Garden rooms: What to consider

If you want to add more living space or perhaps have a home office, a garden room could be the answer. But before you rush out and buy one, there are some issue to consider. Paul Barton, design director at garden office specialist Roomworks, has this advice

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ABOVE: Roomworks buildings are bespoke and include installation, groundworks, services and internal decoration. Measuring (H)3.9x(W)6x(D)4m this made-to-measureGarden Studio with wrap-around glazing and sedum living roof costs £31,500.

Planning/Building Regulations

When you’re choosing your preferred spot for a garden room, bear in mind that you must stick to planning and building regulations. Outbuildings are considered as permitted development when subject to a few limits and rules, so if you want to avoid the planning process you need to meet certain conditions, such as the ones below. (You’ll find more details at

You should avoid building in front of your property, as this generally needs planning permission. Most people prefer their room to be in the back garden and, unless your property is listed, this is permitted as long as:

  • The roof height of any room less than 2m from a boundary line is no higher than 2.5m; or 3m for a mono pitch roof and 4m for a dualpitch roof when over 2m from a boundary.
  • Your room must be no bigger than 30m² and can’t occupy more than 50 per cent of the total space of your garden.
  • Planning permission will be needed for rooms used as accommodation – building regulations apply to all rooms over 15m².


Planning issues aside, there are other important points. Light and shade can dramatically affect the way your garden room will perform. Depending on what you’ll use it for, it often makes sense to have the windows on the south and west-facing elevations to capture the natural heat and light from the sun, rather than the cooler north and east-facing elevations.


Ground conditions and access also need to be taken into consideration, especially during the winter months. Consider drainage patterns, access to utilities and the garden room’s distance from your property. Sloping sites will inevitably complicate installation and, while trees can be used to frame or shade a building, they can also cause a build-up of leaves and debris on the structure, while the roots can complicate the groundworks.


You need to decide whether you want the cabin to be a key design feature in your garden, or a discreet addition where privacy is important. Don’t forget too that it should be positioned with a great view of the garden.