Are you looking for a home improvement that will be life-changing and will have a positive impact on your life? Since redesigning your house isn’t always an option, garden rooms are the answer! They are simple yet fancy wooden structures with tiled roofs and your choice of doors, windows and stylings. They provide an outdoor living space that can be used all year round, especially if they have electrics and insulation.
Are you a self build enthusiast and want to make your own garden room? Are you looking for inspiring design ideas? Keep on reading for a simple and fun tutorial!
Table of Contents
The benefits of garden rooms
- They create an additional living space. In this extra space, you can either relax or have fun with your family and friends.
- They offer a beautiful space to host family gatherings.
- They provide a separate space for teenagers to hang out in, offering a sense of freedom.
- They can be a cost-effective and straightforward alternative to host elderly relatives and friends.
- Installation is relatively quick and simple compared to other home extensions.
- There are endless design options and add-ons to match your needs and style.
- They are highly versatile, meaning they suit every type of property.
- They can give you privacy, and you can make more noise without disturbing anyone at home.
Top uses for a garden room
As a garden office
Having one as a workspace is one of its most popular uses. Either you work from home or your kids study for an exam, it offers the peace needed. You can tailor this outdoor home office’s design when it comes to heating, lighting, and windows to ensure you have the ideal space to stay focused.
A modern, customised and cosy garden room can be ideal both for adults and teenagers. Grownups can spend time with friends without being disturbed by children, and teens can enjoy some moments of independence while also being close and safe. Not only that, having insulated panels and soundproofing available, you can be as loud as you want. Don’t worry about neighbours complaining ever again!
For gym and training
Do you crave more time to exercise but going to the gym after a long day feels like a near-impossible task? A garden home gym is the perfect solution for you! You can work out in the privacy of your home; you won’t have to wait for a machine to become available and is exactly beside your home’s door! It is also essential to consider that you can design your gym to suit exactly your specifications and needs. The desired temperature, lighting, décor and equipment to keep yourself motivated, fit, and healthy will benefit your workout.
As a casual summerhouse
You can enjoy your garden room just by resting and relaxing, especially during the hot summer nights. You can add a sofa, comfy chairs, soft lighting and television for a homely feel you can enjoy alone or with family and friends. Depending on the space you have and your budget, the possibilities are endless. You can add a shower, a kitchen, a pool table, even build a hot tub shelter for your hot tub to enjoy your garden room more.
For your hobby
Either you like playing the guitar, singing or painting, a garden room can be the custom-built place where you can practice your hobby! Choose a design that meets your needs, including appropriate soundproofing to rehearse your guitar or piano skills and colours and brushes to have the art room of your dreams.
As a guest bedroom
If you have limited space in the main house, a garden room is a perfect solution when friends and family visit. It also offers you and them the privacy needed. Include a toilet, a small kitchen or shower and high-quality insulation to provide dreamy sleeping accommodation and keep them warm in winter.
A list of possibilities for your outdoor building is long, including in it a range of creative solutions and fun. It could be used as a TV room, man cave, yoga room, summer dining room, personal library, cinema room, workshop, play space for kids, even a sauna. The only limit is your imagination!
What to consider before building your garden room
Planning permission and building regulations
There are specific regulations around garden buildings that prevent you from building a structure that might affect your neighbours. Most garden rooms fall within permitted development rights, so you won’t need to worry about planning permission. To be sure though, check the UK planning portal or local planning department before you get started, so you won’t have to take down your lovely garden room after it is done. If you need planning permission, the following points should be taken into consideration according to restrictions for outbuildings:
- The impact of convenience on neighbouring occupants.
- A loss of privacy for the neighbours.
- You should not restrict sunlight because of the outbuilding‘s height. Outbuildings must be single-storey with a maximum overall height of 4 metres with a dual pitch roof or three metres for other tops and a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres.
- Its design should appear additional to the existing building, respecting the character of the property.
- Outbuildings must not exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house.
- Planning will apply if the room is on the grounds of a listed building.
- If you need to cut some trees to build yours, keep in mind that a Tree Protection Order protects gardens with several trees.
Grab a tape measure and a piece of paper, and go into the garden to start thinking about the ideal location for your new building. Consider these factors:
- You should have a flat ground to build on. You may need to create a suitable support frame or complete some groundworks. If there are any obstructions such as trees or electrical wiring, you need to avoid or remove them.
