As workspaces go, a garden office has to be one of the most coveted. It provides the space you need to work with the benefits of being at home, while also giving you that small amount of separation that allows you to close the door and walk away from work at the end of the day.
For Andrew Christopher, owner of Mitre Oak, he wanted to give people their own work sanctuary that combines the practicality of a versatile garden office with the beauty and tactile nature of an oak-framed building. He shares his garden office ideas and tips for designing and building your own.
Andrew makes sure to invest time with each customer to find out what they want and to give them garden office ideas with a solution will work for them. The Mitre Oak team can then be involved as little or as much as you like. While the garden office kits are designed for self-assembly, they also offer a complete turn-key solution where they organise everything from the planning and groundworks through to the build and electrics.
They also offer a free planning service for all their customers as part of their commitment to your build. “All of the kits fall within permitted development,” says Andrew but he says it is always worth doing the checks. “Planning is dependent on the structure you choose and where you live. We do all the searches. I will look at local maps and conservation maps so we know where we’re starting from.”
The beauty of the offices being handmade is that you can customise the designs to create your own bespoke version of each kit. Each design floor-to-ceiling glazing which regulates the temperature year-round. “Oak itself is a good natural insulator and we use a larch cladding, which is very durable and weathers to a beautiful silver-grey,” says Andrew.
Their kits range from the smallest, The Snell, at just under 10sqm, large enough for your standard home office equipment, through to The Elgar at 21sqm for a more substantial office space.
Garden office ideas: Five considerations
From his experience in helping customers design and build their garden offices from scratch, below he shares five key considerations for when you’re buying a garden office:
Quality & Security:
If want to buy a DIY kit, look at the quality of the materials you’ll get. You want a structure which offers strength, durability, and security. If it is weaker, it is easier to break into and security needs to be of paramount concern when you’re working from home. Each Mitre Oak build has insurance-approved locks on the doors to give you extra peace of mind.
Glazing is critical. Look at climate-control glass so that you get use of the building 360 days of the year, not just when the sun is at the right place during the right season. The wrong type of glass can mean you lose and waste a lot of heat and energy through the doors and windows; it can also mean sweltering on a hot day with a ‘greenhouse’ effect. Mitre Oak recommend using argon-filled glass to help you regulate the temperature year-round.
When considering where to position your garden office, you don’t just want to consider the view from the window.
Find out how the sun tracks across garden. Ask yourself what are your working habits and where will sun be at different times of day. You need to think about getting adequate natural daylight throughout the day and consider how your own work patterns will affect whether you need bright or softer light at particular times. This will help determine where you build your office.
Although a trip down the garden to the office may not be long, you need your garden commute to be safe. Ensure the access to the building is well-lit for darker mornings and toilet breaks. Consider motion-controlled lighting that automatically comes on when you leave, and think about your route to and from the house. You may need to look at installing a pathway or even transplanting certain shrubs or bushes.
Internally, lighting is very important too. Mitre Oak can help you install electrics in your garden office, or you can organise it yourself. Think about where you will have your desk so you can decide where best to position your lighting and sockets.