A ‘Garden Room’ versus ‘Conservatory’, let’s break it down!

A garden room is not unlike a conservatory but there are subtle differences and also benefits to having a ‘garden room’ as opposed to ‘conservatory’.

A garden room, can be used all year round and are not season specific. One of the main differences between a garden room and conservatory is the fact that this is a structure that is detached from your house.

Here are some factors to be mindful of when considering or designing your garden room.

Uses for garden rooms: As these spaces are separated from your house, they have multiple uses and also provide occupants with a quieter space when needed. These include a home office, play dens for older children, (especially if they play the drums), hobby rooms, gym etc. It doesn’t stop there, they can also be used as a peaceful retreat, an escape from children, chores or life!

Planning permission obligations: If you are intending to use the space as one of the options above, then planning permission will be required. If the purpose of the space is more for storage or plant, it would be regarded more as a shed or garage, then it may not need planning permission (always check with your local planning office or architectural professional first). A garden room although detached from the main house will be more like an extension in that it will meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.

Proximity from your house: Depending on the space available, you could choose to place your garden room close to the house or remotely down the garden; it is totally up to you. But don’t forget that utilities will need to be connected, such as electricity, heating, and maybe even water and sewers. If you want a more eco-friendly option, off-grid methods could be considered.

Modern day garden rooms: Modern garden rooms tend to be contemporary pieces of architecture. They usually are clad in timber or metal with flat roofs and a wall of glass. A detached garden room is the perfect opportunity to utilise off-site construction. This will allow for a fast-track building method in a factory environment, meaning a higher quality finish. These methods are common practice on the continent and in America. Access for delivery of the off-site kit needs to be considered too.

However it is worth noting that if you are not applying for planning permission, then it is a requirement that the proposed structure should match the materials used on the existing house in terms of finishes.

Privacy and Positioning: It is important to give windows and doors careful consideration when designing your garden room, particularly in terms of being overlooked or overlooking your neighbours. It is also helpful to think about access to the building and how the paths will interact with the garden space and any planting. Depending on the use of the space, lots of light would be a benefit – so therefore consider having then large windows. If you intend to use it as a home office, seek glare free spots for your computer.

Some of the benefits of a garden room, compared to a conservatory are:

  • Garden rooms can be used all year round. A roof either pitched or flat will be insulated and the same for the floors and walls. This all helps the comfort levels of the building.
  • They are also very comfortable to use in the summer months as what helps to keep the building warm in the winter will help to protect from solar gain and overheating too.
  • You will end up with lower heating costs due to good insulation levels.
  • They help add a luxurious feel to your property but without any major disruption to your life during the build.