Save ££££ by building your own garden office. If you’re looking to create some extra space at home then a log cabin in your back garden could be the answer. In this post I’m going to show you how to build your own and save thousands off the price of a professionally installed garden office. This step by step guide will show you all the different elements required to accomplish this job in the simplest and cheapest way possible. Forget the £15k+ price tag of a garden building supplier and build your own for as little as £5000.
Your own garden office can be as big or small as you like it. You just need to use your imagination a little bit and work within the confinements of you property. For this build I’d like to show you how a log cabin kit can provide the main structural element of your build, making it faster and cheaper than trying to build from scratch. My building has been purchased from Garden Buildings Direct based in the UK. It’s provided me with a fantastic looking structure that can easily be modified to suit my needs as a garden office.
My modifications include electricity, decking area, insulation, internal finishing and a custom paint job. These buildings can also be extended with your own materials or by purchasing one of their lean-to add-ons. You can select different roofing via their website, or again, add your own. At some point down the line I’d like to add some thin slate tiles to the roof to really make this building pop. But for now I’m on a bit of a budget.
You should understand the buildings restrictions from your local authority before you do anything. Read these carefully to ensure your building doesn’t breach planning restrictions or it could get taken down. The first port of call for this would be the online planning portal. If you are still unsure after checking this then it’s worth contacting your local authority to double check any details.
Now you know your restrictions it’s time to get in the garden with a tape measure and start measuring up. Where is you building going to go? Think about things like:
- Where the sun sets and rises,
- Are there any over head or underground electrical wiring to avoid?
- Are there any water drainage points, pipe works or gas pipe works to avoid?
- How level is the ground?
Select your design
With a suitable location found it’s time to select your perfect design. I decided to go with the BillyOh Kent Garden Office as it looked great and was available in the size I wanted. (4m x 3m) I liked this log cabin design as it provided a flexible space that could be easily divided into two sections.
There are many other designs available in the log cabin kit section from BillyOh. You just need to find which one your prefer and use a little imagination with regards to the colour and surrounding area. And remember, these buildings are all fully customisable, both through the website and by your own constructive creativity. Add sections, join two buildings together, cut through walls, add your own style roofing. The possibilities are endless with these building kits.
Building a log cabin base
One thing you don’t get when buying a log cabin kit is a base. So you’ll need to make your own. You have three options here, each with their pros and cons.
- A solid concrete base. This will provide the strongest and longest lasting base for your office. It is however expensive and more challenging to build. Look on Youtube for some great guides.
- A patio style base. Similar to the concrete base in terms of strength and durability but you will require this to be build on a level surface. If your planning on building your log cabin on a sloped area of your garden then this might not be the best idea. Unless you have access to some heavy excavation machinery.
- A wood frame base. This can be the easiest and most cost effective method. It also allows you to build in sloped areas of the garden if you wish. It won’t last as long as a solid base but if you install it correctly and treat it regularly it will last 20+ years.
I’m going to show you how I built my wooden frame base for this log cabin garden office. I chose this base as I’m working to a budget, have a slight slope in my garden and I’m working alone.
How to build a wooden frame base for your log cabin
Make sure the base is bigger than the overall size of your log cabin. I decided to have a small decking area at the front of mine and stuck with standard size construction timber to make things easier. My base measured 4.8m x 3.6m. Joists were spaced about 500mm apart. I used support posts in each corner, 2 at the front and 2 at the back. Additional support posts were used in the middle and breeze blocks help add support in other areas to save money. Here is a quick run down on how to build the base. A materials list can be found further down.
Step 1. Lay the outer edge pieces to find the corners
Once finished with the base I’ll need some grass that grows fast to repair the muddy ground. Fast growing grass seed should only take a few weeks to grow back and will get these patches back to normal in no time.
