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Extending a Property: Conservatory or Garden Room?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 9 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Conservatory Garden Room Extension

A great many people add an extension to a property to gain the benefits of adding a conservatory or, if more appropriate, a garden room. The idea of having a room that bridges the gap between the garden and the house is a very popular one these days, fed by garden and house design TV programmes.

Different Extension Options

Extending a property can mean adding a loft conversion for extra space to work, play or sleep, increasing a room’s size to improve its functionality, even just for the sake of adding financial value or improving the aesthetics. But in the UK extending out into the garden is far and away the most popular choice.

What is the difference between a garden room and a conservatory? Very loosely, a garden room is a room attached to the house, which has main the purpose of giving a view or even access to the garden. A garden room will usually have large windows but solid walls and roof. A conservatory is more like attaching a greenhouse to the side of the house. The truth is, it doesn’t really matter what it is called as long as it fits the desired purpose for the building it is being attached to and its setting.

What is the Setting of the Extension?

If the property is not well-sheltered from the elements and needs a very solid structure, then a garden room is going to be best. This is especially so if the house overlooks a valley or any wide open space where it can be battered by wind and rain but has great views. Garden rooms are typically more like actually extending the property so will tend to be more expensive to build, more permanent and more like a part of the home.

On the other hand a conservatory can be very cheap and simple. It will extend the property effectively but be sure to take other aspects like privacy and ventilation into consideration. If it is built in a sunny area the conservatory can literally act as a greenhouse and can get very hot, so be sure to take this into consideration when choosing.

Beautiful Buildings

Of course there are beautiful conservatories available and many would almost consider them a piece of art rather than a functional room. Imagine a room with tropical plants, lazy lounge seats, a veritable escape from the rest of the house. This was the original concept behind a conservatory; it was a decorative room for growing rare and exotic flowers.

There is as much variance on price as there is on the purpose of these types of extension. A basic conservatory can be self-assembled in a couple of days without a building site and cost little more than a basic garden shed whereas a bespoke conservatory could cost more than the building it is attached to.

Garden Rooms

A garden room is a more straightforward extension in that it is what it says it is, a room that joins onto the garden. This would typically be in order to give a good view out of the house, so, would include large windows, possibly bay or French windows, or other windows that give a view of the garden or other pleasant sights such as the ocean or an open field. A garden room is like adding an extra room to the house that has a large window as its main feature. It is recommended that a garden room is treated as a full extension and as such should only be added by a professional builder.

Choose Carefully

Look at the property to be extended. Does it need a room to look out onto a garden (garden room) or does it want to have a room inside it that is a garden (conservatory)? Does the room need to be ornate or delicate, costly or basic, safe or pretty? The choices will make themselves apparent with a little examination.

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[Add a Comment]
I am proposing to build a ground floor extension to my house to provide an extra bedroom. The electricity supply comes in from the ground, through a cable attached to the back wall of the house, and into the house.My ideal plan for the extension of the house would mean that this cable is inside the extension.Would this be permitted?Access to the cable could be easily arranged if it is permitted. Thanks
Colin - 9-Oct-18 @ 4:05 PM
kumar - Your Question:
We have a garden room with shower and toilet built in 2011 as a permitted development and it received approval of building regulations. But constructing a link with the main building was refused. Is there any kind of semi-permanent structure that can connect the two without planning approval?

Our Response:
A temporary structure might be acceptable - something like thatched covered walkway perhaps?
ExtensionBuild - 28-Jul-17 @ 2:15 PM
We have a garden room with shower and toilet built in 2011 as a permitted development and it received approval of building regulations. But constructing a link with the main building was refused. Is there any kind of semi-permanent structure that can connect the two without planning approval?
kumar - 26-Jul-17 @ 5:15 PM
Rob - Your Question:
Hi,Do I need building regulations and planning permission, also a survey to change my conservatory to a garden room? My friend has had issues with his as he has come to sell and the council have told him he needs to take the roof down and take it back to the original, as the company he used failed to comply with the above.How does this work? Would this be the company's fault or?Hope you can helpRob

Our Response:
Yes you may need building regulations even if planning permission is not required as it's more substantially and can be considered an extension where a conservatory isn't.
ExtensionBuild - 4-Nov-16 @ 12:55 PM
Hi, Do I need building regulations and planning permission, also a survey to change my conservatory to a garden room? My friend has had issues with his as he has come to sell and the council have told him he needs to take the roof down and take it back to the original, as the company he used failed to comply with the above. How does this work? Would this be the company's fault or? Hope you can help Rob
Rob - 3-Nov-16 @ 7:49 PM
Garden room full stop I need a quotation for building rear garden room. I'm based in hounslow 16 Morgan Gardens TW3 3rx. I am contactable on 07588 608288
Kash - 15-Sep-16 @ 6:40 PM
Do you need planning permission to change a conservatory into a proper extension it has a brick wall around the conservatory
sandy - 8-Jul-15 @ 8:45 PM
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