Why You Can Still Enjoy a Garden Room in a Small Garden
19 August 2021

Why You Can Still Enjoy a Garden Room in a Small Garden

Small gardens, cosy courtyards and potted patios may require a little more thought than large gardens. Still, there’s something quite transformative about introducing a small garden room into a bijou space. You see, small gardens have lots of advantages – the main one being that it’s easier to make an outside space feel inviting.

Small Garden? No Problem

There’s absolutely no compromise with a small garden room. If anything, they serve a very specific purpose, and as such, they can dramatically enhance a space.

The breath-taking garden design below, nestled among a sea of traditional townhouses, is long and narrow, yet the owners have managed to make clever use of their space with their small garden room a focal point. A nod to Mediterranean-living, what was once a courtyard, now feels like a much bigger space as it has been ‘zoned’ into three distinct sections. The first level features a patio with a large wooden table, bathed in the morning sun. A central seating area is ideal for having friends around, and the bottom deck proudly houses one of our Key Studio small garden room designs, a stunning outdoor office!

Stylish garden room

Of course, the line of sight in a small garden does not need to be linear to accommodate a garden room. If, for instance, you can see yourself opening the double doors of your garden room to soak up the remainder of the late afternoon sun, you’ll want to place it in the best position (don’t worry, we can help with positioning at our free design consultation). The owners of this 4.3m x 2.1m Key Studio garden room below have done just this. They wanted to maximise time spent in the garden after a long day, and as keen gardeners, wanted the view from their garden room to be one of plants, flowers and wildlife. We absolutely love how they have framed their small garden with natural wood, which complements the tones of the Key Studio Thermowood.

Key studio office garden view


A small garden can also be the perfect place to create more living space at a fraction of the cost (or hassle) of an equivalent extension. For example, in some areas of London, where space really does come at a premium, small garden offices, studios and entertaining rooms are a great way to add space.

Take this beautiful Ultra garden room. Although it’s just 3.2m x 3.2m, it’s the perfect spot for this immensely talented owner whose artwork is their life’s work. Inside there is a wonderful Scandinavian interior design feel with a ladder shelving unit, minimalist desk, corner sofa and artist’s easel. As a striking contrast to the natural tones of the Ultra’s cedar panelling, the stark white tiles reflect even more light into the garden room.

Ultra office garden view

How to Plan a Small Garden Room

Simply placing a smaller version of a standard garden room will not quite cut it when planning a small garden room. When designing a small garden room, you must carefully consider size and position, glazing and natural light, and most importantly, use! So, let’s consider each one of these in turn.


We’ll start with ‘use’ because it is the single most important thing to consider when planning a small garden room. Most of our clients will have a primary function for their garden room, along with a few secondary uses. For instance, it’s not unusual for someone to have a garden room that doubles up as an office and a gym, or an entertaining space and a ‘she shed’ (as pictured below). We love the choice of paint on this 3.2m x 2.1m Belle garden room. The warm ‘shale’ tone creates a cosy retreat for this owner, complete with a light-filled decking area.

Size and Position

Depending on the overall footprint of your outdoor space, you’ll need to carefully consider what size you would like your garden room to be (each of our garden rooms comes in 60+ sizes). If it’s too big, it may overpower the rest of your garden. When we visit our clients for a free, non-obligatory design consultation, we bring measuring sticks with us that we place on the ground so that you can visualise the footprint of your garden room.

We have also launched a new SMART Configurator and AR Visualiser to help with planning a small garden room, or any of our garden rooms for that matter.

With our new configurator, you can select and browse through all 7 of our unique garden room ranges. With hundreds of variations, clever glazing, decking, lighting, interior and roofing options, planning a small garden room has never been easier.

As we will discuss with you at your design consultation, you will need to be aware of any planning considerations. Most small garden rooms will not need planning permission. However, there are a few points to note. First, a garden room that is situated within two metres of the boundary of your garden must not exceed 2.5 metres in height (all our ranges fall within this threshold).

Depending on the size and set-up of your garden, you will need to pay close attention to the rule that no more than half of your garden near the house should be taken up by outbuildings. For instance, this may mean that you have to remove another structure (e.g., a greenhouse) to accommodate your small garden room. Or it may not be an issue at all. Again, we can explore the options open to you at your consultation.

Glazing and Natural Light

Once you know exactly how you intend to use your space, you need to give careful thought to lighting.

Why is this so important when planning a small garden room? Well, you need to know where the sun rises and sets in your garden so that you can make sure you use the sun/shade wisely. For example, if you are looking to create an outdoor office, you may not want the light streaming in during the day. You may prefer to capture the late evening sun instead.

However, if you’re in retirement and plan on using your small garden room as a suntrap during the day, this will have a bearing on where to position your room and even which design you choose.

The Temple Folly garden room, for example, offers a wonderful garden studio space, even for small gardens. The vaulted ceiling, triple-aspect glazing, and architectural style cannot be found anywhere else other than SMART Garden Offices. We know that the artistic couple who chose this Temple Folly garden room in an ‘Island Breeze’ finish did not have a large garden, yet clever use of decking creates the illusion of space outside their garden studio. In addition, they opted for integral flush blinds on the south-facing aspect to give them the option to create a little more shade in the summer months.

Temple Folly

Order Your Brochure Now

Hopefully, you’re now brimming with ideas for your small garden room. However, like us, you’re a visual person; you’ll love our garden room brochure. It is adorned with over 80 pictures of garden rooms we’ve installed throughout Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and London.

At SMART Garden Offices, you can choose from 7 unique garden room ranges, starting from as little as £10,525. All have their own charm and character and are built using our unique TuSC® construction method, which means every component effectively locks into each other to offer superior structural strength.

If you’ve already got a good idea of your preferred range and cannot wait to get ‘designing,’ don’t forget to download our easy-to-use SMART Configuration AR Visualiser App. Simply search ‘Smart Garden Room Visualiser’ on App Store or Google Play to download the App. Oh, and if you’re not sure of a specification, please feel free to contact us. We love to help!