Workshop design suggestions - L Shaped garden room

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Established Member
26 Dec 2016
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Hi all,

I've asked on this forum in the past about garage extension ideas. Well my lovely wife has put paid to that idea, she really really doesn't want to spoil the look of our house. It would look very one sides with a garage extension on a garage extension.
So, tonight we sat and talked and she gave me permission to keep my single garage as a secure store for any portable tools, bikes, lawn mower and mechanical tools for car maintence.
I could probably even keep the table saw in the garage... but i'd rather not if at all possible.

So my question really is - Show me your L shaped workshop building? I have a space i can create a workshop in, its long and thin and L shaped.

This is the current layout:

My wife says as long as it looks pretty i can use all the space outlined in green below:


can i make a decent workshop out of that space? Big enough to have a proper table saw, router table, and assembly table?? I know Peter Millard works in a small space and achieves an awful lot, i've seen that guy in the shipping container making skateboards.... any photos or images/links you are able to share are very much appreciated. Its all in the very early design stage - first can it be done, would it make a good workshop?

Second will be things like roof design, SIP panels/door placement etc etc...

My table saw is a decent size with a. sliding arm at the side of it for full sheets like this one:


Any help appreciated.

Thanks again



Think about work flows starting with:- table saw/ PT, bandsaw, morticer, assembly table finishing area.
Maybe keeping that large table saw in the garage is not a bad idea. Sheet comes into garage and is cut into required sizes then moved into the workshop, why carry full sheets into workshop.
Is that sketch to scale?
It doesn't look to scale given the written sizes and the grid squares of the background, they just don't add up?

If it isn't to scale I would redraw the outline to scale, include known measures of the house wall, paths and patio, also need to be to same scale.

Also will there be any issues wrt planning regulations, ie is that garden wall a boundary line of the property, does indicate a boundary next to a road our footpaths, that could severely limit your height if building is closer than a metre to boundaries.

Very hard to give suggestions without more information and accuracy of dimensions.
Is it to be a self build, access to power, sufficient spare capacity in consumer unit, access to rear of build backing onto wall, to little makes it hard to maintain and address any potential areas of rot or damage.

WRT the estimated square metre space many would be happy to have that space.
I have extended my 16'x8' shed to about 23' x 8', when the 8x6 cheap storage shed I had behind it rotted.
But have since added a dividing wall and internal door, so inside it's more like the original 16x8 with access to an 8x7 store room.

If I had a clean slate again I would not do it again, i haven't found any benefit to long narrow workshop, rather it's quite restrictve, manoeuvring 8ft lengths about is a pain, as for 8x4 panels, forget it. I have break sheet goods down outside with track saw, which is OK in summer, unless neighbours got washing out or are relaxing. Regularly it could annoy them. Also in rain and darker winter nights it's not fun either, I would go for a 14 x 12 if I could start over.

Sorry for the ramble, but it seemed good idea to relate my experience of long and narrow for you.
Really appreciate the responses so far.

The drawing is not to scale, it was rushed last night after my Mrs gave me an agreement in principal. She really doesn't want me to extend the garage!
I'll update it later this week when work allows. The use of the workshop is purely as a hobby, who knows in the future it might become a way of semi retiring from the IT game.

Foundations - The current wall is badly damaged/worn due to water and frost damage so i am happy to remove and re-build, i can move the wall 50cm outwards as i also own the land on the other side of it. Doing so, i would still be 1Mtr away from the boundry so not sure i would need planning permission. What does that limit me too height wise? If i was moving that wall and rebuilding it i would be able to dig a strip foundation for that wall and any workshop walls - My intention is to use the garden wall as the back wall of the workshop - I can build a cavety wall with insulation between. Then every other wall of the workshop i would like to be sip pannels. Strip foundations again with a decent oversight so i can have a smooth floor to move machines about on.

Budget - Great question, the architect we asked about the garage extension suggested £70k. I've built LOTS of buildings and extensions it wouldn't cost me that much but SIP pannels and proper foundations ain't cheap. I think Mrs D would approve somewhere near £20k with a 5K contingency.

There is hot and cold water and drainage against that wall already (outside kitchen). I'd want to pull a bigger armoured cable to the workshop so i could have a consumer unit and some 16amp feeds if needed.

Planning - would i need it?

Size wise @Sachakins interesting note about 14" x 12". I work that to be about 4Mtrs x 3.5Mtrs. My space would struggle to be that big i think. Elements could be that wide or that long but not in a perfect square. Pretty sure i could get 3Mtrs wide x 7Mtrs long along the wall, but then a bit narrow where it follows the bend of the wall around and then would open up into wider space.

