I cannot think of anything more exciting than planning and managing a home build. It is a life ambition for some people and I am lucky to have completed two already and an extensive renovation. However, I completely neglected the potential of the outdoor space and I hope this article will help you in your planning stages by considering garden rooms.
Garden rooms are a popular modern trend and extend living space with minimal disturbance. Although clearly not a new idea, men have had reclusive sheds for many a year, the upgraded options are smart, versatile and sustainable (mostly). Garden rooms require electrical connection and, if installing a spa or shower room, will need water and waste. The most cost effective way to incorporate this is to order it at the same time as the home build to use the skills of your trusted tradesmen on site.
A modest house can seem to have doubled in size when the backyard, side alleys and gardens are divided into usable areas with specific purposes. If you’re buying a new house that is in the process of being built or planning your own build, now is the time to consider your priorities for your outdoor space.
Side alleys make good storage areas for garage and gardening equipment, as long as there is a clear access route to the back garden. Front gardens, well maintained, make a huge difference to the look and feel of your home. You may need parking space but consider adding a tree or flower bed to soften the hard areas and add interest and colour.
If one of you works from home then having a separate office in the garden has been proven as the most productive way to work. There are no domestic distractions and with a walk through side access from the main road, professional meetings can happen without trailing visitors through the home.
Social butterflies who love to entertain will love the extra space of a hard landscaped patio or deck area outside. It needs to be large enough to take a table and chairs. Lighting allows further use of the garden for socialising. However, if your plot is right next to the neighbours you may decide to confine your entertainment to indoors. The options here are still varied – a large comfortable dining kitchen, a separate dining room or conservatory or finally, a garden studio. The dining room shouldn’t be too far removed from the kitchen.
Planning your orientation must account for existing access and roads but also consider direction. South facing windows will provide a lot of heat and can produce a mini greenhouse effect on cloudless days. A south facing garden is ideal but is enhanced by careful planning of tree positions for summer shade.
If your home is custom built, expanding the plans to include the outdoor rooms shouldn’t be a problem. Even if your home isn’t being custom built, borrowing for a garden room is more cost effective if it’s done at the same time as the home mortgage.
After you’ve decided on your back garden priorities sketch out where you would locate major features such as a play area for children, relaxation area for you and entertaining area. Establish a budget for each feature and for the garden as a whole. Remember you don’t have to complete the whole garden at once but it is more cost effective to install a garden building at the same time as the house construction.