Working from home certainly has its perks but, as many of us now realise, there are plenty of drawbacks too. Trying to work in the chaos of a family home – or even just trying to be productive in the same space you relax, eat, live and sleep, can be… a challenge. To say the least. Having a separate, dedicated workspace really can do wonders for your motivation, headspace and productivity so, in case you don’t happen to have a spare room in your home to turn into a private office, here are some simple garden office ideas to help you out.
Fully powered, or off-grid?
When you install your garden office cabin, you’ll have to decide whether you want to run electricity to it or not. Personally, I think it’s a good idea to have a plug or two just in case – maybe to power a lamp on a dark day, or to save you trekking back to the house to charge your devices (particularly if it’s raining).
Maybe you have a job that doesn’t require you to be constantly connected to the internet, so having an “analogue” working zone might be the perfect thing to help you concentrate. Leave your phone in the house, and head outside for some quiet focus.
Even if you have a power cable for a lamp or space heater, it can be nice to work in a space where a lack of chargers naturally limits the amount of time you can spend on an electronic device. Of course, it depends on your work requirements and how good you are at staying on-task!
Disconnecting doesn’t work for everyone, and it might be more practical to completely relocate your home workspace outside, desktop and all. The folding doors are a great way to enjoy warm weather and still have a great view of the garden on gloomier days.
Thinking small – compact garden office ideas
If you’re not blessed with a lot of garden space, don’t worry. There are lots of garden office ideas that can work without much room.
This garden office has a fairly generous footprint, but the colour scheme stops it from being an overwhelming feature in the garden. The pale sage colour bounces light back into the garden, and makes the cabin feel like a continuation of the patio stones and colouration on the brickwork. Subtle, but effective.
Here’s another no-fuss garden cabin, with a fresh, modern design (I’m a big fan of green roofs). This cosy studio would be just big enough for a comfortable desk, plus maybe an armchair and shelf. Love it.
One more compact office design, this time off to the side of the garden, rather than at the back. If you really just need a quiet space to get some work done, don’t overthink it!
Expanding out: large garden office ideas
If you’ve got the room to spare, a larger garden office space can be a useful, multi-purpose space. Especially if you live in a busy household, taking shifts so that different people can use your garden cabin at different times of day gives everyone a bit more breathing room.
For example, this incredibly cool garden room, which looks like it’s got a seating area, drum kit and – if you check out the original post – a set of bunk beds. A larger cabin means you could have your desk or work area set up at one end, with someone else’s hobby gear at the other, in a kind of man-cave/she-shed setup. At the end of the working day, you can swap spaces – meaning there’s less mess or noise in the house.
This garden cabin is a beautiful escape from the main house, with both a practical work desk and a cosy couch. Sometimes it’s fun to sit differently while you work, right? Plus, having somewhere to take a coffee break (maybe even with company) is a nice little luxury!
Here’s another garden office with no expense spared – it’s more like a mini leisure complex! I’m not sure I could get any work done knowing there was a tiny putting green and hot tub section just a few feet from my desk – but maybe it’s the perfect setup for someone who needs to let off some steam during the working day! The rest of the original post has a lot more angles to appreciate the design.
Privacy vs. connection
A garden office is a great way to work closer to your home retaining some privacy and distance from your normal surroundings during the day. It’s up to you how close or shut-off you want to feel – these next few garden office ideas will give you a better idea of what I mean.
Let’s start at one end of the scale: a garden office with an entire side made of glass. Great for looking out over your garden and helping anyone in the main house who might be looking for you! It’s a very cool little cabin, although I think I would feel a bit like I was working in a fishbowl!
Here’s an example of how you can have the best of both worlds. It’s not clear how close this garden office is to the main home, but the huge windows (or maybe bi-fold doors?) mean that you could look out over the garden from inside, but draw the blinds when you need privacy or concentration. The blinds are also a great security measure for when you’re not inside. Just remember that, if you think you might need a higher degree of privacy, you’ll still need light. The skylights here are perfect – and I love the green roof.
