Summertime and Yorkshire looked at its most magnificent recently for the Tour de Yorkshire – what an advertisement to the rest of the world to come and visit or live in our fair county.
At this time of year my clients often ask me for advice when looking to buy a home that just needs a little more accommodation or if their existing houses needs a bit of a space injection and the subject of garden rooms enter the discussion. It is easy to say that everyone should be able to find a home with the perfect accommodation, but sometimes when space is a little tight the house is in the perfect location or is just too loveable to miss out on. I say often ‘have you thought about a garden office, gym or chillout space?’ The looks on peoples faces tell me that an image of a damp shed has sprung to mind – damp and freezing in winter and hot and humid in summer. Well, think again!
I recently had that need for extra space myself for my growing business. The journey to the perfect garden office was really quite stress free. First of all, if you are aiming to truly bring the outside in, then think carefully about location. Your thoughts should include not only how to get to the garden office (no trips across waterlogged lawns), but also where the sun rises and falls and even where the windows will be placed to give sight lines to your favourite part of the garden. Don’t forget the practicality of how easy it will be to bring power, broadband (and possibly water) to the garden office. So, to dispel the image of the shed, I chose gorgeous Western Red Cedar, which positively glows after an annual treatment of Osmo conditioning oil. The garden room has extra insulation in walls and windows to bring thermal efficiency that beats most houses and makes heating costs minimal with extra high performance space heaters. Acoustic glass keeps traffic noise outside and the beat of music from the Arcam Solo hi-fi system with cute Neat speakers, on the inside. Fibre broadband lifts the performance of computers, devices and a smart TV to blisteringly fast. Top notch office furniture all sourced secondhand in Bradford – after all, everybody loves a bargain. Cool crisp paint on the walls helps to display splendid images of Harrogate through the seasons, which always brings a smile to my face.
An unused part of the garden has been transformed into a little rural retreat. If done stylishly these outside spaces improve marketability and can prove to be a good investment. Many garden offices can be erected without planning permission, but its always wise to check and the local authority is always available for advice. Costs are extremely reasonable compared to either extending an existing home or moving house to create more space. There’s a little bit of project management involved in pulling it all together, but nothing more onerous than ensuring everyone arrives in the right order! In just three weeks, a merry band of Yorkshire tradesmen created the perfect garden office. We seem to have had years of pulling away from gardens, developing back gardens and drifting towards town houses and apartments. Well, pressure on housing our population is remorseless and encouraging high density development, but if you do still have the good fortune of a pleasant garden, why not enjoy it to the full?
My clients seem to visibly relax more in my garden office when we discuss some of the stressful aspects of buying a house. Why? I don’t know – maybe being closer to nature, watching the breeze flutter the leaves of the Japanese Acers outside, or even the proximity of magnificent beech trees towering above. All I know is that I don’t have to have any more meetings on my breakfast table……amen to that!
Photographs © Yorkshire Post Newspapers, photographed by James Hardisty @snapperjim