Originally Published on June 23, 2023. Last Updated on February 27, 2024.
More and more of us are transitioning from corporate settings to home-based work environments. With added schedule flexibility and the lack of a stressful rush-hour commute, remote work certainly has its perks. But this change of scenery may be tricky for those in busy households or small spaces. Fortunately, many professionals have eased any work-from-home woes by converting their outdoor areas into office spaces.
There are multiple science-backed advantages to having a home office backyard setup, including boosted moods and decreased anxiety. In fact, the health benefits of spending time outside are so numerous that we dedicated an entire piece to it.
This post is a comprehensive list of 20 patio office ideas and recommendations to help you take your productivity to the porch, deck, or poolside. Keep reading to get eyes on these insights:
- Understand what an outdoor office is.
- Delve into smart ways to streamline your workspace design.
- Discover the best outdoor furniture, accessories, and decor to use.
- Peruse styling ideas for small spaces.
- Get inspired with prefab outdoor office ideas.
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What’s an Outdoor Office?
An outdoor office is a private workspace in your backyard. It’s where you can pursue your career goals, follow your DIY dreams, or finally write that novel—surrounded by fresh air and the comforts of home. There are many forms a backyard workspace can take, from a dining table that doubles as a desk to a fully furnished prefab garden pod.
Outdoor Office Considerations
Use the following factors to your advantage to create an effective office setup.
Pick furniture, accent decor, and paint colors that highlight your personality and mix well with your home’s look.
Design your outdoor office aesthetic around your home’s style, exterior colors, and backyard layout.
Create a space that fits your job description.
- Graphic designers and IT pros need reliable internet connections, ample workspaces, and weatherproof storage for their electronics and equipment.
- Carpenters and architects need sturdy drafting desks and shelves for their tools.
Your local climate and property lines dictate the layout and materials of a backyard office. For instance: If you live on the coast, forgo wooden desks and chairs and choose furniture that can stand up to the salty environment.
Deciding on a budget will prevent overspending and help you set realistic design goals if you want to build an extensive workspace. Keep your spending in perspective by taking inventory of the furnishings and equipment you want, then research pricing. Divide the list into two categories: necessary items in one and nice-to-have things in the other. Add everything to a spreadsheet or planner to keep track of your purchases.
Patio Office Furniture and Decor Ideas
These outdoor furniture and decorating ideas are equal parts form and function.
1. Weatherproof Furniture
The right furniture enhances an outdoor office’s aesthetic and utility, leading to increased productivity. Choose durable pieces that fit your needs and stand up to inclement weather. A spacious dining table gives you room to spread out your workload, while an Adirondack chair creates a comfy spot for mid-day coffee breaks.
For extra softness, consider outdoor daybeds and deep seating sofas. They’re large enough to stretch out with your laptop and stay comfortable through long meetings.
2. Water Elements
The soothing sound of running water is ideal for creating a low-stress environment. Style a tall floor fountain in the corner of your garden office, or seek a tabletop version to help inspire your creative flow.
3. Outdoor Umbrellas
A less-expensive alternative to permanent overhangs, patio umbrellas let you decide if you want to sit in the shade or sun while you clear out your inbox. Plus, the underside is a great location to run a strand of outdoor lights for a little spark of joy throughout the day.
4. Outdoor Lighting
A well-lit work environment is key if you’re ever burning the midnight oil. Wall sconces help illuminate larger areas and prevent tripping hazards, while tabletop lamps light up the task at hand. Choose models rated for outdoor use, and seek energy- and eco-friendly options like LEDs and solar-powered lighting when possible.
Use lights that are easy on your eyes. Opt for indirect, diffused light fixtures to reduce glare and avoid low-quality LEDs and dimmable lights that flicker.
5. Curtains and Dividers
Put up outdoor curtains or collapsible room dividers to add privacy and reduce distractions around your outdoor workspace. Vertical gardens also make for beautiful boundaries.
