some people choose to buy two buildings
A few buyers needing space for two specific uses, like this, buy two buildings, one for use as an office the other a gym. We recently featured a project by Hargreaves Garden Spaces where their customers work meant they needed a quiet workspace for phone calls and video conferencing. The family wanted a home gym too. It was decided that two buildings side by side was the best option meaning that noise from activity in the gym did not disturb work in the office.
They chose two identical size buildings and positioned them side by side. The gap between them and the insulated build-up ensured that noise from the gym would not disturb work in the office.
Others divide the space into two rooms
More commonly, when wanting to create a garden office and gym combo, the building is divided into two rooms with internal walls and doors. Bespoke designers Swift Garden Rooms created a large, well-equipped home gym for their clients that had a separate office space. There is a clever bit of detailing in this project whereby an interior window over the desk looks into the heart of the gym.
Zoning one room for the two uses works too
You don't have to formally divide a garden room up to be able to use it for two distinct uses. With thought, one modestly sized room can work well for use as both an office and gym. The building in our mockup is 3.6m wide by 3m deep, and the furniture is to scale.
Fitted furniture, particularly for the office area, might make life easier so that you can leave as much space as possible for the exercise area.
Need to think about how much space you need for work and exercise
When designing a garden gym and office building, you need to think about how much space you will need for each area. A garden room designer will draw up up a floor plan as part of their quote, but it would be worth drawing up a basic plan yourself with measurements for your desk and any equipment you'll need like a treadmill before you go too far down the buying process. It is an interesting experiment, and you may save yourself an unneeded surprise when you come to furnish your room.
As well as thinking about the space for the furniture and exercise equipment, consider how much space you will need to move around the room.
Think about the height of the building as well as the floor print
Most buyers we speak to are looking for a garden room than can be built without Planning Permission and can be positioned within 1 meter of their boundary. Permitted Development, the rules that tell you what can be built without a planning application say that a garden room built within 1m of any boundary can be no taller than 2.5m.
A 2.5m building will give you a ceiling height of around 2.1m depending on the build-up of the core structure. You need to consider if this is enough for the type of exercise you plan to do. If you are tall and using equipment like a cross trainer, you may be better served with a taller building.
If you have space to move the building so that it sits at least 2m from any boundary, you can build a taller garden room, under the Permitted Development rules. You'd be able to create a mono-pitched building that is 2.5m at the eaves rising to 3m at the ridge. A dual roof garden room can be 2.5m at the eaves and a maximum of 4m at the ridge.
Many of the garden gyms we have featured in recent months have had an overall height of 2.8m, giving an internal floor to ceiling height, depending on the structural build-up of around 2.5m.
The companies who designed these taller garden gym buildings have handled the planning application on their clients' behalf. They have done this as part of their overall service so that it is a stress-free process.
Design considerations for an office & gym building:
- Floor - If you plan on using weights or heavy machines, you need to decide if the standard floor structure is going to be strong enough. Experienced garden gym designers will be able to strengthen the floor structure so that it stands up to use - you don't want a saggy or bouncy floor!
- Wall and Roof Structure - If you are going to use wall or ceiling mounted equipment such as a punching bag or resistance bands you'll want to consider strengthening the wall or ceiling structure to take the additional load, even just at specific points in the room.
- Windows - Good ventilation is essential in a gym. Obviously, you can open the door, but you will have more flexibility if you can open a window, particularly during the colder months. The fashion of having large floor to ceiling expanses of glazing are often configured with fixed windows. You could ask your designer if they could use tilt and turn or parallel windows instead. Another option is to mixe the floor to ceiling glazing with an opening window on another wall.
- Electrics - Modular garden rooms will have a standard electrical layout, often positioning the sockets in the four corners of the room. You can often add additional sockets as an extra. Bespoke designers will work with you on a custom electrical layout. If you are zoning your room for two uses, you'll want to plan how many sockets you'll need in the office area and where you will want them in the gym zone. If you need to plugin machines like treadmills, you will not want cables trailing unnecessarily. You might even want to consider floor sockets which some companies offer positioned at strategic points.
- Heating and cooling - Quality garden rooms are highly insulated and designed for year-round use. A heater is still needed for the coldest days of the year, while when working out you'll want to keep the room cool. Air conditioning is a good solution as it allows you to control the temperature all year round. It gives you push-button control over the temperature in the room as you move from work time to exercise session.
- Audiovisual - Do you like music as you work out or will you be joining a virtual class? An internet connection can be run down to the office/gym from the main house. Some buyers mix this with satellite TV connections and surround sound for the complete audiovisual experience.