Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Welcome to the blog

Welcome to the first, in what will hopefully be many posts. My name is Rick and I'm a self-employed web developer, mobile app developer, online 'handy-man' or at least something along those lines.

I've been working from home since I left University a few years ago, and basically work out of a bedroom, which is not ideal. Distractions are aplenty with a dog, 2 cats and a parrot constantly trying to get your attention, it makes concentrating and getting 'in the zone' while working virtually impossible.

A few months ago I started looking at ways to get rid of these distractions so I could focus and commit time to actually getting some real work done. I toyed with the idea of converting our garage into an office, but this really wouldn't solve the issue. I'd still be in the house, which is full of distractions. I needed to get away from the house.

This lead me to look at a garden office. At first I started looking at the big garden office companies, Henley, Roomworks, Smart Garden Offices, etc. I got all the brochures, and had a good look through them all. The problem is...they cost a fortune! I quite simply couldn't afford to spend £8,000+ on this. They look fantastic, and are well built, but for me, the cost of them made them totally unviable. When I did find some lower-end cheaper ones, they didn't look too attractive at all, more like a temporary hut (e.g the 'Micro Garden Office' by Smart Garden Offices. The inside looks great, but it looks pretty awful from the outside.

After some extensive research, it turns out that once you've got all your details sorted correctly, its actually quite a simple process to convert a box-standard log cabin into a garden office. So, thats what I'm doing.

As of writing this, I've decided on a log cabin, on how it'll be insulated, etc and will post about these things individually in other blog posts.

I'm hoping that this blog will serve as a useful base to share ideas and any pitfalls that may will occur during the build, so I can hopefully warn people of any potential 'gotchas' before they bite!

So, stick with me and with any luck I'll soon have a garden office built, complete with photos, info and guides for anyone reading this!


  1. Rick

    I read your posts with interest particularly the last one. I have a small company specialising in Garden Offices / Studios etc. During the last ten years (I was one of the pioneers on-line for this market) I have supplied and built more than 500 offices and must have talked with at least a couple of thousand people who want to do this.

    Some have the finance to choose whatever they want and get someone in to manage the project and hand over the keys. Others like yourself go it alone. There are now a vast number of compasnies, mostly small businesses with a prescence on the web which you have no doubt found. In the end there is a cost implication involving groundwork, building kit, electrical work, and labour.

    If you think about the total cost as total outlay in relation to the size and quality / functionality of the space created it comes down to £ per sqm of space. The bigger the space the less the cost per sqm and the higher the spec the more per sqm. DIY will certainly lower the cost but mistakes along the way will increse the cost over time. So - here is may advice.

    1. Make sure that the building complies with permitted development. At the same time and perhaps even more important make sure your neighbours are happy with the building and its intended use.

    2. Choose the right foundation. Sometimes concrete and sometimes one of the other systems. A log cabin relies on having a square ald level base. It is important that the base should be exactly the size of the footprint. If it is bigger (to make sure) then water will try to ingress under the base beam and affect the life of the building.

    3. A 44mm log cabin will provide a good environment without wall insulation if it is pretty draughtproof and you should invest mainly on insulating the roof. It is easy to do this and 50mm of kingspan under the shingle and on top of the roof boards will do the job well. Heat rises and this will trap it efficiently and stop it getting too hot in the winter.

    Note: You may want to go for thinner timber walls and install insulation but the cost equation does not work.

    4. When the base is in and the kit arrives make sure you have good weather to work and plenty of space to explode the kit and put it together.

    Take your time and get all the components installed in order. (putting a window at the wrong height will cause problems in dissasambly as these joints are sometimes quite tight.

    5. Insulating the roof will need replacement of the eaves boards and barge boards so you will need to buy some additional timber. To protect the roof timbers from rain is important as if they get wet and swell this will be a problem (don't push them too tight and get a roofing membrane on asap.

    5. Shingling the roof is probably something you will do only once - others have done it a hundred times and there are techniques which help. Read the instructions and if possible talk to someone who has experience. Even a few minutes of talk can help a lot.

    6. Before installing the floor take opportunity to hide the wires as much as possible and bring them up through 20mm plastic conduit. This is the best and neates way for log cabins. Stick on oblong conduit is a definate no n0 as the walls move about and this type of conduit will look a mess within a few weeks.

    7. Make sure water can't get under the base beam put some cheaper insulation in the floor and install the floorboards.

    8. Protect the wood with impregnant, paint or stain and move in. Oh and dont forget to make an entrance step or even a path so you are not always arriving in you workplace with muddy boots.

    Good luck - I have signed up to follow the blog and look forward to seeing the photos.


    Garden Structures Ltd

    http;// (much more advice on my own blog

  2. Congratulations! This is the best factor, Thank you so much for trying to talk about this exciting information.

    garden office - Over 10 years experience of selling cheap log cabins to share and offer advise in purchasing log cabins for your garden.