The age of the pandemic has caught many of us unprepared, and in more ways than one. We couldn’t have foreseen the extent to which travel and mobility would be restricted. Few could have anticipated the scale on which companies would adopt remote working arrangements in order to continue operating.
Most homes weren’t prepared to accommodate those changes in our lives. And as any designer knows, a good home must serve the needs of its occupants. In a pinch, you can start working out of your living room or even your bedroom. But they won’t offer the same functionality as a dedicated space.
If no existing area of your home was designed to be an adequate home office, you might want to make the necessary upgrades sooner than later. And there’s a case to be made for setting up your workspace within your garden.
The benefits of the outdoors
If you’ve felt a certain longing for nature ever since the pandemic began to change our lives, you’re not alone. In general, people turn to nature whenever they go through times of crisis and uncertainty. The constancy of natural cycles tends to offer comfort and hope of renewal. It reminds us that even the darkest hours will pass.
Natural settings also give our bodies a better sense of self-regulation. When you receive sufficient exposure to daylight, your circadian rhythms are in sync. You’re more alert and energetic during your waking hours, and enjoy a higher quality of sleep.
The available space in the outdoor environment also gives you the perfect opportunity to take timely breaks. Sitting in front of a screen doesn’t just strain your eyes. It can lead to physical discomforts, such as back or neck pains. And it certainly contributes to an overall sedentary lifestyle.
Finally, being outside the home is a means of separating yourself from all but the essentials of technology and convenience. You’re free from the distractions posed by television, game consoles, and other devices. You’re further removed from the temptation to grab a snack from the refrigerator. It helps you to achieve better focus and be more productive at work.
Being in a natural environment is generally associated with finding balance. But when setting up your home office in your garden or backyard, you’ll want to achieve a specific sort of balance.
Lily Bernheimer of design consultancy Space Works recommends aiming for a checklist of desirable attributes using the acronym ‘BALANCED’ as a guide. It starts with incorporating elements of biophilia and atmosphere into your workspace.
From there, you craft a layout and add amenities to make the area conducive to work. Control noise levels and ensure cohesion in communication. Be mindful of energy usage, and pay attention to the particulars of design, such as color and style.
With effort, such attributes can be created within different spaces in your home. But the garden office has a natural advantage in at least the first two aspects, making it hard to beat as the best location for your workspace.
Exploring different setups
Due to its inherent qualities, the garden is also a cost-effective setting for your home office. You don’t have to break the budget at all.
For many properties, working with an awning company might be the biggest step. Once you have some cover from the elements, you can take your laptop out to the porch and work there all day. Add some lighting, and you can continue doing so in the evenings.
However, if you’d like to invest in a home extension or standalone backyard shed, you can further elevate the amenities aspect. In a busy neighborhood, it can also offer some insulation from noise and distractions. You’ll want to check what local zoning laws and building regulations have to say about such construction, though. And you’ll definitely have to figure out a solution to ensure that Wi-Fi reaches this separate structure.
For those who live in regions where the winter chill might pose a problem, it might be feasible to take the garden indoors instead. A solarium or conservatory might take you into the higher end of the budget scale, but it will bring those natural elements inside where it’s more comfortable.
Amid all the options for improving your home, don’t forget the landscape itself. Growing the right plants can not only add beauty to your space, but it can also attract pollinators or transform the area into a night garden best appreciated when after sundown. Actively gardening will also unite your work with a hobby that requires creativity and physical activity. It’s a perfect combination to counter the many ailments of these uncertain times.