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Garden Office Build


sivispacem
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sivispacem

A few people (including @KDA) expressed an interest in my upcoming garden office build so I thought I'd start a thread to document it.

 

Since we moved into our current house in 2017 I've been working out of a roughly 3.2m x 2.4m spare bedroom, and with the arrival of my daughter back in Feb last year the plan had always been to do a garden office build to create a dedicated work space and free up the bedroom for her once she was at an age where she was happy sleeping in her own room. A number of factors including Covid, the bonkers price of building materials and my utterly crazy work schedule have got in the way, but back in June after scoping out several local companies that build garden offices I put down a deposit. We initially didn't commit immediately to a particular size- our garden is relatively big, about 25m x 8m, but the rear boundary is angled and we wanted to maximise garden space, so had two separate drawings done for an L-shaped building that would allow us to keep things as close to the boundary as possible. One 21m², one 15m². We've ended up going for the 15m². A 15m² lets us push the office right up against the left-hand boundary, which in turn means we don't need to worry about relocating our heritage apple tree that's on the right side of the garden.

 

Untitled.png

 

Here in the UK, garden offices fall under what's called "permitted development"- that is, you don't need planning permission to construct one as long as it meets certain criteria. These include:
 

  • A total floor area of less than 30m²
  • At least 50cm (up to 15m²) or at least 100cm (15-30m²) from any boundary
  • A maximum height at the eaves of 2.5m, and a maximum total height of 3m
  • Cannot be for commercial use
     

The building will have its own consumer unit split from the mains into the house, this means I don't really have much in the way of limitations on power. It's going to be wood framed, with a concrete base, sloped fibreglass roof, insulated walls and ceilings, and clad in European cedar. The 2m x 3m workshop space (which is replacing our existing garage) will have 3 double sockets, plenty of space for shelving and my workbenches, and is going to be internally finished in marine pine with 6 LED spots for lighting and a hidden door. The 3m x 3m office space is going to have 6 double sockets at desk height, two armoured CAT6A runs from where our external line in (and router) are located at the front of the house, be plastered and painted with a wood composite floor, with 9 LED spots, and has a 2m glass fully sliding door.

 

I've been planning the actual work area for a while, and my current thinking is:
 

  • Sit/stand desk frame with a 200cm x 80cm Danish oiled white ash tabletop
  • Laptop drawer and dock hidden underneath the desk.
  • 2x 27" ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q monitors on a dual mount gas arm
  • My Humanscale Freedom chair reupholstered in Nubuck
  • My current X99 system rebuilt with X570 and a 5900X, hardline tubing and front distro
  • Kegerator for 2x 19L corny kegs and 1x 9.5L half-corny

 

We got our build date today- laying of the concrete base will take place tail end of next week, beginning of the following, so I've kicked off groundwork today. The back of the garden is one of the few areas of the house we've not really invested much time in, so first port of call was to cut back the boundary hedges and the tree that sits right where the office is going to be. I also pulled up the steps onto the patio.

 

PXL-20210826-140241109.jpg

 

After removing the patio edging, I realised that I'm absolutely, definitely, going to need a skip. Rubble bags will not be enough!

 

PXL-20210826-142004825.jpg

 

The biggest ballache by far was trying to dig up the tree root next to the concrete post- between my loppers, axe, spade and sawzall I think it took me about an hour and a half to get it out.

Progress at COP today, I've pulled up most of the first meter of the patio and dug roughly down to ground level. Whoever built the patio concreted it in, but only to a depth of about an inch, so with a bit of force you can get under the concrete and break up the slabs pretty easily.

 

PXL-20210826-174555069.jpg

 

Skip comes tomorrow. I need to purchase a wheelbarrow and a proper sledgehammer, as those paving stones to the right of the picture are actually properly concreted in...

Also need to figure out how to take down that concrete post- I've drilled a hole in it and can confirm it's full of rebar.

 

Appreciate there's not much tech in this post- that'll come later- but anyway.

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sivispacem

Day 2

 

Today was mostly a continuation of yesterday- I decided I would tackle the properly concreted area to the right so my first port of call was Toolstation where I picked up this bad boy for my Makita hammer drill

 

PXL-20210827-113238875-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

It's actually a Milwaukee SDS reinforced concrete rotary hammer type bit so not really designed for non-SDS consumer power tools, but locked into the chuck fine and did a sterling job on the concrete and paving slabs though I did trip the breaker on my extension lead three times. Drilled about two dozen holes in the slabs at regular intervals, right down through the concrete to the soil, then set at them with a sledgehammer borrowed from my next door neighbours which worked a treat.

 

PXL-20210827-113127836.jpg

 

Skip arrived at midday, but were were out as my parents-in-law had the little one. Once we got back I spent most of the afternoon filling it rather than digging anything more out.

