Friday, 21 June 2013

How to Build a Garden Office

How to Build a Garden Office - Intro

In this post I aim to describe how you build a fairly shabby, but well insulated garden office for under £1000.

Before you start draw a plan of you office on a bit of paper, and work out how much wood you will need and make sure you have enough space for everything you intend to put in the office. See my garden office plan.

  • OSB and Plywood Cladding
  • 4" x 2" (100 x 50) framing
  • Knauf acoustic role insulation 100mm.
  • Reclaimed upvc double glazing units.
  • Damp proof floor
  • Sedum roof.

How to Build a Garden Office - Choosing Your materials


Perhaps the most important consideration is cost, a green roof is cheap and 10mm shuttering ply board is also cheap which is why I have opted for them. where you buy your timber can make a big difference. All my timber came from Travis Perkins, which came out cheapest when I quoted around.

Other more attractive external and internal cladding materials might be considered such as ship lap, or taper cut or external tongue and groove.

A garden office built with ship lap timber.
shuttering ply - not as pretty!
Despite not being very pretty ply wood as an exterior office cladding has two main advantages:

  1. Increased weather proofness- unlike building with ship lap you will not end up with loads of little cracks which wind and rain can get in to the garden office.
  2. Quicker - 1 bit of ply board will cover 2.88 m sq. so you will be working a lot quicker than you would with ship lap or taper cut.


If you intend to work in your office over winter you will need to insulate it, unless you want to run up a large heating bill. 100mm of insulation is good, rolled mineral wool if you are on a budget, if you can afford some rigid foam board or XPS then lucky you. Don't forget insulation can keep you cool in summer too, and keep out sound. I went for acoustic insulation for my garden office.

How to Build a Garden Office - Step 1 - Footings and Floors

Floor Structure for your Garden Office

First off clear a patch of ground big enough for the garden office to fit in, clear of weeds etc, and then use a spirit level and a plank of wood to establish 4 or more level pads (concrete blocks / bricks) on which we will start to build our floor structure. Check the floor structure is square, place an uncut play board on top and use it like a giant set square to check that the office base is square.

the foolish pig?
Remember to make a good job of this stage, even a cheaply built garden office will be fairly heavy come the end. Pads every 1.5 meters is a good idea.

Damp Proofing Floor of Garden Office

Next lay down the cross beam / floor joists , and over lay with damp roof membrane.

space your joists to match your uncut ply board / OSB (saves time)
Insulation and Floor Boards for your garden office

Trim the damp proof membrane around the edge of the floor platform, you can leave this until after puttting down the floor boards, if you want. Then add in the insulation to fill the voids between joists.

 Building a Garden Office - Step 2 - Walls

To build the wall of you garden office you have two choices you can either build the frame for the walls and then attached the external cladding first. Or if in my case you are building close to a boundary the you can make up individual panels with the exterior cladding already attached.

building with panels as above is good when you are in a tight spot

 Things will be a bit wobbly to start off with but once you have made you first corner, things will become easier. Keeping checking that everything is upright using a spirt level.

building a corner means a stable wall section to work from
Extra framing around windows
 Doors and windows for your garden office.

Windows and doors can be sourced fairly easily from ebay, second hand is cheap expect to pay £15 - £50 for an ebay window, or £150 - £350 for a new window. Double glazed will keep the heat in better.

Buy a timber door frame and build this in to the garden office to provide access (hanging the door is probably the most technically demanding part of the whole build!)

Building a Garden Office - Step 3 - Roof

Building the roof is almost the same a building the floor, just put it on top of the garden office, leave an over hang all of the way around so that drips don't run down the walls.

To water proof my roof I used 3 layers of damp proof membrane, get on the roof, with no shoes on, unroll the plastic sheeting over the roof, staple down around the edges. Not easy doing this when windy so try and do it on a calm day.

Inside you garden office

Inside why not make your own desk and shelves with off cuts / spare wood. Cheap and made to measure.

ready for work

OK that is it. In our next post we will observe the set up for the DIY green roof.

Environmental Permit Applications  

Desktop Study

Sustainability Consultants

1 comment:

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