A room in the garden provides a cost-effective way to increase living space. Whether a garden room can be attached to a house is a common question when considering alternatives to an extension.
There seems to be no stopping the rise of garden rooms as plenty of us consider them every year as a way to add additional space to a property. Garden rooms are not a new idea and there are lots of suppliers that have been producing them for over twenty years. As we spend more time at home, a room in the garden is a viable alternative to an extension or conservatory.
There are many excellent uses for a garden room. For those working from home, an outbuilding maintains a separate space for work and home life. It’s easier to work without the distractions that you may find working from the kitchen. Other examples include as a garden gym or even a bar for entertaining friends and family.
A garden room is distinctly different to other outbuildings such as a log cabin or summerhouse due to its construction. Whereas a cabin uses thick pieces of timber, garden room walls are timber-framed but feature cladding on the exterior and boarding such as plasterboard on the interior. Garden rooms allow for much greater customisation and most are built to the owner’s individual needs and requirements.
The positioning of any garden building is a big decision and many potential buyers wonder whether a garden room can be attached to a house. Understanding where the building will be constructed and whether and additional requirements are needed should be done during the initial planning phase.
Can a garden room be attached to the house?
In short, yes, it is possible to attach a garden room to a house but generally is not recommended. Instead, keeping the building detached is often the best solution to enjoy all the benefits of a garden building and avoid any additional regulations.
If you are considering attaching a garden room to a house, it’s probably as an alternative to a conservatory or extension. However, a timber-framed garden room is a very different type of construction suited to a detached outbuilding. Where an open-plan addition to a house is needed, an extension is often required.
The challenges of attaching a garden room to a house
While it may sound simple enough, attaching a garden room to a house raises a lot of additional challenges that should be considered first.
Finding a manufacturer – Garden rooms are built to order, allowing for a completely customised specification and design. Most garden building manufacturers are local suppliers that have years of experience in constructing timber outbuildings.
However, it can be difficult to find a supplier that is able to attach the garden building to a residential property. As well as additional skills, there are further regulations they must follow to meet building specifications. Many suppliers will simply not offer to attach a garden room to a house as a service.
Planning permission & building regulations – One of the big benefits of a detached garden room is that they usually do not require any planning permission and fall under Permitted Development rights.
For Permitted Development, the garden room is designated as a detached outbuilding. The construction is often under 2.5m and not used for living accommodation. Garden building manufacturers are aware of all of these requirements and construct buildings every day to fall within the scope. Attaching a garden building as an extension to a house could change how it will be considered for planning requirements.
Building regulations are a set of controls for ensuring the construction is safe. These generally do not apply to a detached garden room if the floor area is less than 15 square metres and does not contain living accommodation. If the garden room is attached to a house it will need to meet building regulations, which adds additional complexity to the construction.
We recommend contacting the local council or Planning Authority first to understand all of the requirements around planning permission and building regulations.
Difference in design – Garden rooms use wooden or composite cladding on the exterior. A popular design choice is cedar cladded walls with anthracite grey windows. The design looks modern and stylish, perfect for a garden office when positioned on its own in the middle of a garden.
But when attached to the house, a garden room can often contrast a traditional residential building constructed of bricks. Garden rooms are often thought of as temporary structures and may not age as well as a brick-built house. In twenty years time, the house could look practically the same whilst the attached garden room is beginning to show signs of ageing.
The benefits of a detached garden room
In our opinion, keeping a garden room detached from a residential property is the best option. There’s plenty of extra benefits when the building is separated and completely detached from its surroundings.
Keep work and home life separate
If the garden room is going to be used as an office, keeping the building separate is a huge benefit. We work from a garden building, and being able to walk away at the end of the day allows us to unwind and separate ourselves from work. Maintaining a phycological separation is important for stopping the lines between work and home life from becoming blurred.
At the same time, we know when walking to the office in the garden that it’s a place to get work done. It still feels like we are going out to work, all be it a few steps down the garden. Everything we need to be productive is inside and can remain set up and ready for use. Even if the garden room has an alternative use such as a bar, it can still feel great to head down on the weekend.
Ease & speed of installation
A detached garden room is much faster and easier to install. Most of the time, planning permission and building regulations can be avoided. While there are still requirements, most garden rooms fall within Permitted Development rights and will not need planning permission, providing:
- Outbuildings do not exceed 50% of the land around the original house
- A single-story building
- Maximum height of 2.5m within two metres of a boundary
- Not used as living accommodation
Always check with your local planning authority for any additional local requirements.
Without needing to submit a planning application, there’s no delay in starting the process of ordering a garden room. A much wider choice of manufactures will also be available, as a specialist manufacturer will not be required.
Extra privacy & space
Sometimes, we just want our own personal space where we are not going to get disturbed. Whether that’s to have drinks with friends or just unwind watching a movie, a detached garden room is perfect. When an extension is attached to the house, it’s still connected and feels like another room with everyone else in the house.
Keeping the garden room away from the house means you can head out and enjoy privacy whenever you want it. You could even go further and install blinds or privacy film on the windows to create a complete separation.
Greater design choice
One of the big benefits of garden rooms is that they are custom designed and built to order. This allows for plenty of flexibility to suit your needs and taste. When attaching the garden room to a house, the design will need to match as close as possible to avoid looking out of place.
If the garden room is detached, anything goes and there is much more choice available. Everything from the size to choice of cladding can be customised to your requirements. The garden room can be built to blend in with its surroundings and look great throughout the year.
Guide: How to heat a garden room
Overall, while it is possible to attach a garden room to a house, it’s generally best avoided. There are lots of additional challenges that need to be considered such as planning and building regulations. It can also be difficult to find a supplier that can meet the requirements.
Garden rooms are designed to be detached and positioned in the garden. Keeping the outbuilding separate provides lots more benefits, such as creating separation and private space away from the house. It’s also a lot faster and easier to get the garden room constructed from an increased amount of suppliers.