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  1. Blog
  2. How to build a garden room
Add value to your home
22 January 2024

How to build a garden room

Kimberley Taylor
Writer & Researcher

Table of contents

  1. 1. What is a garden room?
  2. 2. Why build your own garden room?
  3. 3. Questions to ask yourself
  4. 4. Planning permission for a garden room
  5. 5. How to build a garden room
  6. 6. Garden room foundation and base
  7. 7. Garden room walls
  8. 8. Garden room roof
  9. 9. Doors And Windows
  10. 10. Do garden rooms add value to your home?
  11. 11. Building a garden room from a kit
  12. 12. Garden room kit checklist
  13. 13. How long does garden building take?
  14. 14. Garden room maintenance
  15. 15. Summary: Take it step by step!

A garden room can be a great addition to your home. Whether you want a new home office, a relaxing hub to enjoy the summer, or even a gym or study, garden buildings are a great way to make the most of your space without using up any existing room in the property.

However, it's a pretty big job, and there's a lot to consider. From planning permission to furnish and finishings, you need to make sure you have all your ducks in a row if you want a long-lasting garden room.

In this article, we'll be covering how to build a garden room and how to keep it fresh and sparkling for many years to come!

What is a garden room?

A garden room or garden building is a glazed extension with a fully tiled roof. They can either be freestanding or attached to an existing structure.

They're becoming more popular than conservatories because their solid roof construction means they're suitable all year round, rather than just in the warmer months.

Find out more about conservatory extensions here.

Garden rooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most simple type of garden room will either have shiplap walls and cedar roof shingles or a log cabin construction. They're usually supplied in pre-fabricated panels and a lot of the time, you can build it yourself.

You can also get more advanced garden rooms that are more intricately designed, but they'll need to be built on site by a specialist.

Why build your own garden room?

It's important to think about why you might want to build a garden room so you can design it to suit that purpose.

There are plenty of reasons as to why you might want to build a garden room. Extra living space, a games room, a relaxing space to enjoy a good book or a strong coffee. Some people even use them as summer houses or garden offices.

People may also build a garden room as an alternative to large scale extensions because they're much more affordable and a smaller project to undertake.

Questions to ask yourself

How level is the ground?

You'll need a flat area of ground to start building your garden room. If the ground isn't level, you'll have to do groundwork or build a support frame.

Are there any obstacles?

Look out for any obstacles like trees, pipes or electrical wiring. You'll need to get rid of them before building your garden room.

What direction will the front of your garden room face?

You should think about where the sun rises and sets, and which way you want your garden room to face. It may change your mind about where to place it.

How is accessibility?

There will need to be access to the building from all sides, with a minimum distance of 50cm between neighbouring boundaries for construction and maintenance. You'll also need to think about how you'll get from the front door of the garden room to your house, and access for delivery.

How big is your garden room?

You'll need to think about the size of your garden room to make sure you get the right size building materials. This could save you time cutting sheets down to the right size.

How will you access electricity?

You'll need to run armoured cables between your house and garden room to power lights and heating. They'll need to be installed underground or along a fence, which can be timely.

You'll also need to hire a qualified electrician to get the electrics installed, which will be an additional cost. In some cases, you might need down lighters, sockets and electrical wiring pre-installed in the panel walls.

How is the insulation?

If you want to use your garden room all year round, you need to make sure it's well insulated. Think about foam insulation and double glazed windows for windy weather and colder months!

How can you build sustainably?

It's always good to think about how you can build things sustainably. Are the materials recyclable? Are they sustainable? It might be slightly more expensive, but it will probably last longer in the long run, and will be better for the planet.

Read more about how to make your house sustainable here.

How will you secure your garden room?

Just as you’d want to keep your house safe, you’ll also want to make sure security for your garden room is as good as it can be. It's usually recommended to fit locks on the doors and choose toughened glass.

For extra security, consider external lights, a burglar alarm and Venetian blinds too, And don't forget to check your home insurance requirements as well!

Planning permission for a garden room

Planning permission refers to the approval needed from the local authorities for homeowners to make big changes to their home like house extensions or conversions.

Building regulations state that you won't be able to build something if it's going to disrupt your neighbours. So if you want to build a garden room, you'll have to check the UK planning portal or consult with your local planning department to ensure you're allowed to start building.

You'll also need to check the property deeds to see if you can build in your area. For example, in areas of outstanding natural beauty, if you're in a listed building, near a national park or if a highway or footpath is located beyond the garden boundary, you probably won't be able to get planning permission.

If your garden room is away from the house, is smaller than 15 square metres, and takes up less than half of the garden, you probably won't need planning permission or Building Regulations Approval. Permitted development rights allow detached garden buildings in gardens of single dwellings. This means communal gardens (like those belonging to flats) are unlikely to get planning permission.

Garden rooms also have to be used for household enjoyment only (so, for example, not for business or renting).

How to build a garden room

So, now you know what a garden room is and what it might be used for, it's time to find out how to build a garden room.

There are plenty of things to consider during garden room construction, including:

Garden room foundation and base

A good foundation is essential for a high quality garden room because they support the entire structure of the building. If you try to cut corners with your foundation, you could end up with a garden room with a weak structure, which means it probably won't last very long. You also risk subsidence if you build your garden room on a poor foundation.

