They are the latest must-have acquisition for the home working, property owning professional – welcome to the world of the garden office.
Since the start of the first lockdown, these structures have been springing up in gardens across the country, fuelling a status symbol battle with some people paying up to £50,000 to ensure they can work at home in style.
Fed-up with sitting hunched over their kitchen table, with children and pets running around, more home workers are having garden offices built, with some companies reporting demand up by more than 200% in the past few months.
While you can have a glorified garden shed built for a few thousand pounds, some people are splashing out on more expensive upgrades, complete with insulation, double glazing, kitchens, bathrooms and even cinema rooms.
By definition, a garden office is a glazed extension with a fully tiled roof, either freestanding or attached to an existing building.
Depending on where you live, there will be a size restriction before you need planning permission – usually between 15 and 30sq metres – and it shouldn’t take up more than half of your garden.
To avoid having to comply with planning and building warrant restrictions, it can have electricity but no plumbing. Otherwise, the world, or at least your garden, is your oyster, with most home offices taking just a day to build.
Struan Douglas, Managing Director of Edinburgh-based Purdie & Co Solicitors and Estate Agents, said people are attracted by the idea of building something less complicated than a home extension, but which still adds to the value of their homes.
He said: “With home working now looking like a permanent thing, at least for part of the week, more people are taking steps to make their home working environment as comfortable as possible.
“We are now seeing properties with office gardens coming onto the market and, depending on the area, a good quality structure can add between 5% and 15% to the value of your home.”
John Booth, Scottish agent for Booths Garden Studios, said demand has increased by 200% since last autumn and he is providing quotes for up to 50 customers per month.
He said that, as well as businesspeople, there is growing demand from hairdressers, dog groomers and nail bar owners to move out of costly high street premises and to relocate to their gardens.
He said: “Most of the business we get now is from home workers looking to work in a bit more comfort, without the distractions they get in their house.
“The structures we design are portable, so they can be dismantled, and they vary in price from around £8,000 to almost £30,000.”
He added: “Planning permission is a bit of a grey area at the moment, and it varies from authority to authority. In most cases office workers just need heating and plug points and so there’s generally no requirement.
“Other people, who want a garden studio to use as a home cinema or as a granny extension with a kitchens and shower room or bathroom do need to apply. We generally advise everyone in advance to check first with the council’s planning department.”
For more information on buying or selling a property call Purdie & Co on 0131 346 7240 or visit www.purdiesolicitors.co.uk