by Jim the Chin
Use your garden to extend your living space
Article by Lynn Fotheringham
A high quality garden office building is less invasive and a more straightforward space-creating solution. Building Regulations are becoming increasingly stringent. For instance since April 2008, the staircase to the loft has to be completely enclosed, and how many of us have space for that?
The minimal invasion of your living space is the thing that makes a garden building the favourite choice for most people – no dust or mess inside the house and you can shut the door on the work as it goes on. Here are 10 top tips for building extra living space in your garden:
1 Who benefits most from a garden office? Homeworkers, consultants, therapists, performers and musicians can all benefit. Gardens can accommodate self-contained garden offices, therapy rooms, studys or studios – and provide a haven from the bustle of everyday family life. It’s a great way to take full advantage of your garden.2 How much space do you need? Possibly less than you think. A minimum of 50-60ft foot long garden can comfortably carry off a great, purpose-designed home office.
3 Is it a good investment during the credit crunch? Certainly if the reason you’re moving is to get more space. In today’s market buyers may not be able to afford as much as your home is worth, and they are much more nervous about taking on larger mortgages (which are now more difficult to obtain).
4 What are garden offices used for? Many people create them for multi-use. You can create a workspace but also include a shower room, sofa bed or even a kitchen, so the space can double up as guest accommodation. You can also add a shed on the end so that there’s space for garden essentials. Granny annexes are popular for older relatives who are becoming lonely in their own homes.
5 Are they eco-friendly? Yes, if you choose a garden office company that uses sustainable materials, and double insulation, so minimizing energy costs.
6 Will it get chilly in winter or stuffy in summer? Unless you live in a modern eco-friendly home, a correctly built, double-glazed garden office is better insulated that the home you’re in right now. For example InsideOut Building’s garden offices are insulated and double glazed to current building regulation standards for new houses. In real terms this means that in winter you will be able to heat a 3.6m x 4.9m office with one 2.5kw heater and you won’t need any air-conditioning in summer. A Velux roof-light for those really hot summer days is all you need to ventilate the building. [Hot air rises!]
7 How much does it cost? A good garden building costs from 24,216.00 inc VAT for a 2.8m x 4m building. Foundations and plumbing costs extra and varies from garden to garden.
8 Will I need planning permission? Planning permission is not only about the size of a garden office, it is also about the location and intended use. Granny flats used as a separate dwelling will always need planning permission if someone is going to live in the building permanently, because of the impact this could have upon your neighbours.
9 How long does it take to build a garden office? It’s usually three to four months from the first enquiry to being able to hang your curtains. If you need planning permission the process will take longer. Building time on site is often just a couple of weeks.
10 How long will it last? This will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. A cheaper, shed type garden office may last for 10 years or so. Garden offices built to housing standards, such as InsideOut Buildings garden offices, are designed to last for 60 years or more.
About the Author
Director of InsideOut Buildings Ltd.
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