How to Build a Beautiful Backyard Office
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every part of our lives. The world of work is perhaps the most obvious.
Gone are chats around the office water cooler. 71 percent of workers are now working from home. The same research shows 54 percent of workers want to keep working from home.
This shift to home working has meant that people are looking to create more space. Office space is particularly desirable, whether that’s for remote college work or the day job.
The outside space is often a space that’s underused. With a backyard office shed, it doesn’t have to be!
Read on to learn how to create your own backyard office.
Do You Already Have a Shed?
You may already have a shed in your backyard. Ask yourself the following questions before you decide to convert it to an office.
Can you run electricity to the shed?
How will you heat it and provide ventilation?
What are the existing windows and doors like? Will they need to be replaced?
How will you secure your new office?
We’ll look at each of these ideas in turn throughout the rest of the article. Your answers will help you decide if conversion is better than construction.
Building a Backyard Office From Scratch
Before you start, check the building codes in your region for sheds. In some states, you don’t need a permit if the shed is under a certain size. Elsewhere, you need a permit to build one.
Once you’ve cleared that, check your available space for a small backyard office. The orientation also matters, particularly for sunlight. What size shed will you be able to have?
Think about what else you might want to use it for in the future. A larger shed will give you extra flexibility. Or you might build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to double as living space. Check out https://actonadu.com/ for some great ADU ideas.
Whether you build a shed or convert an existing one, you’ll need insulation. This makes your space warmer and more comfortable. It also dampens sound which also makes for a better working environment.
Install insulation that’s water/moisture resistant, and preferably mold/mildew resistant. This will work better in an outside space.
Include a vapor barrier when you do so. This provides moisture control since you’ll end up with condensation regardless of the climate. Vapor barriers help the space to dry out faster.
Supply Power, Heat, and Ventilation
No modern backyard office is complete without electricity, heating, and ventilation.
Get a registered electrical contractor to connect your shed to your main electricity supply. This means you can install lighting and you’ll be able to use a computer outside. You may also need a Wi-Fi access point if your shed is too far from your main router.
The electrical supply also means you can use fan heaters or halogen heaters to warm the space.
Ventilation will depend on the climate and the design of your shed. Some people install full-length French doors that they leave open while working. Others install ventilation units.
Get Creative With Decor
Once you’ve finalized the fundamentals, you can start to get creative with the decor. Use drywall or wooden wall panels to turn the shed into a living space. Prime and paint these for the finishing touches.
You can hang wall art to personalize the space. Or install a whiteboard to give you extra thinking space.
For the floor, choose a durable covering. A carpet will be warmer on the feet but may wear out from foot traffic. Vinyl floor tiles will need less upkeep than wooden floorboards.
You can also decide if you want to install a ceiling or leave it open. For the former, this can make space feel more like an actual office.
The latter gives you extra space and you can hang things from the beams. Plants in hanging baskets are a great choice. They bring greenery into your office without taking up flat surfaces.
Don’t forget to decorate the outside of your new office. Window boxes can cheer up the exterior walls. A neat decorative trim can also ‘lift’ its appearance.
Plan the Layout
Now you can start planning the layout. Will you need a large desk for a desktop computer? Or is a smaller desk for a laptop enough?
Do you want to include a small fitness area for yoga or lifting weights? What about a relaxation area? Even big offices have sofas and somewhere to chill out. See if you have space for a reading nook in your backyard office.
Depending on the nature of your work, you may wish to add an art or craft space. Think about how much space a workbench might take up in your shed.
These questions will also dictate how much lighting you need. Directional lamps are a flexible option, or you might prefer standing lamps for more ambient lighting.
The final consideration is security. Will you leave your computer in your shed at all times? Or will you simply take your laptop outside when you need to?
How about filing? Will you store important documents electronically? Do you have space for a lockable filing cabinet?
Whichever way you answer these questions, decide how to secure your tiny backyard office. Depending on your area, a simple door lock or padlock might be enough.
Otherwise, you might want to consider a security system. Smart home systems can be a great option for a backyard office.
Door and window sensors alert you when the doors or windows are opened. You can access the feed from an interior camera on your smartphone to check all is well.
Implement These Awesome Backyard Office Ideas
As you can see, building a backyard office throws up a lot of questions. The size and layout will often depend on what kind of work you do. The way you like to work can also affect what you put in your office.
Check out other awesome backyard office ideas to see how others have tackled the issue. Work with an experienced contractor to bring your new office space to life.
Visit our home improvement section to see more great ideas in action.