So you want space in your backyard to store all your
junk tools and random items, but you also want your own office space so that you can focus entirely on your work? After all, a backyard building which has all your work equipment will never completely feel like a work studio if it also contains tons of your stored items. The solution is to buy/building multiple backyard buildings, right?
Well actually, a single backyard building with multiple entrances and rooms can be ideal. You can have a distraction-free workspace, along with tons of storage, with few downsides. An office-shed combo will be cheaper and take up less overall space.
Of course, nothing is perfect and there are some flaws with a combined backyard studio/shed which this article explores in more detail.
What Are Backyard Office/Shed Combos?
If you are going through all the effort of building your own backyard office, you might be kicking yourself if a year down the line you realize that you do not have enough storage space and thus you look to buy (or build) yet another backyard building: this time a shed.
A good solution in this case is to design dedicated storage space from the start in your backyard office. However it would be annoying to have tons of items stored all around your fancy new office space, and it will not make you look professional if you were to have visitors to your office.
The solution is to make your backyard building a little bit bigger when you first build it, and then build in multiple entrances and have a room partition. In other words, make two completely separate spaces in your new building. One entrance can lead into your office space and the door here can be bigger and grander, such as French doors. Then the other entrance can always be a smaller door signalling that it is a ‘peripheral’ space: one which leads into your storage shed room.
This is very easy to do, and it can bring a range of benefits for very little extra cost. It is a lot better to have a single building which simultaneously offers dedicated office and storage space than to have multiple buildings cluttering your backyard.
Photos/Videos Of Multi-Purpose Backyard Studio-Sheds
The image gallery below shows some of our favorite backyard studio/shed combinations:
Next up we have a great video which shows the construction of Angus McGregor’s “Man Cave/She Shed/Garden Office” (i.e. one building with multiple purposes!) and a video from ‘mlawson123’ and it shows before-and-after pictures of his completed backyard office + workshop:
Some of the benefits of having a combined office-shed in a single backyard building are:
- A big time saver compared to building two separate buildings. There is a fixed time investment required to get the footings of your building ready, along with running electricity cables, building the walls, decorating the interior and sourcing all the materials. This will take dozens (if not hundreds) of hours whether you just build a single backyard office, or an office-shed combo. If you are spending all this time doing one building, it will only take a few hours more to build a very slightly bigger building which has a room partition to form your combo building. Spending a few hours extra to build a combo-use building is much better than having to buy/build a separate shed at a later date.
- Much more cost effective than two separate buildings. In addition to the time savings mentioned above, there is also the cost savings. Adding a room partition and getting another external door will only cost a few hundred bucks maximum (less if you get a second hand cheaper door), which will cost less than buying or building a completely separate backyard building to use as a shed.
- Office space looks more professional without random items being stored there. If you do not have a single office-shed combo, nor a seperate storage shed/workshop, you will invariably find that your backyard office becomes a bit of a dumping ground for all manner of household and outdoor items. After all, why should these random items be stored elsewhere when there is a perfectly good ‘shed’ (i.e. office!) in the backyard? Having lots of random items stored in your workspace can be distracting, and will also look a bit unprofessional if you have visitors.
- More flexible: can always convert either room to another use in the future. Having a slightly bigger backyard building (than you otherwise would have built) with two entrances/rooms gives you more flexibility in the future. If you find that you are not using the office part for work, why not convert it into a nifty playroom for the children? Or a swanky gin room to hang out with your friends? Equally you might find that your storage shed portion is only being partially used, in which case you might want to get a small outdoor storage bin (to put these items in) and convert your building back into a single, bigger room.
Of course, there are some downsides too:
- Does cost a little extra. The bigger the building, the greater the cost. This is the most obvious flaw in having a backyard office which caters to both office and storage/shed functions. Of course, the cost of such a building is less than buying/building two separate buildings, but if you want an expensive room partition (such as with lots of soundproofing) and a fancy, security door for your shed entrance, this could start costing $1,000+ extra: and a standalone shed will cost less than this to buy. So just think through your plans a bit to be sure that a combined building is right for you.
- Requires a bit more space in your backyard space (or a smaller office). Unless you want to cut down on the size of your office, you will have to build a bigger overall building. This is fine if you have tons of space in your backyard, but if you are more limited in terms of space, this might not always be practical. Just like with looking at costs, our advice is to plan this out up-front so that you get an office, shed and overall building footprint which suits your requirements.
- Noisy if both rooms are in use at the same time. If you are busy at work (or worse, on a conference call) and then there is a bunch of noise from someone else in the shed, that will be very frustrating. The answer, of course, is to soundproof your partition, however this can be expensive, and it may not block out all noise – especially if the noise is coming from power tools.
- Need to plan out where weight will be. If you think that you might hang heavy items on your office partition wall (such as a few big TVs) and also on the same wall in your shed (such as full up shelves and power tools), this might exceed the weight for the drywall used to form your partition wall. This is rare, but if you plan on having heavy items to hang, make sure that you know what wall they will be going on – and adjust your partition wall plans if needed.
- Easy to compromise on shed/workshop size. The most ‘important’ part of an office-shed combo will probably be the office space, so it can be easy to forget the shed part and build this too small. You do not want to go through all the effort of building a dual-purpose backyard building if one part of it is too small.
- Two doors for a single (relatively small) building may look odd. People will often expect to see just a single door on a backyard building, and it might therefore look a bit odd to see one with two doors and entrances. Whilst this can obviously be explained easily enough, it is worth trying to design your exterior cladding and doors so that the multi-entrances looks seamless and in-keeping.
Note: If you’re worried about ruining your garden or having to dig up land – we’ve bought a number of Tower gardens, feel free to check out our review of them. They’re a great way to urban garden in a safe, plentiful way!
Overall we think that a combined building which caters to both office and storage space can work really well, and we definitely recommend it whenever you plan on having two separate backyard buildings. Although depending on your circumstances, the following alternatives might make more sense:
- A small storage container/’bin’. If you only have a handful of outdoor items to store, you can buy a range of storage containers (which look like big bins) which can be secured with a padlock. These are very useful, and they can be a lot better than having a dedicated shed.
- A separate shed. I know that we have spent the whole article discussing a combined building, but if you really value a truly dedicated workspace, a separate shed might make more sense. This is because a combined shed can be noisier (when other people are in there whilst you work), unless you sound proof: but sound proofing the wall partition can be more expensive than a separate, simple shed.
- Work from your house. If space is limited in your backyard and you cannot build a big enough space for dual office-shed working, consider working from a room (or spare table) in your house and just building a small backyard shed.