By James Willmott, director and co-founder of Harrison James Contemporary Garden Rooms
As it is increasingly difficult for children to fly the nest and move into their own property, more and more families are finding they need extra space at home to accommodate their older children. As garden rooms can be installed within 15-20 days and don't usually require planning permission they are becoming popular solutions for over-stretched households. In fact, 40-50% of all enquiries we receive are from parents looking for extra space for their children as they grow and require more independence.
The key to making the most of this extra space is to carefully consider your garden room's features at the design stage. This includes:
The external look and feel
A lot of the time, people focus on how they want their garden room to look on the inside and don't consider how it will look from the outside. We encourage homeowners to really think about the external look and how this fits within their garden. The finished room is likely to be visible from the house and the last thing anyone wants to look at is a box that starkly contrasts with the rest of the garden!
Adding a decking area or patio in front of the garden room can help transition the space from garden to room. It also adds more usable space for the room, especially if you have bi-folding doors. We also recommend landscaping and using planting to soften any straight lines in the design, this is especially good for blending the building into an established garden.
Ventilation and temperature control
Most people like to install multiple windows in a garden room to create a light and airy space. The downside to this is, without careful planning, you can create a room that is overly hot in the summer. To construct a space that can be used all year around, ensure you include a couple of opening windows so that you can create airflow.
It is also worth considering bi-folding doors as these can open up directly into the garden and give the impression of a huge space. This addition not only transforms the look and feel of the room but also makes the room more versatile. It can be especially handy when entertaining to give the option of al fresco dining.
Choosing your utilities
Although it might not be the most exciting part of the design process, it's really important to consider the placement of sockets and the type of lighting and heating you have, as this will affect the positioning of furniture.
Spotlights are very popular and I'd always recommend considering LED lighting. Not only will this prevent your garden room from getting too hot but it will also give you enormous savings on your energy bills.
It is also worth considering under floor heating, partly so that you don't have to take up wall space with radiators. Wall space is often limited in garden rooms, especially if you have multiple windows, therefore it is important to free up space to enable you to position furniture that requires placement against a wall. It also feels luxurious in winter!
Create a versatile space
Quality garden rooms are built to last; therefore we always recommend that you consider how they can be used in the long term and how their purpose may change over time as it could be reflected in the design. While your immediate need might be to house grown up children, in a few years' time it may be that you use the space as a guest bedroom, a home gym or as a place to indulge a hobby such as painting.
As garden rooms can add an average of £30,000 to property prices, it is also worth remembering that creating a versatile space that will appeal to future owners can help attract buyers when the time comes to sell.
Designing a room from scratch gives homeowners a blank canvas to introduce all of the features and finishes that they desire but may not be practical in a renovation or refit.
Many of our designs go through numerous iterations before being finalised but it is worth spending time refining the final design to create a room suitable for many years of enjoyment for the whole family.
Harrison James designs and builds bespoke premium garden rooms, creating exciting and innovative spaces to enhance lifestyles and improve the use and value of properties. Its comprehensive and personal service includes initial consultation and concept development through to design, construction and landscaping. Harrison James has show sites in Horsham, Sussex and Windsor.
For more information please visit www.contemporarygardenrooms.com