With us spending more time at home there’s been a big focus on maximising reception space in and outdoors to create home offices, games rooms, bars and retreat space.
In some cases this space needs to be multi-purpose and ideally achievable without the need for planning permission.
I’ve been researching garden room options on behalf of several clients over the last year and I’m so impressed by the range of options available, from functional to stylish.
I visited David Acheson of Liberty Garden Buildings who has the widest selection of garden buildings I’ve found in Berkshire. David shared his views on the latest trends, customer needs and the options available, as we adapt our homes to meet our new lifestyle needs.
“It’s been a busy year! So many people are focussing on their garden to make it more beautiful and functional. They’re investing what we call ‘cruise money’ – what they’d usually be spending on holidays – to create sanctuaries at home to enjoy, even if that’s a work environment. The biggest requirement we’re seeing is for a dedicated recreation space away from the hum and buzz of the main house. Often it needs to be multi-purpose to fit the needs of adults and children.
We’ve seen quite a bit of ‘shed envy’ this year, where one neighbour wants to outdo the other with their new garden room!
Static pods & rotating pods
“These have been particularly popular recently due to their distinctive design: they have the look of a contemporary sculpture and have been equally popular with modern and traditional homes. They’re also popular in hospitality as they have the ‘wow factor’ and can come with heating and sound to create a really special outdoor space.
Pods have the widest variety of uses we’ve seen from buyers, from home offices to poker rooms. One of my clients used theirs for Christmas lunch, they loved that the family were close together and the pile of washing up was far from view so they could relax and focus on family time.
Pods come in several sizes and layouts from small, seating 6, to larger rooms suitable for 2 home workers as separate desks. The rotating pods can spin to make the most of the sun and views. Once you’re inside, it feels like you’re a world away from everything.
“We’ve had a relatively young audience looking for garden offices, away from the noise of the house, with privacy for video calls. Home workers often like to have a start and end to their working day – once they lock it and leave it they’re on personal time, that’s pretty important at the moment I think. Garden offices also work well for meetings – rather than have people traipsing through the house they have a dedicated, professional work area to host clients and colleagues. Being away from family life they’re easier to keep tidy and all your work materials are within reach.
Garden offices start from 2.4m x 1.8m and the largest we’ve fitted is 6m x 4.8. They can come with smart heaters and built-in blinds so they work year-round.
“Where there’s a need for more than one function to a garden room we can create multi-purpose rooms. This can either be one room that has two functions, or a room with a partition. We recently installed a garden room that had an office area for the father and a separate games room for the kids. The office was for daytime use and the games room for evening and weekend use so it was the perfect solution to two requirements.
Garden bars and BBQs
“With pubs open/not open/partially open we’ve seen an increase in people creating their own social space at home. This works really well when there’s a limit to how many people you can have over and guests may feel more comfortable when they can sit outside. For parents, it also avoids the need for babysitters and taxis, so we expect this trend to stay.
With our weather, the most flexible option is to create a space that can house a bar with seating and heating in a covered area and an open space for a BBQ and good weather, also possibly with heating.
“Greenhouse sales have gone through the roof: with more time at home it’s easier to create and maintain a home vegetable and fruit garden and they’re great for teaching children about where their food comes from. Greenhouse design has come a long way, they can look really lovely and add a centrepiece to a garden so we’re delighted to see so many people installing them.
When is planning permission required?
“90% of the buildings we install come under permitted development, so they don’t require planning permission. The height and what you put inside the building is critical here, we work closely with clients to advise on a solution that avoids the fuss and paperwork where possible.
For more information or to arrange a visit please contact David at www.libertygardenbuildings.com