With working from home now becoming a standard part of many people’s working lives, the idea of having a dedicated office in the garden has become an appealing and realistic prospect for individuals across the UK. But, if you do want to create the very best modern garden office, what things do you need to consider? Keep reading and the team at Rubicon Garden Rooms will tell you…
Choose a reputable supplier
A garden room can be a considerable, but certainly worthwhile, investment. This means it’s really important that you choose a reputable, experienced builder of garden rooms.
When selecting a company to build a garden office for you, you should pick one that can demonstrate the following qualities:
> A well established business, with a strong and demonstrable track record of designing and constructing quality garden offices over many years.
> Is Trading Standards approved and registered for their annual audits.
> Offers a long-term guarantee on the garden offices they design and build.
> Provides garden offices that are built to the appropriate building standards and regulations - built like a house not a shed!
> Has excellent verifiable reviews from satisfied customers. Requires a small initial deposit and easy payment terms during the build.
> Provides a formal detailed contract with all T&Cs clearly listed.
> All staff are DBS checked for criminal records and child safety.
> Has a clear pricing policy so you know what is and is not included.
> Has a fixed operating address and ideally a showroom where you can view the buildings and their quality construction.
By ensuring that your chosen garden office builder ticks all of these requirements (such as ourselves here at Rubicon), you can be assured that you’ll have an enjoyable planning and building experience that leaves you with a wonderful office in your garden!
Think about the exterior style of your garden office
Once you’ve found a reputable supplier, the next thing you should do is give some thought as to what kind of exterior style you want your garden office to have.
Your garden office is going to be a sizeable presence in your garden, so you’re going to want to make sure you’re happy looking at it when you’re in the garden, or from the rear windows of your home etc.
Here at Rubicon, we offer garden offices with many different exteriors. From the rustic charm of our Cabin Style garden office, to the sleek contemporary lines and aesthetic of our Studio Style garden office, we almost certainly have an exterior style that’ll appeal to you.
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A note on cladding
One of the biggest things that can influence the overall aesthetic of a garden office, is the use of cladding.
Cladding is defined as the ‘application of one material over another’ and is effectively a skin that will cover the exterior walls of your garden office.
Here at Rubicon Garden Rooms we offer a variety of cladding options.
If you want to achieve a natural, organic look to your garden office, then we would recommend using one of the following cladding materials:
> Zero maintenance wood composite cladding.
> Western Red cedar cladding.
> Thermowood cladding.
> Exterior cement renders.
> Exterior stone facades.
Our zero maintenance wood composite cladding is made from over 80% recycled wood fibre and waste plastic bottles. This creates a type of cladding which is maintenance free , yet retains the look and feel of real wood (Plastic UPVC this is NOT!).
For the majority of people, wood composite cladding is the best option, as it not only gives your garden office a beautiful, natural look and feel, but it doesn’t require any maintenance (other than the occasional removal of bird-droppings..!).
However, if you do want to clad your garden room in completely natural wood, then we offer western red cedar and thermowood cladding.
These woods are very long-lasting and will have a lifespan of over 30 years. However, they can’t really be classed as maintenance free.
This is because they require annual treatment in order to maintain their natural yellow, orange and brown hues.
If you don’t treat these woods, then they will fade to a non-uniform dark grey, and can also warp under certain weather conditions.
We also offer bespoke options such as K-Rend cement renders in multiple colours; exterior stone facades in limestone or slate; brick slips and plinths which can very often match those on your house. Talk to us for more information.
Select great glazing
We all spend a great deal of time at work, so it’s likely you’ll be spending many hours during the week in your garden office.
As such, you want to ensure that it is a light, airy and generally enjoyable place to work. Nobody wants to work in the gloom after all!
The key to making your garden office nice and light is to select the right glazing.
We would recommend floor to ceiling glazing, as pictured above.
This will maximise the amount of natural light that can pour into your office space, as well as maximising your view of the garden.
Here at Rubicon we offer garden offices with plenty of glazing options, including rooms with floor to ceiling panoramic windows and doors, studio style offices where one corner of the office is entirely glazed, and garden offices with huge bi-fold glazed doors.
We are also able to accommodate bespoke and custom requests, so if you have a particular glazing idea in mind for your garden office, it’s worth contacting us and seeing what we can do!
All our glazing options are toughened as standard with Pilkingtons ‘K’ Glass with warm edge spacers. Laminated glass for extra security or sound deadening is also a bespoke option.
Think about the position of your garden office
You want to make sure that your garden office is going to be as comfortable as possible, so think carefully about where you’ll be locating it in your garden.
Locating your garden office so that its doors and windows face south, will maximise the amount of light and warmth it receives. This is perfect for keeping it comfortable on those cold autumn and winter days.
However, it can also result in your garden office becoming very warm on hot days in the summer. But, there are ways around this. Firstly, you can install a number of opening windows in the design, or you can choose to have air conditioning fitted in your garden office. This can help keep the air circulating on those humid summer days.
Likewise, you can choose a garden office which features an incorporated canopy. This will help to create shade within and around your office, so that you can have somewhere cooler to work.
Hang curtains to prevent screen glare
Since we’re talking about glazing and windows, let’s talk about curtains and blinds too.
It’s a good idea to fit a set of curtains or integral blinds in your garden office so that you’re able to reduce screen glare on those bright sunny days.
As our garden rooms here at Rubicon are already very well insulated, you can opt for a lightweight curtain that won’t be too heavy or dark. Alternatively, there is a huge range of styles and colours of integral window blinds which we would highly recommend you consider.
Alternatively, if you’d rather avoid curtains or window blinds in your garden office, then you can use a screen hood or anti-glare filter on your computer instead.
Think about other uses for your garden office
Is it only one person who will be working in your garden office? It’s worth giving some thought to what other purposes you may want to use your garden office for.
