Buying a Garden Room (Top 10 Tips)
Updated on October 7th, 2020
Building a garden room provides the opportunity to create your own personal retreat. What makes garden rooms popular is their versatility, they can be used for virtually anything, from home offices and teenage dens, to garden gyms and cinema rooms, extending the use of your home and utilising your outdoor space to its full potential. A quality insulated garden room can also have all the amenities and creature comforts you’d expect from a room inside your home.
The Crown Pavilions team understands it can be difficult for potential customers to know where to start this process. Therefore, we put together a step-by-step guide on how to build a garden room that is perfectly suited to you and your family’s needs and wants.
1. What will you be using your garden room for?
Defining the purpose for your garden room at the outset will guide your decision making as you contemplate size, specifications, as well as features and fittings. Below is a list of uses, some of which you may not have considered:
- Children’s games room
- Cinema room
- Cocktail lounge
- Coffee bar
- Granny annexe
- Garden guest bedroom
- Garden Hideaway
- Garden kitchen
- Garden office
- Home garden gym
- Home library
- Hot tub room
- Meditation room
- Music room
- Summer house
- Yoga studio
2. Minimum space requirements
You might be surprised to learn how little space you need for a garden room. It will obviously depend on your intended use, but a stylish garden office can be achieved in a space as small as 2.5m x 2.5m. The most popular garden room sizes range from 4m x 3m up to 6m x 5m. Much larger garden rooms are also possible depending on your intended use and requirements.
Garden rooms are becoming more and more affordable – especially with companies offering finance so you can spread the payments over a few years. The two main cost factors are the size and modular vs. bespoke builds. Assuming you are looking for a quality building from an established, reputable company you should expect to pay £15,000 – £20,000 for a 4m x 3m (modular build) and £20,000 – £25,000 for a bespoke equivalent sized building. When compared to the cost of a moving or even a house extension, a garden room starts to look like the value option.
4. Summer vs. year-round use
You’re going to need to look for specific features if you want to use your garden room all year, including double-glazing, quality insulation (see below) and electricity installation. There is no reason why you cannot be just as comfortable in your garden room as you are in your house during the winter months if that’s important to you.
5. Quality hallmarks to look for
The gold standard is TRADA: the leading organisation for the regulation of timber buildings.
Trada certification is proof of a real commitment to quality and durability. Failing TRADA certification, look for LABC assured certification which is an important but less stringent qualification. Also, look for floors, walls and roofs with a 90mm – 100mm insulation.
Top tip: look for real hardwood engineered timber floors made from oak or walnut. These will stand the test of time and provide a higher quality finish than cheaper alternatives.
6. Planning permission
Garden rooms are classified under ‘permitted development’, so they generally don’t need planning permission. However, there are various limits, for example:
- They must be single-storey, with a maximum eave height of 2.5m, a maximum overall height of 4m with a dual pitched roof or 3m for any other roof
- They must take up no more than half the area of land around the original house
- They shouldn’t include verandas, balconies or raised platforms
- They must not be used as a home
It goes without saying the intended space should be clear and level and not subject to flooding. Clearance on all sides of the building should be at least 0.5m but ideally 1m.
Installers will need street access to the installation site (i.e. if they need to walk through your kitchen or living room it is less than ideal but still possible).
Will you need electricity, water and a waste connection? If so, ensure your provider carries out an in-depth site survey in order to give you an accurate quotation for carrying out all of the works. Always look for a company that provides a turn-key solution which may avoid lots of potential issues further down the line. If one company has the responsibility for all works from start to finish, this is the ideal situation as there is only one point to go back to if there are any issues.
9. Hidden extras
Ensure things like ground works, installation, electricity and water connections have all been quoted for, so you know exactly what the scope of work is and more importantly what is included or excluded from the outset.
10. Always see the garden room of your choice before you purchase
We strongly advise you see the garden room you are investing in before purchasing. Any company worth their salt will have a showroom for you to visit, allowing you to ask questions and experience the quality of their buildings first-hand.
We hope this article has provided some useful info as you plan for your garden room. We’ve been in the business since 2005 and all our buildings are TRADA certified. If you have any questions or are considering purchasing a garden room we’d love to hear from you.
Co-founder, Crown Pavilions