Home offices were once considered a luxury, but in the 21st century, they’ve become a must-have feature for much of the modern workforce.
Thanks to the World Wide Web, employees and employers can stay connected virtually anywhere around the globe; it’s possible to work for an employer who is based on a completely different continent than you are!
Connectivity has also lead to a sharp increase in the number of self-employed online business owners.
Because telecommuting is so prevalent in today’s society, having a home-based workspace is essential. Whether you work at home on a full-time or part-time basis, establishing a dedicated “command center” so-to-speak, will help to keep you motivated and stay focused on your day-to-day tasks.
However, not all homes can accommodate a home office; perhaps you lack the square footage indoors or your house is always bustling with noise and activity. Whatever the reason, if you need a place to work at home but you can’t create an office setup inside, how about moving it outside?
That’s right, your backyard can serve as a great location for a dedicated workspace that’s completely separate from the main part of your home; and it will be nice and quiet, too!
Plus, a backyard office – if well-designed – will serve as a focal point in your yard and can even up your property value.
If a backyard office sounds like something that you’re interested in but you don’t know where to get started, keep on reading! Below, you’ll find some awesome ideas to inspire a one-of-a-kind, functional, cozy, and visually pleasing office space in your own backyard.
Choose a Location
In order to create an office in your backyard, the first thing you need to do is choose a location. Ideally, it should be a secluded area; a spot that’s separate from activity in your yard.
For instance, if you have kids, you’ll want to choose a spot that’s away from their swing set, trampoline, swimming pool, etc., so that you won’t be distracted when they’re outside playing, because let’s be honest; kids make a lot of noise.
Consider your neighbors, too. Do they tend to be noisy? Perhaps they have a dog that runs around barking a lot, or maybe they have kids of their own that make a lot of noise. Ideally, the spot you choose for your backyard office should be as quite as possible.
In addition to being quite, you’ll also want to choose an easily accessible location. A corner at the edge of your yard may be quite, but if it is hard to reach – a lot of trees or other plant life is in the way, for example – it might not be best spot; unless, of course, you clear it out.
Pick a Structure
Once you’ve decided on the location for your backyard office, the next thing you need to do is choose a structure. After all, working out in the open won’t really work for your office supplies. Plus, what about when the weather turns; it rains, snows, or it’s extremely hot or cold?
In order to create a backyard office, you need shelter. There are several different types of structures that can be used as an office in your yard. Some examples include:
- A Shed. Who says a shed can only be used to store tools, gardening supplies, and other outdoor equipment? It can also be used as a dedicated home office. Sheds come in all different shapes and sizes, and a wide variety of designs. If you already have one in your yard, consider emptying it out and transforming it into your home office. Of course, you can always purchase something new, too. If you’re getting a new shed, make sure that you consider the size of the space and choose a style that will work for your specific needs.
- A Greenhouse. A greenhouse can also double as a backyard office! It will provide the shelter you need to protect you from the elements, as well as plenty of natural light; plus, you’ll be able to take in the views from your yard.
- A Gazebo. A gazebo already has a roof and floor, but you can add some walls with plywood, a door, and install some windows, and voila! – You have a functional office space in your backyard.
- A Storage Pod. You can also turn a storage pod into an office space. Add some siding to the exterior walls, laminate flooring, and a window or two, and you’ll have a comfortable and quiet space to work in your backyard.
- A Prefab Modular Container House. These tiny houses have become all the rage and they would serve as an excellent office setting in your yard. The best part is that they already have windows, doors, and flooring; you just need to assemble it and add in the finishing touches.
These are just some examples of the different structures that can be transformed into a backyard office.
As long as it has walls, a roof, a floor, and a door (preferable windows, too), you can turn pretty much any structure into a home-based backyard office. Let your creativity flow and see what you can come up with!
Power It Up
No matter what type of structure you decide to use as your backyard office, in order to make it functional, you need to supply it with electricity. You’ll need power to run your computer, printer, and other office supplies, as well as lighting and climate control.
If you’re experienced with electrical work, you may be able to do the job yourself; however, if you haven’t been professionally trained or you aren’t confident in your abilities, it’s best to leave the job to a licensed and experienced electrician.
When it comes to electricity, it needs to be done properly. A small mistake could lead to serious problems and potential danger.
When you’re powering up your backyard office setting, make sure that you have electrical outlets installed, as well as power lines for lighting. Temperature control is important, too.
