Garden office design ideas and expert advice on creating a productive workspace

16< August

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Create your own work-from-home haven.

(Article from GoodHouseKeeping and Alison ShedGuruLondon)

With working from home becoming the new normal for so many of us, it can be tricky to separate home and work life. Working from kitchen tables, dining rooms and bedrooms has meant a chaotic existence for many, and meant some have begun to look into alternatives.

For those who have the space, garden offices have been a popular choice, whether transforming existing sheds and summer houses or investing in a purpose-built space.

Alison Mansell, aka Shed Guru London, is a consultant who advises people on how to achieve the perfect set up for their garden offices and other outdoor rooms.

“The joy of being in a garden room is you can literally open the door and walk outside,” says Alison. “It’s the benefit of being able to leave your home and…make that separation between work and relaxation.”


Garden office design ideas

While it can be tempting to get drawn straight into selecting coordinating cushions and gorgeous stationary, there are some more pressing interior decisions to make first.

Shed Guru Alison advises her clients on everything from air flow and natural light considerations, to furniture positioning and temperature control.


How to choose your garden office desk

Firstly, think about the amount of work-space you are going to need. Are you on a laptop? Do you use multiple screens? Will you need a flat surface for sketching?

“If we’re talking about desk space work say for what an accountant might do, that’s a very different need to say if you’re an artist, craftsperson or you’re an architect,” explains Alison.

The key is to look at the space you’re using at the moment and decide what is and isn’t working, then measure up for the best desk with the space you need.

“A bench-desk that can be slotted into an alcove, side return or a corner (preferably looking out over a window), can work well where space is at a premium,” advises expert Alison.

“Getting a lot of natural daylight is so much better for you than working under fluorescent tubing,” she says. “Depending on whether your building is all south, east or west facing, that will determine exactly how much light you’re getting.”

“If you have more space to play with…consider one with two sides and a curve in the middle,” Alison adds. “This will give you the option to keep files and everyday items on one side, so they are easily accessible without having to stretch.”

Alison recommends the Tully I Ergonomic Desk which is can be bought as a right or left-handed option.


How to divide your garden office space

“It’s a good idea to have a breakout space…to have actual physical meetings,” says Alison. “I would suggest if you’ve got the space or the budget, have a breakout area that includes soft seating.”

To help separate the space more clearly, Alison recommends using a room divider, or even using different floor coverings and paint to define different zones.

“The majority of people will be using their home office at a multipurpose space…whether it’s a dedicated studio, whether it’s a contemporary garden room, all of that will have an impact on how they use it,” says Alison.

Clearly defining separate spaces, having plenty of storage and planning out your space before you start will all help you to get maximum use out of the room.


How to Light Your Garden Office

(Getty Images)

While an adjustable desk lamp helps with targeted lighting at close range, it’s important to consider the overall lighting in your office space.

“Avoid wall lights or sconces as they can sometimes prevent you from placing furniture where it will be most useful,” says Shed Guru Alison.

“Consider down-lights inset into the ceiling [and] avoid a hanging pendant light unless you have a large space with a hipped roof. They can make the ceiling seem lower.”


Garden office trends: biophilic design

Alison explains that one of the big trends for 2021 is biophilic design, which essentially means bringing the outdoors, indoors and blending the spaces together.

“[You get] the added benefit of being able to sit in a space where you can connect with the outside and with nature and get all the benefits,” she says.

To make the most of your window views even with limited space, Alison says, “You should ideally leave some breathing room around your building (say 30-50cm) which gives you just enough room for a narrow plant bed,” for instance, something tall like bamboo which will grow high enough to see at the window.

If your window looks out onto to a fence or wall, you could also hang a garden mirror as this “will bounce additional light into the room and trick the brain into believing there is a deeper space,” says Alison.

Another way to bring blend the indoors and outdoors, is simply to stock up on potted plants.


How to control your garden office temperature

While large glass doors and expansive windows looking out into the garden might look fabulous and allow plenty of light into your space, they will also affect the temperature of your garden office.

An insulated building can help retain warmth from any radiators or heaters you use. In the summer, however, the insulation and extra sunlight streaming through lots of glass can begin to warm your garden office in a similar way to a greenhouse or conservatory.

“Having a window treatment will help you control the atmosphere inside the building when you’re working,” says Alison, as can various blinds.

For additional shade, she recommends “having an awning on the outside, something that reflects heat away from where you are, and plenty of doors. You need to think about the air flow in the building.”


The article was taken from the Good House Keeping website- From ShedGuruLondon