6. Outdoor Rugs
Outdoor area rugs take up no extra room and are one of the best ways to make an area feel cohesive and complete. Measure your office space before you shop to ensure you choose the correct size. A too-small rug may appear awkward, and too-big rugs can completely overpower the room.
7. Desk Organizer
A color-coordinating desk organizer adds functional flair and keeps small items like pens and sticky notes from getting lost. Be sure to use enclosed organizers that keep your supplies safe from the elements.
Anchor your organizer to your desk so strong winds won’t knock it over.
8. Seat Cushions
Introduce comfort and color to your workspace with weather-resistant pillows and cushions. Seat cushions offer extra support for your lower body, so having a plush landing pad will be a big help if you spend your workday behind a desk.
Outdoor Office Ideas for Small Spaces
Designing a productive work area in a small space isn’t difficult—you just need to get creative.
9. Measure Your Space
We highly recommend measuring your outdoor space to know how much room you have, then shop for furniture and accent decor that fit.
10. Multifunctional Furniture
Seek dual-purpose pieces like floor lamps with shelves, convertible chairs, or folding tables that expand from compact desks to full dining tables.
12. Use Vertical Space
Install wall sconces and floor-to-ceiling shelves that can hold supplies and decor, or opt for a standing desk that takes up less floor space and keeps you from sitting all day.
13. Smart Storage Solutions
Chairs and benches with built-in storage save space and protect your supplies from the elements. Coffee and side tables with drawers and extra shelves offer more room to store office essentials.
Outdoor Office Tech Ideas
Many of us can work efficiently from anywhere as long as there’s a reliable internet connection. But these modern conveniences help too.
Lights, computers, speakers, and other devices need power. Wire electricity to your office shed so you can plug it all in. If that’s not in your budget, try running a heavy-duty extension cord from inside your apartment to your balcony to stay connected.
15. Backup Power
Keep a power bank, batteries, and charging cables on hand to ensure your laptop, smartphone, and remote controls are always charged.
16. Outdoor Sound System
Bring your favorite work beats outside with a dedicated sound system. There are many options available that range from inexpensive wireless desktop speakers to state-of-the-art wall-mounted units you can control from your laptop.
17. Wi-Fi Range Extender
This useful device extends your router’s signal range so you can connect to your Wi-Fi when you’re outside.
Prefab Outside Office Ideas
Prefabricated workspaces are factory-built structures you can quickly set up in your backyard.
18. Modern Office Pod
Calm and clutter-free, modern backyard pods offer style and keep your work life and home life separate. Choose a sleek unit outfitted with large windows to let in natural light. Fill the spaces with clean-lined furnishings, and opt for a neutral color palette with an energizing accent shade to punch up productivity.
19. Soundproofed Office Shed
Construct or buy a prefab thick-walled shedquarters or garden office pod where you can work in privacy, peace, and quiet. Soundproofed backyard studios benefit musicians, sales reps, and anyone who needs to block out background noise.
20. Treehouse Office
Want the normalcy of leaving the house to head to work? Try building your office among the treetops for the coolest commute ever. When furnishing the space, choose lightweight pieces that are easy to haul up.
Should I build a backyard office?
You should build a backyard office if your job requires ample equipment that keeps you in one space. An art studio would require a complete structure to house and protect all the supplies. However, if your career only requires a laptop and internet access, designing a simple space would be a better bet. A picnic table with an open patio umbrella, a poolside chaise lounge, or a balcony bistro set are quick and comfortable outdoor office space options.
Does a backyard office increase property value?
A permanent backyard office can increase your home’s property value. Well-designed prefab outdoor workspaces are attractive to homebuyers because they’ll have an established structure they can use for work or any other purpose.
Do you need planning permission to build a garden office?
If you want to build a large garden room office or run electricity to an existing garden shed, you may need planning permission from your town or HOA. Check the local zoning laws and restrictions to see if you need any permits. If you belong to an HOA, review the rules to find out if there are renovation restrictions.