One of the most notable things to happen during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is how many people suddenly found themselves needing to work from home. As you can appreciate, doing so has helped slow the spread of the disease.
Working from home is now a “thing” and will likely remain one even long after the COVID-19 pandemic is nothing but a distant memory. However, one problem with working from home is how you’re likely to get disturbed and distracted if you’ve got a family in tow.
One solution to that potential problem is by having a dedicated workspace that’s external to your home. The garden office presents the ideal option for working from home. If you’re planning to build one yourself, keep in mind these seven considerations:
1. Your Budget
Before you start building anything, the first thing you must do is put some thought into your budget. If you’re working to a tight budget, you won’t necessarily have the resources to build a large garden office or one made from premium materials.
You should also bear in mind that, as with any construction or DIY project at home, you’re likely to go over your budget. That’s because you might need extra materials or perhaps haven’t accounted for some other costs like consumables or fasteners.
2. Construction Materials
How will you be building your garden office? Wood is cheaper to work with than brick, so you’ll probably specify your garden office’s construction using various grades or types of wood.
You must also think about how you’re going to keep your garden office warm in winter and cool in summer. For example, 120mm insulation board is perfect for keeping in the warmth, and some windows can add much-needed ventilation during the summer months.
It also makes sense to use treated wood as it will last longer.
Let’s face it: you can’t just build your garden office on a pile of dirt or mud and hope for the best. You need to have a solid foundation for your exterior workspace, just like your house.
With that in mind, you need to consider how you’re building your foundation. For instance, a concrete base offers the best foundation for any external building. However, concrete slabs can be a cost-effective alternative – especially for small garden offices. There are lots of companies who are on hand to help with any kind of foundation repair in Cedar Rapids, IA should you run into any problems.
You should also take steps to prevent weeds, plants and grass from growing through your foundation if you’re not using a solid concrete base.
If you plan on using anything powered by electricity like a computer or landline telephone, you will need electricity. How you get that electricity will depend on your power requirements and how much you’re willing to invest.
One of the most common options is to have a power connection to your home’s consumer unit and have a separate consumer unit in your garden office for safety purposes. If you’d prefer not to use your home’s electricity, there’s also solar power as an option.
5. Planning Permission
Most external buildings in a garden like sheds don’t need planning permission. However, there are some rules you need to consider before you go constructing a large or tall garden office.
For example, permitted development rights dictate that your garden office shouldn’t take up a certain percentage of your garden, nor should they exceed a specific height. Make sure you conduct your due diligence before constructing your garden office.
You will also need to check you can legally build something in your garden. For instance, if you rent your house, you’ll need permission from your landlord to build a garden office.
You’re probably going to have some expensive office equipment and furniture in your garden office, such as computers, printers, perhaps even a portable air conditioner for the summer months.
You may also have confidential data stored on computer hard drives or in paper files and boxes in your garden office. With that in mind, you must keep your exterior workspace as secure as reasonably possible.
You can take steps like installing locks that cannot get unscrewed from the outside, security cameras, and motion-activated exterior lights. You may even decide a burglar alarm is also an excellent way to keep your garden office secure.
Last but not least, you must consider the accessibility of your garden office.
Can you quickly get to it from your house? Are there likely to be any obstructions to the entrance, like gardening equipment and tools? Plus, is accessibility still possible during heavy rain where your garden could turn into mud?