The South West London Gardener

A Guide to Garden Rooms and How to Get One in Your Garden

garden room

Over the last few years, there’s been a new trend in gardening.

Fuelled by the order to stay at home, and the huge increase in remote working, more and more people have decided to invest in a garden room.

Sometimes known as a ‘shoffice’ (shed office) these rooms can be used for working, and provide a lovely space away from your home to get your head down, but that’s not the only use for garden rooms.

You can have a gym, a bar, or simply somewhere to relax.

So why did 2021 see a 500% increase in the sale of garden buildings? And how can you get one in your garden?

Let’s take a look.

The Benefits of Garden Rooms

There are many benefits of having a room in your garden, including:

  • Increases the Space in Your Home – Most people are constantly looking for more places to store their gym equipment, books, tools, and more. With a garden room, you’re getting the perfect extension of your home and when you begin to move things over, you’re sure to notice space freeing up inside.
  • Provides a Lovely Spot to Relax – There’s nothing better than catching a moment of peace outside. When the sun is shining down, the wind has settled, and all you can hear are the birds and the slight rustle of leaves, it is a lovely feeling. A garden room with large doors and windows can be the perfect spot to hide from the rain and keep warm without feeling like you’re fully inside, meaning you can still make the most of your garden.
  • Can Be Used All Year Round – If you’re like me, you hate looking out of your window on cold and rainy days and wishing you could be spending time in your garden. A garden room provides just that on even the worst days of the year. Stick a heater inside and you have a warm and cosy retreat to spend your time whilst still getting fresh air and a lovely view of the nature in your outside area.

How to Build a Garden Room

Garden rooms come in many shapes and sizes.

Some are luxury and can occupy a lot of space, some can be as small as a garden shed.

The basics of creating these rooms stay the same no matter which type of building you are creating though.

Firstly, you need a base.

Garden rooms are heavy, so make sure your base is level and strong enough to hold your room plus all of its contents.

A common material to use for a base would be concrete, but you can also use patio slabs or wooden decking, but we would recommend concrete simply for its sturdy and tough nature.

The walls, floor and roof of a garden room are often built from wood. This provides a lovely, natural fell and is a material that can be quickly assembled. If you want to make your room really cosy, why not add some insulation between your layers of wood to really keep things warm.

You may have installed some windows, so it’s a good idea to make sure these are fitted properly by a professional just to be on the safe side.

Once you’ve built the garden room, now you just have to decorate it. This is the really fun part, and you can slap on paint and add accessories to really make your garden room the perfect location for you to get a spot of peace.

Do You Need Planning Permission for a Garden Room?

Now, one big question that often arises when thinking about adding a garden room, is if you can get planning permission.

Well, the good news is that most garden rooms are classed as outbuildings, and therefore no planning permission is required.

You must check that you have development rights for your property though, and that it’s not a listed building that you can’t add to, for example.

There are some key components to consider to make sure your garden room is legal, including:

  • How big is it? If the floor space is below then you should be okay but any bigger and you may need to speak to your local council.
  • Is it attached to your home? If it is, then it is an extension and therefore planning permission may be required. If not, you should be okay.
  • What are you using it for? If you plan to sleep in it, then it is classed as more than an outbuilding and may require special permission. Also, if you plan on using it for things you would do inside your home such as having a shower or cooking, this also may need special permission.

A good rule of thumb to stick to is that if it is not an extension of your home, and won’t be used as such, then you should be okay.

This means if you are using it for an office, or a gym, or just somewhere to read a book in peace, you may not need planning permission.

Of course, the best bet would be to ask your local council or the team who are building it for advice on the matter before proceeding with the build.

How Much Does a Garden Room Cost?

Again, this is a tough question to answer, as it depends on the size and features installed.

For something small, you may be looking at a couple of thousand pounds. If you are looking for a deluxe room with bifold doors, insulations, and more features then you could be looking at five figures.

Of course, it’s not just the building you need, and you may need help from a landscaping team such as the Southwest London Gardener to also level the ground and build a base, and this may come as part of the price of the room.

Now, while these figures may seem high, there are some ways you can get a garden room that are a bit more wallet-friendly.

wandsworth garden room

3 Tips on How to Build a Garden Room on a Budget

Have the Perfect Spot in Mind

You may be able to save some precious pounds by already having the ideal location for your garden room.

If you have a patio area that you no longer use, then this could be the perfect spot to build you room as it is already level, and there are already some tough foundations there.

Source Low-Cost Materials

As with most things, it pays to shop around.

Instead of going straight to a company that offers everything, why not spend some time going to specialist dealers who could offer best prices.

Find a local wood merchant who can provide great wood at a low price. Or source some second hand pavers that can form a great base.

There are always deals out there that can bring the cost down, so it doesn’t always pay to rush into the first deal you see.

Get a Professional Team to Help

While this may not seem like a budget-friendly option, it can make sense if you’re landscaping other areas of your garden.

When going through a garden transformation, it may make more sense to ask for help levelling the ground, installing a base, and even building a room.

While there may be parts the team may not be able to help with, they will often be helpful in terms of giving advice and also contacts who can help.

Does a Garden Room Add Value to Your Home?

Another big benefit of adding a garden room is the fact that it can increase the value of your home.

And there’s no wonder.

The potential buyer is getting a lovely spot to relax, or a garden office pod where they can work, that adds space in their home and can be a real feature in the garden.

And that’s why you can expect an increase of 5-15% on the value of your home, depending on the size and quality of the garden room.

This can be a big boost and certainly makes a garden room a great investment.

Our London Garden Room Projects

garden room build

We’ve worked with many gardens that contain garden rooms, including this project in Barnes, which involved us building a garden around a stunning room that we added lighting to to really make it stand out when it got dark.

And we have built our own room as well.

This project in Wandsworth involved the building of a garden room, and we covered most of the process, including removing the old shed and cleaning the patio underneath, Laying a 3 metre square concrete base and erecting a wooden cabin on top of it.

This made a great spot to relax and a place for the client to work from home.

And to top it all off, it looked great!

The Southwest London Gardener

If you would like a garden room installing, or you want to talk through your options, then why not speak with the team at the Southwest London Gardener?

We are experienced landscapers and designers who can transform your London garden.

For a free, no-obligation quote, get in touch today.