The Cost of Garden Office Construction In California

As more people work from home, questions about garden office construction arise. Indeed, there are available options to get started. But the cost of building will always be a significant factor to consider when setting up a garden office. 

Building a garden office can cost thousands of dollars. But it is much less expensive than an ADU or a full home extension. Plus, it has many benefits, including adding value to your property. So, a garden office is a good investment and a cost-effective way to utilize your garden.

In this post, we discuss the costs of garden office construction in California. We also explain core factors to consider when budgeting for a garden office. 

What Is A Garden Office?

A garden office is a garden room built to serve as an office. It is considered an outbuilding since it is a detached structure you build in your yard.

A garden office rarely requires planning permission. But this can depend on your location and how you intend to use it. So, you may need to check to know if you need planning permission or a building permit before you proceed. 

Benefits of Home Office Setup In Your Garden 

Having a garden office can be highly beneficial if you work from home. It is a great way to use your garden space and enjoy all the advantages of working independently. Below are some cool benefits of having a garden office:

  • It gives you a personal and professional working area.
  • It increases your work performance by reducing distractions and helping you focus. 
  • A garden office allows you to customize your workspace to work comfortably. 
  • It relieves you of commuting costs, helping you save time and money.
  • It can be used for other purposes, like a relaxation spot. 
  • A garden office can add value to your home, making it attractive to future buyers.
  • It creates extra space at home. 

Garden Office Construction – How Much Should I Budget? 

You need quality materials and professionals to build a sturdy and durable garden office. And to get quality, you need to set a realistic budget high enough to get what you need. In California, the average price of a medium prefab garden office can range from $2,000 to $5,000. Depending on the materials used for offsite construction and quality, this range may be higher. You may spend up to $10,000 for a well-built and customized prefab garden office. 

You can reduce costs by installing your prefab garden office yourself. But if you need to include plumbing, electricity, or any other additions, you will need to hire professionals. This can increase the average cost to around $30,000.

If you need a bespoke garden office, you may need to set a budget higher than $30,000. Of course, this can vary depending on the structure size, design, and construction. You may also need to confirm and apply for the necessary building permits.

Still, building a garden office is more cost-effective than a home extension. You can spend close to $50,000 for a full home extension or $500 to $700 per square foot. While you only need to pay $20 to $25 per square foot when building a detached garden office. 

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Building Garden Office

#1: Type of Garden Office Building Materials

This depends on the type of garden office you need. Buying a garden office is generally cheaper than building one from scratch. From the foundation to roofing and garden office flooring, the types of material you choose will influence the total cost. But first, you have to decide whether you need a ready-made insulated garden office or want to build it from scratch. Irrespective of the material expect the garden office price to fall between 

#2: Garden Office Construction Labor

Garden office construction and installation require labor. However, you can either DIY or hire out. Contractors can charge you per hour or square foot, costing hundreds of dollars. But luckily, the money you pay contractors is tax deductible in California. Most times, it is either you are paying the money per square foot or per project. Interestingly, it is important to clarify this factor so that you can compare quotes and the price of building a garden office in California or anywhere else. 

The cost of hiring contractors can exceed $5,000 depending on the size and type of materials you choose. The design of the garden office can also add to this cost. 

#3: Shipping costs

Consider including shipping costs if you need to budget for a prefab garden office or build from scratch. The weight and type of materials you need can affect the shipping cost. Generally, heavier materials like solid wood and steel can be costlier to ship. In comparison, lighter materials like plastic are less expensive. However, you may need professional guidance to explore how to build a garden office with plastic or clad. 

The location of the manufacturer can also add to shipping costs. So, consider buying supplies from a local manufacturer to save money and time. Another way to cut shipping costs is to find manufacturers that ship quality materials for free. Amazon is an excellent place to get started. 

#4: Building Permits

Where you live will determine if you need to apply for a building permit or planning permission. You may need a permit if your garden office is bigger than the required size. Engage some of the best garden office builders in California and they will guide you on everything related to building permits or planning permission. 

And also if it includes extra features to make it resident-grade. These include insulation, electricity, plumbing, a bedroom, etc.

If your garden office is lower than 120 square feet, then there is a high chance that you will not need a permit. But if higher, you may need to budget for it. 

The cost of a permit for garden offices and detached ADUs is usually lesser than an attached home extension. If you need a building permit, you may need a budget of $1500 and above. But it may cost less if you need a simple garden office. It is best to research everything you need to apply for a permit if you need it. 

#5: Cost of garden Office Add-Ons

Extras like a bathroom, kitchenette, or insulation to your garden office can cost you more money. Asides from their installation, they can make your permit more expensive.

You can install floors, roofs, doors, and sidings by yourself. But you will need to hire professionals if you need to include electricity and plumbing. As convenient as they are, a kitchenette and bathroom can add extra costs to your budget. Plumbing services prices can start at $1,000 to $2,000. And plumbing materials like a sink, toilet bowls, and pipes can cost up to $1000. 

To install electricity in your garden office, you need to consider several factors. Installation can cost $160 to $500, depending on the required work. The conduit type, tools needed, and office space can also affect the installation cost. It is essential and safer to get a licensed professional. But it can be more expensive. 

Related: 15 Home Office Design Ideas For Remote Workers 

How To Choose The Best Garden Office Builder In California 

  • Choosing the best garden office builders in California may not be easy. But you can get quality professionals with the following steps:
  • Determine your garden office needs. Know your garden office build type, design type, and size. 
  • Carry out an inquiry or a survey. You can get started by checking out builders near you on Google and also your neighborhood.
  • Do background research on your selected few. Check customer reviews and past jobs on the list of the builder(s) you choose to work with. 
  • Go for builders with years of experience and a high skill set. Stick to qualified builders that are licensed and professional. 
  • Ensure the builder is reliable, with good customer service and reasonable pricing. 

Garden Office Construction: The Frequently Asked Questions 

How Much Does It Cost To Make A Shed Into An Office?

It may not cost much to convert your storage shed to an office. This depends on how many changes you need to make. If you only need to change the interior decor, you may not spend up to $3000. But if you want to change the structure, this may cost up to $10,000. It’s important to determine the changes you need to make to your shed.

Do Garden Offices Need Foundations?

Garden offices need a good foundation for stability and strength to withstand harsh weather. The weight of the garden office structure needs to be distributed so that it stays firm on the ground. 

How Long Does It Take To Build A Garden Room?

Building a garden room to use as an office takes a relatively short time. You can set up a prefab garden office between a day or a few days. Building from scratch can take a week or two, depending on the size, installation, and type of materials. 

How Do You Set Up A Garden Office?

You can set up a garden office by first preparing a foundation. For a prefab office, you can proceed to put the doors, window(s), and roofing. Then design the interior as you desire. You can set it up yourself or hire a professional to do the job. 

Related: 10 Best Uses of Garden Rooms In California 


Building a garden office is beneficial in many ways, from boosting your work performance to adding value to your property. But before you get started, checking the cost of building is essential. Garden office building costs vary depending on many factors. They include garden office type, materials type, building permits, and shipping costs. Hiring a professional builder can add to costs.

It is best to determine what you want and set a realistic budget. Getting a good builder is also essential to get quality. Before you make any commitment, try to clarify your use cases and then get quotes from different garden office companies. 

Donald Felix

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