If like me, you work from home a great deal, maybe you have your own business, you are an entrepreneur, or maybe work flexibly from the company you work for.
Then working at home for those with younger children, or a lack of space for a study can be a challenge.
This article and videos are just about that….and this How to build and create your very own office in the garden for as cheap as possible.
Where do you work?
I work wherever I can. Sometimes a tray on my lap in the lounge has been great.
When the kids are at school it’s great, you can work from the kitchen table and in the peace and quiet, you get all sorts of great inspiring work done.
But when the little darlings come home at 3.30 and come rushing through the door to greet you, and you talk about their days and there are kisses and hugs and then playing kids everywhere.
Working at home can be a right old challenge.
I never want to be one of those boring dads telling their kids to be quiet and shushing them because “Daddy is working”.
Work then becomes something they hate because it means they can’t play, speak or make a noise. Kids need to let off steam when they come home from school.
Include a wet day cold winter and they cannot get outside, but you still have 3 hours left of work, causes you immense stress and friction in the home.
So, what do you do?
Well if you have a large enough bedroom or a separate lounge you can put a desk in then great.
If you can concentrate and have enough space to work well and spread out, go for it, you are all set.
I didn’t really have that, a lot of our homes these days are open plan. Kids run around from area to area, and again why do you want to squish that spirit?
And with me having a poorer attention span, I needed a space to work.
Somewhere I can go to in the morning, nip back at lunch, or comfort breaks, lock the door in the evening and ‘come home’ from work.
I don’t always want to be working where I relax, I like to keep it separate.
I needed a separate space to work, somewhere I could stick things on the walls, a notice board, books, a larger VDU and maybe a stand-up workspace.
I wanted a lot. And what was the budget?
About £1,000. Sounds a lot but really, but it isn’t when you start looking around. You could do it for less if you had something in place, keep reading and you might get some ideas.
What could I do for that much money?
Building an extension like a loft conversation or a room on the side of the home will cost around £25-40 thousand. That seemed;
a. a lot of money and for one room a bit bonkers, and
b. I didn’t have that much spare cash.
c. I needed a space quite quickly because I was going slightly bonkers.
So, what could I do?
I wanted ease of space, somewhere I can go to in my trackie bottoms and not shave and well, just work.
I can get up, have a cup of tea, quick wash and carry on. work into the night and not disturb others.
Yep sometimes I work my best 12 o’clock at night or 5 am in the morning when the calling comes and you get inspired… you’ve got to go for it.
I am not a 9 to 5 man.
I don’t know if you’ve ever watched George Clark’s Amazing small spaces on Channel 4? A very inspiring programme of people doing amazing things with very small spaces; Old caravans, little huts, sheds, large tin storage spaces.
As a man I am genetically programmed to love sheds, it appears.
I don’t know why, do all men love sheds?
I’ve tried fighting against it, but it is no good, I love sheds.
There I’ve said it.
I like storing things like DiY tools in it, I exercise in my shed, I’d have a TV and chair in there if I could. Hell, darn it…. I’d live there given half the chance.
So, I took what inspired me and that was the start.
Behind our larger shed, there was a large water butt and some space between the old shed and the greenhouse.
I felt a tingling of inspiration, I could put an office structure there.
A pod, like Kirsty Alsop, is always talking about.
So, I had a spare space. A spacey space, where I could stick a structure.
We moved the water butt and heh presto a space for opportunity.
Now for the challenge;
What could I put there for the least amount of money
and work outside most comfortably?
Well if you have ever googled Office pods or work offices in the garden, you’ll know how much those things cost.
And my budget was not going to stretch to £6k, £8k, £20k.
So, I had little or no choice.
I had a limited space – about 6ft by 10 ft.
I had about £1k budget.
I had no building experiences or skills.
I had the need to find a working space for study, working and well let’s just say it was essential.
So, what do I do?
I had an idea.
I buy a shed.
(I am feeling the love already).
Then I’d employ a carpenter to do something inside of it, like cover it with insulation plasterboard so I could work in there.
I was a bit naive at first.
I soon discovered that to employ a carpenter to do the work would blow the budget.
I didn’t have a shed that I didn’t need in the garden, that I could convert.
We have no garage, so all the stuff had to go somewhere.
If you have a spare shed in the garden, you can use that.
So, I did some research and bought a shed from a local shed company (all in, fitting etc about £800) and then set about turning this into a modern, bespoke, cool and energy-efficient office in the garden and this is my story.
I have made 16 videos all detailing the journey and putting them out over the next few weeks, so if you want to follow that journey, feel inspired and maybe if you do your own, then you have someone to help you.
I have detailed a bit more of the work below and a link for the first video and the rest of the titles at the bottom of the article.
This video is part of the ‘Making your office in the garden or outside office series’.
In this video, I am showing you… How to build and create an amazing office in your garden for as cheap as possible.
There are links below for the other videos in the series.
Here are some links to materials I have used or recommend:
Chipboard loft panels for flooring: you can get these cheaply in B and Q.
Sheep’s wool insulation: they don’t do it on Amazon as far as I can see, but I got mine from B and Q, they’ve stopped doing it for some reason, have a look here, this looks like a good option, don’t forget you can split it in half so only need a few rolls: Link.
