A Homeworker’s Guide to Successfully Choosing a Garden Office
Posted: November 25, 2020
Categories: Buying Guides
Work from Home in a Log Cabin Garden Office
Why are garden offices more popular now than ever before?
The rise of working from home
One of the many impacts of 2020’s COVID-19 virus is the mass movement to working from home. At first, many companies used this as a temporary solution during lockdown to adhere to social distancing and limit the spread of the virus through their businesses.
As local and second lockdowns began, however, working from home developed into a more permanent solution. A study by the Institute of Directors, in September of 2020, revealed that 74% of directors intended to include employees working from home as a permanent part of their organisations. A work life that blends time in the office with time at home is clearly going to become a more common situation.
Entrepreneurship is also on the rise. Startups.co.uk data shows that the number of new businesses being founded in April 2020 had jumped 60% compared to April 2019. Many of these entrepreneurs will be working from home.
Working from home is here to stay.
The need for dedicated work space
Working from home requires space but most homes do not have a dedicated office. Employees suddenly working from home during lockdown found themselves taking over the spare-room (often full of boxes and drying laundry); spread out over the dining room table relegating meals to being eaten on laps; or sharing the kitchen table with dirty dishes and children’s homework.
Then there are the distractions of that pile of washing that needs doing, the toddler returning from pre-school and the postman dropping off parcels. What you need is a dedicated workspace away from your busy household. What you need is a log cabin garden office.
What does a log cabin have to offer as a home office?
A log cabin garden office is a short walk from the back door. Even if you rent office space or use one of the communal hot desk offices, you lose time commuting, packing up your resources and queuing for lunch or coffee.
A home office in the garden will save money on rent, petrol, parking, vehicle upkeep and overpriced drinks.
Work life balance
With a garden office, you can still “head to the office” the same as if you were heading into town. From the time you step into the office, your time becomes dedicated to working without the distractions of home life.
Without the busy commute to or from work, you’ll have more time for family or for relaxation.
For those who have their office in the house, it can be hard to switch off. It is vital for mental health to separate work from other activities. A log cabin garden office will help you give yourself permission to walk away from work and lock the office door behind you.
A positive environment
The natural warmth and gorgeous appearance of timber makes a garden office a pleasure to work in. With ample glazing, log cabins provide beautiful views out to the garden. At lunch time, swing the door open wide and sit outside to enjoy your break in your favourite surroundings.
Bare office walls, small windows and noisy offices just can’t compare to a garden room.
How to Choose a Garden Office
A garden office is a sizeable investment. Here we guide you through the key features you need to consider when choosing your ideal log cabin.
Most log cabins are measured in metres. You will need to carefully assess your garden for available space, making sure to leave a metre around the log cabin for maintenance and the opening of doors and windows.
Do not guess. Also, read the specification closely for details of exact measurements and whether these include overhanging roofs and are internal or exterior measurements.
The cladding is the thickness of the logs or tongue and groove boards used to build the cabin. This main measurement given (such as 28mm, 40mm or 70mm) will refer to the wall cladding. Roofs and floors will have their own measurements.
Quite simply, the thicker the cladding, the better insulated the garden room will be. For the most comfortable year-round use, we recommend 44mm cladding as a minimum.
Consider how much glazing you want and whether you would like bifold doors. You will also want to take note if any windows are opening as this will allow you to control the temperature on warmer days.
There are three main roof designs: apex, reverse apex and pent. An apex roof is the most traditional. Reverse apex features the door on the non-gable end for more wall space. A pent roof is considered more modern due to its sleek lines.
The roof will require a roof covering. This is usually felt or EDPM. Felt comes in differing qualities. Standard felt will last up to 5 years. Polyester-backed felt is stronger and will last between 10-20 years depending on weight.
EDPM is a thick membrane that is glued to the roof for an impressively strong covering that is guaranteed for 20 years but most usually lasts decades longer. There are also other premium options on some models such as cedar wood, slatted timber or shingle.
Multi-room Log Cabins
Some log cabins will have interior dividing walls allowing for rooms to be used for different purposes. As a home office, this can be useful as a meeting room or file room.
To make the log cabin a family investment, one of the rooms can be used as a games room, media room or simply for more living space.
Adding Power, Light and Heat to Your Garden Office
For charging devices, running a kettle and providing light, you will need power in your garden office. Though insulated, a log cabin will need heating just like your home does.
There are two ways to add power to your log cabin: mains operated electricity or solar power.
Mains power will need to be added by a qualified electrician. Usually, an armoured cable will be run through your garden to the cabin. This will then provide power for heating and light.
A cheaper, easier and more eco-friendly option is to add solar power.
Once you’ve bought this solar hub, your garden office will be powered by free, eco-friendly electricity, completely independent of the National Grid and immune to electricity companies’ price hikes.
The solar kit features a super-size solar panel, solar power station and battery storage, so there’s no need to consult the weather forecast when planning your day.
Plug and play technology makes for an easy DIY installation, with no specialist skills required.
If you have mains power, you can simply plug in your desired lighting.
If you have solar power, you can add a lighting kit.
