How to build the perfect garden room extension
Although a garden room extension suggests it’s attached to your house, it’s actually a stand-alone building that sits at the back of your garden. Even so, they’re fully insulated and built to the same high standard as the rooms in your home. They’re also great if you want to add a bit of space to use all year round, whether it’s an office, retreat or place to entertain guests. Regardless of what you choose, let’s take a look at the best way to make the most of these popular extensions.
The benefits of a garden room extension
Garden room extensions are homeowners’ favourite types of outbuilding for a variety of reasons.
- Stylish: Garden rooms look great architecturally and spruce up any outdoor space
- Practical: Garden rooms have a variety of uses, such as storage or entertainment
- Extra space: Not enough room in your home for a reading nook? Look no further
- Cost-effective: Garden room extensions offer more space for less money
- Hassle-free: Garden rooms are easy to install and fall under permitted development
So, now you know why you should incorporate one into your home, let’s take a look at the best ways to make the most out of it.
One: Invite the light
A garden room is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors during the colder months. So, make the most of natural light sources with floor-to-ceiling windows, bifold doors or skylights. You can always add shutters to make sure the sunlight doesn’t bleach any furniture. But regardless, the ability to open up one side of your garden room while you sit with a glass of something cool during a summer evening is worth it.
Two: Make the most of your flooring
Once you’ve constructed your garden room, the type of flooring you choose is another important factor. The type we recommend depends entirely on what you’re using your garden room for. For example, if you’re using it for storage, consider a durable hardwood or concrete floor. If you’re opting for an office, stone tiles or resilient vinyl will do the trick. Alternatively, an easy-to-clean laminate for a relaxing yoga retreat or reading room is never a bad idea.
Three: Decorate with longevity in mind
Choose furniture and decor that lasts all year round. Life is busy and you’re not always going to have time to maintain your garden room. So, picking easy-to-clean furniture and accessories will make keeping this space spick and span a breeze. It’s also worth opting for fabrics that won’t bleach in the sunlight. For example, light, bright, and neutral tones fare best near south-facing windows. Furthermore, metals often get hot, which can melt plastic items or burn elbows, so stick to materials like wood and fabric to keep your garden room safe and cool. Alternatively, shutter your garden room when temperatures soar.
Four: Add a patio or some decking
Although garden rooms are stylish features by themselves, making sure the surrounding foundations also look good will bring out their best side. Patios and decking are low-maintenance options for the less green-fingered among us, meaning you don’t need to plant flower borders or invest lots of time in keeping your potted plants alive to maintain an aesthetic. Adding some rattan furniture to your patio also makes your garden room feel like a mini-retreat separate from the hustle and bustle of your main house.
Do I need planning permission for a garden room extension?
The great thing about garden room extensions is how easy they are to install. Most of them fall under permitted development, which makes the process of surveying, planning, and building much easier and quicker.
In the UK, garden room extensions are classed as outbuildings, which means they have to follow certain rules to comply with permitted development. Before we go into them, it’s worth noting that, if you live in a listed building or on designated land (e.g. a National Park or Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB)), your options are more limited. Flats and maisonettes also don’t have permitted development rights. So, if any of these apply to you, speak to your local council’s planning office to work out your options.
- You can’t build a garden room further forward than the front of your house
- Your garden room needs to be single-storey and no higher than 4m
- The eaves of your garden room can’t be higher than 2.5m
- If your garden is within 2m of your garden’s boundary, its maximum height can’t be taller than 2.5m
- Raised platforms for your garden room to sit on can’t exceed 0.3m in height
- No verandas or balconies are allowed under permitted development
- Your garden room can’t take up more than 50% of the curtilage of your original house
- Any other house extensions, sheds or outbuildings are included in this calculation
As for Building Regulations, they don’t apply as long as your garden room extension isn’t attached to your main house, the floor area is less than 15 sq m, and it’s not being used as accommodation.
The rules are the same whether you live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
To sum it up
- Garden rooms are aesthetically pleasing and versatile outbuildings
- Make the most of your design by choosing the right materials from the beginning
- Most garden room designs fall under permitted development
- It’s still worth checking with your local authority if you’re unsure
- Building Regulations don’t apply if your garden room is separate from the main house, isn’t being used as accommodation, and is less than 15 sq m.