With the work-from-home lifestyle sticking around, many are turning to their garden to create more space for privacy and relaxation and even transforming it into a place to work in. If you’re thinking of adding a space in your garden to work from home, here are some key elements to include.
Patio & Deck – A patio or deck space whether small or large can accommodate your outdoor workspace just as well as any indoor office can. Adding an outdoor rug can also make the space feel a bit cozier. In the PNW especially, make sure to select a quick-drying material and be cautious of when to have it outdoors. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll want to consider how big your current or future patio furniture is and decide on a patio/deck size that will accommodate that along with how many people will typically be using the space. If it’s just you and a small bistro set, you probably don’t need much space but if you have a big family that likes to be outdoors or you like having friends over often, consider a larger patio/deck space so everyone can fit comfortably.
Tabletop – An adjustable height table is great for long office hours when you need to stretch your legs but can’t get away from your computer. This isn’t always an option for furniture that will live outdoors. You’ll want to make sure that if your desk will be living outside that it’s weatherproof and it preferably has a cover over it when not in use. Another option that could work for your existing patio table is to get a standing desk converter or laptop stand. These usually have 2 levels to put your computer and keyboard on and they move up and down to create a quick standing desk from your existing one. This is an easier option to find most times and is easy to move in and outside during inclement weather.
Seating – A comfortable chair will go a long way to make your work-from-home life better. If you have existing patio furniture, consider getting a back support cushion for additional lumbar support. You could potentially roll your office chair outside but you’ll want to make sure you have a level area to sit on and you may need to roll it back inside when you’re done working outside. An easy solution for office chair wheels is to use “rollerblade” style casters. They smoothly roll over any kind of flooring.
Shelter – Whether you have sunny or rainy weather, having an overhead shelter of some kind will not only help protect you and your furniture but also your computer and other electronics. A basic outdoor umbrella is a great start to cover your immediate workspace and you can get them as free-standing, ones that slide into your patio table, or with a base that is built into your patio. If you’re wanting a full-time cover, a covered pergola may be a better option and can cover a much larger space. An in-between option are shade sails that can be stretched out to create a covered space. Shielding your screen from the glaring will extend your outdoor work hours. Depending on the size of your patio or deck, you may need more than one. For small spaces or gardens with a lot of sun, you may need to remain flexible to move around as the sun shifts during the day. (It’s good to have an excuse to get up and stretch your legs anyway!)
Lighting – If you tend to work early mornings or into the early evening, lighting is crucial. String lights can provide a surprising amount of light if you want to start with something inexpensive and simple to put up. You can also have high-quality outdoor lighting installed that you can change the color and temperature of. An overhead light source, like a downlight, may be a good option for working outside as it will provide a good amount of light to see what you’re working on. And speaking of light, consider blue light glasses if you’re working in front of the computer most of the day.
Heat Source – On chilly winter days or breezy spring days, you’ll want to stay nice and warm if you choose to work outside. For those with an existing overheard cover, you may be able to find overhead heaters that can be installed in the ceiling of your cover but for those without a cover that allows for that, you can find plenty of freestanding outdoor heaters. Most run on propane and are easy to ignite and maintain. They can run for about 10-12 hours depending on the fuel tank size and will be warmer the closer you are to the heater. A fire pit is also another option if a standing heater isn’t your thing. Whether it’s gas, wood-burning, built-in, or portable, there are so many options to choose from to suit any size and look of a space. You can also simply plug in a heated blanket to a nearby outlet (the one you installed for your computer power source will due).
Power Source – Most houses will have at least one outlet near your patio/deck space which you can then run an extension cord from if needed. Otherwise, you may need to run one from an outlet inside or consider finding a portable battery to plug into if your computer won’t hold a charge for as long as you need it to.
Full Enclosure– Have a large space and want to make the ultimate workspace retreat? She-Shacks or Man-Sheds are becoming more and more popular. If you have the time, space, money, and resources to build one on your property, they can make the perfect workspace that’s at home but still separated from everything else. If you’re one that needs that distinct separation between work and home this is a great option for you and can help put your brain in the right state of mind. Pinterest and home and garden websites have tons of ideas for creating the perfect space for your needs.
Working outdoors not for you? Getting outside to take a break or retreat to for lunch is still a great way to enjoy your garden while working from home.
If your office space has windows, consider adding a focal point in your line of sight for you to look out at. This could either be a beautiful specimen tree or shrub or a piece of garden art. Most of us find ourselves staring at computer screens for hours on end and this is a great way to observe the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen you should look at something that’s 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. This will help with eye strain and focus.
Use your break and lunchtimes to get outside. Whether that’s to enjoy your cup of coffee or tea on your patio or take a walk around the block.
Getting outside for even a small amount of time will help you de-stress and re-focus.
Try taking phone calls in your garden space. If you’re a wanderer when you talk on the phone, you might as well get outside and enjoy your garden while you’re at it. You will love what you notice when you wander the garden more often.
Aren’t able to get outside?…. bring the green inside. Consider sprucing up your office space with houseplants. ZZ plants, snake plants, and Pothos are all pretty easy to take care of and don’t require too much maintenance outside of watering. That flower arrangement from your cutting garden doesn’t have to go in the dining room either, why not put it in your office?
If you really can’t get away from your indoor office space, don’t forget to open the window every now and then to let in fresh air and light. Even that can make a big difference in how you feel throughout the day.
We hope these tips help you create the work from home garden of your dreams.
What elements will you try to incorporate into your outdoor space? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!