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Working from home in your own garden office: your questions answered

09 March 2021

The number of people working from home is rising fast, meaning that the need for a dedicated work space is also on the up. Don’t have a spare bedroom that can double as a home office? Join the increasing numbers of ex-commuters who are working in garden buildings to preserve precious space in their homes.

The benefits of working from home in a garden office are well documented – reduced start-up costs, no need to move or build costly extensions, a quiet space to work away from busy family life, not to mention the travel time you’ll save! Here are answers to some of the most common questions that people ask before investing in a garden room office.

Is my garden suitable for a home office?

The Hemlock 5m x 5m Log Cabin from Waltons
Make sure you choose a building that will fit your space
Image: The Hemlock 5m x 3m Corner Log Cabin

Garden buildings MUST be built on a flat surface so remember that you’ll have to do some groundwork before ordering your building. The perfect base for a log cabin or insulated garden room is a solid, concrete slab which you can lay yourself or contract a local builder to install.

Garden buildings come in lots of shapes and sizes so you can choose one that doesn’t overwhelm the space you have available. If more than half of your garden will be taken up by your new garden building, check with your local planning office first to see if you need permission. 

Do I need planning permission for a garden building?

Constructing an Insulated Garden Room
Before you build, brush up on your permissions and restrictions
Image: Shutterstock

Garden buildings don’t usually need planning permission providing they meet the following requirements:

  • Outbuildings should be single storey. If you buy a shed, summer house, log cabin or insulated garden room with a dual pitched apex roof, it should have a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and a maximum overall height of less than 4 metres. If you choose a building with a flat or pent roof, its maximum height should not exceed 3 metres. 
  • If a building is placed within 2m of fence or boundary, the whole building needs to be under 2.5m meters high. 
  • To fall within permitted development, an outdoor building shouldn’t have a raised platform, deck or balcony that’s more than 300mm high.
  • When adding a building to your garden you need to make sure it doesn’t cover more than half of the land around your home.
  • It’s always advisable to check with your local planning office, especially if you live in a listed building, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Park or World Heritage Site. Your planning officer can offer guidance before you make a purchase. Read our article on garden building planning permission for more info.

What type of garden office building should I go for?

Waltons 5x3m Insulated Garden Room
Insulated Garden Rooms make warm, secure and bright home offices
Image: Waltons 5x3m Insulated Garden Room

There are lots of different garden buildings to choose from depending on your preferred style, budget and garden size. The cheapest solution is a wooden shed or summerhouse, but you’d need to add lots of insulation and upgrade the doors and windows to make these buildings warm and secure enough for more than occasional summertime use. 

Log cabins are a better option and are available in 19, 28, 34 or 44mm thick logs. Many Waltons models have the choice of single or double glazed windows - we recommend 44m thick logs and double glazing for all-year-round office use. And go for the biggest log cabin your garden and budget will allow, so you won’t outgrow it in the future. 

But by far the best option for your new garden office, budget allowing, is an Insulated Garden Room. With double-skinned insulated walls, double glazing, free delivery and free installation as standard, this is a fast and stress-free way to get a stylish office that’s perfect for all-year-round use. You can customise the layout to suit your needs and spread the cost with interest-free credit.

Can I work in my garden building in the winter?

Helios summerhouse from Danni (nail technician)
Nail technician Danni installed heating in her Helios summerhouse
Image: Danni Howcroft

You can work in your garden room in the winter provided it is adequately insulated and heated. You’ll also want some good quality lighting for grey days, depending on the type of work you do. 

Insulated Garden Rooms from Waltons are specifically designed to be suitable for all-year-round use. Constructed with 72mm thick, double-skinned walls filled with Eco-Quilt insulation, they also come with Argon-filled double-glazed doors and windows, along with a fully insulated roof and floor.

Just like a house, there are plenty of options for heating your insulated garden room in the winter to make sure it’s a warm and cosy place to work. You could even install solar panels to offset the heating costs. 

How do I connect electricity to a garden office?

 Maplebeck 3.5m x 3m Log Cabin from Waltons
Always hire a trained electrician when connecting the mains to your cabin
Image: Waltons 3.5m x 3m Log Cabin

A garden office will need to be connected to mains electricity to keep your computers, wifi routers and radios powered throughout the day. By law you have to employ a trained and qualified electrician to ensure that all connections are safe and meet Building Regulations. A local electrician will be able to give you an idea of cost and what you need to do. 

Before calling the electrician, think about what equipment you will be using including the number of plug sockets you’ll need, what sort of lighting you want and whether you’re planning to install electric heaters, so that they can give you an accurate quote. Don’t forget somewhere to plug in a kettle and an outside light for the darker months. 

How do I connect my shed to the internet?

Waltons 7 x 7 Corner Summerhouse
You can easily get online from your garden building
Image: Waltons 7 x 7 Corner Summerhouse

Most high speed internet is wireless, and you can buy boosters from your internet provider that will give you a strong wireless connection in the garden. You can also buy signal boosters for your mobile phone to ensure that you can make those important calls without any worries. 

If you're connecting your garden office to mains electricity, you could ask your electrician to instal an ethernet cable at the same time. For most people, this is the best way to establish a fast and reliable internet connection to your garden office. Read our article on how to connect your garden shed to the internet for more information.

If you have any further questions about choosing the right garden office, please contact us via the website or call a member of our knowledgeable team on 0800 029 1000.

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