Build a Garden Office: Work from Home in 2021

build a garden office like this tall studio room.

How to build a garden room” or “How to build a home office” are the two most frequently asked home improvement related questions right now because of the pandemic.

We will look at How to build a garden room that can be a brilliant home office space. We’ve got some great alternatives to traditional builds. We’ll also show you the costs involved.

Let’s get started by looking at the how much garden buildings cost.

How Much Does A Home Office or Garden Room Cost?

You could build a DIY garden room for as little as £5,000 to £6,000 or purchase a Garden room and have it installed by a specialist company for £10,000 to £20,000 again this would depend on the size of the Garden Room and the materials used to build it.

If you don’t have space in your home for an office, then building a garden room is a brilliant solution.

A garden building can cost as little or as much as you like. The results really depend on your budget and the materials used. There are also things such as planning permission and the foundation to take into consideration.

The least expensive method of building a garden office is to use your existing space. Rooms such as conservatories make great home offices, especially if they have a solid tiled conservatory roof. Older glass or polycarbonate conservatories are probably too hot or too cold to use depending on the season.

Simply shifting the layout of your home and investing in furniture suited to the space can allow you to create a home office. This might not be an ideal home office solution if you have a young family in the home. Noises and distractions are common reasons homeowners are choosing to build or buy garden offices.

The Self Build Garden Office

DIY Garden Room

Self Build Garden Buildings with Timber

Building a garden office from timber is a splendid solution because many people are familiar with working with wood. The building techniques are not quite as foreign as using metal or flat packs.

To begin, you should pick a plan from a designer or create your own design. Unless you are familiar with design, you should probably download some plans or buy a kit.

Not all Garden offices need to built from scratch of course, you could buy a flat pack kit and put it together yourself, these kits range in price from between £1,700 to £8,974 depending on your requirements.

Self-Builder Cost Breakdown Questions

A completely new Garden Office build with a patio base will be a far more expensive option compared to converting an existing building such as a large shed. 

When working out how much a Home Office is going to cost, you will need to consider the primary factors that will determine the final price:

  • What size home office is best for you?
  • What materials will be used in the construction?
  • What type of base will you build?
  • Will there be labour costs or will you build it yourself?
  • Will wet trades such as plasterers be required?
  • Will an Electrician be required for the lighting and sockets?
  • What source of heating will you use?

Converting an existing building is the most cost effective way of building a Home Office. With some careful planning, you can transform a garden shed into a room that can be used all year round.



How Long Does It Take To Build A Home Office?

A Garden room built from scratch will take someone with average DIY skills roughly a week to 10 days to build the main structure. Laying the base for your garden room could add extra time if a suitable foundation isn’t in place. A few more items can take a surprising amount of time:

  • Finishing the internal floor area
  • Adding timber frames for windows and doors
  • Installing an internet connection
  • Adding any electrical and plumbing required

All these extras mean you should allow around three weeks for building a garden room. You should also plan for pleasant weather during the first week as you will be installing roof joists, timber frames, and insulation.

Building from scratch isn’t for everyone. People with lower skill levels may find building a garden room either really rewarding or super frustrating. If your room develops a leak or the windows and doors start sticking, you will have to either fix them yourself or hire a professional to repair them which is why many homeowners are opting for Garden Rooms supplied & installed by specialists.

When buying a garden room from a reputable company, the building components and the windows and doors will all be covered by a 10-year guarantee. If they fail, you should be covered. We aim to bring every new garden room to a state of being weatherproof within a day using modern building techniques and materials. We offer a choice of different building styles which all have customisable aspects such as glass walls or solid insulated walls, pent roofs or Edwardian hipped roofs, skylights or solid roofs.

If you are confident that you do not need a Home Office supplied and installed for you by professional installers then you should now start planning your DIY build.


Do You Need Planning Permission For A Garden Room?

There are a few simple regulations in place that are designed to prevent you from building a structure that will impact your neighbours, always check the UK planning portal before embarking on any home improvements project. Not adhering to the regulations could result in the demolition of your garden office. It’s also important to check the deeds to your property as there might be restrictions that prevent building works in specific areas such as areas of outstanding beauty or conservation areas.

If in any doubt always check with your local planning department to ensure you are building within the permitted developments act of 2019. This is a list of restrictions for outbuildings such as Garden rooms or Home Offices that are classed as permitted developments.

