A man drinking coffee on the go while passing by his garden office pod

Garden Office Pod of a Designer in Perth, Australia

“I built a standalone office pod in my backyard — having two boys, I needed a sanctuary to focus and deliver great work for clients”

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Name: Petar Ceklic

Location: Perth, Australia

Occupation: Freelance UX/UI Designer

Room size: 9 m² (97 ft²)

Cost of setup: $9,6K, including the office pod

Social media: Instagram, Twitter

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a freelance UX/UI designer who specialises in web applications for the Australian sector.

I entered the industry in 1996, just after turning 18, and was immediately drawn to design.

Petar Ceklic, a freelance UX/UI designer, in his garden home office in Australia

I didn’t receive formal education in this field — I am completely self-taught.

For most of my career, I worked for agencies until I was made redundant when Covid hit, thrusting me into the freelance game.

This change not only allows me to choose my projects but has also doubled my income — I should have done this much sooner.

A photograph of Petar Ceklic in his home office, taken from behind through the window glass of his garden shed

Take us through your setup

Item Model
Monitor and PC iMac 27″ 2017
Speakers Audioengine A2+
Headphones AirPods Max
Keyboard NuPhy Air75
Mouse Logitech MX Master 3
Chair Herman Miller Aeron in Graphite
Web camera Logitech Brio 4K
Tablet iPad Pro with Apple Pencil
Light strip Philips Hue
Microphone Shure MV7
Standing desk Stilford S2 Electric Sit Stand Desk

I built a standalone office pod in my backyard — having two boys, I needed a sanctuary to focus and deliver great work for clients.

Watch the whole process of building the pod.

YouTube screenshot. The process of turning a garden shed into a home office

The pod is a 3×3 m square space boasting polished concrete and ample lighting.

It’s furnished with a standing desk, an Aeron chair, and an iMac that I plan to upgrade soon.

A small ergonomic desk setup in a garden shed

The entire setup, which cost me 15K AUD (approximately 9.6K USD), features:

  • A honed concrete floor
  • Excellent insulation and plenty of light for Zoom meetings
  • A cross breeze design for warmer days, complemented by a reverse cycle AC — a must in the Australian weather, ha!

I had help from my father-in-law, an architect with a superior understanding of building dynamics.

I chipped away at this project during evenings and weekends.

A top view of the desk setup with a NuPhy Air75 keyboard and Logitech MX Master 3 mouse, with male hands above them

The concrete floor was surprisingly cheap, as it was only honed (not polished).

The downside was the acoustic echo, so I installed sound-damping tiles that solved the problem.

A small and ergonomic home office with acoustic tiles on the wall and ceiling

What’s your favourite item on your desk?

I don’t have anything particularly unique or extravagant, but I am fond of my Shure mic.

It really elevates my Zoom meetings, and I often receive comments from clients about the impressive sound quality.

A designer working from his garden office pod

I conducted extensive research, including watching YouTube reviews, to compare the MV7 and SM7B.

I found that the latter required an audio interface, which seemed too cumbersome, so I chose the MV7 as it plugs straight into USB port.

The mic comes with the ShurePlus MOTIV app, allowing for fine-tuning of voice sound, which was all that I required.

What apps or tools do you use to get things done?

  • Figma — main design tool
  • Toggl — time tracking
  • Float — simple project management
  • Apple Notes — notes taken during meetings via iPad pencil
  • Apple Reminders — for daily tasks
  • Loom — I like to try to avoid meetings by using Loom

What books, blogs, or podcasts recently caught your attention?

I enjoyed the interview with Mark Zuckerberg on Future of AI at Meta on the Lex Fridman Podcast.

Interestingly, Zuckerberg believes that businesses will need their own AI agents for commerce and customer service.

Meta is actively exploring ways to facilitate businesses in creating and customising their own agents, using LLMs as a foundation.

Petar Ceklic enjoying his morning coffee in his garden office pod

When it comes to design podcasts, you can’t miss Chris Do’s The Futur Podcast.

Chris has a remarkable skill of simplifying complex ideas and making them easy to understand. He also encourages freelancers to recognise their worth and to charge accordingly.

In addition, he offers a wealth of business advice that helps freelancers grow and succeed.

Any tips for other makers who want to improve their workspaces?

Most office setups I see have way too much junk on the desk — start with a good decluttering session.

Get a desk mat to help frame your setup.

I’d also suggest upgrading your keyboard or mouse, as they are tools you use every day.

A small and minimal standing desk setup with lots of plants

What does your typical day look like?

I’m an early riser, getting up at around 5 am.

As for morning rituals, I like to start the day by getting my body moving with a decent walk or run.

Lately, I’ve been delving into ice baths, which really jolt me awake.

Petar Ceklic in his home office

Five years ago, I was introduced to cold therapy by Wim Hof and even spent two winters wearing only a t-shirt.

I became curious about ice baths a couple of years ago and decided to try them at home.

I initially used a portable tub from NuRecover with three bags of ice each time, but it was too expensive.

An iMac, an iPad with an Apple Pencil, AirPods, an iPhone, a NuPhy Air75 keyboard, a Logitech MX Master 3 mouse, Audioengine A2+ speakers, and a potted houseplant on the desk

So I recently upgraded to a water chiller connected to the tub, significantly reducing the cost while maintaining the icy water.

I have observed several benefits:

  • A surge of energy afterwards
  • Improved mood and focus
  • Reduced muscle soreness
  • Enhanced sleep quality

Following the ice bath, I settle in with a coffee, planning out the day and responding to emails, before diving into deep focused work.

A WFH freelance designer taking a coffee break in the garden

I try to allocate distinct blocks of time to individual clients, avoiding constant switches between different tasks — although this isn’t always feasible, especially when bringing in new work.

On a standard day, I work for about six hours in my office pod.

When the kids return from school, I take it as a cue to wind down.

Although somewhat tedious, end-of-month invoicing and admin tasks are essential; thankfully, my accountant handles the heavy lifting.

Your tips for working from home?

Having a calm space with minimal distractions is vital for me.

Therefore, situating the pod away from the main part of the house has been a game changer.

A man swiftly moving with a cup of coffee in hand, walking by his backyard office pod

In terms of tools, I favour a simpler approach; I much prefer using Apple Notes to more complex tools like Notion.

I like to tackle the hard tasks first thing in the morning when I’m fresh and leave the easier tasks for the end of the day.

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We’re a reader-supported publication. This article might contain affiliate links. It means we may receive a commission if you click a link and buy a product that our maker has recommended. The interview was done independently.

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