I was watching one of the many home makeover shows recently on TV and they were looking at the British home of the future. Included in the garden was a garden room, and at Lazy Susan we definitely think that garden rooms will definitely play a big part in the house of the future – they have so many more uses than just a garden office, although I have to honest, they do make an excellent home office space, detached from the main house but still technically at home!
Everything from a modular garden room, to Scandinavian style log cabin down to the humble British overlap 4 x 5 shed can be described as a garden room. But what exactly is a garden room and why this sudden surge in popularity? A den? A detached junk room? A guestroom? A refuge from domestic chaos? Solitary confinement of the type that many a writer from George Bernard Shaw to Roald Dahl used as a means to focus their creativity? Who really knows, it can be so many things? But one thing is certain, from the humble garden shed to the modern modular garden office, the garden room is a fixture in more and more gardens.
More people are working from home, be it a web developer, graphic designer or a small cake making business. The thing they all have in common, is a need to separate their work from their home life, a clear defined work space. House builders are starting to design in garden rooms into new developments and Lazy Susan even heard a whisper or read somewhere that one local authority in the UK is now stipulating home offices in new town extensions in order to reduce commuter traffic and support the local economy. There is an increasing trend of adding a garden room instead of extending the house with a complicated extension or moving house to find that extra space we need as our families grow.
A garden room is a big investment. They might not be as expensive as a traditional brick built extension, but they still require the same amount of thought and careful planning to ensure you get exactly what you want and need. There so many different designs, styles and materials to choose from and, unless you have some experience in the construction industry, then the choice can appear a little overwhelming. On top of that, there are many different suppliers and manufactures to choose from, and the way in which they work in terms of product and service can also vary dramatically. However, no matter what and where you purchase, there are a few essential things you need to consider before you say yes to a new garden room…
To start with, are you 100% sure of the purpose that the garden room will serve? Will it be used as a garden office, design/artists studio, granny annexe or playroom etc? Clarify you and your families exact requirements for the structure and ensure that it will met by the final solution you purchase. For example, if the building is being purchased to be used as a garden design studio, then good lighting is critical. If the room is to be used as a home office, then there should be provision for heating so it can used all year round. Spend time doing your homework, research the market and visit showrooms or ask to see previous garden room projects that the company has worked on. Shop around and make sure you are you getting the best deal. Don’t always go for the cheapest option too, the installation of a garden room is a huge project and some of what you are paying for is the personalised help you’ll be offered, something we here at Lazy Susan pride ourselves in delivering.
The position of a garden room is also of vital importance. With such a structure, you very rarely require planning permission, as long as the garden office is situated at a distance of 5 metres from the person’s home, is a single storey structure (i.e. it should not exceed 4 metres) and occupies less than 50% of your outdoor area. Permission is also not usually required if the garden room is built for private use and is no more than 20 metres away from any other public place. Our advice though, would always be to consult your local planning office before you don anything else, as you don’t want to have to tear it down after spending a substantial amount of time and money. Also, take the time to speak to all your neighbours and inform them of what you are doing.
Don’t go for a design that will date quickly too. Make sure it is sympathetic to its surroundings. If you have a traditional home then don’t go for an ultra modern modular garden room and vice versa. And also think about how the design fits with the natural landscape, you don’t want to obstruct the view from your kitchen, but at the same time you don’t want a home office with views of a brick a wall. If you have the outdoor space, then we would always advise that you buy a slightly bigger room than you think you’ll ever need – you don’t often hear people say they need less space too often. However, if it is a toss up of size of the garden room over specification and finish, then we’d say go for the higher specification every time. And if you’re buying a small garden room, then you should consider fitted furniture to maximise and make the most of the space you have. Go for outward opening doors too, as again this will maximise your internal floor space and don’t forget the area around your garden room, it can double your living space especially in the summer.
If you want to use your garden room all year round then don’t settle for a cheap shed like garden room, choose a highly insulated Scandinavian style garden room – it may cost a little more up front, but it will significantly reduce your annual heating bill in the long run. Look for an office where all the key elements are fully insulated, i.e. the floor, walls and roof and get doors and windows that are fully sealed and double glazed. Specify more electrical sockets than you think you will need, and make sure you install outside lighting as you don’t want to stumbling around in the dark during the winter months. But, however well insulated your garden office is, you will need a heat source and maybe a way of cooling the room in the summer months. Futureproof the building too ensure future technology can easily be added and give serious thought to security, as you’ll more than likely be storing important (and not to mention expensive) items in your garden room, so an alarm system is essential.
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.No images available in this Gallery Type. Please check admin setting.