Last week we received an email from a prospective garden office buyer asking us if a garden office has good natural light. Sarah the lady who emailed, works as an illustrator and was frustrated by having to play around with natural light bulbs to get the right light to work in, in her spare bedroom.
The short answer to Sarah’s question is yes garden offices do offer good levels of natural light for all types of work. You do however need to work with your supplier to ensure you achieve the maximum amounts. There are a few key decisions you can make with your garden office designer to maximise levels, lets look at them:
Remember that natural light quality is dependent on the time of year
You have to remember that the quality of the light will depend on the time of year. As I write this post in February the quality of light differs day by day. Some days we need our down-lights on and on other days the natural light is streaming through the windows of Garden Office HQ.
As the year progresses into summer and the sun is higher the office will be flooded with light every day, sometimes to the point that we have to use the blinds to shield us a little as we work.
The orientation of your garden office and where you position the windows will play a significant role
Many garden office buyers have a site in their garden where they have decided to place their new office. They seldom give much thought to the orientation of the site. A good garden office designer will have this at the forefront of their mind.
If you are wanting to maximise natural light during working hours you want to think about placing glazing on the South, East & West facing elevations. This means that your office will have the maximum amount of light as the sun moves during the day.
If your site doesn’t allow you to have glazing on three elevations, try to maximise it on your available elevations bearing in mind that your East facing windows will let in the morning sun and windows on the West facing elevation will light your office in the afternoon.
Putting this to the test
We thought it would be interesting to show the light patterns in a garden office where the windows are facing either South, East or West. We have mocked up three popular garden office designs and simulated the lighting between 9am and 5pm on the 21 April. The front elevation of our garden office models is roughly South facing.
This first example looks at a popular garden office design with single glazed door and two 1200mm wide casement windows. The door and one window are on the South elevation and the the second window faces East. Here is the light pattern from 9am to 5pm on our April day:
This second example looks at a garden office design with wrap around glazing. This time the glazing is facing the South and West elevations.
Not all sites for a garden office allow you to have glazing on more than one elevation. This example shows the natural light pattern of a garden office with glazing just on the South facing elevation:
As you can see with all options natural light can flood into a garden office.
The size and number of windows play their part
So we can see that the orientation of the glazing plays its part in the amount of light, but so does the size of the windows or doors.
One of the main reasons garden offices are so popular is because of the size of the windows and doors that are use. It has become really popular to use full height floor to ceiling glazing which as you can see floods the room with natural light.
Having said that the first example with the casement windows also has lots of light – it not by chance that casement windows like the ones shown are so commonly used in houses.
It has become very popular to use narrow windows, sometimes called lozenge windows in garden office design, but you need to think about how much light they will let into the office. If you like this style of window try mixing them with bigger expanses of glazing.
Also think about elements casting shade on your office
When positioning your office give some thought to elements around it that might cast shade on your office and therefore block out some of the natural light.
Think about the shade being cast by your house or more commonly any trees surrounding your office. Particularly think about placing your office near an evergreen tree as this will block out valuable winter light.
Deciduous trees are the garden office workers friend as they offer natural shading during the summer, but they don’t block any light during the winter when they have lost their leaves.
So as you can see with some thought at the design stage there is no reason why a garden office can’t be a room flooded with natural light.