The Shed – I bought a good quality (6*10 foot) one for about £800.00 with 2 windows and lockable door. One of the windows opens. I bought it from my local Shed Company here in Devon UK. Support your local businesses where you can.
Thick black plastic waterproof ground membrane: Link.
Recycled plastic bottle insulation: Link.
Floor panels: Chipboard Loft panel Pack of 3, (L)1220mm (W)325mm (T)18mm from B and Q stores UK:
Insulating bubble wrap: Airtec 1050mm x 25m x 3.7mm Double Multi-Layer Bubble Film Insulation: Link.
Office heater: I used Homefront Prem Air 400 Watt Electric Panel Heater with Adjustable Thermostat but if I was buying it now this looks much better: Marko Electrical 400W Panel Heater Oil Filled Radiator Freestanding Home Electric Fire Thermostat: Link.
Plasterboard for walls 12.5mm multi-board: Link.
Flip Chart board: VIZ-PRO Light Melamine Tripod Whiteboard/Flipchart Easel, 90 x 60 cm: Link.
Swansea Office Magnetic Whiteboard: Large Dry Wipe Notice Boards with Pen Tray and 12 Magnets 90x60cm: Link.
Wi-Fi Extender: TP-Link TL-WA850RE N300 Universal Range Extender, Broadband/Wi-Fi Extender, Wi-Fi Booster/Hotspot: Link.
Internet access in garden office: TP-Link TL-PA4020PKIT 2-Port Passthrough Powerline Adapter Starter Kit, No Configuration Required, UK: Link.
Office Chair: SONGMICS Executive Office Chair, Durable and Stable, Height Adjustable, Ergonomic, Black: Link.
Window film: Concus-T Heat Control Static Cling Privacy window tint film, Black 35.43×78.74Inch, Insulating window film brilliant for keeping sun rays out in the summer and heat in, during Winter: Link.
This video is my ‘soul journey’ of not being just an office bunny, but a tool welding, wood sawing, gum chewing, builder type man. (manly grunt)
Building an office in my garden was borne out of necessity.
But it became an obsession and passion of a love of building something yourself.
Building something solid that goes beyond decorating a room or gardening.
I had a vision in my mind and then materialised it into being, which is what building an online business is for me anyway, so this was the first step.
I needed a space to work, away from the main house, we didn’t have a spare bedroom or a study, and I was fed up of being a boring dad and saying “Shhh” to the kids playing.
Kids should be able to play and make a noise, me studying or working, was not their problem.
So, I set about building an office in the garden.
I had a belief that I could do it but had never done it before.
But something stirred inside of me, an idea that I could do it. I was also inspired by George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, of people doing really cool things in their sheds.
I looked at garden office pods, but the price was way crazy and beyond.
So, I set a budget of about £1,000 and brought the build in for just under, that included the shed building, insulation, floorboards, office equipment and odds and bits like screws and wall panels.
So with a bit of help and inspiration from my kids (painting) and my Dad holding up the ceiling panels, I set about building an office garden.
I hope you enjoy the videos, they are there as a basic introduction to building an office in your garden.
I’m not an expert, just a 40ish-year-old dad, doing something a bit different and taking a leap of faith.
I use the office now at least 2-3 times a week. It stays dry in the rain, it is warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. Running it in terms of energy is so cheap, in the depths of winter, it stays warm after it has heated up because I insulated it so well.
The heating is only on for a few hours in the morning, and it comes on periodically throughout the day when the temperature drops below about 21 degrees Celsius. This is in the dead of winter when the temperature outside is minus 2.
Insulation is the key, my friend.
Invest in insulation. I did, and I have got it right.
I love the space, and I get frequent visits from the kids when they get home from school.
I feel I do amazing things in there (writing and stuff) and it is my Head Quarters of everything I do.
I love it.
There are a series of 16 videos about putting it all together, they are:
1. How to build and create an amazing office in your garden for as cheap as possible.
2. How to go about planning the inside of your office, for success.
3. How to work out the surface area and material costs for your office in the garden.
4. How to mega boost your Wi Fi signal in your home.
5. How to get internet access for your outside garden office part
6. How to get internet access for your outside garden office part 2.
7. How to insulate and make your outside garden ceiling.
8. How to cut plasterboard for the inside of your office.
9. How to get electricity in your garden office as easily and as cheap as possible.
10. How to lay carpet floor tiles and it look amazing, in your office in the garden.
11. How to heat your garden office as Eco-friendly and as cheap as possible.
12. How to insulate and plasterboard your outside office walls.
13. How to insulate your garden office as environmentally friendly as possible.
14. How to insulate your office in the garden floor.
15. How to insulate and effectively cover your garden office door.
16. How to make windows and walls look amazing in the inside of your office.
If you want to read more of my musings and articles have a look here on my blog on the Axe your 9 to 5 website.
Or if you want to see what education I am getting that is changing my life around and getting out of the 9 to 5 by building my own online business, there are 7 free videos that will blow your mind.
They will show you that there are alternatives out there that any person can achieve if they want to. Act here for the videos.
So, what do think about creating and designing your own office in the garden? Leave a comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Take back control.