Looking to get yourself a backyard office for home working? Start the journey today with this handy and helpful guide to costing a backyard workspace in 2021!
Unless you have been in an underground bunker, you cannot have missed the worldwide remote working revolution. Perhaps you are already part of it, coffee-stained papers piled high on the kitchen table, looking whimsically out of the window across a toy-strewn backyard.
Clawing back space for focused work in the average family home may well be impossible, but the backyard presents a final frontier that thousands of households are now appropriating for a smart garden office.
There has never been a better time to investigate buying or building a backyard office. There are simply hundreds of designs that make this an accessible concept for even the smallest yards and budgets!
Backyard Office Advantages!
Of course, building a new structure on your property is still both a significant undertaking and investment.
But if you can pull it off, the returns are excellent. Not only will you have a dedicated and well-equipped home office in your garden, but you are also likely to increase the overall value of your property by maximizing usable space. A contemporary garden room also is a great focus for landscaping your garden and will probably motivate you to keep your yard maintenance on track.
If you would like to see some outstanding examples of modern backyard she-sheds and studios, read our article ‘21 Amazing Backyard Office Ideas’ so you can see what can be achieved in your yard space, with prices where available.
So, How Much Does A Backyard Workspace Cost?
There is a wide price range for garden offices ranging from a few thousands of dollars for a thrifty self-built structure to well over a hundred thousand dollars or more for a residential-standard tiny house that is fully equipped with all the expected amenities. Across the market some basic rules appear to apply:
- Costs will increase with the size of the garden office.
Understandably creating a more expansive space will cost more, especially if you review the cost breakdown we share below. The Kanga Room Systems’ Kwik Room, an entry-level product line has a range of price points which are primarily determined by square footage. For example here are the prices of Kwik Rooms of various sizes including price per square foot.
|Kwik Room shell kit dimensions||Starting price ($)||Price per square foot ($)|
|8′ by 10′||7,200||90|
|10′ by 12′||8,500||70.83|
|12′ by 14′||9,500||56.54|
|12′ by 16′||10,600||55.20|
|14′ by 14′||10,600||55.20|
But, as price rises with increasing Kwik Room size, the cost per square foot falls, making the largest Kwik Rooms almost a third less per square foot than their smaller counterparts.
Over in the UK, the pattern of pricing remains similar. Warwick Buildings’ office pod starts at $7851.21 (£6000) for a 10.5′ by 8′ structure ($93 per square foot) but delivers better value per square foot (around $75) with its larger, 12.5′ by 9.8′ pod which costs $9159.75 (£7,000).
This makes examining price per square foot a prudent strategy for ensuring that you get the best value from your workspace build. Going a little larger could be worth it in the long run.
- Pre-fabricated structures will cost more than self-build backyard workspaces.
Pre-fabricated garden studios are a fast-growing market due to the popularity of this quick to build, fast-moving product.
These buildings are factory built by experienced carpenters who fabricate flat-packed panels for shipping to your location. Once delivered, you can self-assemble, get a contractor to build, or order a turnkey service as we describe below.
Pre-fabricated backyard workspaces differ from custom builds because you are ordering an office with an off-the-shelf design and specification. There are therefore prescribed limits on the changes that can be made to personalize your structure.
You will usually pay more for purchasing a pre-fab office shed versus a custom build.
For example, a very capable blogger was able to build a remarkable 12′ by 10′ garden home office for just $3500 all in. Taking this as your benchmark let’s take a look at what you will be paying for a pre-fab equivalent (same dimensions):
Clearly, if you are able to undertake the construction work and build off a garden office plan, you will make major savings on the cost of an office, leaving much more for equipping it and furnishing it.
- Turn-key, design and build backyard offices are the most expensive.
Turnkey installation of a garden office is by far the luxury option, and when it comes to outlay you can find yourself spending amounts equivalent to the cost of an extension or even a small house! Many architects and design and build companies have pivoted on the trend for habitable garden structures and offer fully equipped studios and offices connected to your utilities and drainage and ready to move in.
These custom-built workspaces are designed to make the best use of your available space and are kept sympathetic to your locality and regional planning laws. The construction work may also involve laying foundations, insulation, and plastering walls as well as landscaping the area around your office.
For this type of service expect to pay more, but turnkey projects are incredibly quick and convenient, saving you time, hassle, and allowing you to get working in your office quickly. Let’s look at some prices:
- British firm Crown Pavilions are renowned for their residential grade garden offices. They provide an exemplary turnkey service, designing expansive structures that are highly durable and can be used in comfort all year round. Their starting price for a cedar-clad 12′ by 10′ pitched roof office is $25,228 (£19,280)
- Los Angeles-based design and build firm Cover have built a strong reputation for themselves with their stylish garden offices which they design and build with amazing attention to detail. Precision fabrication means that everything is sealed with smooth lines and a clean Californian aesthetic. Their end-to-end service starts at $81,000 for a garden office.
