Garden Room Plans and Plants

garden room planning for herbs

garden rooms for gardeners and cooks

May is the perfect time to plant a herb pot or corner in the garden room.  Growing your own, rather than finding the culinary kind in the supermarkets, can cut your carbon footprint and discourage the crazy air-freighting of plants.  Try planting what you know will be useful to you.  As you experience them through the seasons, they’ll teach you where they do best just as the garden in general will show you what works in it and what doesn’t.

Basil tends to do better on a windowsill inside for me but you might have the benefit of a sheltered sunny spot for it outside.  I’ve watched it thrive in southern England, although potted, outside. Parsley is easier to grow as the curly variety and will do well in a shaded area.  My flat leaved one is preferable for cooking and for salads but would rather sit inside with the basil in my house.  Both these specimens can be germinated from seed in Feb/March or plug planted at this time of year.

Tarragon, dill and fennel – the aniseeds – are hardier and can tolerate sun and shade.  Fennel will need a bit of space all to itself to develop and reach its full height – taller than me!  The bronze variety adds colour contrast to an otherwise green garden bed and will regenerate every spring.

Chives are a delightful confined, short and compact plant– keep them watered and they will always be ready for use.  They will die down overwinter but return every year.

Thyme and Rosemary like it hot, sunny and well drained and will accept being clipped regularly for the kitchen as long as you keep the scissors back from the woody stems!  Just take the new green growth and the plant will keep producing it.

garden room plans and planting

garden room plans and planting

Sage is a constant showman and easy to grow from seed.  Great with onion and chicken and the fresh leaf tea makes an excellent gargle for sore throats – an instant anaesthetic to the tonsills with antimicrobial action.  Also a magnet for pollinators.

Then there’s mint – fragrant, fresh, rampant and in many varieties.  Suitable for adding to drinks, deserts, salads, meat dishes, soups.  If you want to introduce more than one variety of mint, keep them well apart.  Folklore has it that planting them within reach of each other causes a revertion or merging of the varieties.  I keep mine in large pots to prevent the vesuvial rambling.   The one pictured below is part of my grandfather’s old mint plant which must be at least 100 years old now.  He used it in a remedy for his neighbours, friends and family.

garden room planting and planning

garden rooms planting and planning

Herbs are a most wonderful collection of plants, for not only do they look good, smell good and do you good, but they can transform a meal into a tasty feast. Anyone, with just the smallest space, can grow them.  Care, generally, is easy – well drained soil with enough nutrients to sustain growth and water after the sun has left the plant!  Watering in direct sun can burn the leaves – so an evening watering can trip with soft water gives them all the best chance.

May has turned with the rain into a blooming time for herbs: my lemon geranium is not only scenting the way to the studio as the leaves are brushed past but has produced award-worthy numbers of flowers.  It’s fresh, comforting smell soothes the nerves and encourages a relaxed, clear state of mind. 

It’s got to be Lily of the Valley for the prize this year.  Mine has naturalized beneath Japanese Acers and spread magnificently to cover the shady area.  An ancient indiginous remedy for slow heart rate and a tonic for the circulatory system, it also heralds a really heady scent which can perfume the house for weeks.


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Garden Room Ideas


Returned from travelling, my mind is full of new ways to make timber framed buildings; rigid, durable forms; from my experiences in New Zealand and Efate, a little coral island in the south pacific ocean.  My good friend, also a master carpenter, lives on the island and was keen to show me around and explain those timber framed methods of building which withstand cyclone seasons and earthquakes.
Our UK garden rooms market is a little stagnant at the moment.  I watch companies down grading their studio build quality in order to keep their profit margin high.  Against rising manufacturing and transport costs, it is one option that many have chosen.  I’ve decided not to do this.  I want to offer really solid, durable buildings.  Investments for a lifetime.  If I was creating a garden studio for my own family, I would steer away from the EPS or polystyrene and OSB structurally insulated panel; if it’s not what I would choose then how could I expect clients to be happy with it?  No, clearly those seeking quality like myself want either the tested and approved panel system or something just as strong with added value. My journey has shown me new possibilities in building and allowed time for reflection on how to bring this to the UK garden rooms market at an appropriate price.  
Listening to clients, like I do every working day, I need to tailor products so they are relevant to my customers.  Consumers need innovation to inspire and develop their own plans.  With our company strengths in design and construction knowledge and the opportunity we have of a constant flow of enquiries, I am excited to have developed a robust alternative to our top line, all singing – all dancing approved range of buildings but at a more competitive price.
I’ve added a few personal pictures of various timber constructions from my travels.  Our new range will be online in the following few weeks.


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Garden Studios, the Bespoke Luxury Purchase.

Those with money for luxuries and asset expansion have a vision of possibilities worthy of expenditure, not limited to garden rooms.  Suitably sophisticated, effortless web browsing and glossy indulgent magazines carry advertisements which induce feelings of luxury and indulgence.

The fear that underlies luxury spends, that unless I buy a Bang Olufsen system I will forfeit my originality, is a highly strung suggestion made by such ads; that the highest achievement in life is individualism.  Bespoke diamond from De Beers, customised Aston Martin convertible, Park Hyatt family holiday and Italian designer tailoring from Saville Row’s Sartoriani ooze the custom-made, especially for you, calibre that only a sizeable amount of money can buy.

For £30,000 one can throw a memorable weekender party, purchase an authentic Louis Vuitton leather whiskey set for the gentleman, own a Franck Muller watch or have a Studioni garden studio suite installed at the country residence or town house properties.

In terms of return, the weekend party will have memories and video clips.  The Vuitton and Muller will have variable resale values depending on their authentic paperwork, condition and the trend at time of sale but will hold sentimental value for the owner and negligibly the family in the futue.  The Studioni garden studio suite will continue to  secure your property value as well as providing many happy hours of relaxation.  If it is true to say that the ultimate luxury is the feeling that your asset could not be in better hands then this would be the one to go for.

