Home Office / Studio

Home Office / Studio

September 2023

The home office or garden escape is the modern replacement to the summerhouse, but it’s a whole lot more these days, gone are the Lloyd loom chairs and the dusty old cushions, the new summerhouses are cool. We see glossy ‘ads’ for gym’s, hot tubs, saunas, home cinemas and recording studios, artists’ studios or workshops and hobby spaces.

The garden room is here and it’s a great way to create more space.


Do you need planning consent for a home office or garden lodge?

Generally no.

This sort of development is usually deemed ‘Permitted development’ in the same way as a garden sheds, greenhouses, tennis courts, swimming pools or pet shelters are.

Be careful, a structure to close to boundary (within 2metres) or two high, (4metres being the maximum), will require an application.

If more than half the area of your garden would be occupied by the new building then you would need to apply for planning consent.

Also you would need planning consent if the new building was nearer the road than any existing part of the house.

If your house were listed you would require Listed building consent, also if you live in a conservation area you will need to apply.

A new building in your garden with a volume of 50cubic metres or more, 5m from your house are deemed to be an extension, not an independent building and would therefore require planning consent.

Permitted development rights may not exist, or may have been withdrawn by the local authority, check with your council if you are in any doubt.

You need to enquire if there are any restrictive covenants on the property, your solicitor will be able to help you, and it may be that your house was sold with a covenant that stated you could not add or extend with any structure without applying to the issuer of the covenant.


So you must check before commissioning your new garden structure, often this can be as simple as a telephone call to your local council.

Green Offices

How green is your shed?

It seems the whole building industry has some new claim to being ‘green’, I don’t agree, the industry is along way from green, but moving that way.

The garden shed and home office are much greener structures than most other structures. This is due to the fact they do not require foundations. They sit on blocks or small piers and do not require a mass dig or concrete pour.

They are generally built of timber, though tin sheets or glass walls are not unusual.

Doors and windows are important features as the cost and quality of these will have a huge bearing on the budget.

Double glazing and high levels of insulation accompanied with a power supply make for a very useful and attractive space.

Grass roofs or Sedum blankets are now common on these low impact structures


Timber buildings with felt roofs are cabin like. Flat roofs give a modern twist to the shed idea, and keep the height down, think of your neighbours. These buildings are lightweight and simply, and speedily erected. The trauma or upheaval compared to say, a loft conversion is minimal, and often a better space can be created.

Chose your garden structure carefully as there are no real standards or rules that apply, like buying a shed the building regulations are not involved, being fit for purpose is also fit for use! Don’t make a library out of it unless you have calculated the loadings, you will need a structural engineer to help you. Write a check list of what you need form you garden room, it might be space with light to paint by, or lots of door and windows so you can open them if it s going to be a home gym.


Timber cladding materials like Western red Cedar or Eastern White Cedar are popular. Larch, Oak or just softwood all work very well. The more avant-garde self-builders use ‘funky’ materials like black corrugated sheets, polycarbonate and Acrylic panels, stainless steels and lead can also be used.

Insulation & Power

It’s these two factors that really distinguish the home office from the shed. Insulation levels need to be as good or better than your house. This means walls will have a minimum thickness of 150mm, there are various types of insulation; foam board, polystyrene, mineral wool, sheep wool insulation or even recycled newsprint, All these are thermally efficient some are greener than others and some are more hazardous or at least very itchy! Some types emit formaldehyde as they age, I advise choosing the most natural product you can, so sheep’s wool or recycled paper is a good option.


A power supply or a sub-main in the new garden structure will ensure you can work rest or play 24/7. If the building is constructed to a reasonable standard heating costs will be affordable, assuming you use electric, don’t install wood burners or other heat sources that emit fumes, as the Building regulations apply and you will need to adhere to them. You will need a qualified electrician to execute this installation, it will also involve a trench and a conduit to run the steel wired armoured cable (SWA) through, this should be at 600mm deep, to avoid the keen gardener’s spade! The power aspect does stray into the Building regulations and a Part P qualified electrician will need to produce the required certificates to satisfy the local authority that the installation has been done correctly.


Once the summerhouse was a place to listen to granny reminisce or to play tea parties in, now you can watch a film, log on, work out or listen to your granny reminisce.

Discover a gateway to unparalleled design creativity.

Discover a gateway to unparalleled design creativity.

Discover a gateway to unparalleled design creativity.

Discover a gateway to unparalleled design creativity.