Go to work - in the garden

May 23 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

With the boom in home and flexible working, many people are coming up against the problem of space – or rather the lack of it. If you haven't got a spare room at home, where are you going to go to get some privacy and a decent working environment?

How about the garden? It's a sign of the times that two of the show gardens at this year's Chelsea Flower Show take home working as their inspiration – moving rather a long way away from the idea of the garden shed as the traditional bolt-hole for the British male.

Wireless connectivity and a custom-built 'work pod' allows the Microsoft SoGo Garden to be used as a micro office, where contrasting plants stimulate the working environment.

Designed by Dawn Isaac, the garden contains a brushed steel work-pod at the centre that can swivel to give 360-degree views of the vibrant planting, which aims to provide inspiration and spark creativity.

A curved brushed steel wall has an integrated bench to provide alternative seating and encourage regular breaks, which have been shown to increase productivity.

The wall also has two large openings framing different views, as well as a rill of moving water escaping beneath it all to encourage the SoGo worker to 'think outside the box.

Andy Sturgeon's Merrill Lynch Garden is also designed to be a workplace that is an extension of a home; an office with a glass front makes a seamless connection with the garden.

If these are a little on the ambitious side, you could always try an off-the-shelf 'work shed' from Herefordshire-based firm The Garden Escape, whose deluxe wooden offices will set you back a cool £16,000.

But for the ultimate in home offices, what about an m-house, a kind of latter-day giant Airstream caravan that is factory- manufactured and is delivered in two giant pieces ready to be assembled on-site. At 17m x 6m, it is neither small nor – at £135,000 – cheap. But it sure beats working in some hermetically-sealed city-centre block.