Standard, Modular or Bespoke
When buying a garden office, you have three design routes you could take - standard, modular or bespoke design.
The cheapest garden offices on the market are standard designs with few if any options to customise the layout or finishes used. They come in fixed sizes and a basic specification. For instance, you will often find that you are left to decorate the interior and lay the floor covering.
Standard designs can be brought 'off the shelf' so lead times are relatively short and the office can usually be installed within one day.
You do need to read the specification carefully on standard garden office designs. It is not unusual for you to have to organise a suitable foundation separately. Also, in some cases, the electrics for the office are not included in the basic specification. In virtually all cases, there will be a significant delivery charge when buying a standard size office. These different extras can make a building that at first glance looks cheap, soon be expensive.
If you want more input into the design and layout of your garden office, and to choose the materials used, you'll want to go down the modular or bespoke design routes.
What are the differences?
When choosing either a bespoke or modular garden office design you will end up with a garden office where you have input into the final design, but the two approaches to this are entirely different and have different cost implications.
Modular garden office design
A few years ago we wouldn’t really have been writing about modular garden office design. If you wanted input into the layout and finishes, you’d have had to go down the bespoke design route. But today, modular garden office design is a sophisticated system with infinite choices for the garden office buyer to create their own unique space, at an affordable price.
Modular garden office companies have honed the systems they use to create a range of modules that can be combined, in an almost infinite number of layouts to create different garden office designs.
With modular garden office designs, you can mix and match sections of solid wall with door and window modules. There are also options to add deck and screen modules to enhance the inside-outside connection.
There are modules for each section of the building. There are solid wall modules, wall sections with desk height windows. Modules which create floor to ceiling glazed panels and door sets.
When buying a modular garden office, you decide on a footprint shape and size. This will normally be guided by your supplier who will probably work off a grid that maximises the use of sheet materials. You will typically find footprints 8ft x 8ft, 12ft x 10ft etc. Once you have decided on your footprint, you will then select and position the different modules to create your ideal layout.
While you have quite a lot of flexibility in the choice of modules used and their layout, you tend to have to work from a limited palette of materials and finishes. You will find that modular garden office companies have chosen a palette of materials that enable them to create a stylish yet durable building - quickly and at a great price point.
Modular garden offices are reasonably quick to buy as the suppliers will either hold the modules in stock or have systems in place to manufacture them quickly. Lead times on modular garden offices are typically 4 to 8 weeks depending on the time of year. The Spring and Summer being the peak time of year for installations.
Bespoke garden office design
Whereas with modular garden office design you have a lot of input into the layout and finishes used in your office. With bespoke garden office design, you can have input into every element of the design, if that’s what you want.
When you work with a bespoke designer, you will start with a blank sheet. When choosing a company to work with you will be influenced by their design style, but when it comes to your building, they will be starting from scratch on the design.
When working with a bespoke garden office designer you have the opportunity to create a unique building. You have flexibility when it comes to the shape, layout and finishes used throughout the building.
With bespoke design, you can build whatever shape and style of garden office you want. A palette of standard materials does not limit you. You are also not limited by standard footprint sizes, so if you want a building of unique size or indeed shape, this won't be a problem.
The bespoke design route is the way to go if you want to include features such as a kitchen or shower room into your office design.
Because you have so much input into a bespoke garden office design, the buying process will take you longer than buying a standard or modular design. This is because the design stage takes longer. It can also take longer to manufacture the components of the building, particularly if you are commissioning non-standard size doors and windows.
Bespoke garden offices tend to be a more expensive option than their modular counterparts. This is because you tend to specify more designer features when buying bespoke. The price difference between the two systems is obviously a consideration, but you’ll need to weigh up the value of a unique building tailored to how you plan to use it, and your tastes. Take a look at our article about bespoke garden office prices.
So which system do you pick?
If you need a building quickly, have a limited budget and are not too worried about the size or finishes used. The standard designs on the market may well fit the bill.
If you are looking to buy a garden office quickly, but want input to the layout of the building. Then modular design is for you.
If you have a very clear design vision for your garden office and want input into all elements of the design. Then you should consider the bespoke design route.