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For example, if you want some extra storage space for your home, a garden office like our Combi Style model will be ideal, as it features both a dedicated office space and a separate storage unit with its own internal or external door.
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Alternatively, you could choose one of our Portico Style models which features a covered area to provide shelter for something like a hot tub or barbeque. What better than finishing work for the day and relaxing in a hot tub!?
As we say, because our garden offices are so well built and designed, they don’t have to function merely as offices. Let your imagination run wild and think about what else you can do with a dedicated room in your garden.
Think about security
If you’re going to be working from your garden office, the chances are you’ll have some computer equipment in there.
Even if it’s just a laptop and a printer, you should make sure that you select a garden office which can be easily secured against potential intruders.
Here at Rubicon our garden offices are just that - easy to secure. We feature proper locks on our garden room doors to ensure they are safe and able to withstand potential intruders.
We would also advise investing in a good quality outdoor security camera such as Ring monitoring systems, as this will help you keep an eye on your wider property too, and as mentioned earlier, laminated glass is very secure as it cannot be smashed even with a sledgehammer!
Decide on the internal layout
Do you want your garden office to consist of a single room from which you can work? Or do you want to subdivide your garden office into multiple rooms?
This can be handy if you’re intending to use your garden office for other purposes. For example, maybe you’d like a room where you can work, and a room where your kids can study?
Here at Rubicon we are able to supply our garden offices with high-quality internal partition walls and doors.
And, when we say quality, we mean it! Our internal doors are made from solid white or oak faced wood, whilst our internal walls are properly skimmed and ready to be painted.
Decide on the interior decor
It’s likely you’re going to be spending many hours each day sitting within the four walls of your garden office, so you’re going to want to give some thought as to its interior decor.
At Rubicon we can supply our garden offices with properly skimmed internal walls, so it’s easy to paint the inside of your garden office the colour of your choice.
Aside from the colour scheme, it’s also worth giving some thought as to what types of furniture you’ll want to put in your garden office.
For example, have you got a trusty old desk that you’ve been using for years? In that case, will it fit?
Maybe you want to add a chill out corner with some bean bags. If so, what sort of floor covering or carpet will you need to add?
Discussions about interior decor can go on forever, so we’ll leave it at that. We’re sure you get the point! There’s literally endless things you can do to make the interior of your garden office a comfortable, pleasant place to work…
Add a path
You don’t want to be traipsing grass and soil into your nice new garden office, so think about adding a path leading up to it.
Think about what sort of path will suit your home and garden best. Maybe you want a natural, woodland-like feel. In which case, go for gravel.
Or maybe you want a more formal pathway? Then choose paving stones or slabs.
You should also give some thought to the area immediately around your garden office. It can be worth including a path that circles around your garden office so that you can easily access all sides of your office.
Use planting to integrate your garden office into your garden
Whilst you’re adding a path up to your garden office, it’s a good idea to think about planting at the same time.
The careful, considered use of borders, trees and flowerbeds can really help your garden office blend into your garden and look like it’s always been there, rather than a recent addition.
Plus, the addition of some flowerbeds, trees and shrubbery will give you something nice to look at for those times when you’re searching for inspiration…
Build for two or more people
With more and more employers adopting working from home and hybrid working practices, it’s possible that you and your partner will be using your new garden office at the same time.
Whilst you might think it’ll be okay for both of you to be working in a single small garden office, in between video calls, telephone calls and meetings, you’ll quickly realise that you need more space than you initially thought.
So give some serious consideration to how much space you’ll need. If in doubt, we’d say it’s better to err on the side of caution and build a larger garden office.
Plus, if you do both spend a lot of time on video calls during working hours, think about creating separate rooms within your garden office using our partition walls and doors. That way you can each have a dedicated space to work in peace.
Connecting to utilities
Unless you prefer to work on a typewriter and use snail mail, it’s almost certain you’re going to want your garden office connected to your electricity supply.
Here at Rubicon we are certainly able to do that.
But, give some thought about the location of your garden room, as connecting your garden office to your electricity supply will sometimes involve digging a trench and laying an insulated cable beneath your garden.
The further away your garden office is from your mains electricity connection, the more work will be involved in laying this connection cable.
Should you want to be able to spend all day in your garden office without interruption, then you may also want to install a toilet.
Whilst this is entirely possible, you’ll need to decide whether you want to connect it to your drainage, or if you’d be happy with an eco-loo which will compost your waste. Another alternative is to use a cassette toilet (similar to the type found in modern caravans).
Connect to the internet
No modern garden office is complete without an internet connection.
In terms of connecting your garden office to the internet, you have two options:
> A hard-wired Ethernet connection.
Here at Rubicon we would recommend using a hard-wired Ethernet connection as this provides a much more reliable, consistent internet connection.
Connecting your garden office via an Ethernet connection simply involves laying an armoured category 6a Ethernet cable from the garden office through to your home where it can be connected to your router.
We are typically able to do this at the same time that we are laying an electricity cable to your garden office, so it in effect kills two birds with one stone.
Alternatively, you can use a WiFi connection.
This can be as simple as installing a new telephone cable via BT and fitting a new WiFi router in your garden office directly. However, if you want to use the router which is in your home you may want to explore other options such as powerline adaptors, WiFi extenders or even point-to-point connectors.
As we mentioned earlier, an Ethernet connection is far superior, but if you do want to stick with WiFi, you can find more information here.
Build the garden office of your dreams with Rubicon
Follow the tips outlined above and you’ll end up with the perfect, modern garden office.
If this article has inspired you to build a garden office of your own, then speak to Rubicon today. Since 2006 we’ve been designing and building award-winning garden offices that are considered the best in the UK.
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For more garden room information, inspiration and advice, read the Rubicon blog…