New summer house and my garden just got bigger!

New summer house and my garden just got bigger!

As the first signs of spring become visible, you might be thinking about upgrading and enhancing your garden. With long, hazy evenings and sun-drenched weekends on the horizon, have you considered adding a summer house to your garden? With a summer house, you can make the most of your outdoor space and create an outdoor oasis where you can spend quality time as a family.

How your garden gets bigger with a summer house?

If you’ve never looked into adding a summer house or constructing a garden office or playroom at the end of the garden before, you might expect that a new building will make your outdoor area look or seem smaller. The truth is that when you build a summer house at the bottom of your garden, you’re likely to find that the usable space you have outside your home increases substantially because you’ll be making use of areas that were previously inaccessible or overgrown.

Often, we find that our summer houses, garden offices and playrooms are located in parts of the garden that are disused and covered with bushes or unkempt, long grass. A new summer house or playroom can be positioned right at the back of the garden or in a corner to maximise the space and ensure that you’re utilising 100% of the surface area. Before the summer house arrived, you might never have used the whole length or breadth of the garden before, and this is a fantastic way to make your garden more versatile all year-round. We can transform damp, dark, shady areas into a beautiful summer house you can enjoy come rain or shine.

As well as giving you more space outdoors, a summer house or a garden office can also free up valuable storage space indoors.

Creating your dream garden with a summer house

At A Room in the Garden, we put in the hours designing and planning your new summer house to ensure you get hours of enjoyment once we’ve finished. We have many years of experience in designing and installing bespoke summer houses, playrooms and garden offices, and we will work with you to breathe new life into your garden and create an outdoor area that gives you so much more. We take great pleasure in hearing about how our summer houses have given our customers a new-found appreciation for their gardens and bags of space to enjoy those long-awaited summer days.

If you’re thinking about adding a new building or structure to your garden, it could open you up to a raft of opportunities. A new summer house positioned at the back of your garden enables you to use the entire garden and make use of a versatile room, which will enhance the look of your garden and give you a wonderful spot to relax and enjoy the fresh air. If you’re searching for inspiration for a garden office, a new baby room or a summer house, why not take a look at our gallery or get in touch to discuss your project in more detail?


5 Benefits of a Garden Office Pod Over Renting a Space

5 Benefits of a Garden Office Pod Over Renting a Space

As office rental prices go up and more businesses reach their audiences via the Internet, company owners are starting to save money by running the show from their home. We feel that a garden office pod is the solution to the modern challenge of having a professional space that’s not only productive, but also cost-effective.

To show you what we mean, here are our top five benefits of having a garden office pod instead of a traditional office space.

The Benefits of Having a Garden Office Pod

 

1. You Avoid Frustrating Commutes

A great many of my Brighton friends have attempted to live out the dream of working in London. But soon the reality of the daily commute kicks in and waking up on Monday to catch a 6am train becomes a chore.

Some have chosen to find employment in Brighton whilst others have decided to set up their own businesses. What this then creates is the dilemma of where to have your office.

On the one hand, you can choose somewhere nearby, but I’m sure you can take an educated guess on what the office rental costs are in Brighton. That then leaves renting a space out-of-town as the alternative and you’re back to the early morning commuting again. A garden office pod allows people to drop the frantic mornings and expensive rental prices in favour of a leisurely 30-second stroll across the garden.

 

2. You Save Money

I did some research when writing this article and looked at some of the rental costs for an office space in Brighton. Generally speaking, it was quite difficult to find spaces that charged under £200 per person, per month.

As you can see via our price guide page, our small garden office pod option starts from approximately £98.58 per month. That is half the cost of what I found to be a typical office space in Brighton, if you are planning to use the office alone. If you have other employees, your savings could be even greater! That’ll be very nice when it comes to planning your next holiday.


3. The Value of Your Home Increases Instantly

This is something we’ve discussed before when interviewing Clifford Estate Agent’s Ben Hooper last October. According to Ben, having a visually attractive garden office pod could “easily add about 10/15k to the price of the property” and also be of help when it’s time to sell your property.

