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Spring Thinking: How To Plan An Extension

28 May 2021

The connection between our house and garden space has never felt as important as it has done over the past year. With pressure on our living spaces, amplified by the amount of time we have spent at home, many of us have already or have started to think about extending our properties.

With Spring now here and our gardens becoming more and more inviting, a glazed extension continues to be one of the most in-demand types of home improvement project being undertaken. With a wide variety of options and designs available, we have turned to our friends at David Salisbury, to give us some expert advice.

As award-winning designers and manufacturers of orangeries and garden rooms, they are well placed to describe the different features and lifestyle benefits of these types of extension. So perhaps the best place to start is to define what differentiates an orangery from a conservatory, or a garden room for that matter?

So What’s The Difference?

The easiest distinguishing feature between these types of structure is how the roof is constructed.  Put simply, a conservatory has a fully glazed roof, whereas an orangery usually has a perimeter flat roof with natural light provided by one or more roof lanterns.  A garden room tends to have a solid roof, often tiled, providing different design opportunities.

If one wants to apply a stricter definition, a conservatory is usually classified as having at least 75% glass in its roof and more than 50% glass in its walls.

But What’s The Same?

Whilst we have highlighted the differences, there are many shared features that makes these extensions the favourite room of the home for relaxing, entertaining or, more latterly, home working.

Each of these types of extension will create a more natural link between your house and garden, whilst adding space and value to your property. An abundant flow of natural light is an additional obvious benefit, both in terms of overall ambience as well as for the impact on our well-being.

Expert Design Advice

Karen Bell, Creative Director at David Salisbury, is on hand to provide some expert design advice and some initial recommendations to think about if you’re considering an extension of this type.

“Design, space and light are the 3 key factors to consider.  The most sought after theme is to extend a kitchen to create an open plan kitchen/dining/living space, but we are also seeing a return of the more traditional plant filled garden room, providing a tranquil space to enjoy your garden in the cooler months.”

“The amount of light you will want to fill your garden room will depend on the use.  Orangeries with a roof lantern are ideal for kitchen extensions as they provide a controlled amount of light through the roof and an opportunity to focus this above a kitchen island or dining table; whereas a conservatory, with its typically fully glazed roof will be the ideal design for plants to thrive.”

If you are extending on the rear or side of your property, it is possible that this would fall within Permitted Development (PD) which would mean that planning approval would not be required.  A basic guide is that you would need to limit the depth of the garden room to 4m (detached property) or 3m (linked property) and no more than 4m in overall height.  A side extension can be no more than half the width of the property.

If you live in a listed property then choosing a supplier that has a wealth of experience of working on listed buildings and engaging in dialogue with the Conservation Officer at the design stage will make the planning process run smoothly.

What Will Suit My Home?

Whilst we would always recommend seeking some expert design advice in the first instance, the following are the key criteria an experienced designer would usually focus on:

  • Budget.
  • Lifestyle.
  • How is the new orangery or garden room going to be used?
  • The furniture you intend to incorporate.
  • The architecture of the existing home (which will be a key influence on the final design).

The vast majority of these structures are rounded off with a tiled floor, for a number of different reasons from aesthetics to practical reasons, which include stone being the ideal material to conduct heat from underfloor heating.

So What Should I Do Next?

Whilst the prospect of undertaking a home extension can be daunting, if you start by seeking some expert advice from an experienced designer, it need not necessarily be.

Our friends at David Salisbury can guide you through the process and even handle obtaining planning permission for you. Start by requesting their inspirational brochure.