- In. It Studios in the UK have a unique approach to pricing with a turnkey package that includes custom design and installation from ($1439) £1100 per sq meter.
What Goes Into The Cost Of A Garden Office?
So we have seen that multiple factors contribute to the price you will pay for your backyard office.
Clearly delivering your garden pod or studio has to be profitable to the company you work with, therefore it will be priced accordingly. Examining what goes into your studio build, especially if self-building or assembling a pre-fab structure, may provide opportunities to save on costs. Major contributors to the price you pay for a garden office include
- Design: It is important to remember unless you design your shed office yourself, you will be paying in part for the intellectual property of a designer architect. Garden office builders and pre-fab manufacturers will be contributing their expertise to create a hard-wearing structure that will be up to the rigors of day to day use. A custom design will also need to be drafted so that accurate building plans can be provided to building contractors. Most backyard workspaces are carefully designed to not require a planning permit which saves on costs.
- Materials: Your choice of materials is a big factor in the quality and durability of the structure you erect. It is important that high-quality materials are used that comply with local building regulations. Many garden offices are timber, steel, or aluminum frames which will affect what can be achieved with the design and the overall costs. Roofing may be metal or asphalt. High-quality hardwoods like cedar are also expensive, but have incredible longevity and improve the appearance of a studio with cladding. Hardware like windows and doors is also a large expense, especially if double glazing is used.
- Labor: Craftsmen like carpenters and joiners are key members of the workforce that build pre-fab office pods and sheds in a workshop environment for delivery to your backyard. Tradesmen and contractors, provided by the manufacturer or hired locally, can then assemble the cabin office on your property.
- Shipping: As the panels of a pre-fab office are large and heavy they are usually hauled by flatbed trailers. Many companies only deliver within a certain distance of their base and will charge supplementary fees for long-distances or awkward access to your property.
- Extras: Companies vary in the precise package of services offered and you will need to carefully research what you are getting for your money to avoid an unexpected last-minute expense. Some of these structures are delivered shell-only and will require weatherproofing, insulation, and interior drywall to be habitable. Foundations may also be a supplementary cost and of course, fittings and features like toilets and showers will add to your final bill.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much will it cost to hire a building contractor to build my garden office?
A. You may want to source your own materials, purchase a plan, and see if you can hire a local building contractor to build your workspace.
General building contractors usually charge a fee that works out as a percentage of the total project cost. According to Homeadvisor.com, this is typically between 10 and 20 percent. Jobs are unlikely to be priced per hour but the rate paid usually works out at $50 to $95 per hour.
If you only need help with specific tasks an alternative may be to hire a handyman to help you out on an hourly basis. Make the effort to do your due diligence for selecting a contractor to build your garden office by obtaining multiple quotes, requesting references, and asking for examples of previously completed work.
Q. How do the costs of a backyard workspace compare to hot-desking or hiring an office space?
A. If you are self-employed or a freelancer, having a dedicated workspace could save you the costs of hot-desking, using a co-working space, or hiring a small office. Clearly, the capital outlay will be thousands of dollars but how does a 10′ by 12′ garden office compare to hiring office space.
Hiring desk space with providers like WeWork will cost anything between $250 and $350 per month, meaning a savvy lower budget garden office build will have paid for itself within one to two years. This means that the right workspace is a great investment if you are intent on homeworking long-term.
Q. Can I get financing for my garden office?
A.It is important to do your research and get the appropriate financial advice for financing your build. Most of these structures are not eligible for mortgages so a personal loan is probably the most accessible form of financing for a garden office. Some garden office companies offer finance arrangements.
Q. Does a garden office have to be a shed structure?
A. Not at all. All sorts of structures can be repurposed and renovated for office use. Trailers are a popular option for a comfortable backyard workspace. Take a look at the beautiful Airstream trailer conversion over in our article ‘21 Amazing Backyard Office Ideas’.
A backyard office is a shrewd investment if you are serious about homeworking and makes an eye-catching centerpiece to any garden.
Always do your research and speak to plenty of companies about what can be achieved within your space and budget. If you get the opportunity, speaking with the owner of a great backyard workspace you admire can provide you with lots of pointers and recommendations for building your own.
As with all large purchases, a sound and well informed financial plan will pave the way to success and the satisfaction of getting to work in a beautiful backyard workspace of your very own.