What To Consider When Choosing Your Garden Room
Garden rooms are universally appealing – what’s not to like? Since our younger years, we have all yearned for a secluded little den in the great outdoors. Thankfully, our adult selves have far more resources on hand to be able to build a permanent structure. Being outdoors, in familiar surroundings, yet not too far from the comfort that bricks and mortar can offer is one of life’s great pleasures. In our years of building experience, there are some important elements for consideration before embarking on your own garden room.
Having the extra space is always an attractive prospect, but having a clearly defined purpose for the room will aid you in making practical decisions that have longevity. First and foremost about the location with the garden. Electricity is pretty much a given, whatever you are likely to use your space for, it will need electricity; but if you want to use it to entertain, then why not extend the electrical points to the exterior of the building too – to plug sound systems into for example. The use of the building will dictate the need to include audio visual cabling and data cabling too – it’s not worth risking running off of your homes WiFi without an extra access point being installed. It’s absolutely essential that all electrical work complies with current building regulations.
Other considerations will include deciding on various heating options and plumbing. Of course, these elements can be added later on, but probably at greater expense and disruption.
The use of the building can also dictate its size and layout, so take care when deliberating when and how you will use your garden room.
When you have determined the use of your garden room, you are likely to have an idea of the time of day that you will use it; this relates to the location and position within your garden and how much light you do or don’t require.
Its location can affect its overall warmth – particularly in the cold winter months. South facing rooms are inevitably brighter and warmer – which can be excellent in winter, but stifling in the summer. Garden rooms that face north or east can be more susceptible to damp and mould, especially in timber framed buildings, and may require more maintenance.
If you opt for a south facing room, try to utilise any trees that will provide shade if possible. If you don’t have this option, then invest in solar reflective glass that reflects the UV rays, minimising exposure to the sun and providing a comfortable atmosphere all year round.
The position will also determine the amount of shade the room receives; if heavily shaded then you might want to increase the number or size of doors and windows to allow as much light in as possible. Large expanses of glass embrace the very essence of a ‘garden’ room and can always be underpinned with blinds and drapes for temperature control.
Generally, you won’t need planning permission for your garden room if the building’s eaves do not exceed a height of 2.5 metres and a maximum roof height of four metres if the roof is a dual pitched design. Learn more about garden room Planning Permission
Although there are other circumstances that supersede these height restrictions and planning permission is required. For instance, for listed properties you will need listed building consent and homes within Areas of Natural Beauty or Conservation areas will require similar consent.
If you have concerns or trepidation surrounding your garden room, you can consult the governments planning portal or contact your local planning officer – it’s always best to make this your first step.
Occasionally, we have those summers that blend into Indian summers, and we forget how cold and miserable the winters can be. What I’m trying to say here is that insulating your garden room properly is a must if you want to be able to use it all year round.
The best option is to insulate both the roof and walls of the building with effective insulation; when looking at different suppliers, be sure to scope out the U-value of their product. The figure will be measured in W/m2 and the lower the number the more effective the insulation will be.
We touched upon the importance of glazing previously – but they play an important role in the insulation of a garden room. Double glazed options are the most energy efficient and are well worth the investment.
It’s extremely important that you consider the style of your home when choosing the style of your garden room.
Buildings that are both sympathetic and complementary to the house that it sits against are of course encouraged. The style should look like it has been carefully thought about, rather than a building just plonked in the garden; you should keep in mind the value that it could potentially add to your home, and if it flows with the style of the original structure.
In all honestly, new builds and modern homes lend themselves to a variety of styles, it’s the period properties that require a little more thought. With these styles, opting for a more decorative and highly glazed design would be advisable, whereas timber structures suit cottage style homes.
It’s also important to create a building that integrates with the garden to create a visual flow that is seamless; for instance, choosing exterior materials and colours that complement garden walls or fences.
Thanks to Steve Gilbert Building for this post, learn more about their work at www.stevegilbertbuilding.co.uk