Looking more closely at the bespoke garden studio suite, the same high calibre of designers, craftsmen, photographers and project managers work together to turn your dream retreat into reality.  Depending on the function of the space shower rooms, spas, fireplaces, surround sound, swinging bed platforms and solar power can be incorporated although the flexibility of the space is the key to this luxury lifestyle trend.




Garden Studios in 1878.

Garden Studios in 1878.

Historical garden studios research has uncovered another little known garden studio worker.  The Murray Scriptorium Studio space was purpose built in the grounds of a school to complete a singular massive project of literary importance; commissioned by James Murray, editor of the new English Dictionary from the Oxford University Press.

Already a member of school staff, Murray was invited to capture every word in the English spoken world, encompassing all shades of meaning.  It was a daunting project and would require a concentrated effort and determination over many years to source words, meanings and begin the compilation of a single volume.

In preparation for the work, Murray built a shed in the grounds of the School, called the Scriptorium, to house his team of assistants as well as the flood of paper slips (quotations explaining the use of words to be used in the dictionary) which started to flow in. As work progressed on the early part of the dictionary, Murray took the decision to give up his job as a teacher and become a full time lexicographer.

In the end, the school erected a more permanent structure in memory of his feat, called thereafter, The Script’.  It is now used as both an IT centre and a study space.  Sounds like an inspiring place to work!  What a great opportunity for the pupils.

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Garden Studios Save Crowded Houses in Britain.

The Daily Mail rarely comment on garden studios but their recent story seems to pointedly ignore the obvious solution, claiming that a third of us don’t have enough space to live but can’t afford to move.

‘Twenty-nine per cent say ‘their property is too small to accommodate the size of their family’ – rising to 40 per cent for those 34 and under’.

Many families will resonate with the randomly strewn children’s toys on the floor scene in the living area. Or the bantering of the children doing homework at the kitchen table. Nothing wrong with that. When combined with the need to work from home, things can get confused and stressful.

Property analyst Samantha Baden reports ‘Affordability remains a key issue for families, with the average cost of a three-bedroom home around £193,000. Very few can afford to buy – or to rent – a property of the size they want and in the area they desire to live. As a result, they are often forced to compromise on one or the other.’

Grown-up offspring who cannot afford to leave the family home are also adding to the problem facing families in this unusual squeeze.

These factors combine, perhaps explaining another element to the growing garden studios market. Those who cannot afford to move can remortgage or invest to improve with a rapid build home extension or detached garden studio suite.

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Garden Studios – A Growing Business 2011.

Studioni Ltd has released trading information for winter 2011. Turnover from sales of garden rooms rose by 70% on the same winter trading period last year; Oct-Jan.
Studioni accounts for 2010-2011 showed a significant turnover increase. With a minimal IT investment and no company loans or debts, profit also increased by a further 3.1% on the former year. That leaves Studioni well placed and in profit to meet demand for the coming year 2012 after bucking the industry seasonality trend.

Our managing director reports: “Our business is diverse and outperforming at a top and bottom line level. With a quiet cross border market in the Republic of Ireland this past year, the best performance remains in the UK with increased interest from western European countries. I think when you look at the kind of results our competitors are lodging, it’s a solid performance. Revenues are massively increased and profitability is growing. “

“We’re attracting both regular and many more larger projects and finding that the personal service we give allows us to aggregrate our projects, producing turn-key solutions for clients. Our diversity with design and resources means we can add value to customers, sourcing exactly what they want.

“Our value proposition is a good service, reliable quality and bespoke design”. The Consumer Protection Association report for 2011 shows great customer ratings for Studioni Ltd can be accessed on our News Page.

No spam comments please.

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May Garden Studio Splendour.

Garden Studio for life, with integrated garage and art space for painting, designed by Studioni Ltd.

Garden Studio Rooms for Life.

August may feel warmer, October more mellow but May is bursting with blossom and hope.  The may pole has been well and truly circled in our village, celebrations held by all, the birds are singing and Chelsea looms imminent.  Garden studio enquiries get more and more interesting as clients become adventurous with their designs.  The air resonates with the feeling that summer is coming and we are compelled to get our gardens ready to impress and enjoy.

The edges of the fields are embellished with underskirts of hawthorn blossom, whitebeams and formal rowans are in their fullest costumes, I marvel at the greenness of the grass.  My window frames a scene that looks like a Photoshop image with the vibrance turned up full.  I’ve allowed the native plants in my garden to ramble right up to my garden studio.  The ferns have to be my favourite.  Their browning fronds have given a canvas to the frost and snow all winter and spring.  They now dominate with spectacular spirals of luminous freshness, ancient in form, magnificent in design.  Against the cedar of the studio, the contrast is heart warming every time I catch it.

This month, I will be staking my sunflower seedlings.  This year I have opted for a contrast between the darkest chocolate and the lightest ice varieties.  The bluebells, in all their colours, have naturalized and created another full layer of interest along my driveway.  Against the developing lady’s mantle and solomon’s seal, they provide a misty hue to the border.  My lilacs are sweetening the air, after rain, and the sage plant I grew from seed has outdone itself this time.  Having quadrupled in volume, it is about to explode in a purple frenzy.  It’s closest neighbour, the hanging rosemary is in full bloom again but tends to retain its modesty more.

With strawberries ripening, the summer is surely just around the corner.  My garden has rakes, trowels and brushes to hand these days as I take 10 minutes to further the tidiness throughout my working day.  The growl of distant lawnmowers pervades the air and reminds me to do the same.  If your garden requires a little help to entice you out this summer, maybe a garden studio is just the thing to consider.

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