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How to Design a Garden Room

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 13 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Garden Flowers Room Trees Garden Room

When considering how to design a garden room extension to your home, the most important issue to keep in mind is how will it add to your home's value.

Garden rooms tend to add more value than a conservatory, as they are seen as a true extension to your home. But adding a garden room that truly adds to the value of your home takes thoughtful planning and preparation.

You will need to consider design, location and construction materials. Plus, it's important to make sure you don't flout any planning or building permission rules.

Defining a Garden Room

A garden room is a bright, cheery addition to any home. Even if you don't have a formal garden to admire, bringing in the outdoors provides extra light and openness. A sunlit garden room gives you a wonderful new space for working at home, entertaining or simply relaxing.

What makes a garden room different from a conservatory? The concept of both is the same, but the garden room has a solid roof instead of glass panels. However, you should consider that maintenance for solid roofs tends to be easier. The solid-roofed garden room tends to integrate better with your home.

Roofing materials, design and appearance can be engineered to match the look of your existing construction.

Garden rooms traditionally have a flat roof, but pitched roofs are also available. Which one you choose to construct is part of how to design a garden room that will complement your home's appearance.

Advantages of a Garden Room

There are several advantages that garden rooms possess, especially when compared to conservatories. Energy savings are significant. A solid flat roof tends to make the room cooler in the summer and warmer throughout the winter. Glass-roofed conservatories often need additional roof blinds to shield the inside from harsh direct sunlight, especially if the rooms face south.

Garden rooms offer greater privacy. Their design makes it possible to add them to a wider variety of home styles and sizes. In essence, a garden room combines the sunlight and openness of a conservatory with the greater livability of a home extension.

Choosing a Site and Materials for Your Garden Room

A major part of your consideration of how to design a garden room relates to location. Where exactly is the best place to construct this new addition? For one thing, think about the view. Garden rooms are all about connecting with the outdoor surroundings.

What is the immediate space like around your proposed location? Will you be looking at greenery, gently swaying trees or colourful flowers? It doesn't really matter how beautifully decorated the inside of your garden room is if you only have an unobstructed view of your neighbour's brick wall.

The process of how to design a garden room also includes planning for construction materials. Garden room plans make use of a wide variety of materials. The use of manmade materials like PVC is becoming more widespread.

This is primarily due to lower cost and construction that is simpler and easier (and therefore quicker). Although PVC cladding is available, it is not as aesthetically pleasing as the alternative natural choices. Feather edged boarding is a much better choice for blending softly with the surroundings, and double-glazed windows are a must for energy efficiency.

Recently there has a been a move towards ensuring that garden room construction materials are eco-friendly, or "green." If you fancy a more eco-friendly garden room, it may change some of your material choices. PVC is often thought of as a green choice because of the energy savings and insulation it provides. However, some have pointed out that the energy used in manufacture of man-made materials make them less eco-friendly than well-managed, renewable natural materials.

Simply using any wood is not always the most environmentally responsible choice. Find a local supplier of British or European untreated wood - it's worth considering that larch cladding from Scotland is a popular choice.

Planning Permission for Garden Rooms

One major consideration when building a garden room is whether you'll need planning permission. There is simply no way to cover every eventuality in this article, as restrictions can vary between planning authority localities. According to the government's planning portal, there are several instances in which you would definitely need planning permission.

If you're building toward any highway (and this includes footpaths and bridleways), you will need to apply for permission. Other instances include building a garden room that covers more than half of the available land area, using the garden room for commercial purposes (like running a business) or constructing a garden room more than 3 metres high, or if your house is a listed building.

In addition to UK regulations, you also have to investigate whether or not any local permissions are needed. There is no guarantee that local regulations will match UK laws. Local laws may be more specific or detailed. You wouldn't want to build a garden room only to tear it down later because it was not in compliance with local regulations.

So when planning your garden room, you should dwell on what functions you want the room to serve. Think about the space you intend to use and how to blend the garden room into its surroundings in a way that is pleasing to the eye.

Garden rooms have the potential to improve not only your home's value but also your quality of living. This will be even more true if the addition matches your personal tastes and lifestyle.

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