Conservatories have become one of the most popular ways to extend our homes. The high cost of moving and the more relaxed legislation on planning permission are some of the reasons why many people choose to extend, and a conservatory offers the added benefit of natural light. If you’re extending a north-facing property then light is a real concern as any extension would darken the existing room. A south-facing conservatory, however, presents a different problem, because here there can be too much sunlight. This article takes a brief look at an alternative to the conservatory extension, the garden room, which can be a good all-round solution.
To many, the garden room is a new idea, but in actual fact they’ve been around for some time. The essential difference to a conservatory is that the garden room has a solid roof rather than one made from glass or transparent plastic. The benefit of natural light is retained in a garden room, but this is provided through large glass windows and a glass gable front. The gable is the part of the roof that forms the triangle, as you look at the end of the roof. The roof itself is then tiled or slated as with a regular extension.
Advantages of a Garden Room
One of the advantages of a garden room over a conservatory is that it will not become so hot in the summer, a common problem for south-facing conservatories. In such cases many people find that after their first good summer they need to either install blinds in their conservatory or have air-conditioning fitted. This demands both added expense and another task to perform when you probably just want to sit and enjoy looking out onto your garden. The solid roof of a garden room instead of a glass one can provide a balance of natural light over too much heat.
Then there is the opposite situation that all conservatory owners experience in the winter the loss of heat through the glass roof. Glass generally loses heat faster than a tiled or slated roof and this can be long-term cost benefit of a garden room. There is also less maintenance with a solid roof. Whereas glass and plastic needs regular maintenance, there is little cleaning required for a tiled or slated roof.
Finally, there is the issue of taste. For many people a conservatory roof renders the extension as one that will always look like a ‘bolt-on’ addition. This is particularly true for more traditional homes, where the modern conservatory clashes with the classic feel of the existing building. The glass roof is often the culprit for this clash of old and new. A garden room can provide a solution here, if a matching roofing material is used then the new and old can be blended so that after a little weathering the extension looks like it ‘belongs’ where it is.
Sometimes the term garden room is used to describe a free-standing building located literally in the garden. To save confusion, however, these buildings are increasingly referred to as ‘garden houses’.