It’s easy to overlook the potential for space beyond the rear wall of your home, but when it comes to creating a home office, why not separate work and home life by installing a bespoke garden office?
Home & Decorating Magazine spoke to James Willmott, director and co-founder of Harrison James Contemporary Garden Rooms to get his views on what can be achieved:
With 14% of the UK’s workforce working from home, the demand for a dedicated workspace at home is increasing. Having a separate building enables the creation of a professional environment away from the normal day-to-day activities and distractions of the house, and studies show that this separation of home and work improves productivity and happiness.
Creating a modern and well thought out working area at home can improve efficiency and eliminates the stresses and expense of commuting, whilst creating a valuable and long-lasting addition to your property value.
The key to producing the perfect garden office and ensuring the space suits your requirements is to carefully think about your garden room’s features at the design stage. Key considerations include:
Selecting the right features
There are a number of features that can be installed into your garden room, from electricity and internet to plumbing. While it is not the most exciting part of the design process, it’s important to consider the placement of the utilities as they can impact on the positioning of desks and computers.
Spotlights are very popular and I’d always recommend considering LED lighting. Not only will this prevent your garden room from getting too hot but it will also give you enormous savings on your energy bills.
It is also worth considering under floor heating, partly so that you don’t have to take up wall space with radiators. Wall space is often limited in garden rooms, especially if you have multiple windows, therefore it is important to free up space to enable you to position furniture, such as desks, that often require placement against walls.
It’s these small touches, such as where to place sockets and the type of lighting and heating you will install, that will lead to creating a premium finish, the best possible layout and, overall, a productive and comfortable office.
A lot of the time, people focus on how they want the inside of their garden room to look and don’t consider how it will look from the outside. Although you’re designing a work space, your garden office will certainly not look like a traditional, dull office building and we encourage homeowners to really think about the external look and how it fits within their garden. The finished room is likely to be visible from the house and the last thing anyone wants to look at is a box that starkly contrasts with the rest of the garden!
Although not an essential for a garden office, bi-folding doors can help transition the space from garden to room and give the impression of a huge area.
By adding a decking area or patio in front of the garden room, it adds more usable space for the room and is the perfect place to enjoy your lunch break.
We also recommend landscaping and using plants to soften any straight lines in the design, this is especially good for blending the building into an established garden.
Use windows well
Most people like to install multiple windows in a garden room to create a light and airy space. The downside to this is, without careful planning, you can create a room that is too hot in the summer. To construct a space that can be used all year around, ensure you include a couple of opening windows so that you can create airflow.
It’s also important to think about the placement of windows and furniture to avoid glare on computer screens.
Create an adaptable area
Quality garden rooms are built to last; therefore we always recommend that you consider how they can be used in the long term and how their purpose may change over time as it could be reflected in the design. While your immediate need might be for a dedicated work environment, in a few years’ time it may be that you use the space as a guest bedroom, a home gym or as a place to entertain.
As garden rooms can add an average of £30,000 to property prices, it is also worth remembering that by creating a versatile space, the garden room will appeal to future owners and can help attract buyers when the time comes to sell.
Designing a room from scratch gives homeowners a blank canvas to introduce all of the features and finishes that they desire but may not be practical in a renovation or refit.
Many of our designs go through numerous iterations before being finalised, so it is worth spending time refining the final design to ensure you create a professional office that will enable you to work productively for many years to come.
Harrison James designs and builds bespoke premium garden rooms, creating exciting and innovative spaces to enhance lifestyles and improve the use and value of properties. Its comprehensive and personal service includes initial consultation and concept development through to design, construction and landscaping. Harrison James has show sites in Horsham, Sussex and Windsor, Berkshire.
For more information please visit www.contemporarygardenrooms.com
 Families and Households, Office of National Statistics, 5 November 2015
 FlexJobs’ 4th Annual Super Survey, August 2015