You may even want to consider having lighting fixtures installed, such as overhead pot lights or track lighting, so that the space is properly illuminated.
As mentioned above, you’ll need to include climate control in your backyard office setting. Whether you’re using a gazebo, a shed, a storage pod (or anything else), typically, these structures aren’t temperature controlled.
You’ll need to insulate the walls, ceiling, and floor to avoid cooking in the summer and prevent freezing in the winter. Additionally, you’ll want to bring in heat, an air conditioner, or at the very least, a few fans.
You could have baseboard heat installed or just use a space heater to keep the interior warm on chilly days, and to beat the summer heat, you could use a portable air conditioner, such as a window unit or a stand-alone portable AC. Alternatively, you could use a split unit, which provides heating and air conditioning.
Whichever way you decide to go, you definitely don’t want to skimp on climate control for your backyard office setting. If you do, you’ll not only end up being uncomfortable, but there’s also a chance that you could put yourself in a dangerous position.
To really make the structure you’re using as your backyard office look the part, add some flooring.
Whether it’s laminate tiles, manufactured wood, natural stone tiles, or wall-to-wall carpeting, real flooring materials will help to ground the space, make the office setting feel more comfortable, and enhance its visual appeal.
When choosing a flooring material for your backyard office, consider you’re unique taste and the look you want to create, as well as your budget and the durability.
For example, if you want to create rustic look, laminate tiles that are made to look like wood or natural stone would work well; however, if you’re going for a homey feel, carpeting may be a better choice.
An important tip: you can certainly attempt to install the flooring yourself; however, if you aren’t confident in your abilities, you may want to hire a pro to do it for you.
Add Some Storage Features
If you want to keep your backyard office neat, clean, tidy, and organized, you need to bring in some storage elements. Shelving works great, and there are various types of shelving you can use; individual shelving units, floating wall shelves, bracket shelves, floating shelves, and even built-ins.
Bookcases also provide functional storage for an office setting, and just like shelving, bookcases are available in an assortment of shapes and sizes. Filing cabinets and wall cabinets can also provide ample storage for your office.
Whatever features you decide to use, make sure that you have ample storage for your backyard office.
Just like a commercial office or an office space inside your home, a backyard office also needs furnishings; a desk and chairs, for example. Choose a desk that offers plenty of room to spread out, and a style that speaks to your personal taste and works with the look that you want to create.
If you can’t find a desk that you like, you could always transform a table into a desk, have something custom-built, or if you’re handy, design and build your own.
In regard to an office chair, make sure that you choose something that’s comfortable and supportive. Ergonomic office chairs are the ideal choice, as they are specifically designed to provide the support that is needed when sitting for long hours and working on a computer.
Ergonomic chairs are available in a wide range of styles, so choose something that works with the look you are trying to achieve.
In addition to the chair you’ll be sitting in, you might want to bring in extra seating, especially if you intend on meeting with clients. Arm chairs or a sofa would work well, as they’ll serve as inviting spots for your guests to sit; plus, you can use them yourself when you need to take a break from the desk.
You might also want to bring in an additional table, where you can hold meetings, enjoy lunch, or keep your kiddos entertained if they’re going to be in and out of your backyard office.
Add the Finishing Touches
To bring the whole look together, you’ll want to add some finishing touches to your backyard office. Consider the type of look that you want to achieve in your backyard office and choose furnishings that will help you create that look.
Paintings, framed pictures of your family, inspirational quotes, wall hangings, area rugs, and potted plants are just some of the decorative elements that you can bring into the space.
When you’re decorating a backyard office, don’t just focus on the interior; focus on the exterior, as well. Remember, it’s a structure in your yard, so it should tie in with the overall look of your landscape.
Add flower beds around the perimeter of the structure, set out some type of outdoor seating near the entrance or sides, such as Adirondack chairs, an outdoor sofa or chaise lounges, or even a hammock.
You could even add a fire pit or a water feature around the exterior of your backyard office to turn it into a space that will function as more than just a spot where you can get work done, but a place where you can enjoy some relaxation when the workday is through, too.
Summing It Up
If you are like countless people who are joining the home-based workforce these days, but you lack the square footage inside your home or you just don’t want to give up space to create a home office, turn to your backyard!
With the ideas and tips mentioned above, you can create a one-of-a-kind, functional, comfortable, and appealing backyard office that will serve as more than just a place to get your work done; it can also act as a focal point for your yard and even increase your property value.