Investing in a garden room is a big decision that can impact your property and living environment. Before purchasing a garden room, it’s important to understand all of the benefits and whether a garden room is worth the investment.
Over the last few years, garden rooms have exploded in popularity as many of us look for smart solutions to increase floor space in our homes. The increasing trend to work and spend more time at home has led to garden rooms being used for everything from a bar to an office. We expect the momentum to continue, as more buyers realise the combined value and versatility a garden room can bring.
A garden room can be an expensive purchase, with most buildings costing in the range of £15,000 to £20,000 for the building itself. Furthermore, most buyers will spend an additional several thousand pounds on laying a base, electricity and furniture. For many, this can leave them questioning, are garden rooms worth it?
Top reasons garden rooms are worth the investment
Let’s take a look at the top reasons we believe garden rooms are a worthy investment. While the initial costs can be high, the ongoing maintenance of a garden room is minimal and the value can quickly be realised.
Add value to your property
We all know that house prices are on the rise, with record increases in value expected this year and over the next few years. For many homeowners, increasing the value of their current property can allow them to make a bigger jump when it’s time to sell. Anything that adds value to a property, and allows you to enjoy the benefits yourself is a win for most homeowners.
The good news is that garden rooms add value to a property. It’s common to see a return on investment of between 1.4x-1.6x of the value of a garden room. While calculating the exact value can be tricky due to lots of different factors, an approximate increase in house price value of 5%-15% can be realised.
The biggest driver behind the increase in value is the additional floor space that a garden room can provide. In many areas, adding an extension can be difficult or may simply not be an option. A garden room can easily increase the usable floor space at a property and high-quality construction can be seen as an extra room available for use at the house.
As well as floor space, there are plenty of other reasons garden rooms are worth it to add value. A house listing with a garden room can really provide the wow factor which could increase listing views. More views can often result in a quicker sale. In areas with lots of similar properties for sale, a garden room can make your home jump out from the listings. An additional outbuilding in the garden can also appeal to those looking for an extra hobby room that is separate from the main property.
Often don’t require planning permission
Garden rooms don’t require the same planning permission as an extension to a home, allowing for a quicker and less stressful installation. When it comes to planning permission, most garden rooms don’t require planning permission at all, as long as they meet several requirements.
For planning purposes, garden rooms (also summerhouses, log cabins & sheds) are classified as outbuildings and fall under their own section of legislation. An outbuilding has Permitted Development rights which allow for some work to be carried out without the need to apply for permission. Permitted development is designed for homeowners to carry out simple works which can improve or add value to their property, without being tied down by lengthy planning applications.
A garden room must fall within the scope of Permitted Development rights to benefit. The requirements relate to the size, location and use of the building. Anything out of scope will require an application to the local planning authority.
Under Permitted Development, if a garden room is placed within two metres of a boundary, the maximum height should not exceed 2.5m tall. It’s common for most garden rooms to be slightly under this height and manufacturers are aware of the requirements for Permitted Development. outbuildings should also not exceed 50% of the original garden space, which could pose a challenge for those with a very small garden. An outbuilding can not be placed forward of the front wall of the house, meaning it must be positioned to the side or in the rear garden of the property.
Permitted Development is restricted in some areas such as national parks and areas of outstanding national beauty. In listed buildings, permission is always required. Take a look at our detailed planning permission post to fully understand all of the requirements.
A separate office or hobby room
One of the reasons for the surge in popularity of garden rooms over the last few years has been for use as a garden office. With more people than ever now working from home for the foreseeable future, many of us a looking for a dedicated workspace. While a home office is great, we believe a garden office is even better. A garden room as an office can provide a completely separate location to work from. This creates separation when you finish work at the end of the day, allowing you to switch off and keep your work and home life separate. Working from home can be challenging when there are others at home as well. Being away from the house and in the garden is often a lot quieter, removing any distractions.
It’s not just a garden office which a garden room can be used for. A gym is a popular use for those into their fitness and looking to workout without even leaving their home. A garden room can easily be converted to a gym with the addition of rubber mats on the floor and the installation of weights and cardio equipment.
Another popular use is as a bar or garden pub. We have seen many great examples recently of garden rooms which include their own beer taps, big-screen TVs and even bar stools. Further uses for a garden room include a home spa, cinema room or games room. In reality, a garden room can be converted for any activity or hobby, allowing a separate dedicated room only a few seconds walk from your house.
Can be used throughout the year
A common misconception is that garden rooms can only be used throughout the summer months. Fortunately, this is not true and a garden room can be used during all months of the year, including the winter. The construction of a garden room is significantly different to a summerhouse or log cabin and designed with constant use in mind.
Summerhouses and log cabins are made completely from timber. Log cabins use thick interlocking logs to create a solid timber building. Summerhouses are built similar to a shed, but on a larger scale with higher-quality materials. The design of a garden room is made from several layers, similar to the construction of a house. The interior of a garden room can be plastered and the exterior will contain cladding.
Most garden rooms now feature uPVC doors and windows, instead of the timber ones found many years ago. The uPVC frames are the same as those found on your house and provide high levels of efficiency for use during the colder months. Garden rooms are also packed with insulation in the floor, walls and ceiling. PIR rigid insulation boards are commonly used which provide very high thermal insulation values to reduce heat loss.
For use during the winter, the only addition we recommend is a small electrical heater. Modern electrical heaters are very efficient and a 2Kw heater is plenty to get a garden room up to a comfortable temperature. Electrical heaters are low cost to purchase and we recommend a fan heater or oil-filled radiator for best results.
Guide: Garden building types
Where do I start?
Once you have decided to go ahead with purchasing a garden room, you may be wondering where you need to start. The process often takes several months from start to finish and several different trades will be required
Planning permission – Before purchasing anything, be sure to check with your local planning authority on whether an application will be needed. As we have discussed, most garden rooms will fall within Permitted Development rights and not require an application. If in any doubt, speak with the relevant authorities first for peace of mind.
A solid base – The one bit of advice we give to anyone planning on purchasing a garden building is to ensure they have a solid and level base. Garden buildings are precisely machined with little tolerance and a base that is out of level could mean challenges with the garden room fitting together properly during installation.
A concrete base is the most popular choice and needs to be installed several weeks before the garden room. The concrete will need to dry out completely before the garden room can be installed on top. Another option is ground screws for locations where a concrete base is not possible.
Garden room installation – The time between the purchase and installation of a garden room is often several months as the building is manufactured. The building will usually be constructed off-site and then erected in its final installation location. Installation can take several days to complete and the garden room can be used as soon as the construction is complete.
Electricity – Once the garden room is constructed, it’s time to install electricity to provide power for heating and lighting. A qualified electrician is required to complete this work and ensure it is installed safely. An armoured cable is usually run in a trench from the main house to the garden room and most of the cost involved is for the armoured cable, which can be expensive.
Furniture – The final and most exciting part of any garden room installation is kitting it out with furniture. For use as a garden office, a desk chair and computer equipment are required. When using as a bar, beer taps, a bar-top and stools are required.
We believe a garden room is worth the investment for any homeowner and provides a huge range of benefits. A garden room can add value to your property and also provide a healthy return on investment from the increased floor space & extra usable room. Due to being classified as an outbuilding, planning permission is often not required, allowing for quick and easy installation.
One of the most popular uses for a garden room is as an office. A garden room creates the perfect office space, kept separate from your house and suitable for use throughout the year.