There is more to designing a backyard office than just picking one and saying that one. There is the size, shape, position, and orientation of the office to arrive at. And then there is the size, shape, number, positioning and orientation of the windows and door to define. All of these are going to be influenced by both your backyard and how you are going to use the office space.
These 12 questions will help you define what you want from your backyard office:
1. Regulations and permits
Sorry to start with a downer, but what is the limit in the amount of backyard space you can dedicate to an office. What does the local regulation limit and what can you commit? Most jurisdictions limit you to 10m2 / 107 sq. ft. without the need for a planning permit with a planning permit you have much more freedom.
Getting on with the neighbors is important. Where you position the backyard office is going to impact your neighbors, this may or may not need to be considered.
3. What type of space works best for you?
What shape do you want your office – 2 sensible choices square typically 10’ x 10’ or rectangular 12’ x 8’, which is going to work best for you and for your backyard?
4. Who is going to be using the Backyard Office?
Is it just you working in the space or do you need a second desk or a place to greet clients and discus work?
5. Light, direct and indirect
Light, how are you going to orientate your office for the best light. North facing is the best working light but will mean a colder office in winter, we tend to recommend south facing windows and good blinds.
6. Entry and access
Where do you want the door, how are you going to approach the office? In summer strolling across a beautiful grassy yard will invigorate you. In winter that walk may not work so well.
7. Air flow
Fresh air, having a positive air flow through the office is wonderful. If you are currently stuck in an office which overheats in summer and you cannot open the windows you know what we are talking about.
8. Working surfaces
What type of worker are you? Do you need to spread out papers and samples and so need lots of surface area or are you focused on two or even three monitors and not wanting distraction or somewhere in between? Do you need a printer and scanner close to you or can they be tucked away?
How much storage do you want in your office? How much filing do you need to keep on hand, do you need a bookcase for reference?
10. Study or reading zone
A reading space is a real treat to have in your office, a nook where you can sperate from the desk and sit and focus.
11. What have you always wanted in an office?
What have you always wanted in your office but never been able to have? One client wanted a space for an indoor Zen garden another realized they didn’t need to limit their music listening to headphone and could have a min hi-fi system.
12. And for those who are pet owners, does your pet need a space to visit you in your new backyard office?