 

4. Your Working Environment is Comfortable

Renting an office space means you have to adapt. There may not be enough plug sockets, the room might have maintenance issues or the neighbouring businesses are a nuisance. At A Room In The Garden, we build bespoke spaces that are tailored to your business and personal needs. This means you get something that’ll help your business run smoothly and put you in a productive working state.

A comfortable space is also useful when you have client meetings, as they can feel at ease when discussing business with you. The more comfortable your prospect is, the more likely they are to buy from you. It’s a nice opportunity to create a positive first impression and build a strong relationship off the back of that. This can then lead to more loyalty from your customers.

 

5. You Achieve a Better Work-Life Balance

One of the greatest annoyances in my life are delivery companies. You get an estimated delivery time that covers most of the day and somebody has to be present in order to sign for the package. If you try to reschedule, the only times available are when you definitely aren’t at home.

By working from home, this is no longer an issue. Neither are ill children, as a garden office pod allows you to have that flexibility when the unexpected occurs. You are able to catch up later in the day after nursing your poor child back to health. As an added bonus, you can also catch up on your housework when necessary. It won’t take much time out of your day to pop on a quick laundry wash, or a dishwasher load.

Some offices that are available to rent have a strict policy on hours of operation, meaning nobody can be in the building or on the estate between certain hours. This isn’t very flexible if you fancied taking the kids out for a daytrip, but with your own garden office you can take the kids out for the day and catch up with work at night. It’s very handy!

 

Garden Office Pods Are The Future

Technology has improved to such an extent now that people can run hugely successful businesses from their home with ease. You don’t need big servers or expensive computers, thanks to The Cloud and Smart technology.

Our prediction for the future is that office spaces for small businesses that have fewer than five employees will become a thing of the past. Instead, garden office pods will become the modern, up-to-date choice.

Having a successful business is based upon high productivity and low costs. As discussed in our five benefits above, having your own garden office can prove to be cheaper than a traditional rented office space and also boost productivity. If you would like to know more about our garden office pod solutions, please get in contact today to book a free site visit.

Bespoke garden rooms – colourful wood paint experiment

Bespoke garden rooms – colourful wood paint experiment

After a series of articles looking at the more serious side of garden room planning, such as Can I claim a garden office as a business expenses and How to fund your garden building and 7 garden offices and summer houses planning permission rules to keep in mind I decided it’s high time we have a step back into the happy world of designing and imagination. While I was doing some colour testing for a small, bespoke, garden room, I thought what a wonderful thing to share with our readers!

I decided to widen my colour testing and came up with a small experiment to see how the colours that appear on the charts compare to those you see when they’re applied. So, then I went (actually I sent Lukas) to our local paint shop to buy 24 different colour samples and a paintbrush and then I asked him to cut 24 small pieces of the cladding we usually use for our garden rooms.

For my little experiment, I used Sadolin Superdec Satin, simply because it has a wide variety of colours, and it is the one we usually use in our garden buildings. To make it more accurate, I first applied a light grey base-coat and then two coats of the chosen colour.

Please be aware that the colours on a photo will always differ from the ones you see in real life. My intention is simply to establish the colour chart reliability.

 

X8530Y Blancmange*
Pretty good match! The colour on the cladding is slightly lighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colorful wood paint

RAL 6018*
Perfect match!
Colourful wood paint

Apricot*
Pretty good match! The colour on the cladding is slightly darker than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

14 E 51
Perfect match!
Colourful wood paint

12 E 53*
Pretty good match! The colour on the cladding is slightly brighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

22 D 45
Pretty good match! The colour on the cladding is slightly brighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

RAL 3009*
Pretty good match! The colour on the cladding is slightly brighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

Sandbank*
Pretty good match! The colour on the cladding is slightly lighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

S7243T Cocktail Time
Pretty good match! The colour on the cladding is slightly lighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

H8284K Crazy Daze*
Pretty good match! The colour on the cladding is slightly lighter and brighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

12 C 33
Pretty good match! Although it does not show in the photos, the colour on the cladding is slightly lighter.
Colourful wood paint