- Is the location a shady or sunny spot? Where the sun rises and sets might affect how you select the perfect place. A fully glazed room may be prone to overheating. A design in a dark corner may be difficult to heat with little natural light.
- Consider where you want the front and entrance to face. A suitable gap between neighbouring boundaries is essential to offer access to all sides of the building and for maintenance in the future.
- If you don’t have a suitable path to the front door, you’ll need one, so you won’t drag dirt and mud around.
- It is better that you won’t build yours under a tree. During autumn, you’ll need to remove leaves, and if you don’t, this can start to cause issues with the felt roofing.
- Consider your ideal size. If you want to save time with less cutting and waste while building yours, think about material sizes when planning. Most sheet material comes in 2440x1220mm sizes, so try and work to multiples of these sizes.
- Think about how you will get power to your room. You’ll need a qualified electrician to install your electrics and an armoured cable run between the house and your garden room.
Think of how you will construct yours, including the roof, floor and wall designs.
- About the floor: You can either choose plinth supports or solid foundations and a patio base. The plinth is less expensive and also provides slightly better water drainage. Concrete foundations and patio bases are more stable and long-lasting.
- About the walls: Consider the type of insulation you prefer to keep your room warm during winter. There are many different options to choose from for thermal conductivity. You can also get additional soundproofing.
- About the roof: Choose the roof style you want to have. Most of them pretty much provide the same function, but some may be easier to construct and maintain. You can have a flat roof or an apex or dual pitched one.
When is the best time to start building
Building yours will take from 10 days to two weeks in most cases. It is essential to order the materials you’ll need sooner so that you won’t have to postpone anything. It isn’t advisable to install a building whilst the weather is extreme. Heavy wind, frost, snow and rain are not an ally, so winter is probably the worst time to build yours, making the installation harder. Conditions like these not only make it more difficult for you but can also cause long term damage to your new building. The best conditions for assembling a garden building are dry and mild. You should also avoid hot weather, which is risky for wooden structures as the wood can swell and cause permanent damage to the building.
How to build your garden room from scratch
- Combi drill driver and impact driver
- Mitre saw
- Circular saw
- Tape measure
- Panel saw
- Orbital sander
- Sealant gun
- General tool kit with hammers, screwdrivers, drill bits and more
- Stanley self-levelling laser level
- Stanley knife
- Carpenter’s pencil
- Long shovel
- Short spirit level – for electric sockets, quick checks
- Long spirit level – for joists and longer spans
- Bi-fold door
- An array of fasteners
- Concrete blocks
- Vapour barrier
- Breathable membrane
- Electrical, internet, and heating tools and materials
- Floor laminate
- Foil tape for joints
- Woodworking tools
- Wall claddings
- OSB boards
- Staple Gun
- Spirit level
Step 1: Make a proper foundation
Clear the area where you’ll be building your room and make the space as level as possible. Use concrete rafts, screw piles, concrete blocks, slabs, or concrete pillars for a foundation. After you dig out footings, fill them using hardcore and gravel to create your base. The number of concrete blocks depends on the size of the room you want to build.
Step 2: Frame the base and add insulation
Dig out the ground and level the slabs using a large spirit level. Connect the outer four beams and fix them on top of the blocks. Use a screwing metal strapping or angle brackets on the beam’s sides and the blocks to increase the structure’s rigidness. Use a staple gun and staple membrane under the frame to protect the outer edge from water and possible rotting. Add flooring joists to the base frame to add more support. The ideal spacing between the beams is 60 cm. Then, screw the pre-cut noggins in between the floor joists using 40mm screws. Now that the floor frame is ready fill it with insulation. If you’re not using foam insulation, you can add a vapour barrier on top. Finish the floor by adding OSBs, making it water-resistant, and building the wall frames.
Step 3: Build wall frames
The two walls on the sides and one in the back are pretty easy to make. The front wall may be a little more challenging. Build the frames for the wall. Then, use appropriate fasteners and brackets and add studs in between to raise them. For the front wall, it is vital to keep in mind the door and windows requirements. You should measure out your window and door frame and cut the lengths of CLS to fit. Space the wall studs appropriately and add headers on top of your door and windows to add additional strength to the structure. Lastly, add OSBs to the wall frames. If you want to add windows later, think about building suitable frames. You should have enough space to slide the windows and door into the structure easily.
Step 4: Build the roof
For the roof frame, attach wall plates on top of two opposite walls where the length of your roof rests. Make notches for ceiling joists on the plates with a standard spacing of 60cm. Then, use angled brackets to fix the beams in place.