First clear the area you're building on and make sure all the blocks have been levelled. Then start framing the room base.

A concrete base is often a popular choice: concrete pillars, rafts and slabs are all good options. Concrete blocks are always an easy option. Simply fill the footings with gravel and hardcore, and add concrete to the top to fix the concrete blocks.

Ground screws

Ground screws are a newer alternative option for foundations. Large screws up to 2.5 metres long are driven into the ground to support the structure above the ground. You can move them if you want to move your garden room at some point in the future. Plus, they can be installed without heavy equipment (unlike a traditional concrete base).

Check what type of soil the foundations will sit on to make sure it'll be able to take the weight of both the foundations and the garden room and to consider how the ground reacts when it's really wet.

Garden room walls

The back and side walls are generally easier to build, but the front wall may take a bit more time. You need to make sure the wall frames are built first, with studs placed between them using right fasteners and brackets. You can also add headers to your doors and windows to make up for any lost studs.

Wall claddings

You need to have a breathable membrane covering your room before installing any wall claddings. The cladding needs to reach the roof as well as beyond the insulation at the bottom of the garden room.

Wall insulation

You'll need to choose the right sort of insulation for your garden room. While fibreglass is the most economical, it can be very toxic. That's why you have to make sure you're prioritising safety - wear safety goggles, gloves and masks when managing this type of insulation.

You can add the insulation to the ceiling and walls, then apply the vapour barrier to the insulation (though you can skip this step if you're using foil-backed insulation).


To finish, you'll need to apply plasterboards to the walls, which can be difficult to do by hand. If you want to do it yourself, it's easier to use lighter boards; attach by joining the gaps and then plastering. You can buy a premixed plaster or hire a professional if you're having difficulties plastering yourself.

Once you've finished plastering the walls, it's time to paint it whatever colour you choose! You might also want to add LED lights or a breaker box - anything to make it yours!

Garden room roof

To build the garden room roof, attach the wall plates to the top of the two walls that will be your roof length. After that, you'll need to attach ceiling joists to the plates using angled brackets. The standard spacing between joist hangers should be 600mm.

Doors And Windows

Once the roof is done, you can move onto the doors and windows. How you install your doors and windows will vary depending on what type of doors and windows you want to use. If you don't know what to choose, or you're not sure how to install the ones you have chosen, it's always better to seek professional advice.

Do garden rooms add value to your home?

Short answer? Yes. How much value garden rooms add to a home varies depending on the quality of the build and costs of the installation.

But a high-quality garden room can add anywhere between 5 and 15% to the value of your home.

For an instant valuation of your home today, check out our Online Valuation Tool here!

Building a garden room from a kit

There are plenty of garden room companies to choose from, but you may want to construct the room yourself. In this case, you can purchase a self build garden room and avoid the costs of hiring a professional.

These types of garden rooms can be bought in pieces for you to build yourself. They'll come with instructions, but you'll need to get the basic tools to complete the project, including:

  • Handsaw.
  • Mallet.
  • Hammer.
  • Spirit level.
  • Tape measure.
  • Drill.
  • Ladder.
  • Screwdriver.

Garden room kit checklist

If you want to build a garden room yourself from a kit, remember to ask yourself these questions to ensure it's as smooth as possible.

  1. Are the fixings (like screws and nails) included or do I need to buy them separately?
  2. Are electrics and lights included?
  3. What is the construction method? (for example, tongue and groove)
  4. Is the wood pre-cut and planed or do you need to do this yourself before getting started with the build?
  5. Does the kit come with a full set of instructions?
  6. Are all of the parts labelled clearly?
  7. How many people do you need to build the garden room?

How long does garden building take?

In some cases, you might be able to get self build garden rooms in a few days, but in most cases, it'll take between four and 12 weeks to get your garden room pieces delivered. The product itself will also impact the delivery time, as well as where you live.

You'll also need to add the time it will take for the company or trader to install it. A professional installation can take between one and five days depending on how large and complex the garden room is.

If you want to build the garden room yourself, it can take a good few days. The more complex the design, the (predictably) longer it will take to build. Simple log cabins or a little summer house may only take between one and three days, whereas a full blown garden office with a flat roof, sliding doors, fully installed electrical equipment and double glazing will take considerably longer.

You'll also need to account for the time it takes to include fitting lighting, plumbing, internal decorations and heating, as well as building the foundations and base.

Garden room maintenance

**If you want a high quality garden room, you'll need to stay on top of your maintenance. **There should be maintenance instructions as part of the kit so you know how to keep it spick and span for many years.

Wooden buildings can come pre treated, but you may need to treat them yourself with preservatives or paint when you first assemble them. They'll also need re-treatment once a year to maintain weatherproofing and structure of the garden room. It also keeps your building looking fresh!

Because wooden buildings can also shift and settle over time, you might need to re-adjust the doors and windows over the first few weeks if they start to rub or stick.

Summary: Take it step by step!

You should now have a better idea of the steps you need to take to build a garden building.

The most important thing to remember is to not cut corners. Before you get started, you need to make sure you have planning permission. You also need to focus on building a good foundation or base, as well as high quality fittings and insulation.

It may be more expensive to begin with, but it ultimately costs you less in the long run as your garden room will last for many years!

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