Our gardens are an extension of our home. Making the most of our outdoor space for some means gardening, BBQing, playing football and relaxing in the sunshine, for others the garden offers a great potential spot to create a hybrid indoor and outdoor living space.
One way to do just that is with a garden room. Some call it a summer house, others call it a home office and for the wanna-be bar owners, it’s the garden pub.
There really are so many different things you can do with a garden room to create an outdoor living space that suits your interests, lifestyle and home life.
If you’re looking to build a garden room, you may be on the search for some building inspiration.
Whilst you can go out and buy a flat pack ready-to-go summer house, you may be looking for something a little more bespoke and entirely suited to the shape of your garden and the needs for your garden room.
There are a plethora of different ways that you could construct a garden room. You could call in professional help, but if you like the challenge and fancy a new DIY project, with a little bit of careful planning, this is certainly something you could do yourself.
We are here to provide you with a few ideas and some general advice as to what to consider and what types of materials you’ll need to construct a garden room.
Have a read through a few of these ideas to create a fantastic bespoke garden room design that keeps on giving year in, year out.
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The great thing about building your own garden room from scratch is the complete level of personalisation that can be achieved.
Because you can build to the exact size and dimensions that you desire, you can make your new outdoor living space fit with your garden shape and style.
There are a few basic things you’ll need to get right when building your garden room.
A few key steps when building a garden room
First up, you’ll need to measure and mark up the area where you wish to build your garden room. Once you’ve got your measurements nailed, and established the desired height of your design, you can order your materials.
Don’t forget, your garden room shouldn’t be any taller than 2.5 meters at the highest apex and cannot take up more than 50% of the land surrounding the house.
You should always check with your local authority as to whether your garden house project requires planning permission.
If you haven’t already done so, clear the area. Take away any shrubs or hedges that will get in the way of your project, and clear the ground so that you’ve got a fresh, clear patch to work on.
If your garden is prone to flooding or becoming particularly water-logged during rainy seasons, you may need to consider implementing better drainage. Land drainage pipes can help to reduce garden surface water.
It’s really important to get this right before your garden room build begins, otherwise, the bottom of your garden room could get damp, or worse flood, eventually causing the floor to fall through.
There are a number of different ways to approach this, but typically a concrete base is the most favourable option amongst most DIYers.
This will help to ensure that you have a flat and even surface to build up. What’s more, this is a great starting point for levelling out sloped gardens.
You’ll need to dig out the ground before laying compacted type 1 stone into the dug-out area.
Once the stones are compacted using a wacker plate, you can lay the cement layer. Aim for a smooth and flat concrete finish.
Alternatively, you could set footings or use sleepers. If you choose to go down one of these routes, don’t forget, you might need to use a weed ground control too.
Wondering what type of timber you should use to build a frame structure?
When building the walls, you’ll want to aim for a stud wall style. It may be easier to lay each wall section on the ground, before lifting each section into a vertical position and fixing them together.
Interior stud walls can be covered with 11mm OSB, to give good strength, and make the framework structurally strong. The cavity can be insulated, and wrapped with a breathable membrane before exterior cladding is installed.
Next up, it’s time to fix the roof structure. Compared to a pitched roof, a sloping roof is less challenging.
How sloped the roof is, is entirely up to you, however, make sure there is some sloping to allow rain to drain off.
Use 18mm osb3 or hardwood ply to cover the roof structure.
Once any cladding has been fitted, you can top off your garden room with a leak-proof roof.
You could use corrugated roof sheets or alternatively you could fit a roofing membrane and complete the look with cedar shingles.
Don’t forget you could also incorporate a guttering system to collect water for your garden.
To keep your garden room light, bright and ventilated, consider how many windows and doors you’ll need and where best to place them.
Bi-fold-style patio doors are particularly popular at the moment and provide easy access to the garden.
Image source: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/170362798377978142/
They are a great choice if you want to create an outside-in-style gardener room, summer house, outdoor office or chill-out room.
