Garden Offices - Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: What size garden office do I need?
- Q: Where should I locate my garden office?
- Q: What type of base is suitable for my garden office?
- Q: What access is required to deliver my garden office?
- Q: Is my garden office suitable for DIY assembly?
- Q: How should I maintain my garden office?
- Q: Can I insulate my garden office?
- Q: Can I have electricity in my garden office?
- Q: Is planning permission required for my garden office?
- Q: Is building regulations approval required for my garden office?
- Q: What is western red cedar?
- Q: What is pressure treatment?
- Q: What is shiplap cladding?
- The space will always be used, so buy the biggest garden office you can afford provided that it fits comfortably in the space available. There are no precise guidelines regarding the size. Often the size of a garden office is dictated by the space available. At Summer Garden Buildings we offer a wide range of sizes to suit every space. If you are replacing an existing garden room you should consider whether to have the same size again or perhaps larger. You should also consider how many people you might like to seat. Also, could your garden room be used for dining? The smallest size for a garden office is generally 8' x 10'. The most popular sizes are 12' x 8' and 12' x 10'.
- Ideally your garden office or garden room should have a clear space at least 18" wide on all sides, if possible. This ensures easy access for both installation and future maintenance. In reality this is often not practical and at many sites it is not needed. A reduced clearance is often possible on one or two sides. If the space around your building is restricted remember to allow for any roof overhang. You should also cut back or remove any nearby shrubs and trees. Remember to allow for future growth. We recommend a sheltered position which is not exposed.
- All garden offices and garden rooms need a substantial base. The base should be solid, square, flat and level to ensure the stability of your building. Paving slabs or concrete are ideal. A solid concrete base is more permanent and normally more expensive but it provides an excellent base especially for a larger home office. Paving slabs are more practical and cost effective, especially for a smaller base at the far end of the garden. The base should be no smaller than the floor size of the new building and no more than a few inches larger.
- If your order includes installation your garden office will be delivered and installed on the same day by prior appointment with you. A clear access route is required from the lorry to the prepared base, with no access restrictions. The sections are often large flat panels which may be as long as the building. Possible restrictions include archways, narrow passages, sharp corners and flights of steps. It is not normally possible to lift large panels over fences and walls. Access through the house may be possible with advance notice. If required larger panels can be made in smaller sections for a small surcharge. Please advise us if there are any access restrictions at the site.
- Many of our garden offices and garden rooms are only available with free professional installation included in the price. Some are suitable for DIY assembly. Assembly is a satisfying project for any DIY enthusiast. Even large buildings can be installed with only basic tools, such as a hammer, a screwdriver, a power drill, a spirit level, an adjustable spanner, a knife, a stepladder and safety goggles. Particular care is required when handling glass and good quality gloves should be worn at all times. You should not attempt to lift heavy sections without a helping pair of hands. Remember that extra time spent preparing a good base is normally repaid with time saved later on during the installation.
- Wooden garden offices and garden rooms require regular treatment. Summer Garden Buildings recommends that the external timber should be treated with a good quality wood stain every year. This will prolong the life of your building. All major wood stain manufacturers offer suitable products in a choice of colours, available from good hardware shops. At Summer Garden Buildings we offer a range of microporous wood preservatives in a choice of colours. Although normally offered with a new building only we are always happy to supply any of our microporous preservatives separately at any time to an existing customer who purchased one of our offices. Summer Garden Buildings also recommends that you regularly oil the door and window hinges as required to ensure continued smooth operation.
- Many of our garden offices are insulated as standard. Others are available with optional insulation. If your building is ordered without insulation this can be added after installation. Inexpensive polystyrene or fibreglass insulation can be easily fitted between the framing members. The insulation is retained by cross battens which also support the lining boards. Wood effect veneered wallboard is a popular lining but plywood and tongued and grooved cladding are also suitable. Insulation ensures greater comfort in the winter months so it is essential if you need your garden office all year round.
