Now that's what I call a short commute!
THERE has been a significant rise in the number of people working from home over the last decade. Whether it's an alternative to office work, or running a business from home, the kitchen table is not a realistic solution.
A spare room is a better alternative, but for homes without this option a garden office is a good way forward.
The big advantage of a garden office space is its detachment from the house. Being able to leave your home to get to your workplace is a habit hardwired into our psychology.
Even the short walk to the bottom of the garden helps differentiate home from work. A phone line can be set up and a wi-fi unit can provide internet access.
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In this garden, the office takes up a shady corner. This leaves the sunny side of the garden for the main seating area.
The office design reflects the octagonal central patio and consists of a main central workspace with two smaller "wings" for storage. Because it faces north, the rear roof pitch is glazed to let sunlight in. The reclaimed tile roof and stained glass windows combine with rough sawn cladding to give a natural feel to the front facade.
Meanwhile, the timber frame allows for the inclusion of insulation and internal cladding incorporates power points and phone lines.
We designed a pond in front of the office, which brings water right up to the front doors and, by way of a slender timber bridge, a feeling of calm detachment from the main garden is created.
A small clay water spout sends water along a narrow rill running around the central paved octagon which spills into a triangular pool close to the main decking area.
The water flows both sides of a triangular island step which gives access to the central patio from the lower decking area near the house. The result is a calm, well-lit space which can be open to the garden during the summer months and, if insulated, can provide a cosy winter bolt hole. It's even possible to include a wood-burning stove.
If well designed, a space to work in the garden can be minimal. In this second garden, the workspace has been created within an area of 2m x 2m and replaced an old shrub which was struggling for light.
An office by day, its hinged desk and folding chairs can be tidied away later in the day to create a summerhouse.
The windows are reclaimed Victorian sashes which have been rehung with swivel hinges and sash cord counterweights to give ample ventilation as well as opening up the space to the garden. In this case, light has been let in through a central roof lantern as well as triangular lights which catch the morning and evening sun.
Contact Tom at All Garden Designs, on 0117 951 1923, or 07739 456765, or visit www.allgardendesigns.co.uk.