A year into the global pandemic, it’s safe to say we’re fed up with seeing the same four walls day in, day out. Equally, we’re tired of the same old views out of the window. Add to that the gloomy British winter weather, and the day when we can leave the house whenever we like can’t come soon enough!
But until then, many of us will continue working from home, keep on Zooming family and friends and living the lockdown life.
The constraints we’re under would feel better if only we had more space. And for many of us, garden rooms could provide the extra space we need.
At the height of lockdown during 2020, 60% of the UK’s adult population worked from home.
Many people turn their gardens into space they can use and enjoy, day after day, all year round. These spaces can be multi-functional: an office by day, relaxation space at weekends and evenings – an actual garden room that extends your living space.
Isn’t building a new room in the garden expensive?
I like to explain it this way: an average single-storey extension to your house would cost in the region of £40,000 (at the lower end) to £70,000 – perhaps more if you hit some bumps along the way.
Many people are happy to invest tens of thousands for extra space inside their homes, so why not in the garden when it’s one of the most multi-functional areas available to you?
In reality, garden work can be done on a smaller budget. The average spend on a small garden makeover is £25,000 to £40,000, but it could be done more economically if you’re thrifty.
What about the weather?
In Britain, of course, it’s cold more often than not. But there are ways to ensure garden rooms are hospitable all year round.
The most obvious way would be to build a complete outbuilding. It’ll be warm, with power and light and maybe even running water. But building one, as we’ve already established, is expensive.
A purpose-built summer house
The next best thing would be a pre-fabricated summer house. These can be purchased off-the-shelf or made to measure. Prices range from £8,000 to £30,000+, depending on the size and specification.
A beautiful example is this large summer house fitted in our design for a School House garden. The summer house includes room for storage, soft seating and a flat-screen TV. Outside, a high-end outdoor kitchen and BBQ surround it. All you need is a WiFi booster, and you’re good to go!
If that’s outside of your budget, you could try something similar to this open-sided, solid-roofed gazebo, built in other of our client’s gardens.
With this one coming in at around £6000-£8000 to build, it’s more budget-friendly.
Built for rainy, snowy and sunny days, this gazebo can be used all year round (in fact, last year, we sat beneath it through a summer storm). It’s fitted with comfy seats, a bioethanol fire to keep away the evening chill, and a space for a BBQ. Not only is it perfect for entertaining friends in the summer (when we’re allowed to, of course), but it’s an ideal space to relax and enjoy the plants and wildlife.
On a warm day it would make a perfect office – maybe impress your colleagues on a Zoom call by working outside in your fabulous new outdoor room.
Open timber pergolas
If a roofed gazebo is not your thing, maybe you fancy a spot of stargazing, now that lockdown has brought down the pollution levels? You could try an open-roofed or slatted pergola, like this one in one of our modern country style gardens.
Pergolas are a great way to create a ‘room within a room’ without dividing the space up too much. You can also grow plants up the legs and along the beams, creating an enclosed space that’s still very much connected to the garden. Pergolas are even more pocket-friendly as you can get these off-the-shelf for under £500 or have one made bespoke for anything between £1,500-£3,000, depending on size and timber chosen.
Cover up with a retractable canvas roof
If this is too exposed for you, what about a gazebo with a retractable roof! These roofs create amazing and stylish multi-functional garden rooms. While being an excellent space for sunbathing and entertaining in the summer, by adding a fire pit or gas patio heater you can extend the season and create a cosy place to sit out during the colder months.
These canvas roofs can be attached to your house like an awning or form part of a standalone garden pergola. Off-the-shelf prices range from £300 to £7,000, or you could have one purpose made for you.
Budget-friendly option – canvas shade sails
My very last option for you is the cheap but trusty shade sail. Simple yet effective, they are a must-have during a hot summer, screening the strong sun while letting the lovely cooling breeze in. Many of them are treated to block up to 98% of harmful UV rays.
Shade sails are cost-effective. With prices anywhere between £10-£150, there’s a shade sail for all budgets, and they come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours.
Their only real drawback is that, while they are shower-proof, they will sag and go out of shape if you allow rainwater to pool in them. If the weather forecast is wet, you’ll need to take them down.
If you think they look a bit boring, you can jazz them up with some pretty fairy lights, as shown here in this outdoor room design from Flores Artscape in Los Angeles. And if you have space and want to get creative, you can even buy a few sails and layer them to create interesting shapes.
Photo credit © Flores Artscape
Get the garden room design right
All the garden rooms shown here look pretty amazing, but if you just picked them up and placed them in your own garden they might look a bit out of place. And that’s where planting and design come in.
We can make sure an outdoor room sits well with your plot and is designed to work in harmony with your home and the way your family uses the space.
If you’d like to talk to us about creating a flexible garden room for you, message us on the form below.