  1. On designated land, outbuildings to the side of the house are not permitted development.

  2. Outbuildings are not permitted development on the grounds of a listed building.

  3. Outbuildings are not permitted development forward of the main elevation of the original property.

  4. Outbuildings and other additions must not exceed 50% of the total area of ground around the original house. All other outbuildings and extensions including sheds must be included when calculating the footprint of the 50% cap.

  5. To be classed as a permitted development, the new building must not itself be separate, self-contained, living accommodation and must not have an oven or a microwave antenna.

  6. All Outbuildings must be single storey with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of 4 metres with a dual pitched roof, or 3 metres in any other case.

  7. If the outbuilding is within 2 metres of the property boundary the whole building should not exceed 2.5 metres in height.

  8. In national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the total area to be covered by any outbuildings more than 20 metres from ANY WALL of the house must not exceed 10 square metres to be permitted development.


Whats The Best Location For A Home Office?

The precise way to find the best location for a home office is to map it out on graph paper and work to a scale drawing. Using precise measurements you will be able to survey the area you would like to build a Garden room. You will need to consider several important factors when choosing the position of the build:


  • GROUND LEVEL: If you do not have a level area of ground you will need to excavate to create an area that you can build a base.
  • OBSTRUCTIONS: Take note of any obstructions that may hinder the build they may be visible like trees or hidden, pipes and electric cables need to be considered.
  • ACCESS: You should leave enough space around the sides and back of the building so that you can easily perform maintenance. We recommend a minimum gap of 600mm for maintenance.
    Will a pathway need to be installed to access the Garden Room without walking across wet grass?
  • SIZE: Adding an extra 650mm to three sides of the build for access, how big will your building be?
    Is the proposed area large enough for the footprint you have in mind?
  • POSITION: Building near or under trees can cause issues further down the line with leaves falling from the branches.
    Is the position you have in mind in the sun all day long or is there partial shade? Depending on the materials you choose the room may become to hot if its not properly insulated.
  • MATERIALS: Choosing the right materials can mean the difference between a room that is usable the whole year round and one that is stifling hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. Partial shade can help regulate the temperature to a degree.
    Whilst in the planning stages and thinking about materials, try and work out the build size to incorporate full sheets of OSB board and lengths of timber, timber lengths of 2.4 and 4.8 (2400mm x 4800mm) could speed up construction if you work out the base and walls around those sizes, this would also work well for sheet materials such as OSB board and plasterboard which are in 1.2 x 2.4 (1200mm x 2400mm) sheets.
  • POWER: Running power to the garden room will get more expensive the further the build is away from the house.


Once you have figured out where it’s going to go, you need to work out what materials you are going to use to complete the building, choosing the right materials is important if you want a long lasting and energy efficient office that can be used all year round.



build a garden office like this tall studio room.
Pavillion garden room cornwall

Garden Room by Ultraframe is a sleek, modern design that would compliment any home, perfect for a home office, entertaining, or just a space to chill.

Garden room

What Are The Best Materials For A Garden Room?

The first thing to consider when thinking of building a Garden Room is what you will use the room for and if you want to use the space during all seasons. Planning ahead can help you make informed choices about additional insulation that you may require to be added to the roof and walls to make it usable in the coldest and warmest months.
The materials you choose should be long lasting, require little maintenance and be energy efficient. Most homeowners opt for for a timber frame build with cedar cladding being a popular choice of finish for the outside and plastered finish inside.

How To Build A Base For A Home Office

The Base can be constructed using a a few different methods, some more suitable than others for this type of home improvements project:

PLINTH SYSTEM: A plinth system raises the base of the build off of the ground and is suited to ground that is not level, however it does lower the thermal efficiency of the room because air can pass underneath the building. The void underneath the floor can also become a breeding ground for rodents.
PATIO BASE: An excellant option for a base although it is an expensive option. This method of base building involves laying an area of hardcore which is wider than the footprint of the proposed building, the hardcore should be either rolled in or use a wacker plate to compress it until it is hard. Patio slabs can then be laid on top of the hardcore using a bed of mortar, this can either be dot and dabbed or lay a mortar bed. Once the slabs have set in position you can now fill the joints with a sharpsand and cement mix. The base is now ready for your Garden Room Installation.

