Invest in a garden room

If you want to add more living space or perhaps have a home office, a garden room could be the answer. Use this guide to find the right design for your budget. Plus garden room case studies.

ABOVE: Archipod’s spherical fully insulated pod, (H)2.5x(dia.)3m, starts from £15,000 and includes the pod, cedar shingles, door, window, glazed roof, base and full installation.

If you want to add more living space or perhaps have a home office, a garden room could be the answer. Use this guide to find the right design for your budget.

A self-contained garden room has a multitude of uses, ranging from traditional summerhouse to year-round office or guest accommodation. With styles from classic chalet to modern cube, there is a style to suit all tastes and budgets.

Where to buy

Basic shiplap timber rooms start at under £1,000 and are available from your local DIY store. You’ll need to assemble them yourself but they’re a great, affordable solution for use during the summer.

Insulated timber structures and log cabin self-assembly kits, from around 7m² upwards, are a well-priced, all-year-round option and are available from DIY stores and specialist companies such as Garden Affairs and Dunster House. Many companies provide an installation service, but you’ll still need to prepare the ground beforehand. Paving slabs can be used for a simple summerhouse, but a level concrete base, with waterproof membrane, is recommended for a regularly used room. You can find out how to lay a basic concrete base at diydoctor.org.uk.

If you prefer to call in a specialist company to take care of all aspects of the design and installation, choose from either a company, such as Pod Space, which offers a range of rooms that can be customised to suit your needs from about £9,500 upwards, or opt for a made-to-measure service, such as that provided by Roomworks, with prices starting from about £1,200 per m².

As these garden room companies specialise in this type of construction, the cabins are highly insulated and can be installed complete with interior finishes, utilities and security features. The top-of-the-range rooms include bathrooms and kitchens, solar panels and even rainwater-harvesting systems. Some companies will also be able to deal with a planning application, if one is required. Do check what is included in your buying price, however, as some basic packages may not cover the cost of the groundworks or connection to services.

Traditionally, garden rooms have been constructed using a timber frame. However, more and more are now being built from pre-fabricated panels, often clad in timber such as durable red cedar. These structurally insulated panels (SIPs) are manufactured offsite and put together on site for minimal disruption. Teamed with high-performance glazing and energy-efficient roofing, such as the latest eco-friendly living sedum roofs, these garden rooms meet the standard of any new-build property.

Summer House by The Garden House Ltd

ABOVE: The Garden House Ltd can supply this (H)3.7x(W)8 (D)4m Summer House with underfloor heating, lighting and electrics. It features a recessed porch and french doors and costs £30,000.

Making your garden room fully functional

An all-year room requires heating, ventilation, insulation and electricity. If you go for a bespoke option, this will be arranged for you, but make sure the price includes connection to mains electricity. This requires a Part P registered electrician to relay power through armoured cabling and will cost between £300-500. You should also receive a certificate stating that the work meets current regulations.

In terms of insulation, self-assembly kits that include ready-insulated sections are worth the added cost. Alternatively, check out DIY products, such as polystyrene insulation board topped with plywood sheeting. Look to casement, rather than fixed windows, to enable good air flow in the summer and ensure there’s warmth in winter with portable or panel heaters or electric underfloor heated matting. Fitting exterior, as well as interior, lighting will make access easier at night and a timer or sensor will improve security. You should also fit locks and include the new room on your buildings and contents insurance.

All prices and stockists correct at time of publishing