Thanks again for any input.

OK, so here is one set of ideas ....

You have a good squarish area with a "galley kitchen" attached to the right. My first thought is that 8x4' boards could enter through the right hand end of the "kitchen", pass straight over a decent size panel saw for full length rips and land on a generously sized outfeed / assembly table to it's left. If you need to rip planks, same applies.

If you need to crosscut 8x4' sheets, that space isn't wide enough so do that with a tracksaw when the sheet is lying on your outfeed table or on trestles outdoors in the style of these toughbuilt ones :
images (46).jpeg

I think for the space, your table saw is too big. If you remove the outrigger but keep the slider, the saw will still handle long work, but as you don't have space to crosscut an 8' sheet on it, the outrigger is redundant. Same for the extension table on the right of the blade.

The outfeed / assembly will be just off your square area so easy to access.

Consider as I have, watching for a dust extractor that comes in the shape of a cube designed to sit underneath an outfeed table (Mardon, P&J, etc) . They are a great space saver.
If you go this route, then you can't put a router in your assembly table because there isn't room underneath but saving the footprint of a dust extractor wins the argument for me.

You are going to need double doors in both of the right hand facing walls.

The outdoor area surrounded by the L is going to be a great ancilliary fair weather workspace for working on longer timbers across a pair of trestles or cutting to length using a mobile mitre saw. As an amateur it isn't impossible to wait for the weather to do certain jobs outside.

These ideas reflect my own way of working with far too much kit in a single car garage. The tablesaw is just inside the doorway which puts the outfeed / assembly table in the middle of my space. I have to stand outdoors while feeding the saw but I have room to take an 8' length clear off the back of the saw blade, just. For narrower planks I can clear much longer.

The biggest decision will be what sort of workbench do you need (hand or power tool focus) and where will it go as they are generally too heavy to move about.

Otherwise, try and keep one area as big as possible and clear for work.

You will need to keep to essential machinery only and those I think on mobile / locking bases so they can be parked against a wall and pulled out for use. It is not ideal but that especially applies to a planer thicknesser which probably isn't an everyday tool.
A mitre saw is handy but is easy to make mobile so that it can be taken outside and used to cut long timbers to length.
If you even need a router table, make it yourself to suit your projects and consider a design that comes apart for storage if you don't use it every week (month, year).

Do your layout and then position your lights so they are above your head at each key work area so they light your hands without creating shadows.
But bear in mind that you will probably change the mind over time so do a few layouts and don't be too wedded to any of them.
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Also note that at 3m wide, if that is overall outside dimension at roof span, then taking into account eaves overhang, wall + insulation thickness and internal boarding, you may lose as much as 500mm, giving 2.5mm internal width.
Obviously all depends on construction method.

As you own garden outside wall, could you square of the corner first?
looking at this diagram:

as you identify the path and patio - does this mean that the area which would otherwise fill in the L shape is grass / flower bed?
If you could have that as hard standing (e.g. extend the patio there) then it could visually soften the workshop by having potted plants on it, but if you had double doors onto it and a sail to cover the area (could be one that you put up down with pulleys if you don't want it up permanently) then you could make it multi-purpose and use it even in bad weather - it would give you a huge amount more flexibility...

I have a 5mx3m old garage, btu a large driveway that is used for the tracksaw / thicknesser / etc.
A panel saw to effectively handle 8X4 sheets needs a ridiculous amount of room. I would do all sheet cutting with a track saw and use the sawbench for solid material final cut to size and other operations. My saw is a similar size to yours but I mainly use a smaller table without the swinging arm due to space.
I would think about what the maximum length you want to rip and plane as that will dictate locations but a strategically placed door can make a big impact
Thanks all, especially @Sideways I wanted to call out a special thank you for taking the time to type such a detailed response.
I have a track saw a Festool TS55, my table saw is only 1 month old if that (second hand so much older in reality)... I used to break down sheets on a sheet of insulation laid on my drive - worked well enough. I have some woodpecker knock off paralell guides which work well for repeat sizes.

Maybe i need to sell my saw and buy a smaller one? I could do that, thing is, its a hell of a saw!

Great advice re the dust extractor.

To the point of squaring the garden wall off. No chance, there are some things worth arguing over but this is not one of them. She would rather burry me in the foundations than loose the curved wall!

Thanks again everyone - i really do appreciate you input.