Get to Work: Garden Shed Style!
This delightful shed was converted into a home office, complete with attached porch, “office” plant and separate “cubicle” for your favorite workday mascot.
For many folks who commute to work every day, the ability to work from home sounds like a dream. Of course, anyone who actually works at home can tell you that it’s not without its drawbacks — namely, the plethora of constant distractions pulling for your attention.
Fortunately, with a bit of creative out-of-the-box thinking, you can take your home office out of your home’s four corners and transplant it in your backyard! The best part is that converting your oft-overlooked garden shed into an office home away from home is not as difficult or costly as you might think.
Even if all you have is a patch of grass in the backyard but no shed of which to speak – don’t worry. You can order one pre-fab and even have it installed with minimal effort on your part. After all, you’re going to need your strength to deck it out in the office décor of your choice!
No matter your current situation, here are some things to keep in mind for establishing your very own office in your backyard garden shed.
Setting the Scene
Depending on where you are in the process (converting or starting from scratch), you will have situation-specific levels of the following projects to complete.
Ensure the Shed’s Functionality
This means making sure the room is properly equipped for 9-5 (or whatever hours you keep) habitation and includes things like:
- Proper Insulation: Even if you choose not to install plumbing (hey, you’ll have an excuse to check in on the kids when you run home to use the restroom and eat lunch), you will still need to have your shed insulated and dry-walled.
- Proper Ventilation: Many sheds come with fully-functional windows and keeping them open with an oscillating fan may be all the air flow you need. If you live in a muggier or hotter climate, you may choose to install a window air conditioning unit to keep you cool.
- Sufficient Lighting: Even if you have an overhead light, you will most likely need to add more lighting options in the form of table or floor lamps and even task lighting (focused pot lights, hanging pendent lights, etc.) if you need to highlight a certain portion of the room.
- Appropriate Technical Connections: Let’s not forget that we actually need to be able to work in the shed so making sure it is equipped with appropriate electrical outlets, phone lines and internet connections is a must.
Also, don’t forget to:
- Clean: Since you are working outside of the house without actually working outside, make sure the inside of your shed is completely clean before moving in your work items or adding paint or other decorations.
- Paint: You can order your garden shed in custom colors to avoid having to paint the exterior but when it comes to painting interior walls, make sure you opt for eco-friendly paint with low to zero VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Since these types of paint release fewer toxins into the atmosphere, they are better for the environment as a whole and your office environment. Pick colors that will make the space seem larger and in shades that will energize you for work and keep your creative juices flowing.
- Decorate: While you’re picking paint colors, don’t forget the accessories! Mix in enough comfortable finishes like plush floor rugs and comfy work chairs so that you will want to remain in your office during the day.
Setting up Shop
Once your shed is cleaned, prepped and ready to go, you can move on to:
Establish your Workstation
The first step is going to be to determine your room’s layout. No matter your craft or trade, you’re likely going to need a command center/table/desk of some sort.
Make sure there is enough surface area for whatever task you need to complete and your work space is equipped with the necessities for your job (drawers and cabinets, etc.).
One of the toughest issues in any space is finding sufficient storage and a garden shed is no exception. Maximize the room you have by installing corner shelving units to get your items up off the floor and easily accessible at an arms’ length reach.
Just because you are in a garden shed, don’t forget about the valuables contained therein: expensive office equipment, your work product that may contain sensitive information, and, oh yes, you! Make sure you install locks on the doors and windows so that you can ensure a safe and secure environment whether you’re in the shed or in the house.
If you know anyone who has a home office in an outdoor garden shed, what aspect of their setup do you appreciate the most?
Angelo DiGangi is a Home Depot “on the floor” sales associate and a regular contributor to Home Depot’s website. His interests include providing garden shed project tips to homeowners, as well as advising on other outdoor home improvement plans such as fencing and decks.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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