There are a surprisingly large number of considerations when planning your
new garden room; the design and specification of the room itself, how it will
be used and of course budget. It goes without saying that choosing the right
spot for your new room is pretty crucial too, if you want to get the most
enjoyment from it, or even avoid having to move it!
Most important of all is understanding your legal obligations in respect of
planning and building regulations. In Oct 2008, new regulations came into effect
which considers outbuildings to be permitted development (not needing planning
permission) subject to a few limits and conditions. If you wish to avoid the planning
process these conditions need to be met, although many people decide that they
require a building that falls outside of permitted development and submit successful
applications. Full details can be found on the planning portal website at
www.planningportal.gov.uk but here a few useful guidelines:
Siting your room to the front of your property generally requires planning permission.
Most people prefer their garden room to be in the back garden and unless your
property is a listed building, or is situated in a national park or area of oustanding
beauty this is permitted ...with a few buts!
If your garden room is less than 2 meters from any boundary line then the height
is restricted to 2.5m. More than 2m away from a boundary and the maximum height
for a dual pitch roof increases to 4m and 3m for a mono pitch roof.
The building shouldn’t be larger than 30m2 or occupy more than 50% of the garden.
The building should not be used for accommodation such as a granny annex etc.
Building regulations also apply if the room is more than 15m2 and less than a meter
from the boundary in respect of the spread of fire.
Planning issues aside there are other important points to consider before you decide
on the best position for your room. Light and shade can dramatically change the way
your room will feel and perform. Depending on what the room will be used for, it often
makes sense to have windows on the south and west elevations to capture natural
heat (solar gain) and light from the sun rather than on the north and east elevations
which will be cooler.
Positioning the building under the canopy of trees can be used to create shade when
necessary or frame the building - sometimes where there is limited space this can be
unavoidable, especially if the trees are large or protected. Two issues to consider
though are the build up of leaves and debris on the structure or sticky residues from
certain trees. The root system, may also complicate the groundworks stage of the build.
The view to and from the building is also very important. Framing a great view from
your garden room can make all the difference.
Do you want the building to be a key design feature in the garden and make a statement
or a descreet addition where privacy is important? Often a new garden room can be the
main element in a new garden design scheme - sometimes it needs to blend
unassumingly into a well established landscape.
Ground conditions and access are obvious areas to think about - if you position
your amazing new building at the far end of the garden will you need a pathway to
avoid muddy footprints? Remember too that you need to link the building to an
existing electric supply! If you are installing the room in the summer think about how
access will be affected in the winter. Is the sloping part of the garden really the best
place when other ares are level? Sloping sites are a challenge rather than impossible
but challenges tend to be more expensive!
Last but definetly not least you will want your new garden room to make a positive
addition to your lifestyle - somewhere you can relax. A happy neighbour can only help!