 

PXL-20210827-170459768.jpg

 

Suspect I should have got a larger skip.

 

PXL-20210827-170529579.jpg

 

I also drilled a couple of holes through the reinforced concrete post and broke it up with the hammer. This gave me enough access to the rebar to take my hacksaw to it and lop the top three ft or so off.

I wanted to try cutting it down with my sawzall but couldn't find my metal cutting blades, only wood ones.

 

PXL-20210827-171457808-PORTRAIT.jpg

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Lucas wester

Awesome keep up the work

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sivispacem

Days 3-5

 

Lots of progress over the last couple of days, in fact ground works are now completely finished.

 

PXL-20210828-173046342.jpg

 

PXL-20210829-133131330.jpg

 

PXL-20210830-113528907.jpg

 

Skip is completely full- thankfully only got a couple of paving slabs left

 

PXL-20210830-145757871-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

Flattened (well, as much as I can be bothered) and ready for foundations

PXL-20210830-161505019.jpg

 

Half pint of home brewed hefeweizen to celebrate

 

PXL-20210830-161536840-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

 

 

Will probably start another thread for the actual PC build, but motherboard also arrived 

 

PXL-20210830-120008879-PORTRAIT.jpg

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My back is aching just looking at that progress.

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sivispacem
9 hours ago, Misumi said:

My back is aching just looking at that progress.

Yeah this morning I'm absolutely crippled but other than shifting a few slabs and chopping up some of the vegetation I haven't got much more to do.

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  • 2 weeks later...
sivispacem

Actual construction progress! 

 

PXL-20210913-151730344.jpg

 

We now have hard core ready for the concrete base. Standing in the building footprint it's kind of hard to tell how big it's going to feel but it seems plenty big enough. 

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sivispacem

More progress today, membranes down and waiting for concrete.

 

PXL-20210915-091353784.jpg

 

Concrete down

 

PXL-20210915-113221084.jpg

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sivispacem

I've been on customer site today with no access to my phones, so was completely unaware that we had work going on. I hadn't expected them back until Monday but I got home to this.

 

PXL-20210916-174738954.jpg

 

I had hoped the apple tree would offer some screening to the purely wood clad workshop with the hidden door, but it's far better than even I'd hoped. It looks absolutely fantastic.

 

PXL-20210916-174750080.jpg

 

This is the office side, I was a little worried on having seen the concrete base that I'd undersized a little but feels like a great space thankfully. Plenty of room for everything I'm intending on putting in there.

 

PXL-20210916-174806963.jpg

 

Workshop side, no exterior door cut yet so only accessible from the inside. It's a little smaller than my current space (6 square meters as opposed to about 8.5) but offers enough space for everything I need plus room to maneuver. 

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sivispacem
On 9/16/2021 at 11:51 PM, Misumi said:

That was quick.

Yeah apparently the next phase will seem a lot slower, as we'll be having insulation, power, ethernet, cladding, flooring, the roof, lighting etc done. I'm hoping we'll be finished by the end of the week. 

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sivispacem

Today was the start of electrical work. 

 

PXL-20210920-113723668.jpg

 

I may have over-specced sockets. There's fifteen plus Ethernet...

 

PXL-20210920-113653189.jpg

 

PXL-20210920-113648021.jpg

 

PXL-20210920-113636009.jpg

 

We can't currently do light switches because nobody seems to know which way the sliding door opens!

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sivispacem

More substantial progress today, including batons for exterior cladding, hidden door aperture cut, roof and wall insulation and plasterboard.

 

PXL-20210921-145639535.jpg

 

PXL-20210921-145648519.jpg

 

Desk is now ordered, I've hit a snag with my intended tabletop as the supplier hasn't renewed stock of the ash wood worktop I was intending on using due to limited sales.

 

So currently undecided as to whether I'll seek a different supplier or switch to using beech. Beech is cheaper and more readily available but a little darker than white ash and with a less pronounced grain. I could get a pretty good colour match through bleaching it though. 

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sivispacem

Plastered

 

PXL-20210922-150922002.jpg

 

Flooring in, cladding mostly on

 

PXL-20210923-162838561.jpg

 

Secret door needs adjusting still

 

PXL-20210923-162852287.jpg

 

Desk frame arrived too.

 

PXL-20210923-175951882.jpg

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sivispacem

I have.

 

PXL-20210924-174558037.jpg

 

The.

 

PXL-20210924-174616100.jpg

 

POWAHH!

 

PXL-20210924-190559623.jpg

 

Electricity was laid today, ethernet hasn't been done yet. Cladding is finished, painting has started, the only major bit now is sorting the doors.

