Building My Backyard Office Shed

As we welcomed a new addition to our family, the need for space became apparent with both my wife and I working from home. Originally planning a backyard renovation, we decided to double down and invest in an office shed to provide not just an office for me, but also a quiet space for my wife to conduct virtual therapy sessions that may happen when our son is also home.

Planning and Design

We opted for a 10x12 shed and would reuse an existing concrete slab in our backyard as the foundation. We had a demolition crew cut down the slab to the perfect size. Essential to the design was connectivity—ensuring the shed had power and high-speed internet was non-negotiable due to my need to frequently upload and download large files. Careful planning went into the placement of outlets, lighting, and dedicated spaces for my server to ensure all devices could connect seamlessly without clutter.


With a total budget of $25k, finding cost-effective solutions was crucial. We contracted a local shed company to construct the basic shell for $11,460, a fraction of what complete setups cost elsewhere. I DIY'd as much as possible throughout the project, but hired where it made sense. I first sealed and painted the exterior, and screwed down the subfloor to prevent future squeaks. After painting the majority of the shed exterior, I ended up buying a cheap paint sprayer to cover under the eaves. In hindsight, I would tape the windows, spray the trim, tape the trim, spray the entire exterior. It would've been so much faster. Painting the inside went so much faster using the sprayer!

Power and connectivity were next. I had an electrician run power and handle the rough electric in the shed while I laid down a direct burial Cat-7 Ethernet cable from the main house Eero router to the Eero router placed in the shed. I also ran a pair of USB-C and Ethernet cables through the wall from the desk to where the router and server would live. You can ignore the black tube I also ran. That was my failed attempt to create a nice conduit for future connections.

Insulation was next. I chose to use cellulose in the walls for its excellent sound and thermal insulation properties. I enjoy blasting music while I work as well as playing my guitar loudly. It's a big relief to know I can do this without disturbing neighbors close by.

Drywall installation was outsourced because with a baby on the way, and a nursery to also be prepared at the same time... let's just say time was running short, and they were able to do a better job than I could have and in a fraction of the time.

For heating and cooling, I went with a MRCOOL DIY mini split system, a cost-effective solution that I installed myself. This was a huge cost savings, not having to have an HVAC technician install it. I found the best price at Costco. The lines come pre-charged, however that does mean you have to coil the extra on the outside. It's not a super visible area for us though, so we were happy with that tradeoff!

The interior was completed with luxury vinyl plank flooring and trim, adding a polished look to the space. I was able to do this myself after watching many youtube videos. It went together almost like a puzzle. I made sure to save extras for future repairs if needed.

The Finished Product

Two years later, the office shed stands as a vital part of our daily lives. It's a functional, comfortable space that has only one minor thing I would change—the positioning of the mini-split. It's more effective than anticipated, making it sometimes too cool at the desk!

Tips for Others

  • Embrace DIY: Tackling the project yourself can significantly reduce costs and boost your confidence in home improvement. It's a perfect project to practice skills without the high stakes of modifying your main living space.
  • Tool Tips: Investing in a nail gun can save a lot of frustration, especially when installing trim. It's worth the investment for a professional-looking finish. I lost count of how many nails I bent when installing the trim!

Budget Breakdown

Here's a detailed look at how the budget was allocated, showing how close we stayed to our initial $25k limit. Hopefully this breakdown helps others with budgeting similar projects.

PS - if you want to see the rest of the backyard we did almost simultaneously, check out the gallery below. We pulled it all off with one month to spare before our kiddo arrived! :)

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