Some of us would live in our gardens if we could. To be surrounded by the lush beauty of nature and growing things, the soothing sounds of the wind rustling leaves, the buzzing of bees and the sweet trill of the birds is the ultimate in luxury - but it's impractical for most of us. What's not impractical, though, is using a garden shed as a garden office to leave at least some of the stresses of every day work behind.
If you work from home, you know how important having your own space for an office is. It may mean taking over a spare bedroom for your desk and computer, or refinishing a basement room to take you out of the hustle and bustle of the family. Even if you live alone, being ‘in the office’ adds a psychological nudge that makes you feel like you're at ‘work’ rather than lounging around the house and subject to distraction. More and more, those who work at home are opting to outfit a garden shed and using it as a garden office.
So popular an option is using a shed as a garden office, that the BBC has reported on it in their online Magazine. According to correspondent Giles Wilson, using a shed as a garden office is a high-priced luxury conversion - but we have our doubts. For the average work-at-home business mom or pop, managing a web site, or selling out of their homes, high end items like 36 power outlets and a full security system aren't necessary. Instead, one could turn a shed into a garden office for far less money - and still enjoy all the benefits of using a shed as a garden office.
First, consider your needs. Do you already have a garden shed? In the house where I grew up, the garden shed was a magical little haven that exactly matched our house in color and style - a tiny little room just the right size to fit a desk and chair and a few office cabinets. For someone like me, a professional writer working at home, converting the garden shed to a garden office would be a simple matter of adding a few outlets - there's electricity there already - and insulating the walls for the winter.
Consider your needs before you start dreaming though. Will you need to run wiring from the house to the shed? Add in the cost of the electricians, then. If you're in an area with cold winters or hot summers, will you need insulation, heat and air conditioning? Remember, it's more than just your comfort you need consider. When you're using a shed as a garden office, you also need to consider the ‘comfort’ of your equipment. Most electrical equipment - computers and the like - are happiest if the temperature is kept at around 68 F. What about phones? Will you need a land line with multiple extensions - or will your cell phone do just fine? For that matter - with a good wireless connection, can you make do with a laptop and docking station for your computing needs?
Using a shed as a garden office can be a wonderful option - and depending on your needs, it can be extremely affordable - or pure luxury. Think it through, make your plans, and then decide if it's worth it to have a beautiful, comfortable office that makes your workday a pleasure.
Garry John has contributed to many home improvement sites such as garden offices and sun rooms .