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  • 3 weeks later...
sivispacem

Well there hasn't been much to show for the last three weeks unless you like watching paint dry. We've had all sorts of issues with the company who were supplying our custom sliding doors but finally, eight weeks after they were ordered and nearly four after they were due to be fitted, we have glass:

 

PXL-20211011-152838254.jpg

 

PXL-20211011-175718387.jpg

 

Hopefully they should be finished tomorrow. The last piece of the puzzle is ethernet which we'd basically lost hope of getting on account of the fact they put a power socket where my female wall socket was supposed to go, so will be interested to see how that's resolved.

 

As for the actual office, the only major component I still need to sort is my desk top. Hoping that we can move the bulk of stuff over this weekend, then I've got the week of the 25th off to sort things like storage (and actually get onto the PC build). 

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universetwisters

Congrats! I know it's still a WIP, but it's still very nice to see how it progressed from just a plot in the yard to an actual office/getaway.

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sivispacem

A few interior pictures now that everything is essentially finished. Excuse the stray cable, I've not yet sorted the faceplate for the ethernet.

 

Office

PXL-20211012-164629937.jpg

 

Workshop

PXL-20211012-164719956.jpg

 

I have a couple of bits of filling and touch up to do around the window in the workshop and have to terminate both ends of the CAT6A which I can't do as I can't find my crimpers.

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  • 2 weeks later...
sivispacem

Progress made in my custom desk. It's a 2000*720*27mm beech worktop from House of Worktops with the edges bevelled and the front corners rounded 80mm. Delivered back on Monday but I've been all round the country with work so only made progress on putting it together today.

 

PXL-20211023-145422100.jpg

Ghetto drill depth marking as I haven't got any suitable jigs.

 

PXL-20211023-150519619.jpg

Frame and motors in place.

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That tape trick is exactly what I do when I can't fit something on the drill press. 😄

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sivispacem
1 minute ago, Misumi said:

That tape trick is exactly what I do when I can't fit something on the drill press. 😄

Clearly in good company then!

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sivispacem

And construction finished

 

PXL-20211023-214933026.jpg

 

All tested, motors work great, very smooth and fast. Feels super sturdy. Tomorrow I'll throw down some sheets, mask up the controller and get to PU varnishing the top.

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TheGodDamnMaster

This is simply amazing. Love seeing this progress.

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sivispacem
18 hours ago, TheGodDamnMaster said:

This is simply amazing. Love seeing this progress.

Thsnks- it seems to have dragged on forever but we're finally at the end of the tunnel with respect of getting everything set up and ready. 

 

The main challenge this week has been getting the ethernet punchdowns properly terminated and running 20m of internal cable through the house in a hidden way so as my wife doesn't murder me in my sleep. 

 

IMG-20211030-WA0014.jpg

 

PXL-20211030-161721802.jpg

 

Not perfect but pretty damn good.

 

PXL-20211031-165213062.jpg

 

Tested and working (though Zen seem to be disappointingly slow at the moment)

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sivispacem

Ran out of time sorting out the bits for my PC, but sorted most of what I need for my work setup. 

 

PXL-20211101-202952519.jpg

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TheGodDamnMaster

What specs is your new build packing?

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sivispacem

The desktop system in there (which is currently in bits) will be a 5900X with a TechN water block, Gigabyte X570S Pro, 32GB of 3600MHz CL16 GSkill Trident Z RAM, EVGA RTX2080 with a Watercool Heatkiller water block, 4TB of NVMe storage (1TB Sabrent Rocket Plus, 2TB Sabrent Rocket, 1TB 970 Evo) and an old Corsair AX750 in a Lian Li PC-O11 XL with 2x360mm Black ice Nemesis radiators and the EKWB front distro plate. 

 

PXL-20210909-113201041-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

Monitors are both ROG Swift PG279Qs on and Invision MX900, audio kit will remain the same (Sabaj A4, pair of Q Acoustic 2010is), sticking with my existing Corsair M65 Elite and Filco Majestouch 2 Moise and keyboard. 

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sivispacem

Finally moved in earlier this week. Still got a lot of cable routing and tidying to do. Put my PC back together as I needed to get some data off it.

 

PXL-20211103-160355396.jpg

 

Plan for today is to get my fridge moved over, prepare to fit the tap tower and decide if I'm brave enough to take a 40mm hold saw to my desktop so I can fit my wireless charging pad flush with the surface. 

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sivispacem

Ended up mostly doing cable tidying yesterday. Psyching myself up to tackle the beer fridge this afternoon.

 

I'm particularly happy with my laptop solution; there's no quite enough space to put a mounted drawer under my desk for a laptop so I modified a couple of tablet holders to use as brackets. Laptop slides in nicely and once I get a 90° USB-C cable adapter under there I can run hopefully get it functioning with my dock.

PXL-20211107-145722691.jpg

 

Still some way to go on cable tidying but looking a hell of a lot better under there.

PXL-20211107-150625770.jpg

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