Red Pepper*
Perfect match!
Colourful wood paint

Grey Umber*
Pretty good match! The difference between the chart colour and the painted cladding is less evident from the photo. The colour on the cladding is slightly lighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

RAL 7038*
Not a very good match. The colour on the cladding is lighter and with less yellow in it than the one from the chart.
Colourful wood paint

U7123W Tokio Bay*
The colour on the cladding is slightly lighter and brighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

M3383R Tallulah*
Considering that blue is the most difficult colour to reproduce, this is a pretty good match! The difference between the chart colour and the painted cladding is less evident than from the photo. The colour on the cladding is slightly darker than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

K1572M Water Fight*
Not a very good match. The colour on the cladding is lighter and with less green in it than the one from the chart.
Colourful wood paint

Berberis Blue*
Not a very good match. The colour on the cladding is lighter and less greyish than the one on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

Stratus*
Pretty good match! The colour on the cladding is slightly lighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

18 C 35
Pretty good match! The colour on the cladding is slightly lighter than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

P0115Q Mutiara*
The colour on the cladding is much brighter and with less grey in it than one on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

Bright Blue*
The colour on the cladding is much brighter and with less grey in it than the one on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

Blue Peter*
Considering that blue is the most difficult colour to reproduce, this is a pretty good match! The difference between the chart colour and the painted cladding is less evident than from the photo. The colour on the cladding is slightly lighter and with less grey than the one shown on the chart.
Colourful wood paint

All in all, I am quite happy with the result of my experiment. I can confidently say that the Sadolin Dulux Superdec colour chart is pretty accurate, with the exclusion of a couple of colours. Be aware though, this article was simply meant as a guideline. Always try a sample of your chosen colour before starting painting your garden room.

To make things easier for our clients, after you’ve selected one or several colours, we’ll always bring you a sample applied to the cladding so you can be sure of what you will get.

garden buildings offer

Can I claim a garden office as a business expense?

Can I claim a garden office as a business expense?

I am sure that if you are one of those people who works from home, the idea of having a garden office must have crossed your mind. A garden office would allow you to separate home from work, finally eliminating all those small interruptions of family life so it would be easier to concentrate on the task in hand. Plus, wouldn’t it be great to have a space to store all your work stuff without having to share it with toys, a laundry basket and the occasional guest?

Obviously, building a garden office requires a substantial investment, but if you run a business it is possible to buy it as a company asset. Or, if self-employed, you should be able to claim it as a business expense come accounts day.

I am not an accountant, and I do not know much about those things, so I started to search the internet to learn more about it. The problem I quickly ran into was that there is no definitive answer out there. Plus, the more I was reading, the more doubts I had.

So, I abandoned the internet, and instead decided to talk to the experts. I contacted Cardens Accountants and Business Advisors, a firm founded in Brighton about 10 years ago by Barry Carden, which has rapidly grown to include 4 partners and a total of around 60 employees. Adam Thompson, one of its Corporate Tax Managers, very kindly agreed to meet me and answer all my questions.

 

Cardens Accountant Interview
Me (Ivana Cavallo) with Adam Thompson, Corporate Tax Manager at Cardens Accountants and Business Advisors


Hi Adam, my first question is simple: which are the pros and cons of having a garden office as a company asset?

I guess, there are no real cons. If someone needs the space, they need the space. It gets the business out of the house and gives them some segregation. From a tax point of view, there are some reliefs. If you are VAT registered, you can claim the VAT back from the cost of the property. Which for a purchase of that size it is not small.


What about a Sole trader?

They need to be a bit more careful. If you use the space for personal use as well, you can only claim the relative percentage of VAT. So, for example, if you use the room as a office during the week and then you have band practise at the weekend using about 10% of the time, you will be able to reclaim only 90% of the VAT.


So, let’s say I build my garden office, and I use it as a guest room when my brother comes to visit from Italy…

A one off, it is not a problem at all. And if it is in a company name you can ignore it completely. It is only relevant to a sole trader. Just make sure that you can prove that its main use is as an office and nothing else.


