It is a wise idea to have a clear design brief when buying a garden office. You don’t have to go to the lengths of a formal document, but it is a wise idea to jot down some pointers so when you are discussing your options with garden office designers you don’t forget anything key. It will also make the process of comparing companies to build your office easier, as you will know that you have given each firm the same design brief and you can then compare how they approach the project in relation to design, specification and price.
If we were buying a garden office today, these are the things we would think about for our design brief:
You will want to be clear on how you intend to use the garden office. Will you be sat at a desk all day using a lot of computer equipment that needs easy access to power points and good natural light? Does your work mean that you need to incorporate a lot of storage for files? Do you want an area in the office where you can just sit and relax in-between? You get the idea. You will have your unique way of using a garden office, if you are clear on this early on in the design process the final building will be a perfect fit.
It’s worth spending some time explaining how you work to your garden office designer during their site visit; this will really help them when they are designing your office.
Features you want to include
It is a good idea to have an idea of the different elements of garden office design and identify those features you would particularly like to have included in your building. You can find some inspiration for this in our Design Ideas section, just scroll through the different garden office designs, and you will get an idea of the design features you will typically find in a garden office.
The key features for you to think about are the size and type of doors you want to include. How many windows do you want in the office and which walls you would like these positioned on to frame views of your garden. You’ll also want to think about the exterior appearance of the office – are you looking for a soft painted look or a sleek modern look with crisp Cedar cladding.
Moving inside, do you want the office to have the same finishes as a new build house or do you want to create a more industrial look with a plywood interior? Do you want ultimate control over the temperature as you work all year round, if so, you’ll want to consider the type of heating the office will have?
Do you need reliable telephone and broadband connections as you work? If so, you need to indicate this to your designer who may suggest you have hard-wired CAT6 data cabling incorporated into the building rather than using plugin systems which work in conjunction with the electrical system to route connections to the garden office.
Features you don’t want to include
As important as knowing what features you want to include in your garden office building, is knowing what you don’t want. We are sometimes surprised at how much passion buyers can over a dislike of X feature. For instance, some buyers dislike the look of Cedar cladding; others hate the idea of floor to ceiling glazing. If you don’t like a certain element of a design tell your designer and they will work around this. With a building that is designed around its owner, there is absolutely no reason for it to have a feature you don’t like.
How much maintenance you want to undertake
While we often see garden offices marketed as zero maintenance, when buying a timber clad building there is always going to be an element of maintenance during its lifetime to keep it in tip top condition. It is a good idea in these initial stages to identify how much maintenance you are prepared to do over the years. Knowing this will allow you to make design choices today, for instance, if you choose a painted garden office you will have to repaint every five or so years. By choosing a Cedar clad garden office, you could leave it to weather naturally for 20 or so years. Choose a UPVC and coated steel finish like Booths Garden Studios offer, and you’ll have 25 years of use with no more maintenence.
An idea of your timeframe
When working on you design brief, work out a realistic timeframe of when you will need your office to be complete. Lead times across the industry are generally short, 6 to 8 weeks is typical, but this can increase at peak times such as the height of summer. If your project requires Planning Permission, this can take 8 to 12 weeks to be granted. Once on-site build times can be as little as a day or as much as a month – 7 to 10 days being typical.
It is a good idea to have these timeframes in mind so that you can have realistic expectations. If you need your office in a fixed timeframe tell your designer early on, they will often be able to juggle things a little. Having a clear timeframe in your design brief will help you when choosing between firms to work with.
Be clear on your budget
It is wise to set a budget for your garden office project early on. You can get a rough idea of the typical costs on this site and by searching suppliers websites. You need to remember that there are often extras such as the cost of the connection of the garden offices electrics to the mains supply, so you need to budget for these too.
It’s a good idea to tell your garden office designer what your budget is, we know some buyers don’t like to do this, but it is actually really helpful when you are working on a design and offering up suggestions on the specification, etc.
You may not end up with everything that was on your design brief. Often budget considerations will make you have to make a hard call on certain design features in favour of another, but having a clear design brief from the start is a tried and tested way of ending up with a garden office that works for you.
Explore the work of these garden office designers who will be a happy to transform your design brief into reality.