Blending in or standing out?
Given the size of the average British garden, it’s safe to say that your new cabin could start pulling focus. Are you okay with this, or would you prefer your garden office to be a little less noticeable?
Here’s a gorgeous example of a fairly large cabin that’s doing a good job of blending in. Having the seating area in front draws some of the attention forward, but matching the blue of the chair, doors and planter still ties everything together without resorting to “hiding” anything. The little porch over the doorway is another cute idea, and creates the perfect platform for the tumbling clematis plant.
Another example, this time with the shed being somewhat camouflaged by being the same colour as the fence. There are some great design choices here, with the sweeping path connecting the cabin with the home (presumably), and the round shrubs echoing the green circle of the lawn.
Extending the front of your garden office out with a deck or patio is a great way to make it feel more like a part of your outdoor space. It’s especially useful if you want your cabin to be a somewhat social space – if you prefer it to be an isolated work-zone, avoid a seating area right outside!
On the other hand, this modern garden cabin really stands out. The beautiful woodwork contrasts with the artificial lawn, and I love how the panels and wall on either side “point” towards the cabin (a strategy straight out of our post on how to create a garden focal point)! Coordinating the colours is another win, and I’m intrigued by the way the cabin looks like it’s set back beyond the boundary of the garden. I’m guessing it’s because the “fence” on the left is actually deeper than it looks – maybe bin storage accessible from the back.
This matte-black garden office is a work-in-progress (the owners have since added a hot pink door that looks AMAZING). However, the dark cladding on its own looks fantastic – perfect for making a bold statement in your garden.
Remember to make your garden office cosy and comfortable, whether that’s with some artwork, a squashy armchair, or a lush rug underfoot. There’s no need to go overboard – here are some cool garden office ideas for decorations.
I love this idea – using a window to frame a simple garden scene outside, creating a living piece of art. It’ll give you a new scene to admire everyday, without being as distracting as a view of the whole garden or house.
This little garden workspace is super cute – the mullioned windows are a simple way to add decoration, and the matching curtains are bright and breezy. The desk plant brings a hint of all the outside foliage inside and, if it’s possible to have a nice view of your home, why not go for it?
Who would have thought chipboard could look so stylish? This arty garden office looks like the perfect zone for a semi-creative, with practical storage and now qualms about using the entire wall as a mood board!
If you’re looking for something a little more intense, I think this garden office is stunning. The botanical wallpaper and light fixture wholeheartedly embrace the outdoor setting, and the green is bright and cheerful without being overwhelming. It’s such a great spot for sitting with a cup of coffee and your thoughts!
A few other things to think about…
- Invest in temperature-regulating features like insulation and double-glazing. They’ll help the warmth of a space heater go so much further in winter, and keep the worst of the heat out in summer.
- Talking of heat, think carefully about which direction your windows face, and how to manage airflow in summer months. South-facing windows will make things brighter year-round, but you might want an awning or roof overhang to provide shade when it’s really hot.
- Make security a priority, especially if you’re leaving expensive tech or confidential documents in your garden office overnight. Invest in proper locks and window coverings for when you’re not inside – we’ve got more garden security tips that might help!
- Most of these garden office ideas feature a path leading up to the door – definitely factor one into your design to help you keep your workspace clean. It’s nice to be in the garden, but the mud should stay outdoors!
- You’ll never regret having more space so, even though we’ve looked at some compact garden office ideas, try to build the biggest cabin you can. Long-term, this will give you more flexibility to use it as a co-working space, or turn it into a games room or home gym if your circumstances change in a few years.
- Check whether you need planning permission; keep your maximum height below 2.5m and you should be fine, but it never hurts to check. If you can build your cabin more that 2m away from any of your property boundary lines, then you can go up to 3m tall.
Building a garden office is a great way to achieve a better work-life balance. While a non-existent commute means you can enjoy spending more time at home and with your family, it can be tricky to stay focused with the hustle and bustle of your household around you. Hopefully these garden office ideas have shown you how to create a workspace that offers you the best of both worlds!