Doors that enhance the inside-outside feel of a garden office
Your choice of garden office doors will not only affect how you access the building, but will also play a large roll in the feel of the room.
With quality garden offices 'house quality,' doors are used, this ensures they are sturdy, durable and feature good locking systems. All important considerations for a garden office building. You will note that we say 'quality garden offices' we are making the distinction between garden offices that are built using house quality materials and techniques and some log cabin style buildings which are marketed as garden offices. Often these buildings have their own style of door which is a thinner construction to those you would find used on a house.
Depending on the size and style of your garden office, you have several choices of door:
- Single doors
- French doors
- Sliding doors
- Bi-fold doors
- Concealed doors
- Internal doors
- Pocket doors
Your choice of doors is more than about access, they can really enhance the connection with the garden
Smaller garden offices often make use of single doors, to maximise the space. They are still often mixed with glazing to create a large section of glazing.
There are several styles of single door used in garden office design; some suppliers opt for a fully glazed door which maximises light into the room, others choose a half glazed door which features a solid bottom section and a glazed top panel.
We are starting to see a single door being added to garden office designs that have a feature wall of glazing, even if this includes a door. The single door is often positioned on a side wall allowing for easy access into the room. Often referred to as Monday to Friday doors.
French doors are a popular feature on both traditional and contemporary designs, as you can throw open both doors and let the outside in! They are often the entry-level option on garden office buildings.
French doors are outward opening double doors. You can typically enter and exit the office by opening just one door, but this will depend on the width of the doors used. With modern uPVC and Aluminium French doors each door has its own locking system which makes them very secure.
French doors often play a key role in a glazed wall. They are usually positioned in the centre of the wall with fixed floor to ceiling windows either side. Mixing doors and windows like this is one the most cost-effective ways of creating a wall of glazing on a garden office.
Sliding or patio doors are another popular option for a garden office as they create whole walls of glazing which is considered a desirable design feature.
You are bound to have come across a sliding door as they have been popular on houses for many years, but if not, you have two or more large, fully glazed doors which slide past each other on tracks.
Sliding doors usually have multi-point locking systems and are easy to open thanks to the sliding track system.
The most desirable style of door for garden office buyers at the moment is the bi-fold system, but it is also the most expensive option.
Bi-fold doors are popular because they fold back to open up whole walls of the building. Creating a free-flowing connection of inside / outside space, which is rather nice as you work!
Bi-fold doors come in varying widths and configurations depending on the size of your opening. The basic premise is that the doors are hinged in alternate directions. Each one has pivot points which sit in tracks at the top and bottom of the frame. As each door is unlocked, they can be gently pushed and as they move they fold back on each other, opening up the whole wall.
Each door in the system has its own locking system, and the master door can be unlocked and opened without having to fold back the whole wall - ideal if you are just popping in the room or if its a cold day.
Often the master door is to one side of the opening, but on wider openings can be in the centre with one-half of the doors folding to the left the other to the right. In most cases, the folded back doors sit outside the garden office which is a good use of space, but some designs fold back inside the room - talk these things through with your chosen supplier.
Many people when folding back the whole wall like to have no step between the internal floor and the external finish, e.g. deck. In these situations your supplier can specify that the threshold of the door system is flush with both the inside and outside floor levels - this gives an illusion of a continuous space.
Sometimes you don't want to make it obvious there is a door in a wall of your garden office, in these cases, a concealed door can be created. An example of where concealed doors are used in garden office design is where the office space has an adjoining storage shed. Many people don't want it to be clear that there is a door to another room, for security or aesthetic reasons.
For a concealed door to work, it needs to blend into the wall. Garden room designers take a standard door and then clad it in the same material as the wall. Done well the cladding will match seamlessly with the cladding on each side, both in the positioning of the boards and the colour of the wood.
Multi-room garden office designs are becoming more and more popular, and if you are going to the length of dividing up the internal space, you will want doors on the different rooms.
Garden office designs use the same sort of internal doors as you would find in your house. You have lots of choice from panelled doors or flush doors to glazed doors.
You don't see them often, but pocket doors are a great space-saving solution.
As you know a door has a swing to it. This is an area that needs to be kept clear of furniture so that the door can easily be opened. Sometimes this is too much space to sacrifice, and this is where pocket doors could be a solution.
Pocket doors run on a track system and when they are opened virtually disappear into the structure of the building.
The structure of the walls needs to be specially designed so that there is a void within its structure that can accommodate the door when it is open. For this reason, you only see them offered on bespoke projects.
Inward or outward opening?
In most cases, the doors used on garden office designs are outward opening so as to maximise the space within the room, but there is some argument that inward opening doors are safer.
The argument is that with outward opening doors the hinges are on the outside of the door, and could, therefore, be tampered with, and the door lifted out of the frame by a burglar. With inward opening doors, the hinges are on the inside of the room, so it is much more difficult to access them.
Its a fair argument, but if a burglar is going to the length of removing the hinges of the doors to get in. They are pretty serious and probably get in whether the hinges or inside or outside!
Garden office door materials
As we started this article off saying, the doors used on quality garden offices are the same as those you will find used on houses and the material options are the same. From softwoods which need regular maintenance to low maintenance UPVC and high spec Aluminium finishes. We discuss these finishes in more depth in our garden office window guide.
Maintaining your doors
Depending on your choice of door finish as to how much maintenance they will need over the years.
Softwood doors are prone to swell in winter and shrink back in the summer. This can make them difficult to open and close. Judgement needs to be made as to when softwood doors need planing, because you don't want to take too much off and then there be a draft!
If you are buying a garden office with softwood doors, ask your supplier about their aftercare policy when it comes to the doors. Specifically, ask that if they need adjusting, will they come and do that for you, and will they make a charge or is a return visit included in the price you are paying?
Hardwood doors are more dimensionally stable than their softwood counterparts, but they can still need adjustment. So, if your design has hardwood doors, again ask your supplier about aftercare.
UPVC and Aluminium doors are much more dimensionally stable so won't swell and shrink like wooden doors. If these styles of door do need adjustment, it's quickly done with a screwdriver. A few suppliers have videos on their website which show you how to adjust the doors.
Wooden doors will need a decorative finish applied every few years to maintain the appearance and preserve the wood. uPVC and Aluminium doors need nothing more than a soapy water wash down.
The glazier who installed the windows for Garden Office HQ advises that the hinges and locks are lubricated on uPVC and Aluminium doors once a year to keep everything running smoothly, we do this with WD-40.