CONCRETE SLAB: This is the most common method of building a base for a build such as a Home Office. Building a base using this method will create a good solid base for your project. This is the method that we would use ourselves for Home Improvements of this nature. Level the area before attempting to lay a solid concrete base, this will make the whole process a lot easier.

Mark out the base using pegs and string, allow for around 50mm extra on each side and front. As this will be quite a large area to square up we recommend using the 3,4,5 method to ensure it is square.

THE 3/4/5 METHOD: To use the 3,4,5 method you must start at one side of the proposed base and measure 3 meters or 3 feet and mark it.
Go to the second side that makes a right angle and measure 4 meters or 4 feet and mark it.
Now measure between the two marked points, if the sides are square it should be exactly 5 meters. ( See the video below)

Remove all the turf inside the marked out area and remove the topsoil to a minimum depth of 150mm, this will allow for 75mm of hardcore, and a layer of 75mm concrete. You can of course lay a thicker bed of concrete, just adjust the depth of topsoil to be removed accordingly.

Remove the string that you used for marking out, leave the pegs in place though as these will be used later. Tip your hardcore into the area, rake it out until its level and then compact it with a wacker plate, you can hire them from any good tool hire shop.

Build a timber frame using the pegs as a guide, ensure that
the inside measurements match the dimensions of your base.
Check the timber for square and make sure that they are level using a spirit level. Now drive in wooden pegs every 500mm making sure they are below the level of the top of the wood.

Pour the concrete on top of the hardcore, rake it out and level it as you go, this will make the tamping process easier.

You will need two people to tamp and screed the concrete and a long piece of solid wood. Use the length of timber in a sawing motion across the top of the wood frame and pulling the excess concrete off of the slab, working your way from one end to the other. Once the timber frame is full with a nice level of concrete, go back over it with the timber and gently knock the wood in a hammering motion off of the wood frame, this will tamp air out of the concrete and make a stronger slab.

Use a float to finish the slad and create a nice smooth surface, use a circular motion to flot the fat on top of the concrete slab.

What Should You Use For Garden Room Floor Construction?

When building a framework for the flooring you should give consideration to the thickness and type of insulation you want to place in the floor, not everyone choose to insulate the floor to keep costs down, however, 15% of heat loss occurs through the floor. If your build needs building regulations then you will need to insulate the floor.

We would recommend using a 100mm PIR board, we opt for celotex insulation board in the floor however any other brands would be fine.
Build a frame work for the floor that suits the size or depth of insulation you wish to use, if you are using PIR board then you should fix a treated baton at 102mm around the inside of the framework you construct to stop the insulation board from dropping out.

Cut the PIR board to fit between the framework you have built, ensure a nice tight fit to prevent air leaks. Once all the insulation board is in place use a foil tape to seal over the top of the timber framework and on top of the PIR board, this seals the timber and reflects heat loss back into the room and prevents moisture entering the timber.

floor insulation

The next thing you need to think about is what type of flooring you want to use. We use 22mm caberflooring as its water resistant, has a tongue and groove and conforms to EN 312 and EN 13986. Make sure the flooring boards are screwed down to your floor joists at intervals of every 150mm to prevent any warping, movement or creaking.


What Should You Use For Garden Room Wall Construction?

Now that you have a good solid foundation you need to construct the framework for your building. You will need to decide on the thickness of the walls and construct a studwork to suit.
Structurally most walls will be the virtually same but you will need to consider the type of insulation you are going to use (we recommend PIR board) and the exterior finish that you prefer. An office without any insulation at all is going to extremely cold during the winter months and stifling during the warmer months so think carefully about this stage.

It is advised to use CLS treated timber for the wall construction, double up the timbers on the bottom (sole plate) and on the head of the wall construction. The wall construction should have uprights at 600mm centers and nogins at 1200mm, this makes life easier for installing plasterboard internally and OSB board externally.

Planning window and door locations is now crucial at this stage as you need to try and keep the openings lined up between the upright studs to create a load supporting structure for the roof.

OSB board (18mm) should now be use to sheath the outside of the studwork, and a vapour lock membrane stapled over the walls to create a breathable but watertight construction.

Internally the walls will need to have any electrical wiring or plumbing installed before insulating and finally plasterboarding with a 12mm foil backed board.