Alternatively, you could consider windows and a single-point entry door if you’re aiming for a more snug-style room.
You can find second-hand windows and doors on eBay, or buy brand-new ones.
Before installing the windows, make sure you’ve measured the space and left a gap in the walls where your windows and doors will be installed.
Garden rooms can be a stylish and attractive garden feature as well as functional extra space. To give your new garden addition the real wow factor, incorporate a cladding exterior.
The wonderful thing about cladding is that it is available in a wide variety of styles.
However, if it’s a sleek and polished look you’re aiming to achieve, choose a beautiful treated softwood tongue and groove or Siberian Larch shadow gap cladding.
For an ultra-modern grey garden design, a warm tongue and groove Western Red Cedar profile is the perfect colour pairing.
Or for the log cabin look, it’s got to be a treated softwood log lap profile.
Don’t forget you can treat, stain and paint your cladding to your heart’s content. This is a great way of achieving a certain look to complement the rest of your garden.
For example, if you’re looking for a classic look, you might choose to paint the cladding exterior a fresh white or cream colour.
Or for a powerful punch of colour, choose an on-trend sage green, bold and bright blue or even a statement-making black.
The next thing you’ll need to consider is how to insulate the garden room.
If you plan to use your garden room for 12 months of the year, you’ll need to insulate the walls using sheet insulation. This will help keep the room toasty and cosy on colder days.
Fit the sheet insulation within the wall voids, as well as the ceiling void.
Choose from a range of thicknesses. Once this is in place, you can box in the walls using hardwood ply.
To finish the look, you could clad the interior walls, or plaster and paint.
When you’ve spent so long making your new garden room look stunning from the outside, you’ll want to achieve an all-around clean and tidy look.
To hide the insulation under the room, incorporate a deck.
You may have to raise the deck slightly and depending on whether your garden room was built on a slope, you may also need to create some decking steps.
First up, you’ll need to choose which type of decking you’ll install.
For something budget-friendly, choose pressure-treated softwood decking.
For tips and advice on how to build a deck, click here.
Depending on how you intend to use the room will depend on the style of flooring you choose.
For easy cleaning opt for a wood-finish laminate or luxury vinyl flooring such as Karndean, which is available in a range of wood and stone finishes.
For all the cosy feels, choose a carpet. Be sure to lay underlay before laying the carpet. This will also help to insulate the room.
Most people choose to add some sort of power supply to their garden room. You’ll need this for lighting, any heaters and plug sockets.
You’ll need to run an armoured cable from your main electricity supply in your home, to your garden room. This would need to be insulated underground, for safety and efficiency purposes, and connected to an electrical fuse box in your garden room.
To avoid any nasty shocks and fire risks, it’s always a good idea to call in a professional to do this. All electrical works completed in your garden room will need to meet Part P Electrical Safety work regulation specifications.
It’s also important to inform your local authority building control if you intend to complete any major electrical installation work. And, if you’re not sure what’s deemed as ‘major’ works, it’s always a good idea to air on the side of caution and contact your local authority for advice.
Before calling in a professional electrician, consider exactly what you’ll need in terms of lighting fixtures and sockets to make your garden room work for you.
Once you have the basic shell and core of your garden room, you can start to personalise and complete the fit-out!
The use of the garden room will depend on what sort of furniture and fittings you’ll need. For example, if you intend to use your garden room as a mini bar, you’ll need to create a bar, complete with a fridge and maybe even some optics or a tap system.
There are lots of different ways you could build your own bar. For some inspiration, check out this blog!
Maybe your garden room will become your office or studio. Consider how you may need storage space for any paperwork, equipment or hardware needed for your job or business.
Or if your garden room is designed to provide the ultimate quiet chill-out spot, find cosy and comfy furnishings, maybe a TV and your favourite accessories and artwork to make the space feel like a home within your home.