Garden offices are becoming common sight in British back gardens and create a professional working environment for home workers and business owners.
Garden offices are no longer glorified sheds but modern buildings built to the same standards as timber frame housing, and they incorporate the latest technology meaning you can plug in your computer and start work straight away.
A garden office is however a significant investment and a permanent feature in your garden, so it’s important that you research your options thoroughly, The Garden Room Guide aims to provide you with the information to help you make your decision, here are some key things to consider:
Garden Office Styles
Garden offices come in two main styles, traditional and contemporary. Traditional style garden offices normally have pitched roofs, with coverings such as cedar shingles or clay tiles, and house style casement windows and French doors, contemporary garden offices on the other hand are normally flat roofed with EPDM rubber or living roof coverings, contemporary garden offices often have large expanses of glass and folding doors.
It’s important to consider your surroundings when choosing a garden office, while starkly modern garden offices can contrast well with old houses, if you have an older house you may be better opting for a traditional design garden office, where roof shapes and roof coverings can be chosen to complement the main house.
Standard or Bespoke Design Garden Offices
Do you choose a standard design or commission a bespoke design? Many standard designs are modular so have an element of flexibility in the positioning of doors and windows, but if you have a difficult site or a unique design brief you should consider bespoke design. If your first thought is that bespoke design is much more expensive, think again bespoke design garden offices can be created from as little as £750 per sqm plus VAT, for bespoke design garden office suppliers take a look at Garden Room Compare. Because of their modular design, standard design garden offices often have short lead time and can take as little as one day to install on site.
Garden Office Construction
There are three main garden office construction types – traditional timber construction, SIP’s construction and metal construction.
Traditional timber frame garden offices are built around a timber studwork, insulation is fitted in-between the studwork frame, which is then covered in various membranes and cladding. SIP’s (Structural Insulated Panel’s) garden offices are built from structural panels made from sandwiches of structural wood sheeting with rigid insulation in-between, they offer better thermal performance than traditional timber frames as the whole building is enveloped in insulation, like traditional timber framing the SIP’s incorporate protective building membranes. Metal garden offices are also a form of SIP’s construction, the structural timber being replaced by steel sheets. The steel sheeting is powder coated with paint which is very durable and requires little maintenance.
Garden Office Planning Permission
Many garden offices are designed so that you don’t require planning permission, but whether you do need it, depends on where you live and where you plan to situate your garden office. It is important you check if you need planning permission before you start work, as once its installed you won’t want to take your garden office down! We have a planning permission guide but you should also visit the Planning Portal where there is an interactive planning guide for outbuildings.
Garden Office Pricing
A garden office is a more cost effective way of gaining extra space than building a traditional brick extension, small garden offices start at £3995 plus VAT, for more information on garden office prices take a look at Garden Room Compare. If using your garden office for business there are a number of tax breaks available, and VAT can be reclaimed on the cost, you should consult your accountant about this before purchase. When you consider renting a small 3m x 3m (10ft x 10ft) office can cost £265 plus VAT a month, and the same size garden office costs as little as £5618 plus VAT your business could be rent free in less than two years.
Insuring your Garden Office
It’s sensible to make sure your garden office, and contents are insured. Major insurers Direct Line advise us that all outbuildings within the boundaries of the home owners property are covered by their home insurance policies, however if used as an office for business purposes, the homeowner should consider taking out a Business from Home policy, as this provides a higher level of cover for things like business equipment, stock, public liability, and other potential costs to the home business which are not covered under home insurance. For more information about insuring your garden office contact Direct Line.
Garden Office Aftercare
No building is maintenance free, but some garden offices will require less maintenance than others. Painted garden offices will need an annual check and repainting every five years or so, some painted garden offices wear better than others, finishes such as Sadolin Superdec biodegrade rather than flake off like paint. Many garden offices are finished with Western Red Cedar cladding which requires little maintenance as cedar has a natural resistance to decay. Metal garden offices are also low maintenance as the powder coated paint finish is baked on and lasts for many years.
Doors and windows used in garden office construction are house quality and should last maintenance free for many years, some manufacturers use painted wooden windows and doors which will need repainting every five years while others use UPVC or aluminium cladded units which are maintenance free.
Roof coverings are the same as those found on a house; EPDM rubber is a popular covering on contemporary garden offices and has a life expectancy in excess of 50 years. Living, sedum roofs have become popular additions to garden offices and require less than an hours weeding each year.
All in all upkeep of your garden office should only take a few hours a year.