Step 5: Add your door and windows
If you want to squeeze the overall look, you can find second-hand doors and windows in excellent condition. Add the timber frame for the windows and the door. Their installation depends on the type you own, so it is essential to read the manual or consult experts.
Step 6: Install wall claddings
Wrap your room with a membrane, and then install them. They should go past down the bottom’s insulation and reach the top of the room.
Step 7: Internet, electric and heating requirements
To install the electric, internet and heating systems in the room, you might need the help of an expert. One small mistake could fail your equipment or even electrical hazards.
Step 8: Complete the roof
Cover the boards on your roof with a membrane and the whole top with OSBs. Do you want a neater look and increased moisture protection? Cover the membrane with steel sheets!
Step 9: Insulate the room
The most cost-effective type of insulation is fibreglass. Since fibreglass can be pretty toxic, have your goggles, safety gloves and mask on while insulating it on the walls and ceiling. If you are not using foil-backed foam insulation, you can add a layer of vapour barrier for better results.
Step 10: Add plasterboards to your walls
Be careful of wires and electrics inside the walls and attach light boards. Join the gaps and then add plaster. You can either hire a professional plasterer to do the job or buy premixed plaster and make it a DIY project. Let the application dry and paint the walls in the colour you desire.
Step 11: Add lights
You can now add any electricity items you desire, such as breaker boxes and LED lights. It is better to hire an electrician to do the wiring and test everything.
Step 12: Complete the flooring
Measure the floor dimensions and find an attractive laminate. Make sure it has the colour shade to match the rest of the garden house and maybe have a carpet on it later.
Step 13: Decorate
Depending on how you want to use this room, find furniture to fill it and make it feel homey. You can also install a water source, add a shower, a small kitchen or wall protection if your kids are going to use it. Paint it on the outside, install a patio walkway and tidy up its fencing. The garden room of your dreams is now ready!
Quick tips for maintaining your garden room
Suppose you want your garden building to have a long life and enjoy it for many years to come; maintaining it is the No1 way to go! Here are 6 crucial methods to keep it in tip-top condition:
Most of them are timber clad. There are two main types of timber-clad garden rooms, cedar-clad and painted.
- Painted ones require repainting them often, while cedar rooms require little to no maintenance. You will have to repaint the first type every 10-15 years. What you need to do more often is a brush off of cobwebs and a soapy wash-down now and then. There is also the option of metal clad garden rooms. They offer the aesthetics of painted wood but don’t need the same maintenance.
- Cedar is a durable softwood and has a natural resistance to rot and fungal attack. As a result, it won’t need maintenance for more than 25 years! You should know that its reddish-brown colour won’t last if you don’t apply a seal before it is exposed. After a few years, it will turn to silver-grey.
2. Doors and windows
UPVC and aluminium doors and windows require less maintenance compared to timber ones. These would swell in wet weather and needed to be adjusted to fit again. You only have to wash with some soap and water UPVC and aluminium ones. To preserve softwood timber doors, you need to apply a protective paint or stain finish now and then.
Keep rainwater guttering clear. Keep in mind that if yours is under a tree, it can be easily blocked.
If you have decking in yours, it is important to clean it often so it won’t be dirty or slippery. All you need is a regular power wash or application of chemical cleaner and clean water. It can also lose its colour, so you may want to treat it with a preservative and repaint it every few years.
Roofs are generally strong parts of the room, but you should check them for any loose details from time to time. Keep them looking tidy by getting up on the roof or recruiting a gardener who will!
6. The area around
Keep the area around your garden room clean and tidy. Collect leaves and mawn long grass to keep damp vegetation away.
How much does a garden room cost?
To begin with, by constructing one yourself, you keep costs down. Buying an utterly bespoke room could cost from £20,000 up to £55,000, with £800 and £1,600 per square metre. There are also hidden costs such as delivery and connecting the electrics to the mains supply. When you build it yourself, you can count the cost and adapt it to your needs. Building costs depend on many factors, such as its size, the materials you’ll need, the type and its location. The average price is £11,000, with most people paying between £5,000 and £20,000.
You can build a simple yet fancy wooden structure in your garden in a stress-free and affordable way! Enjoy practising your favourite musical instrument, have friends around or work from home (but not at home!) in the comfort of your garden room. Grab your tools and build a beautiful and functional environment to call your own!
Next project: How to waterproof a shed roof.