With the housing market beginning to slow and the cost of borrowing rising, more people are staying put and adding to their space. When it comes to increasing your liveable footprint, though, what’s best – a garden room or an extension?
We’d like to say that a garden room is the answer 100% of the time, but this wouldn’t be true. If you’re planning on extending your kitchen or adding a new bedroom, for example, an extension is going to be the better option.
On the other hand, if you’re thinking about extending to create more space to socialise, exercise, work from home or run a business, a modern garden room is a great alternative. When we say ‘modern,’ we mean a garden room that offers you the same style and comfort you’d expect from an extension but for less cost and disruption.
How you’ll use your Garden Room or Extension.
Before we delve into why you might choose a garden room over an extension, it’s important to think about how you’ll use your extra space.
If you intend to build a space for you to work from home or somewhere to work out at the end of a busy day, there’s a high chance you’ll want it to be distraction-free. In this scenario, a garden room is the perfect answer because, unlike an extension, there are no connecting rooms. So, you can work in peace or blast the tunes up as you burn those calories.
The beauty of having a garden room is that it’s a totally separate space from your house, meaning it’s a far more flexible space – for now, and the future.
Of course, on the flip side, if you want to extend an existing space or wish to add a bedroom, an extension is often the preferred solution. This is especially true if you’re looking for extra sleeping space, as garden rooms used as self-contained accommodation will require planning permission.
A Question of Planning
If you’re not planning on sleeping in your garden room, you’re highly unlikely to need planning permission. That said, there are a few things to be aware of. You may need planning permission if your garden room is:
- Larger than 50% of your garden
- At the front of your house or next to a main road
- Within a Conservation Area or Area of Natural Beauty
- In the grounds of a flat or a listed building
- If you have specific restrictions related to your property
- Going to be used for certain types of commercial useWith a low likelihood of planning permission, the concept-to-build process of your garden room takes a lot less time. If we take Colchester Borough Council in Essex, just as an example, the average planning application decision takes around 8 weeks.
If you decide to have a garden room instead, you could already be using your new space within that time.
A Matter of Cost
A garden room is often a far more cost-effective way of increasing your home’s footprint. But, of course, this all depends on the size and specification of your garden room. So, to make things fair, let’s compare the cost of installing our most expensive garden room, the Ultra (pictured below) with an extension.
If we take a fairly standard 4.3m by 3.2m Ultra garden room and the same-sized extension, the price difference is astonishing. In the UK, a 4m x 3m extension could set you back as much as £40-50,000 compared to £22,885 for an Ultra garden room.
Garden rooms can also cost a lot less than garage conversions too, plus you’re not trading one space for another.
Usually, people do not buy a garden room to make an immediate profit, but it’s nice to know that your purchase can add value. It’s widely accepted by estate agents that a modern fully-insulated garden room can add anything from 5-15% to the value of a home.
There are a lot of variables at play here but depending on the resale value of your home and your chosen garden room design, the value may even exceed your garden room purchase price.
Time to Build
Designing, planning and building a garden room takes a lot less time than an extension. As large sections of our garden rooms are made in our Suffolk workshop, they take a matter of a couple of days to install, whereas a relatively small 3m² single extension could take a couple of months. If you add planning permission into the equation and builder demand, you’re looking at a timeframe of six to nine months.
Now, that’s quite a big time difference if you’re struggling with space.
If you’re wondering, here’s a peek inside one of our workshop spaces, where we manufacture every one of our handcrafted garden rooms.
Less On-Site Disruption
Having an extension built can be a major disruption over quite a long time. There’s all the noise, needing to be in for the works, the dust, unplanned expenses and possibly relocation costs (if you can’t live through the disruption).
A garden room build, by comparison, is quiet, swift and non-intrusive. The only real construction works are with laying a base for your garden room to sit on, but even then, this is usually completed within a day.
Most of our customers report that their favourite part of purchasing a garden room from us was watching its construction. Check out the photos below from the installation of an Affinity garden room featured in Sarah Beeny’s Renovate Don’t Relocate TV series. The owners hardly knew that we were there.
Within three days, our team built Oliver’s amazing new home office.
So is a Garden Room a Better Option?
The best way to add square footage to your home will always depend on what you want to achieve. But when it comes to adding a home office, gym, entertaining space or hobby room, a garden room is hands-down the winner for a quicker, easier, and, in most circumstances, less expensive solution.
We’ve made it easy for you to see what a garden room would look like in your chosen space. Simply jump onto our Configurator using your laptop, desktop PC or tablet to create your garden room. Then, when you’re ready, you can view your design, in 3D, through your mobile phone lens using our AR Visualiser App.
That way, you can compare what a garden room would look like against a similar-sized extension.