Windows & Doors For A Garden Room

Windows and doors can be sourced second hand or via a reputable supplier in your area. If you are based in Cornwall and are looking for double glazed windows and doors for your home improvements project, get in contact with one of friendly team, we can supply windows to fit your bespoke openings in your Garden room building.


What Is The Best Roof For A Garden Room - Home Office?

build a garden office like this tall studio room.

The type of roof that you choose for your build needs to be given careful consideration before building anything else because a sloped or pent roof will require raked sides which take mathematical skills to work out!

As well as working out the style of roof, Pent, Edwardian, flat with or without a lantern or Skypod there is also a choice of finishes to choose from.

Lighting is important in any room and a garden room is no different, natural light not only makes a room feel warmer but it also creates a stunning focal point from inside.

The roof is where most of the heat escapes as heat rises so its important to get the roof right. Choosing the right type of insulation for your roof could save you money on heating bills and make your room usable all year round.

Cold Roof Or Warm Roof?

If you have decided on a flat or pent roof construction then you now need to choose between a cold roof or a warm roof construction. Lets take a look at both roof builds to see which would work best for your project:

Cold Roof Construction

A cold roof is constructed with the insulation set between the joists with the deck above. The insulation keeps the heat below the joists the deck above is cold which is why it is named a cold roof construction. The biggest advantage a cold roof has it has a much slimmer profile than a warm roof because the insulation is set between the joists and not on top of them.
A slimmer profile is handy if you are keeping within the building regulations and maintaining a build height of 2.5M

The thinner depth of roof also results in a sleeker roofline and smaller fascia is required.

Less materials are needed because there is no need of a second OSB board deck on a cold roof construction, this means less weight and less cost.

A cold roof construction requires a 50mm ventilation gap which is often difficult to get right and is usually not spotted until its too late and costly to rectify.

A cold roof has bridging issues via the joists due ot the nature of the construction it is unavoidable but not ideal as this causes heat loss.

Warm Roof Construction

Unlike the cold roof a warm roof construction has the insulation above the joists this keeps the deck and joists warm hence the name ‘warm roof’.

When building a warm roof there is less waste of insulation materials, a whole sheer of PIR board can be simply laid directly on top of the deck rather than spending time cutting individual pieces of insulation to fit between joists.

Installing a vapour barrier is simple on a warm roof, simply lay it over the deck and staple it down. When installing a vapour barrier on a cold roof it can be difficult.

Warm roofs do not require a ventilation gap, so there is not chance of rectification work due to bridging or cold spots.

Installing LED downlighters is really easy in a warm roof due to there being a cavity above the plasterboard ceiling.


The Best Roof Construction For A Home Office

As you can see there are a lot more pros for Warm Roof construction than there are for cold roof construction. Building regulations specify that a warm roof construction is used wherever possible.

The main drawback to the warm roof construction is the additional height created by the additional deck and insulation.

Looking For A Home Office Space Supplied & Installed In Cornwall?

Our Garden Rooms come with a Livinroof which is building regs compliant. Livinroof is a market leading solid roof solution with U-Value of 0.16 and has been used on many conservatory and extension projects throughout Cornwall.

The patented Ultrapanel walls offer a speedy installation & better insulation than a typical house wall with a U-Value of 0.17 creating a warm and cosy space that can be enjoyed all year round.

Large fixed rooflights allow natural light to flood the room compared to traditional Garden Rooms where rooflights are an expensive addition.

Rooflights in Garden Rooms can be very costly to add to the build, however The Studio and The Pavilion include fixed rooflights as standard, so you can enjoy natural light throughout the whole year, creating a bright and inviting space, ideal for exercise or working.

The Livinroof is pre-approved for Building Regulations by both JHAI and LABC, giving you total peace of mind.

The Studio Garden Room includes a reverse lean-to Livinroof and The Pavilion is includes a double hipped Georgian style Livinroof which provides an orangery-like design

Garden room
The Pavillion

Where To Find Us


Serving The Whole Of Cornwall from St Columb Rd, St Columb.

Our hours

07:00 AM – 17.00 PM
Monday – Saturday

Contact us

Phone: 01637 415 425
Email: [email protected]

Contact Us For A No Obligation Consulatation

Best Glaze