Ten essentials for building a garden office

Thinking about creating your perfect garden office but don’t know where to start? Here are our top-10 essentials to consider:

1. Planning permission

Most garden offices won’t need it as long as they’re not more than one storey high, with a maximum eaves height of 2.5m, overall height of 4m for a dual pitched roof, or 3m for any other roof. To find out more, visit gov.uk

2. Building regulations

If your new floor space will be less than 15m2, you shouldn’t need building regs approval, unless you’re planning to connect to mains utilities.

3. House insurance

Some providers include buildings cover for outbuildings and some cover items stored in them, but not all do (and some put limits on what’s covered), so it’s worth checking the details or giving your insurer a ring.

Tip: M&S Home Insurance not only covers your outbuildings, but also the contents inside. Find out more

4. Electrics

You’ll need electricity for lighting, IT equipment or boiling a kettle. Pre-built options tend to come pre-wired with sockets and lighting, but if you’re converting an old shed or summer house, you’ll need to think about requirements. The most straightforward way to get connected is to run a cable from your house to your new office, but speak to an electrician first.

5. Wifi

Buying a wifi booster is the simplest way of extending your home’s wifi to your outside space, although it’d probably need to be no more than 25m from your router. Or you could run an Ethernet cable alongside your mains power cable – then you’re connected directly to your router, no longer at the mercy of temperamental wifi!

6. Insulation

Want to use your new space all year round? You’ll need insulation to keep you warm and toasty: choose a structure that has insulation in the floor, walls and roof or add your own using materials such as Styrofoam or mineral wool.

7. Heating

Even an insulated office will need a little help. Basic options include electric heaters or portable oil-filled radiators. Alternatively, underfloor heating or air-conditioning units which heat in winter and cool in summer are popular.

8. Access

How will your office get to its new home? Is there direct garden access or will a crane be needed?

9. Will it add value to your home?

Possibly. It all depends on the quality and style. A converted garden shed, even with electricity and insulation, is unlikely to add value, but a solidly-built structure with electricity and running water certainly will.

10. Those all-important finishing touches

Your office should be a place you want to spend time in, so choose furniture and décor to create an inspiring, personalised space. Stuck for ideas? Find inspiration in the M&S Home department.

With a little forward planning and the right budget, you could be using your garden room for years to come… although it might’ve been repurposed as a teenage den, a hobby space or even a home gym by then!

Sold on the idea but need a little help financially?

A personal loan from M&S Bank might help turn your plans into reality.