The style, size and number of windows you choose will have an effect on the appearance and useability of your garden office. Luckily garden office designers offer you lots of choice.
In this article we will look at the popular styles of window used in garden office design, we will also look at the popular finishes offered:
- Casement windows
- Floor to ceiling windows
- Wrap around windows
- Lozenge windows
- Cathedral windows
- Porthole windows
- Roof windows
Chances are you have casement windows in your house, they are hinged openers set in a framework with a sill.
Like in your house casement windows are a good option for a garden office, they come in different sizes and styles – plain, with bars etc, and offer a real benefit in that you can easily open them to ventilate the room.
Casement windows also work well in a garden office because they can be positioned over the desk area, giving you a view to gaze out at as you work! The fact that furniture can easily be positioned below and around casement windows maximizes the working space, which can be a problem when choosing floor to ceiling glazing options.
Casement windows are normally found on the more traditional garden office styles, with contemporary garden office designers favoring larger expanses of glass.
Floor to ceiling glazing has become a big trend in garden office design, we can understand why because it enables a connection of the inside space with the garden, and its this connection with the outdoors which appeals to many garden office owners.
Floor to ceiling windows come in all shapes and sizes, and are used in different positions by different suppliers. Some suppliers choose to create whole walls of glazing by mixing large fixed floor to ceiling glazing with French door systems. Other designers choose to use thin floor to ceiling glazing to borrow light in the room or frame a view of the garden.
Because floor to ceiling glass is normally fitted in one piece so there are no bars breaking up the visual line, they are normally fixed i.e. non opening windows and this can pose an issue with allowing in natural ventilation in the room – there are some days when you just want a window ajar for a little air, but your only option would be to open the door which could be too much!
Garden office designers get around this issue by either designing opening sections in their glazed walls, although they are not keen on this because the framework for an opening window breaks the clean visual line, or they include smaller opening windows elsewhere in the building or even opening roof windows.
Wrap around glazing is a popular feature in garden office design, as it creates a real connection of inside outside space and floods the room with natural light.
Depending on the design of the building the glazing can wrap around two elevations or even three. When the glazing wraps around the building like this the structure of the roof appears to float on the glazing – rest assured a lot of engineering goes into ensuring that the weight of the building isn’t going through the glass!
Wrap around glazing takes two forms, the most common is floor to ceiling fixed glass panels which are mixed in with door systems to create glazed walls, the other option is desk height wrap around glazing.
Desk height wrap around glazing is a clever option as it maximizes the internal space for office furniture e.g. desks, shelving etc, but also maximizes the glazing in the area you are working, creating a cockpit like setup, which makes you feel as you are sitting at your desk that you are part of the garden.
Desk height wrap around glazing tends to be a combination of fixed glazed panels and top hung (awning) windows which allow you to control the ventilation in the room.
Narrow horizontal windows are known as lozenge windows and we are seeing them used in garden office design more and more. Lozenge windows tend to be used with other styles of glazing such as floor to ceiling windows and are useful as high level glazing or desk height glazing.
Although some lozenge windows are fixed i.e. they don’t open, most we have seen are top hung opening, this is very useful particularly when combined with large expanses of fixed glazing as they allow you to control the air flow in the building.
Pitched roof garden office designs open up the possibility of including high level glazing in your design. High level glazing floods your room with natural light.
With dual pitched garden offices the gable ends can be glazed to great effect. By combining long windows with glazing in the gable end, a cathedral style window can be created.
A couple of traditional style garden office suppliers offer the option of round windows, often called portholes as they resemble the windows on a boat. These round windows can be positioned at normal window height, but are more often positioned in the gable end of the building creating high level glazing.
Porthole windows come in both fixed, non opening options and opening windows which are a good ventilation source.
You’re not limited to just placing windows in the walls of your garden office, the roof can provide a source of good light and an extra ventilation point.
There are lots of different styles of roof window used in garden office design, the most common is the opening roof window like those you’ll find used in loft conversions. This type of window used in a pitched roof design can flood the room with natural light, they are easy to open, and extras such as remote controls, rain sensors to close the windows and blinds can be easily ordered.
On flat roof garden offices roof lanterns are often used, they can be dome shaped or four sided units, some designs have opening vents, others are fixed units.
On some of the cutting edge contemporary designs we are seeing frame-less glass sheets in the roof which appear to have no structure, this is a very sleek look!
So, we’ve talked about the styles of window used in garden office design, lets now look at the common materials used and the benefits of each:
Softwood windows used to be common place in garden office design, but they have been widely replaced by more durable low maintenance options. You will still see softwood windows specified on some of the cheaper garden office designs and log cabin style buildings sold as garden offices.
Softwoods are fast growing and so cost effective for use in joinery, but they are not naturally durable so need protecting. House quality softwood windows are normally treated with preservative to prolong their lifespan, this often gives them an orange colour so they will need a decorative finish which you will have to maintain over the years.
House quality softwood windows come with a warranty of up to 30 years against rot, but you should check the situation with the windows used on log cabin style garden offices where the windows used are not always ‘house quality’.
If you like the idea of wooden windows for your garden office, hardwood windows are a more durable option. They will cost you more, but because hardwoods are more durable will last longer than their softwood equivalent.
Hardwoods such as oak and iroko are often used for the windows on a garden office, and these tend to be made to order, so are only likely to be an option on bespoke designs. By having hardwood windows made allows you to match the windows closely with the cladding of the office.
You are able to buy hardwood windows off the self, but they tend to be a reddish hardwood which can be difficult to match with the cladding’s used on garden offices.
Although hardwood windows are durable they will need some maintenance to keep them in good order over the years.
For some buyers having the windows of their garden office match the cladding is important, rather than the stark contrast you can end up with, with UPVC and Alu-Clad options.
A few garden office suppliers offer the option of custom made cedar windows to compliment the cedar cladding they use.
Cedar is a softwood but unlike pine is very durable as it has natural resistance to fungal and insect attack and has an estimated life span of thirty years. Cedar starts out a red brown colour but if left unsealed will weather to a silver grey colour over a couple of years.
UPVC windows have become the most common choice for garden office buyers, and whilst white is often an option the ability to now order coloured UPVC windows opens a lot of design options.
Grey UPVC windows are very popular on contemporary garden office designs as they contrast well with cedar cladding, depending on the design they may have a grey finish inside or a white internal layer.
Opening UPVC windows tend to have good multi-point locking systems so are a very secure option for a garden office.
The high spec option for garden office windows is Alu-clad (Aluminum clad windows). With Alu-clad systems you have the beauty of timber windows internally but externally the window is clad in highly durable powder coated aluminum.
Alu-clad windows are also very highly insulated as there is a layer of insulation in the structure of the frame.
Alu-clad windows are an expensive option but are worth consideration, they are normally made to measure and you have a lot of choice over the colour as the RAL paint system is often used.
Alu-clad windows are also very secure as they have multi-point locking systems, which is a good thing when you consider what you will store in a garden office.