- Although providing an electricity supply to a garden office or garden room is normally a straightforward task, for safety reasons we recommend that you consult an approved electrician first. Since January 1st 2005 all electrical work must be completed in accordance with IEE wiring regulations and BS 7671. Notifiable work must be either notified directly to the local building control department or completed by an operator who is approved under the Part P Electrical Competent Person Scheme.
- The majority of garden offices and garden rooms do not require planning permission. However, permission is required for any building which covers over half the garden, which is not for domestic use or which is over 3 metres high with a pent roof or 4 metres high with an apex roof. Larger buildings which are within 2 metres of a boundary and over 2.5m high (8'2") require planning permission. Some larger offices with apex or hipped roof designs may be over 2.5m high. Planning permission may also be required for any home office or garden room which is nearer to a public highway than the original dwelling. For planning purposes a public highway includes any road or footpath with a public right of way. If you live in a Conservation Area or a Listed Building permission may be required for any home office or garden room over 10 cubic metres. This brief summary is not intended to be a comprehensive guide. Contact us for further advice or contact your local planning department. Please note that planning regulations apply to any building whether temporary or permanent including garden offices and garden rooms.
- The majority of garden offices and garden rooms do not require approval under the building regulations. However, approval is required for any building with an internal floor area of more than 30 square metres. Please note that the building regulations apply to any building in excess of 30 square metres whether temporary or permanent including garden offices and garden rooms.
- Western Red Cedar is an attractive timber but it also has an unrivalled reputation for durability. It is ideal for use in the construction of garden offices and garden rooms. The superior qualities of Western Red Cedar are summed up in this extract from the grading rules published by The Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau:
- "The largest and finest of the cedars produced anywhere in the world, the Western red cedar is famed for its extraordinary durability and resistance to decay. Western red cedar is a distinct species, possessing all the desirable qualities of the other cedars, and additional advantages besides. It can be finished to a smooth, silky finish; it is free from pitch, it takes and holds stains and paints excellently, and has superior glueing properties. Its colour is extremely attractive, varying from almost pure white of the narrow sapwood to the light straw shade of dark reddish-brown of the heartwood. The wood of Western red cedar has a vey low coefficient of expansion, so that it does not shrink, swell or warp excessively, even when subjected to changing degrees of temperature and moisture. It has prime insulating qualities and its pleasing aromatic odour is repellent to moths, insects and vermin. The wood is saturated to every fibre with a natural preservative oil which renders it virtually immune to decay and gives it extreme durability without artificial preservative treatment. It is not necessary to paint cedar to preserve its surface, as it does not deteriorate appreciably even under severe climatic changes."
- We offer pressure treatment as an option with many of our garden offices and garden rooms. Pressure treatment is a lifetime preservative treatment. The preservative is forced into the timber under pressure and penetrates below the surface, whereas all other treatments apply a coat of stain to the surface of the timber only. Pressure treatment is almost colourless except for a slight green tint caused by the copper content in the preservative. No further treatment is ever needed but if you want a coloured finish you can paint over pressure treated timber with normal wood preservative in any colour.
- Shiplap is the traditional and ever popular cladding profile for use in garden offices and garden rooms. Shiplap features smooth planed and fully interlocking tongued and grooved boarding. The design ensures that rainwater drains quickly and the timber dries quickly. This helps to ensure a longer life for your home office. Our garden offices feature properly tongued and grooved boarding which is stronger than the half lap shiplap or rebated shiplap used by many others.
What size garden office do I need?
Where should I locate my garden office?
What type of base is suitable for my garden office?
What access is required to deliver my garden office?
Is my garden office suitable for DIY assembly?
How should I maintain my garden office?
Can I insulate my garden office?
Can I have electricity in my garden office?
Is planning permission required for my garden office?
Is building regulations approval required for my garden office?
What is western red cedar?
What is pressure treatment?
What is shiplap cladding?
Summer Garden Buildings is a leading UK retailer of home offices and garden rooms established in 1981 with a retail display site in Norwich, Norfolk.