How to create your perfect garden home from home

Monday 23rd May 2022

Outdoor rooms are a fast and effective way to add value and space to your house, but there are lots of options to consider before investing.

As many of us have changed the way we work and spend our leisure time since the start of the pandemic, sales of garden rooms for offices, studios and additional living space have rocketed, with some reports claiming year-on-year hikes of nearly 500%.

Garden rooms can represent a significant investment for the average homeowner, so when the decision is made to go ahead, landing on the best structure and considering how it will meet individual needs is essential.

There are lots of things to think about – budget, aesthetics, material choices, ease of installation, upkeep, regulations and whether to include a surrounding deck. Or it might be that there’s an existing outbuilding, such as an old shed, summerhouse or garage, which could, with a little love and attention, be repurposed and transformed into a modern, useable space.

Material gains

With the price of timber continuing to rise, many people are looking to other cladding and decking systems for their garden homes and terraces. At Southern Sheeting we stock several alternatives to traditional timber, for example, Cedral Fibre Cement Cladding Board, which has the same visual appearance as real wood and has a 50+ year life expectancy. Our own range Bison Composite Batten Cladding is another great alternative, with its wood-like appearance and exceptional durability.

The benefit of cladding systems such as these is they come in myriad colours and styles, so the design options are almost limitless. Cedral Fibre Cement Cladding Board for example comes in an exciting array of 21 different colours. They’re really easy to maintain, too, and will keep their good looks long after timber planks lose that just-installed charm. They’re also fade, stain and scratch resistant, don’t warp or splinter, and don’t need regular repainting.

The sky’s the limit

Another important consideration is the choice of roofing material. Again, at Southern Sheeting we have several options, which our expert advisors will be more than happy to chat through.

Look at TATA30 Panels, a composite insulated roof sheet, ideal for garden buildings where some insulation is needed. These offer basic thermal and sound insulation and even guard against condensation. It’s an all-in-one roofing solution which is quick and easy to install, making it very cost effective.

Profile steel roof sheets are another choice, and can be used for both roofing and cladding. They’re available in a range of different lengths but can also be cut to fit. And they come in different box and corrugated roofing profiles in a selection of colours, thicknesses and finishes.

As well as making design decisions, issues such as combustibility, proximity to boundary walls, and which materials can be installed on certain elevations need to be considered. Again, Southern Sheeting experts will be happy to answer any questions.

Around the houses

Once decisions concerning the garden room itself have been made, it’s important to consider its surrounds, too. Composite alternatives to wood provide a brilliant option for decking surrounding your building for many of the same reasons they work so well for cladding – low maintenance, fade, scratch and stain resistant, wood-like appearance, plus multiple finishes, from natural wood effects to statement colours. We stock Trex Composite Decking, which features the most hardwearing surface finish of any wood plastic composite decking product on the market. It comes with a guarantee of 25 years for residential use too. 

It’s worth pointing out that our wood alternative composite decking have excellent environmental credentials, being made from 95% reclaimed wood and recycled plastic. Plus, being longer-lasting, they don’t need to be replaced as often as wood.

Evolution not revolution

Perhaps instead of building a new garden room, DIY enthusiasts have been eyeing up the shed, garage or existing summer house and considering how it could be improved.

It’s often possible to convert these buildings and transform them into a showstopping garden room.

However, it may require further insulation to stay warm and prevent condensation and damp from affecting the contents. Consider how the structure should be reinforced before installing new potentially heavier cladding to existing supports as many standard sheds and summer houses are made from very thin timbers, while garages may need cladding to turn them into a more attractive building.

All these options provide effective solutions for the DIYer looking to install a brand-new structure or upgrade an existing outbuilding.

Creating extra functional space for the home can soon reach into the tens of thousands of pounds, but with appropriate material choices – and a bit of expert advice thrown in – it is possible for people on all budgets to design the ideal garden room to suit their needs.