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Garden Rooms

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Garden rooms are becoming increasingly popular as a way to add extra space to a home. Whether it’s for use as a home office, gym, or extra living space, garden rooms can provide a cost-effective alternative to an extension or loft conversion.

Let’s take a look everything you need to know about garden rooms

What are garden rooms?

Garden rooms are outdoor structures designed to provide an additional living space for a home.

Typically a standalone building constructed within the confines of a garden or outdoor area, they can be used for a variety of purposes.

What are garden rooms made from?

Typically made of wood, glass, or other materials that allow for natural light to enter the space. They’re often insulated and designed to be used year-round. Many have features like heating to keep the space comfortable all year round.

How to use a garden room

There are so many uses for garden rooms, including as a home office, a studio for artists or musicians, a playroom for children, a guest room, or simply a cosy retreat to relax and unwind.

They can be customised to suit the needs of the homeowner, with features like windows, skylights, and sliding glass doors that provide ample natural light and ventilation. Some garden rooms even feature built-in furniture, such as desks, storage or shelving, to maximise space and functionality.

Do you need permission for a garden room?

This depends on several factors, including its size and location, as well as any planning restrictions that may apply in your local area.

In general, planning permission is not required if it meets the following criteria:

  • It’s less than 2.5 metres in height, and less than 50% of the total area of the garden
  • It’s located at least 2 metres away from any boundary
  • It’s not used for residential accommodation

If it meets these requirements, likely, you won’t need planning permission and the construction of your garden room falls under permitted development. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your local planning authority to confirm.

However, if your garden room does not meet these requirements, or if you live in a conservation area or a listed building, you will need to apply for planning permission.

Planning permission

The first step, if you do need planning permission for your garden room is to check with your local planning authority to find out what their requirements are.

This will vary depending on where you live, so it’s important to get accurate information specific to your area.

Once you have this information, you will need a planning application.

This typically includes detailed plans and drawings of your proposed garden room, as well as information about the materials you plan to use and any potential impact on the surrounding area.

Your local planning authority will review and make a decision.

This can take several weeks or even months, depending on the complexity of the application and the workload of the planning authority.

Permitted development

Permitted development are rules and regulations that allow certain types of building work to be carried out without the need for planning permission. They were introduced to simplify the planning process and to encourage certain development.

The rules for permitted development vary depending according to the type of property and its location. For example, a house in a conservation area will have different rules compared to a house in a non-conservation area. Similarly, rules for commercial properties will differ from those for residential properties.

Permitted development regulations cover a range of building work, including extensions, loft conversions, conservatories, outbuildings or garden rooms.

There are still certain limits and conditions you need to adhere to, even when planning permission is not required. For example:

  • the size and height of the building
  • the materials used must be in keeping with the existing property and its surroundings
  • the building work must not have a negative impact on the local environment
  • it must not obstruct any public footpaths or roads

It’s always worth consulting with your local council or a qualified architect to determine whether your proposed building work falls within the permitted development regulations.

Failure to comply with regulations means you risk a fine and even the removal of the structure.

Tips for building a cost-effective garden room

Garden rooms are popular for creating additional living space, and they can also add value to your home, but if not thought about carefully they can be expensive.

However, with a little bit of creativity and effort you can build a cost-effective garden room that’s both functional and cosy.

Plan Your Design Carefully

Consider what you want to use the space for, and how much space you need. A smaller garden room will be less expensive to build, so if you’re on a tight budget, consider a smaller design.

Use Recycled Materials

Using recycled materials is a great way to save money and reduce waste. Look for reclaimed wood, old windows, or other repurposed materials. You can often find these materials for free or at a low cost, and they can add character to your garden room.

Build It Yourself

If you have some DIY skills and the necessary tools, building the garden room yourself can save you a significant amount of money. There are plenty of online tutorials and plans available that can guide you through the process. Just be sure to carefully measure and plan before you start building, to avoid any costly mistakes.

Consider a Flat-Pack Design

These are ordered online and assembled on-site. This can save you both time and money. Just be sure to choose a design that fits your needs and budget.

Opt for Affordable Finishes

There are plenty of affordable options available. For example, you can use laminate flooring instead of hardwood, or paint the walls instead of using expensive wallpaper. These small choices can add up to big savings.

Don’t Forget About Insulation

Insulation can help regulate temperature and reduce your energy bills. While it may be tempting to skimp on insulation to save money, investing in good quality insulation will pay off in the long run.

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Last Updated: April 3rd, 2023

Phil Spencer

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