In addition to reclaiming VAT is there any other cost that can be claimed back?

The cost of the building itself can not be deducted as a business cost, but the fixtures and fittings you put in it can. So, you can claim the cost of the desk for example, of chairs, chest of drawers, carpeting…
Any electrical work you do in it can be claimed back too. As a company that builds garden offices, it is important that you give your clients an itemised bill of the costs.


And what about your bills? For example, electricity and internet?

If you have separate meter, you can deduct the cost in full. If not, you will have to do an estimate based on your usage, and if this is not possible, you will have to calculate the amount to be deducted based on the percentage of use.


Like when you work from home, right?

Yes. Let’s say you live in a 4 rooms house and you use one room exclusively as your office. You can claim 25% of your electricity and gas bill.


I read that if you buy a garden office as a company asset, you need to be aware that if you ever sell your house you will have to pay Capital Gains Tax?


To be honest, while I would not say it can be ignored, it is not really an issue. While technically it could be a problem, in reality it is not, because a garden building has not got an actual value. Although the value of your home may increase due to the presence of a garden office, the garden office itself will not increase in value over time. Its value will actually decrease. This means that you will be unlikely to pay Capital Gain Tax. One thing I would recommend though, is to speak to your local council about business rates, if there are any, if they will apply to the garden office and how much they would be.


So, it is not connected to the business? To the value of the business?

It is part of the business. So when you buy it, it will go on to the company balance sheet at whatever price you pay for it. That cost can not be written off, but you can claim some allowances for it against the fittings. It just sits there as an asset. If it gets knock down in 10 years you can claim it as a capital loss.


In conclusion, if you have a company or you are a sole trader, it is convenient to buy a garden office through your business?

Definitely, yes! But keep in mind, tax is too complex subject and things may vary depending of a person’s individual circumstances. Therefore, I would advise to anyone thinking to get a garden office as a business asset to come to us for a more in depth tax advice or to talk to their existing accountants.

garden buildings offer

Is bespoke design expensive?

Is bespoke design expensive?

In these blogs and throughout this website, you’ll have seen the word ‘bespoke’ plenty of time: ‘bespoke garden office’, ‘bespoke summer house’, ‘bespoke design’… Everyone understands what the word ‘bespoke’ means, and I am pretty sure everyone would love to have a bespoke ‘something’. But everyone also knows that bespoke design means more money. Or is this a misconception?

Once again, here at A Room in the Garden we’ve found an expert to answer our question and give you some pointers about creating a bespoke room for your garden.


Hi Aaron. First of all, thank you very much for joining me for a coffee and a chat. How about you tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into architecture and interior design.

Thank you for inviting me. To make a long story short, my family has worked in the construction industry for many years. They used to buy unloved houses and give them some much needed TLC, creating a home where we could all come together as a family.
I was always passionate about design, so when it came time to choose a university course, Architecture was the natural choice for me.
Following my graduation, I worked for various individuals and practices including Brighton University, gaining experience in all different aspects of the industry, from home extensions to the refurbishment of listed buildings. And then I finally decided to open my own architectural and interior design practice, Pavilion Architecture.

Bespoke design tips
Architect and interior designer Aaroon Humber and my self at Franklin’s Cafe & Antiques A perfect blend of coffee and inspiration!


What aspect of your job do you love the most?

Without a doubt it’s the creative part of my job that I love. It is always so satisfying when you work with a client to create their dream home that is unique, individual and designed just for them rather than a creating a carbon copy of the latest front cover of Vogue.


When people hear the word bespoke, the first thing they think is, “expensive!” Is that the case?

No. Having something bespoke does not have to mean expensive at all. If you have a budget, you just have to make sure you use your money wisely.


Any advice about how to do that?

In each room you need to choose your focal point and accent with key pieces. For example, the fireplace is often the focal point of a living room, and this can be enhanced with the right accent pieces. They don’t have to be brand new designer accessories or furniture; they can be old items collected from charities shops. Just remember to keep it simple, less is more and shop local.


