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Building Block and Brick Garden Buildings

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 3 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Blocks Block Brick Building Garden

If you want to build a garden building that will be warm, dry and stand the test of time, blocks and bricks are your best bet. You may not need planning permission either, or building regulations approval, so that makes the project a lot easier than ‘proper’ building, like an extension.

Block Construction Options for Garden Buildings

Of course you can use stone or other materials, you don’t have to be restricted to blocks and bricks. But what we’re talking about is a solid building with proper foundations, and building blocks are the most economic route. How you construct the building depends how you’re going to use it.

For example, a studio or office intended to be used all year round might warrant double skinned walls with insulation in the gap. A garden building like that should really have proper foundations below ground. A stable or workroom could be built on a concrete slab with single skinned walls. But make sure that a concrete slab is strong enough for your building.

Choices for Foundations

Quite often stables are built with a half wall of blocks, the upper half being made from wood, and a concrete slab should support that. But if you build full height in blocks you may start to stress the slab. It’s important to do your own calculations as there are so many different block weights and concrete mix strengths. If you need advice on this don’t rely on anyone who isn’t a professional expert.

If you decide to do proper foundations then calculate the depth required based on the weight and strength of the blocks you are going to use. The blocks you use for the foundations are likely to be different to those used on the wall as well. Again, if you don’t understand the implications of these decisions you should consult a professional.

Building Up the Walls

Once you are above ground level, whether you are using a concrete pad or foundations, it’s just a case of building the walls block by block, or brick by brick. Blocks are faster to lay because they are larger. Confusingly they are often lighter than bricks, particularly modern highly insulated blocks.

If you are only doing a single skinned garden building, using bricks will result in a nicer looking building. You can skim and render blocks for a less basic finish though. A double skinned building is usually block for the inner course and a more decorative brick or stone finish for the outer course. There’s nothing to stop you doing two courses of block if you want a warm building on a low budget, you’ll just have to be creative with the exterior finish.

Check for Planning Approval

At the start we said that you are not likely to need planning approval and building control approval, but this does depend on the rules in force in your area and the type of building you are erecting. It is crucial to check with the local planning office.

It’s much easier, both for you and the planners, to get it all done properly before you start rather than face court proceedings if you inadvertently break the rules.

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