News & Insights

Can I put an office in the garden?

With many of us having to work from home (WFH) for some of the working week, space is at a premium. One option available for some with the space is to install a garden office. Dean Bickford, partner in our Real Estate team looks at some of the restrictions.

One of a number of challenges facing us in the Covid-19 climate is adapting our home to create the office environment we need to be able to work from home. This has resulted in many turning to utilising their outdoor space and building an office in the garden. For some this is a simple solution, provided that you comply with the applicable regulations and restrictions . So, what are the key issues to consider?

  1. Do I need planning permission?

Generally, no, you do not. However, there are some limits and restrictions. For example, no building can be in front of the main home. The new building cannot be used as separate self-contained living accommodation. However, planning permission may be required if the building is to be located in the grounds of a listed building, and there are specific restrictions upon “designated land” such as in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or National Parks. You should consult a planning consultant or the local planning authority for guidance.

  1. 2. Does size really matter?

Yes, height is usually restricted to a single storey with a maximum eaves and overall height, dependant on the type of roof you have. There are also limits on the height of buildings located within two metres of the boundary of the main home.

  1. What about the area or footprint?

Again, yes, there are limitations, although it depends on what is already in the garden. For most, the headline restriction is that all outbuildings (including detached garages) cannot cover more than half of the total area around the original main house.

  1. Do I need to get Building Regulations approval?

Generally, building regulations will not apply if the new building is less than 15 square metres in area. However, if it affects areas such as the structure of the main home, access or fire precautions, then building regulations may apply.

Whether you will be caught by planning and building regulations will always depend on the individual facts. It is important to ensure you check that your plans are compliant or seek guidance before embarking on the project. Otherwise, it can be a costly problem if you have to remove or alter your fully kitted-out home office.