Thursday, 16 February 2012

Working from Your Shed

Many people on their way to self-sufficiency will find themselves looking for teleworking opportunities. Working from home, however, is harder than many people realise – but can these problems be solved with the humble garden shed?

It can be really difficult to become fully self-sufficient, you are always going to have at least some bills to pay, and making the money for these selling your own produce is not easy. If you’re living somewhere remote it can be a real challenge to find jobs that will both pay your bills and give you the flexibility to provide for yourself independently. Luckily, in this day and age, more and more industries deal in information and a huge number of jobs can be done from anywhere with just a laptop and an Internet connection. Teleworking is a great way to help you make the transition to self-sufficiency, but anyone who has tried teleworking will tell you it’s not as easy as you first think.

Sure, you’re commute becomes as simple as rolling out of bed and technology means you can keep in touch with everyone you need to with a Skye call, but you’re home feels very different from your office and your office very different from your home. It can quickly become all too easy to get distracted by other things going on and other jobs that need doing. This becomes even worse if you’re meant to be working when your family is not. At the same time, for most of us, our homes have always been an escape from work, somewhere to get away from the stress and deadlines. It can be really hard to get out of the working frame of mind if you’re both living and working in the same environment.

For some people it’s enough to convert a room in there house to a home office, but not everyone has the room to spare - even if they do, if the family is up to other things within ear shot, it can be quite hard to settle into work. So what’s the solution?

Well, this is a guest post from The Tiger Shed blog, where we believe that few problems in life can’t be solved by pottering about in the garden shed and this particular problem is no exception.

Why not set up a home office in your garden shed?

With a little luck you’re still reading and haven’t dismissed the idea as crazy already. If your garden shed is filled with tools, dark, damp and a little bit smelly, you might not be that enthused, but with a little DIY to an existing shed or building a new purpose built shed we think it could really be the perfect home office. Imagine your shed insulated, set up for electricity, within range of Wi-Fi connection, replace the tools and flower pots with a desk and comfy office chair and all of a sudden you’ve got a great working space. The distractions of home are far away and you’re now working in all the natural beauty of your garden. What could be more inspiring than that?

Not convinced? Well we’re not the first to come up with the idea, did you know that Roald Dahl actually wrote almost all of his books from the bottom of his garden in a shed? In 1954, after setting up home in Great Missenden, Roald Dahl had a custom shed built in the garden as his own private sanctuary where he could retreat to write his books. Few children fail to fall in love with the creative stories that were spawned in that shed and we’re in little doubt that the joy of the outdoor surroundings must have inspired Dahl.

Hopefully by now you’re as excited as we would be about the idea of relocating the office to the garden and you’ll be pleased to know it’s quite a frugal under taking. Converting an existing shed or outbuilding will cost you very little and most people will be able to do these conversions themselves. Even if you need to build a new shed it’s quite a manageable building project and the Internet is filled with free plans that you can use. For those of you who want somewhere a little more substantial the Internet is filled with prebuilt sheds you can have delivered and some of them are virtually separate buildings. Check out the Tiger Shed Log Cabin shop to see what we mean.

So, good luck building your shed/home office. For more ideas be sure to check out the Tiger Shed blog and if you give it a go, be sure to send us some pictures.


Here in Frugaldom, our first big outdoor project of 2012 is to renovate the garden outbuilding and fit out the garden shed, turning them into suitable work space and a functional studio. The project is at an advanced stage of planning, but I'll be logging the progress reports on here as soon as we begin work in April. Hoping to complete within a six-week timeframe.


  1. It does sound kind of nice, except here in Wyoming it would be very, very cold much of the year.

  2. It's not all that warm here in Scotland, Susan, and the photo of the little shed is only representative, it isn't the actual tumbledown outbuilding that we're going to convert. If I had the money, I'd be building one of those luxury log cabin types. LOL

    Fortunately, there is existing power running to our old outbuilding, so we're renewing it to allow safe use of a heater when needed. In the meantime, I've managed to get an old parafin heater/stove. I'm also intending insulating the building, although this will probably be with recycled polystyrene, which worked very well in our last shed - except the hens kept getting in and pecking it! This time around, it will be boarded out entirely with the polystyrene filling the cavity.

    Eventually, we will save enough to build a cabin or summerhouse at the bottom of the garden, but that's a whole different project.


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