For many people adding to their current home is the preferred option than moving to a new one. It may be that more space is needed or that a dedicated space for a specific reason is required. It might be that the homeowner wants to add to their home and make it more attractive for sale in the long term. Whatever the case, when work is being done it may fall under the official system known as planning permission – but what work requires planning permission and what can be done without it?
How Garden Rooms Add Value and Help Your Home Sale
There are lots of ways to extend your property and add the extra space you need. These extensions can also add value to the property and make the home more attractive when you want to sell it. The garden room is a popular style that is somewhere between a standard brick built extension and a conservatory and you can even get oak framed garden room designs. But why would you choose it for your home?
What is a garden room?
Perhaps the easiest way to visualise a garden room is in comparison to the familiar concept of the conservatory. A garden room is like a living room that is close to the garden and is sometimes called a glass-walled living room. It can also be a lot like a conservatory but with a solid rather than a glazed roof.
Here in the UK, the garden room is often made with traditional materials such as slate, tile or mineral felt on the roof. Flatter roofs are more of an option with developments in high tech paint systems or new flat roof materials that are more durable than the traditional mineral felt.
This means garden rooms tend to have more glazing than the standard living room but have more brickwork and a solid roof than the standard conservatory. They are a perfect middle ground that means they have a lot of uses.
Benefits of a garden room
Garden rooms can be easier to heat in the winter and keep cool in the summer due to their solid roof style and also better insulation. One of the many causes of frustration with conservatories can be that they follow the extremes of the seasons and can be too hot in summer and too cold (or expensive to heat) in winter. These spaces are easier to work with than the classic conservatory due to the blend of elements.
The solid roof also means furniture inside the room suffered from less UV degradation than those in a conservatory with a glazed roof. We’ve all seen furniture bleached by the sun or car upholstery that has changed colour – this is the effect of ultraviolet light from the sun. By having a largely solid roof, garden rooms see less UV light entering the room and therefore less damage.
These spaces also have more privacy due to their design with people above not being able to look in. This opens up more uses for the rooms than are suitable for a classic conservatory.
Using a garden room as an annexe
One example of this is to use a garden room as an annexe – an extension of the main house. Often known as ‘granny flats’ they were once the ideal place for an elderly relative to live with the family but have some space removed from the main house. Garden rooms are ideal for this type of design because of the solid roof offering privacy and the lower amount of glazing in the walls.
Nor are they just for elderly parents – they are great for teenagers who want a bit of space. They can also be used as an extension to the kitchen, for a dining room or to add more space for a utility room or storage area onto the main house.
With the increasing number of people working from home, another popular use for the garden room is as a home office. It offers a light and bright space in which to work while being easy to maintain a level temperature in the extremes of the year.
Rules and regulations
Garden rooms fall under similar regulations to conservatories and other single storey extensions when it comes to planning permission. As long as you stick to the rules laid out in Permitted Development Right, you usually don’t need planning permission to add a garden room to your home. Examples of these include:
- No more than 50% of the total land around the ‘original house’ is used for outbuildings including extensions
- None of the extension is forward of the front wall of the house – this is known as the principal elevation
- The extension can’t be more than four metres in height and these limits drops to three meters if it will be within 2 metres of a neighbour’s boundary
- The top of the roof cannot be higher than that of the original house
You can see full details of the rules on the government’s Planning Portal website as well as by chatting with your local planning authority. They will also help you understand any building regulations that will apply – these are separate to planning permission and apply to all projects, whether under permitted development or not.
A garden room is an excellent, multi-function way to extend your home and the presence of one can make your house more attractive to buyers if you decide to sell. It can even increase the value of the property because it has a bigger floor space and more interior space.