The Solartech Premium Garden Building Solar Lighting Kit 8 is suitable for buildings up to 4m x 4m. These garden lights are the simplest, safest, most attractive way to light a log cabin’s interior.
The set consists of a 10w solar panel, 10Ah battery hub, 2 floor lamps, 1 table lamp, 3 vintage bulbs, fixings and cables. As well as powering the lights, the battery hub can also be used to charge USB devices and run 12v appliances.
Other than replacing the light bulbs occasionally, there are no other running costs.
We have a whole range of solar lighting options from strip lighting to pendant lighting to suit various sized outdoor buildings.
Again, if you have added mains power, you can plug in the heater of your choice.
If you have added a solar power station, you can plug in a 12v or 3pin heater depending on your power station.
Featuring a striking modern design, this gas cabinet heater is a stylish way to keep warm throughout the winter months. What’s more, with 3 heat settings and a maximum output of 4.2kW, it’ll prove far more effective than that tired, old heating system back at head office. This CE-approved gas heater comes with steel housing, a number of impressive safety features and 4 castors for easy manoeuvrability.
Never leave a heater unattended or in an unventilated area.
Installing the Log Cabin Garden Office
A quick note about planning permission. For planning purposes, a log cabin is considered an ‘outbuilding’ and, in most cases, does not require planning permission.
It should be less then 3 metres high for a pent roof; less than 4 metres high for an apex roof; and no more than 2.5 metres high if within 2 metres of the main building. The log cabin should also not be forward of a wall forming the front of the principal elevation or result in half of the garden being covered.
Homes in conservation areas, within national parks, listed buildings or those with covenants may have other restrictions. We strongly recommend that you check with your local planning office before purchasing a log cabin.
When choosing the location, bear in mind the movement of the sun in the garden. This will impact if your cabin is in sun or shade throughout the day.
Remember to leave space around the cabin for maintenance and the opening of doors and windows.
A proper base surface
A log cabin must be constructed on a flat, hard surface. This can be poured concrete, concrete slabs or you can use a plastic base. We supply ProBASEs - eco-friendly base kits which simply click together. They come with a membrane and can be filled with pea gravel to support larger garden buildings. All bases will require suitable ground levelling beforehand.
The product page for each log cabin will list a delivery lead time. This is the time frame in which the garden office will become available – for example, 3-4 weeks. During that lead time, the manufacturer will contact you to arrange a delivery date.
Most of the cabins include delivery in their price. However, there are delivery surcharges for more remote postcodes. There is a postcode checker on each product page so you can check if delivery is available to your area and if any surcharges apply.
A professional, expert installation service is available from some of our manufacturers. If this is available, it will be shown as a purchasable extra on the product page.
For some brands and remote postcodes, installation may not be available. In these cases, we recommend using a trusted tradesperson listed by Checkatrade.
The vast majority of log cabins are supplied untreated. They should be coated with an exterior wood preservative upon assembly. This should then be reapplied annually to maintain the integrity of the building and validate any guarantees.
Some of Our Favourite Garden Offices for Sale
We’ve chosen 3 of our favourite garden offices:
Forest Xtend 2.5 Insulated Garden Office 2.54m x 2.9m (97mm)
This industry-leading garden office is completely constructed from state-of-the-art modular structural insulated panels (SIPs) to create a fully-insulated garden room, suitable for use the whole year round. The walls are an incredible 97mm thick.
SIPs don’t just offer the ultimate in insulation, they are energy efficient and exceptionally robust too, which is why many new homes are built this way. In fact, this garden office has an energy efficiency rating of 78 (category C).
The double-glazed door is fitted with a 7-point lock to keep expensive office equipment safe, while the 2 full-length double-glazed windows ensure the interior benefits from plenty of natural light.
Other notable features include an EPDM weatherproof roof covering, with a 50-year life expectancy, and a 15-year structural guarantee.
This outstanding garden office is available in a range of other sizes too.
Forest 5m x 4m Mendip Log Cabin Garden Office (45mm)
With glazed double doors and 3 large opening windows, this log cabin is incredibly light and airy in summer, but 45mm-thick walls and double-glazing combat the cold for the rest of the year.
A 19mm tongue and groove floor and roof ensure the office is weathertight. The contemporary pent design combined with the traditional chalet joins make this log cabin ideal for any garden.
For more information take a look here: The Forest Mendip.
Palmako 5.4m x 5.4m Helena Log Cabin Garden Office (70mm)
The interlocking log walls are 70mm-thick, while the floor and roof are, once again, made from premium 19mm tongue and groove.
The partially-glazed double doors feature stainless steel sills and a cylinder door lock. Plus, the doors and the tilt-and-turn windows all have rubber seals and are double glazed. The 24.6m2 of interior space is complemented by the large roof overhang, perfect for sitting under during your lunch break.
This log cabin has it all.
For more information take a look here: The Palmako Helena.
To view our full range of garden offices, take a look here: Garden Offices at Shedstore
As always, our UK-based customer service team are ready to help you choose the best log cabin for your garden office. Call 0333 003 0518 or get in touch via Live Chat.