The ultimate guide to planning and designing your garden room

The ultimate guide to planning and designing your garden room by Decorated Shed; creators of beautiful garden office, studio, lodge and annex solutions.

What kind of shapes are we seeing at the moment?

Clean post modern design is very popular with people leaning towards the more contemporary garden studio with external architectural features to reflect the design of their home.

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What are current trends for garden rooms?

The majority of people are looking to create external multi-functional work space in their homes cost efficiently. The ‘lawn commuter’ wants an office Monday to Friday but come the weekend, their garden room converts into an entertaining space or even a guest bedroom. They are very much being treated as an extension of their homes.

What can garden rooms be good for?

The great thing about a garden room is that they can be used for virtually anything. The most popular use is as an office, particularly for home workers. With relevant permissions however and the addition of bathroom and kitchen facilities, garden rooms can become a guest annex. Other uses we have encountered include recording studios, yoga retreats, playrooms and the infamous ‘man cave’ to name but a few uses. Of course, there’s always the obvious use – as an extension of your garden when entertaining. If you choose a garden room with a lot of glass, then it enables you to be ‘out’ in the garden all year round regardless of the weather.

What type of furniture should we be thinking about inside them, and should they be interior designed?

If your garden room is properly insulated, double glazed and water tight, then you can treat it exactly like your home, i.e. soft furnishings, furniture and decoration, which could involve an interior designer.  Although, half the fun of a garden office is that you have a blank canvas, separate from your home, to do with exactly what you want and let your creative streak go really wild.

If your garden office is small it might be an idea to use a joiner or a garden office company that can custom-make furniture in order to use the limited space as best as possible. The more compact a space then the harder it is to successfully place furniture post construction so use a garden studio company that can incorporate and make the furniture in the initial designs.

Where do you start – with an architect, or gardener landscaper? Other?

Start with a garden office company that offers the entire package, i.e. planning, design, construction, landscaping, etc. That way, everything will be managed by them and there will be no unnecessary hold-ups during construction. Similarly they can work with you, from the offset, to determine the best position/location for your garden office and the size and design to best ensure it meets your requirements. Get it right from the start to ensure no costly mistakes are made later due to miscommunication or misunderstandings. Using a full service company takes the stress out of the process. Make sure you have the best quality from the offset. It becomes an asset for the future.

If you want to turn your garden room into….

….an artist’s studio – what’s the best way to control light?

There needs to be a number of sources of light – natural and artificial. Get as much natural light into the studio through installing roof lights and bi-fold doors. Integral blinds and multi-track lighting can then be used to control the light.

…. a playroom – how can safety play an important role?

The position of your garden room in your garden is important where the playroom is being used by older children who don’t need adult supervision. Position it in a spot in your garden where it is direct line of view from your home so you can check what’s happening.  For use by younger children, then internal finishing of a high standard is a must. Ensure safety guards on doors, to prevent kids getting their fingers jammed, are fitted as standard and look for a company that uses non toxic paints and as many natural products as possible during the construction process.

….. a music studio – how best to be practical, soundproofing?

Again, correct positioning of a music studio in a garden is a must. As much as possible keep the size of windows and doors to a minimum, but walls and foundations to a maximum to soundproof a music studio.

What kind of exterior finishes should we be thinking about in the UK– how do we protect the wood from the rain?

Wood is an excellent choice, particular cedar or larch, for the traditional British climate, i.e. cold and rainy. With simple treatments, such as Danish Oil, and a regular maintenance programme wood will age well without losing performance.

Are wood slats dangerous when wet?

Decking can be slippery when wet. However, bi annual or annual maintenance is key. Jet wash with a mild detergent and use good quality decking with impregnated grip strips to minimise the risk of slipping when wet.

If garden rooms are in wooded areas, how do we protect them from over-hanging branches?

Regular maintenance of trees around any structure is important.  It’s also important to make sure that you choose a durable and tough roof covering.

When can a sauna work in the garden?

An outdoor sauna can complement the indoor/outdoor life. If done properly and with the right levels of insulation it is perfectly possible to construct a sauna in your garden. Just use an experienced and knowledgeable company to do the job!

What are the top five things to consider with garden rooms?

  1. Ensure your garden room design is fit for purpose. Will it do everything you need it too?
  2. Use a garden studio company that provides total project management. Let them take care of the design, planning and construction process to ensure no costly mistakes are made.
  3. Choose a garden room design that is durable and the materials used to construct it are suitable for your studio’s purpose.
  4. If your garden studio is a long-term investment then you need a company that uses the best materials to ensure it continues to look good year in year out and becomes an appreciable investment on your property.
  5. Select a company that has experience of timber construction. Don’t just take their word for it – seek references!

For more information about Decorated Shed’s garden rooms visit their website

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Visit the Garden Spaces websiteVisit the eDEN Garden Rooms websiteVisit the Gembuild website for garden offices & studiosFind out more about Green Studios Visit the Booths Garden Studios websiteVisit the Timeless Garden Rooms website Visit the Smart Garden Offices websiteVisit the Hideouts websiteVisit the ModBox Spaces websiteVisit the My Eco Space websiteSee what a garden room will look like in your garden