How do you create something bespoke? Design does not come naturally to everyone, and some people may find it hard to express what they like. Any tips on how to go about it?

The first design consultation is for me to get to know my clients and find out their design preferences, aspirations, requirements, budget and time-frame. I always ask my clients to collect images and objects that express their personality and taste. So, choose a starting point for your design scheme and work outwards. Remember a space is never finished. The best spaces grow organically as you add to it over time rather than being finished in one go.


What do you think is the advantage of having a bespoke design?

To have something that is individual to you can be very comfortable, fulfilling and enjoyable. It can be scary to break the rules to have something different. But I believe a home should be the place where we can really be ourselves rather than “Keeping Up with the Joneses”.


I agree with you! I think that there is a great satisfaction in having something completely bespoke! At the moment, we are working on a project for a lady who loves rabbits. Her reaction when she saw that we incorporated a bespoke screen with a rabbit silhouette was priceless.

Last question. As you know, we specialise in bespoke garden office and summer house, or even better, bespoke garden rooms in general. What is your opinion on building a garden room? Is it worth  to have a bespoke design?

A garden room is a fabulous way to extend your home. I would recommend to any homeowner considering a garden room to carefully consider their requirements and opt for a solution that not only meets their needs but also fits into and enhances the garden. This will not only add to your enjoyment of the space but will also increase the economic value of your home.


Thank you, Aaron!

Hopefully his great insight will help to unlock the mystery of bespoke design for you a little bit more.

And, as always, if you have any questions about design that you would like to talk to us about, please do pick up the phone, email us or simply add your comment below.

garden buildings offer

How to fund your garden office

How to fund your garden office

Adding a garden office or a general use garden room (a garden gym? A room for meditation? Somewhere where occasional guests can stay overnight?) will affect your pockets. There’s no doubt about that. And not everybody will have that sum of money sitting in their bank account! There are, however, various ways to fund your new room in the garden, which can spread the cost over time, making the impact on your finances less dramatic. Keep in mind, I am not a financial adviser. My article is only intended to list some different options that are available without favouring any.

 

MORTGAGE

One option is to add the cost of the garden office to your mortgage. At the end of the day, building a room in the garden is effectively considered a house extension. This will spread the cost over a long time, minimising the impact on your finance.

 

PERSONAL LOAN

Another way to go is to take out a personal loan. It is important that you do your research first because rates can vary a lot. Talk to your bank or, even better, to an independent financial adviser who can help you find the best deal.

 

CREDIT CARDS

If it’s done right, using a credit card to pay for part of your garden office could be the cheapest way to borrow some money. There are some credit cards that offer a 0% interest rate for up to 31 months! But make sure that you borrow as little as possible, that you do not use the credit card for anything else, and that you clear your card within the 0% period. If you don’t, your interest rate will escalate dramatically, and you will be stuck with the debt for years. We highly recommend you talk to an expert first. A good way to start is by reading Martin Lewis’ article on the Best 0% Credit Cards on Money Saving Expert.

 

Have a look to our garden office line CUBO starting from £6,960.00

 

BUSINESS LOANS

If you own a company, and you are thinking of building a garden office, one option is to do it through your business. You will be able to get corporation tax relief on some of the costs too, such as:

– office and computer equipment
– electrical systems and lighting
– heating and water systems
– insulation
– and if you are VAT registered, you will be able to reclaim the VAT.

However, there are other aspects that need to be considered as well, such as business rates (which should not apply if it is your only office, but it is worth checking with your local council), capital gain tax and personal tax impact. Once again, we recommend you to talk to a tax adviser or your accountant first. We found the article Tax relief for Garden Office as Business Expense from JF Financial useful.

 

FINANCING

A lot of garden office companies now offer a finance option. Usually, you will have to pay an initial sum, and then the rest will be spread in monthly repayments for a period of around 3/5 years. A bit like buying a car!

 

Once again, I am not a financial adviser. My article is only intended to list some different options that are available without favouring any. We strongly recommend you to talk to a professional financial adviser or your accountant before taking any decision.

 

garden buildings offer