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The latest outdoor structures come with all mod cons, making them perfect as home offices, gyms and living or play areas.
Extra space can make a dramatic change to how you live in your home, but if you can’t face the upheaval of an extension, a garden room could be an easy option.
Not only will it create a focal point outdoors, but a well-insulated garden building is also an inviting ‘home away from home’, and can be personalised to fulfil a variety of uses. Most garden rooms fall under permitted development and so won’t need planning permission – for details, see Planningportal.gov.uk. To get the best from yours, consider its position in your garden, its primary purpose, how much space you can give to it and how regularly it’ll be used.
For example, would you prefer to make the most of the sun or be in the shade most of the time? The latter is best if it’s a home gym or used for painting or hobbies, when a cool spot will make it more comfortable at midday. Locating it in a corner can also work, providing a panoramic view of the garden and shelter from the elements.
Specialist companies tend to offer a full installation service, but you may need to find a reputable tradesperson to build an off-the-peg design. Having a power supply fitted will enable you to run lights and appliances – perfect when the sun goes down. Route power from your home or consider solar roof panels to provide electricity without the expense of cabling being installed around the garden.
Ask your supplier to discuss any changes in the build, and associated costs, before going ahead. Finally, if your garden room will store items through the winter, remember to include security measures, such as casement windows and sturdy lockable doors.
Make a statement in the garden with a contemporary pod that’s perfect for entertaining in inclement weather.
This Deluxe Summer House Sphere by Farmer’s Cottage at John Lewis is made from waterproof laminated pine with bronze-tinted windows to reflect glare, a stainless-steel roof that reflects heat to keep the interior cool, and a sliding door so that the capsule is fully sealed.
Two deep- cushioned seats inside accommodate up to 10 people, and it’s adapted for a 240V electricity supply, so lighting or appliances can be powered. It costs £17,995 and measures (H)270x (dia.)340cm. A hard standing base is required.
It might have the look of a place to keep stray lambs warm, but this is a sophisticated new take on a shepherd’s hut.
Plain Huts are snug, waterproof, insulated with closed-cell foil-backed insulation and clad in cedar. Inside, they’re light and airy – just right for curling up with craft projects.
Add power via a lead or generator, or the hut can be designed for solar power and leisure batteries or an LPG gas supply.
Available in three sizes – Manx, (H)330x(W)200x(D)350cm, £9,500; Jacob (shown), (H)340x(W)240x(D)435cm, £11,900; and Romney, (H)340x(W)240x(D)480cm, £13,500 – they can also be made to measure.
Working at home doesn’t mean cutting yourself off from the outside world, so make sure your office takes in the garden views with floor-to-ceiling glass.
Measuring (H)294x(W)883x(D)461cm, this Freestanding Garden Office by Atelier Garden Studios has steel frames, timber cladding and aluminium doors and windows.
With a choice of glass, such as self-cleaning or thermally enhanced options, it is also linked to mains power, phone and internet networks, and costs £54,355.
Prices start from £21,287, excluding delivery.
Garden work spaces need not be visually intrusive or even resemble a traditional office.
The Tetra Shed is a single module comprising a timber structure that’s either painted or clad in a choice of plywood, cork, rubber, copper, zinc or Cor-Ten steel.
It comes with programmable electric underfloor heating and LED lighting, controlled via smartphone and tablet apps.
Costing around £15,000, it measures (H)330x(dia.)400cm, with a one-square-metre footprint and an interior floor area of 8.5 square metres. It comes as a flat-pack system with a self-assembly option.
Functional work space
A garden office needs adequate space, and this insulated Quarto-size Suffolk Barn fits four desks, storage and a meeting area, but it would also make a great yoga space or leisure room.
Ready to connect to the mains for year- round use, this pressure-treated spruce/pine wood barn with weatherboard finish measures (H)320x (W)433x(D)312cm, and costs £17,910 from Smart Garden Offices, including installation.
Enjoy the best of the outside from the comfort of a soft seating area or dining table with a purpose-built garden living room.
With optional underfloor heating and climate control, this bespoke Canadian western red cedar structure with cedar roof tiles even has a gas fire to keep you snug on cool autumn evenings.
Fully insulated and equipped to connect to mains electricity, it measures (H)395x(W)700x(D)400cm, and costs £39,900 at Crown Pavilions.
If having friends and family to stay is a tight squeeze, think about adding an extra bedroom outside.
A Traditional Garden Room from Hudson Garden Rooms has a handcrafted timber frame and can be constructed in any shape, size and wood type.
This (H)400x(W)900x(D)700cm painted cedar building costs £75,000, including installation, erection, French doors and double windows, insulated hardwood floor, walls and ceilings, interior lighting and sockets – plus connection to the house – painted plywood interior walls and a tiled pitched roof.
Whether a place to unwind, storage for furniture or simply a practical pool-side space, this garden room from Vale Garden Houses has a gable front, terracotta tiled roof and inset glazed rooflights, plus bi-fold doors for a wider entrance.
It measures (H)390x (W)780x(D)450cm, and prices start from £30,000.
A fire and seating area turns a simple glass structure into an inviting garden lounge. Insulated on two-and-a-half sides, this cedar building features slim-framed sliding doors with an almost frameless effect, creating a stunning panorama even when closed.
A similar project, measuring (H)240x (W)600x(D)390cm, would cost around £90,000 from IQ Glass.
This Polebrook garden room from Scotts of Thrapston, in pressure-impregnated green-stained European redwood, has double-glazed doors, windows and a tongue-and-groove interior painted in Buttermilk.
With its hardwearing varnished floor, it’s ideal for a workout space. A mineralised felt and felt-tiled roof with veranda-style overhang keeps the weather at bay.
Measuring (H)240x(W)360x(D)230cm, it costs £7,975.
Why choose a shed when you could have a charming hut instead?
This new-build, rustic-style structure makes a striking addition to a garden. With a pine tongue-and-groove interior, and finished in corrugated tin or cedar wood, huts from Cotswold Shepherds Huts start from £10,000. Electrics can be supplied.
The hut shown measures (H)190x(W)190x(D)370cm, is finished in weatherproof paint and costs £11,500.