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By Amy Hanlon on 25 Jun 2023

Can You Use A Shed As A Garden Office?

Garden offices are big news right now. As you realise just how infuriating it can be to work from home, and since the pandemic gave us all a new appreciation for our gardens, you might be seeing your shed in an entirely new light.

It’s not just a shed anymore. It’s your peaceful, secluded garden office!

But can you use a garden shed as a home office?

I’m often amazed by the wonderful variety of things that people get up to in their sheds. Since sheds are obviously fine for hobbies, surely they’re just as suitable for work?

Maybes yes, maybes no.

Here are the factors you need to consider:

  • Comfort
  • Affordability
  • Security

So, let’s look at whether you can repurpose that garden shed space into a cosy garden office room.

Is a garden shed a comfortable office?

The last thing I want to do is tell you how to live your ShedLife. If your heart is set on working in your shed, then, of course, you can work in your shed. 

However, in the UK we average around 37 working hours a week. That’s a long time if you’re cold, wet, or there’s a lawnmower at your elbow that falls over every time you answer your phone. 

So here are some things you need to think about when it comes to working in your garden shed.

Will a garden shed office be too hot or too cold?

The first thing to think about is the temperature. Sheds are single-skinned buildings, meaning that there’s a single layer of timber cladding between you and the elements. When it’s cold outside, your shed will be cold, and when it’s warm outside, your shed will be sweltering.

The best way to counteract this is to line and insulate your shed. You can do this by yourself if you have the skills, or you can hire a joiner to do it for you. 

Line and insulate a shed when it’s installed, or do it at a later date. You can’t add floor insulation once the shed is standing without taking the entire building down, so speak to your installers if you want this option.

Insulation and lining help keep the air inside the shed at a stable temperature. If the air is warm, it stays warm for longer, and if the air is cool, it stays cooler for longer. This helps to save on heating and cooling bills.

Will a garden shed office stay dry?

Moisture affects timber buildings. There are lots of things you can do to minimise water ingress in a single-skinned building, including lining and insulation, but if you’re looking for a 100% watertight structure, it needs layered walls.

We built our Blackstone Garden Rooms on this principle – there are five layers of material between you and the outside world. This is why Garden Rooms are more water-tight than single-skinned buildings, and also why they’re more expensive.

If your shed has top-quality specifications and you follow the aftercare instructions provided, you can minimise water ingress. However, in a single-skinned building, you cannot absolutely guarantee that water won’t get in.

Can a garden shed office have electricity?

We see a lot of souped-up sheds, and adding power is one of the most common ways to turn your shed from a place where you keep the bikes to a dedicated space for a hobby or activity.

Unless your job is completely unplugged, you’ll most likely need an electricity supply to use a shed as a garden office.

Now I’m distracted trying to think of which jobs would work in a shed without any power. Blacksmith, maybe?

If you’re in Scotland, the very least you will need is lighting, especially if you work 9-5. In the winter we’re often going to work and coming home in the dark, and while a garden office knocks out the commute in the drear, you’ll still have to see whatever you’re working on. 

Which electrical appliances will I need to work from a shed?

Given that most sheds have only one or two windows, you may also need electric lights during the day. If you’re looking for more natural light, consider a summerhouse rather than a shed. Designed for recreational use and with more windows, they’re otherwise constructed in much the same way as a shed. Summerhouses are less expensive than Garden Rooms.

Even in a lined and insulated shed, heating is a must, and you might even get lucky enough to have to use a fan in the summer. 

Unless you’re a blacksmith, you’ll likely need somewhere to plug in any equipment you need for working, and a WiFi connection is a good idea, depending on the distance from your house to your shed. 

It is ESSENTIAL that you find an electrician to install an electrical supply to your shed. Improperly-fitted wiring and plugs are a fire hazard, which is no joke in a timber building. Depending on how far from your house your shed is, this will cost around £800-£1000.

A photo of a desk in a shed. There are three yellow stacking trays on the desk with various papers inside. There is a black tape dispenser on the desk and a grey rug on the floor. A timber wall is visible behind the dark brown desk.

Is a garden shed big enough to use as an office?

Something else to consider is how much space you will need. If you already have a garden shed, and it’s currently the place where you store your tools and garden furniture, you’ll need alternative storage for those things.

Otherwise working from your shed will feel very similar to working from home – not enough space, and tons of distractions.

No one wants to have to climb over a patio heater and some wellies to get to their desk.

Of course, you can get your shed in all sorts of sizes – so it will depend on whether you are converting an existing one or building a purpose-built shed for your garden office.

What furniture do I need for a garden shed office?

Kitting out your shed with power and heat is all very well, but don’t forget that you’ll also need furniture for your garden office.

While this will vary depending on the work that you do and on your tastes and preferences, you’ll probably need a desk and chair at the very least.

Is a shed secure enough to use as an office?

If you’re storing valuable work equipment in your office shed, the building needs to be secure. For home insurance coverage, your shed should also have a sturdy door with a five-pin lock, like our mortise and tenon upgraded doors. 

While it’s impossible to make sure that a shed is 100% secure, these features will certainly deter thieves. 

Can I afford a garden shed office?

The downside to setting up your shed office is that none of these features are free. 

The cost of hiring an electrician will depend on your area, and on how many fixtures you need. Insulating and lining a shed with timber costs around 70-80% of the cost of the building, or you can buy the materials needed and get your DIY on.

If you already own a garden shed, making it a usable office will still involve spending. If you’re starting from scratch you’ll have to buy the shed, base, and paint as well as the other associated costs.

Generally speaking, sheds cost less than summerhouses, which can also be used as home offices. Summerhouses cost less than Garden Rooms because these are essentially an extension of your home. You can use a Garden Room all year round and this type of building provides the most comfortable environment. 

But if you’re on a tighter budget, a well-equipped shed office is entirely possible.

Is A Timber Shed Suitable For A Home Office?

Realistically, working from a timber shed is likely to be a seasonal or temporary situation. Wrapping yourself up in blankets or slowly cooking for 37 hours a week really isn’t ideal.

If your budget allows, the best long-term garden office option is a Garden Room. 

But if you’re happy to put up with some frozen winter mornings while your heater kicks in, a shed office is certainly an option.

Be aware that even with lining and insulation, power and heating, you can only find so much comfort in a single-skinned timber building. You’ll still find it difficult to regulate the temperature, and ventilation options only go as far as opening the windows. But if you’re aware of these factors and happy to work around them, have at it. 

We don’t have an office shed in our Show Area at the moment, but we have had an office summerhouse. It had lining and insulation, an infrared heater, and a gorgeous view of a flowering rhododendron

But you can see how our Sheds compare to our Garden Room to explore all your home-working options. Be warned though – once you see it you might not settle for a shed!

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