Step 2. Dig holes for the support posts
Step 3. Fit the support posts
Step 4. Fix the joists to the the support posts
Step 5. Fit the rest of the joists and add additional support
Step 6. Add joist bridges and weed protection
You should now have a strong wooden frame base on which to build the log cabin. The bearers for the log cabin will run lengthways across the wooden frame.
Materials required for this log cabin wooden frame base
Here’s a list of all the materials I’ve used on this wooden frame base.
|Material and retailer link||Quantity||Cost each||Total cost|
|C24 Sawn Treated Timber 47mm x 150mm x 4.8m||2||£33||£66|
|C16 Sawn Treated Timber 47mm x 150mm x 3.6m||9 + 2 (11)||£19.80||£218|
|Treated Incised UC4 Fence Post Green 100mm x 100mm||3||£24||£72|
|Bullet Gold Wood Screw 5.0 x 100mm Box of 200||1||£30||£30|
|Blue Circle Ready to Use Postcrete 20kg||4||£6.64||£26.56|
|Gravel and Shingle Trade Pack 20mm||4||£3.47||£13.88|
|4Trade Creocote Dark Brown 4L||1||£15.60||£15.60|
|Weed Control Landscaping Fabric 1m x 20m||1||£24.60||£24.60|
The total cost for this log cabin wooden frame base was £466.64
Now it’s time to start work on the log cabin.
How to build a log cabin, a step by step guide
Following the instructions carefully and referring to the technical documentation is the key to success with this BillyOh log cabin kit. Take your time and check measurements carefully.
Here is an example of the log cabin instructions provided with a BillyOh kit: BillyOh Kent log cabin assembly instructions
Step 1. Organise the wood pieces into equal size lengths
Step 2. Lay the bearers and first wall pieces
TOP TIP – Double check your measurements at this stage. Once you go past this point it’s very difficult to go back without taking everything down! Measure the door width and the length of the internal wall in 3 places.
Step 3. Build up the walls until the bottom of the window
Step 4. Lay the floor boards
Step 5. Continue adding wall pieces and add window frames
Step 6. Continue building up the walls
Step 7. Add the purlins
Step 8. Fit the roof boards
Step 9. Windows and doors
The great thing about these buildings is that you can upgrade anything, including the windows and doors. The standard double glazing windows that come with the set are pretty basic so you can easily order some upgraded frames to make the building really stand out. Some timber sash windows would really make a big difference to the overall look, feel and improved thermal insulation properties for this building.
Step 10. Fit the internal sealing strips
Step 11. Protecting the exterior
Step 12. Add the roofing felt
Step 13. Decking area
The Interior of the log cabin
This part of the project is currently in progress with an expectation to finish in the summer of 2022. The electrics have been run and fed up through the floor and basic lighting has been added to the interior for now.
Here is a list of jobs to complete this project and turn this into a beautiful, cosy work space.
- Insulate the walls
- Fit plasterboard to the walls
- Fit power outlet points
- Lay laminate flooring
- Add furniture
Stay tuned for updates on this project. We’re looking forward to finishing this and making the most of our new office space away from the busy home environment.
What tools do you need to build this log cabin?
Here’s a list of tools I’ve used for this project including some links to where you can find them.
- Cordless combi drill and impact driver set – Dewalt drill and driver set
- Sliding Mitre saw – Evolution 255mm sliding mitre saw
- Tape measure – Stanley 5m tape measure
- Hand saw – Irwin panel saw 10 tpi
- Pencil – HB carpenter pencil
- Set square – Magnusson 7″ Rafter square
- Chisels – Irwin chisel set
- Drill bit set – Dewalt drill bit set
- Hammer – Claw hammer
- Rubber mallet – 32oz rubber mallet
- Jigsaw – DeWalt 18V Cordless Jigsaw DCS331N
If you like this project. Why not take a look at some of my other builds from my other website:
- How to build your own decking area
- How to build your own shed from scratch
- Build your own veranda
- Install your own eco pond
Thanks for reading. I hope this has inspired you to build your own log cabin garden office.
Take a look at these sister companies to find your ideal garden office