The Lazy Susan guide to purchasing a garden room
With what has so far been a pretty snowy start to 2013, we turn our attention to getting the garden ready, having a bit of a tidy up, thinking about springtime, and hopefully a rise in the temperature. Its also the time of year – Christmas is out the way and we’ve managed to get through the doom and gloom of January – when many of us start thinking about the home and garden improvements we’d like to make. As sure as the flowers bloom, in springtime, a homeowner’s thoughts naturally switch to home improvement, I think its down to a longing in all of us for a little milder weather. However, if you truly want to transform your garden and add significant value to your home, then for me it has to be a garden room…
A garden room will provide you and your family with all the benefits of a conservatory but with the added bonus of year round comfort that’s as easily maintained as your living room. You can literally do anything you want, from creating a detached space that’s just the right size for the perfect home office, to a cool playroom for the kids, a garden room pushes all the right buttons. It is one of the most stylish and practical garden improvements you could ever make, and in Lazy Susan’s opinion, the single best way to add an extra room to your home without all the cost and aggro of a traditional brick extension.
If you plan on selling your home further down the line, then adding a garden room is definitely one of the best improvements you could make. If you think about it from a surveyor, home buyer or estate agents perspective, the garden room is an extra room and the unique designer-like wow factor they create is a massive selling point for any home. They are proven to dramatically increase the value of your home, significantly more than the cost of installation, and you can rarely say that about loft conversions or extending above the garage these days. And unlike the conservatory, which is restricted by planning and building regulations, a detached single storey garden room can be as big or small as your garden can comfortably accommodate.
The purpose of your garden room
The first rule of garden room planning and design, before you decide on style, size, location etc, is to decide on the purpose of the actual room itself. This may sound a little on the obvious side, but you’d be surprised how many people we come across who have a garden room constructed, only for it to end up being nothing more than a glorified junk shed. It is important from the the off that you know what the room will be used for For example, will it be a garden office, summer room, or a playroom for the kids. How you plan to use the room will have an big impact on each element of the finished design, from the number of power sockets to direction the windows face.
The location of your garden room
The location of a garden room in your garden can dramatically affect the overall warmth it will receive during the colder or months or produce in the summer. A South facing garden room will attract more sunshine and can therefore heat up quite quickly, which is great when its minus two but not so good during the height of summer. If your garden has no natural shade from trees or existing buildings, then it is definitely worthwhile investing in solar reflective glass. This will reflect ultraviolet rays and minimise the exposure to the sun. North and Easterly facing rooms on the other hand can be a little more susceptible to mold, so its important to keep the timber clean to prevent damp rot.
Heating is essential for all year use
Heating your garden room is vital if you want to use it all year round, and there’s a wide range of options on the market today. We tend to find that underfloor heating is the most popular choice for our customers. It is invisible within the garden room, no radiators taking up valuable space, but its highly efficient and easy to install. Plus, if you have a sleek modern garden room, you don’t want radiators spoiling those clean lines. However, that’s not to say they’re a no no. If they befit the room, in say a victorian styled summer room, then period style radiators are the perfect solution. Heating does not have to necessarily be from a source that is expensive to run too. There are some incredible cost efficient (and not to mention eco friendly) elements you can incorporate into the design of the garden room that will initially require outlay but will save you serious money in the long run. From energy glass and heat recovery fans, to insulated ‘green roofs’ and solar panels. Just using a little imagination during planning and design can seriously benefit your garden room and how comfortable it is to use.
Choose a colour scheme carefully
Choosing the right colour scheme, both inside and out, for your garden will greatly enhance and complement the colours of your home and garden. Do you want your garden room to look cool, modern, light and airy, or is your style more warm, elegant, and welcoming? We all know that colour is key when it comes to setting the style and tone of the interior of your home, and the same is true for a garden room. If its detached from the home then you have a little more freedom, but for me the best colour schemes are those that are a little more natural shall we say, in that they compliment the colours in your garden. The right colours can transform your garden room into something special more quickly, and at less cost, than any other decorative item. We always advise customers to try and start with a colour in your garden that you really like, and then experiment with different colour combinations. You can’t go wrong if you just work with what you have, work with the garden and your home as a whole, and this way you will ensure it ‘flows’.
Many people overlook ventilation
It is important you think about when the room will be used the most, for example if its to be used during the day as an office when the sun can be at its hottest, then adequate ventilation should also be a big consideration. To be honest, good ventilation should be a primary consideration for any type glazed extension, be it a garden office, summer room or conservatory. You want air is able to flow through the room and by ensuring the building is fitted with roof vents that can be opened and closed depending on the rain and temperature, will help warm air escape, and cool air to be drawn into the room. Extractor fans, ceiling fans or even an air conditioning unit can also be installed, but personally, in our experience, they’re shouldn’t really be necessary in the UK if the room has been designed and positioned carefully.
Good lighting is vital
Carefully planned lighting can be a real asset, especially when the darker nights draw in, and its probably one of the most overlooked aspects of garden room design. Depending on the style of your room, you can opt for a wide range of lighting fixtures from chandeliers to wall lamps, ceiling lamps and table lamps. And its not just the inside, think about how you want to illuminate your garden, as the building can create an excellent focal point. Good lighting should give you options so that you can create a warm, glowing atmosphere in which to relax or task lighting to help you work with minimal glare etc. By taking the time to plan the right lighting for purpose, you’ll give the room the flexibility to function throughout the year, while you watch the seasons change outside your window.
Go for good quality fully insulated windows and doors
We’ve already touched on the importance of good glazing, it is a key feature of any garden room, it truly opens the building to your garden. Whilst the number of windows, style of doors etc ultimately comes down to you, it is worth thinking about the purpose and position/location of the building. For example if the garden room is shaded by other buildings or trees, then its a good idea to incorporate more glazing to allow as much natural light in as possible. Always go for double glazed units to ensure optimum energy efficiency. Window blinds will help to keep the temperature down in the summer months and keep the heat for when you need it warmer. In fact by the time you’re finished, you’ll probably find that your garden room is the most energy efficient room in your entire house!
Care and maintenance of a garden room
Lazy Susan’s garden rooms are built to the highest standards, using only the best quality materials. As such, they should require a minimum of maintenance on your part. But just like your home, there are some jobs that come around every so often that need to be done so that your garden room is protected against the elements. This is our checklist to ensure you can enjoy your garden room through the change of seasons:
- If your garden room has a flat roof, you need to check to see if any debris such as leaves etc have accumulated, and remove it on a regular basis.
- If your garden room has a sloped, tiled roof, check for loose tiles on a regular basis, especially after strong wind or heavy rain.
- If your garden room has guttering/drainage, keep it clean to prevent blockages.
- If your garden room is heated then it’s important to check that it’s working before the wintertime by bleeding radiators and making sure the system is working as efficiently as possible.
- If you’re garden room is plumbed, keep the temperature inside at a consistent level so that pipes don’t freeze and burst when the temperature falls.
- Protect your doors and windows by giving them a coat of WD40 to prevent any locks rusting and seizing up.
There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your fully insulated garden room during all seasons and this simple checklist will help you enjoy it for many years to come.
About Lazy Susan
Lazy Susan is a small family business that specialise exclusively in wicker, rattan and metal garden furniture, specifically cast aluminium. Visit www.lazysusanfurniture.co.uk to find out more and view our complete product range.