What Is a Backyard Office? How to Build Your Own Outdoor Workspace

Your morning commute just got a lot shorter.

Working remotely has become a permanent solution for many of us over the past few years. And although working from home has its perks, all the at-home distractions—like a never-ending chore list or piles of laundry to do—can make it hard to be productive. If you live in a home with a backyard, one solution is to create an outdoor office.

A backyard office eliminates your commute time while allowing you to separate your home life from your work without traveling more than a few feet.

A backyard office is more involved than just taking your laptop out to the back deck in between Zoom meetings—it's a more permanent, sheltered structure that provides a small office space that's totally detached from the house. Similar to a she shed, a backyard office is often a repurposed shed or stand-alone garage that has been converted into a workspace.

rustic home office inside gray modern shed wood detail steps
John Merkl

How to Turn a Shed into a Backyard Office

If you already have an outdoor structure, like a tool shed or garage, you can convert it to a home office in a few easy steps. If your shed holds outdoor equipment, look for ways to optimize your garage or basement storage to store those items. Once the shed is empty, clean it thoroughly (you don't want any spiders dropping in on your next conference call). Then, measure the space and determine what you have room for and find a desk, chair, and other office must-haves to fit the space.

Regardless of how big your backyard office is, there are a few additional factors to consider. Proper insulation is important—a space you can only use when the weather is nice isn't ideal. You'll also need to determine if you can run electricity to the building or not (this step is best left to the professionals). Not only will you need it to plug in your devices, but you'll likely want to add lighting if the space doesn't have windows.

If you aren't able to turn your existing garage or shed into an office—or if you don't have one—you can install a new one instead.

How to Build a Backyard Office from Scratch

If you don't have an existing building, you can purchase an outdoor shed kit for your backyard office. Before you install anything, check with your city office to make sure you don't need a permit to add a new structure to your property. You'll also want to make sure it will be covered under your homeowner's insurance.

There are plenty of DIY shed options in a variety of price points, depending on size and quality. If you're on a strict budget, we recommend compromising on size but not quality. You can expect to spend upwards of $2,000 on a sturdy, durable shed kit. Many of these come unassembled, so you can cut costs by doing the assembly and installation yourself.

Some companies offer a stipend for remote employees, so check with your employer to see if they'll cover part of the cost of the shed or the furniture to go inside.

Just like with an existing shed, it's important to make sure you can outfit a new building with electricity before purchasing anything. Once the structure is set up and the utilities are working, add a desk, chair, and anything else you need for your workspace.

Regardless of whether you build a new outdoor space or repurpose an existing area, building a backyard office will help you separate your work and home life—all while eliminating your morning commute.

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