Garden Buildings

Conservatories, glasshouses, sheds, and garden buildings.
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Garden buildings:

Choice of materials -locally grown sustainable timber. Natural preservatives and treatment.
Don't heat but do ventilate. Solar control blinds.
Conservatories and Glasshouses:
The conservatory should not be heated for longer periods or to a higher temperature than is really necessary.
If your conservatory is not occupied it should always be thermally isolated from the house.
If long hours of occupancy and a space open to the house are required, a conventional extension will be much less energy intensive.
The bigger the conservatory, the more heating it will require. A large conservatory, even if it is only heated to 18°C, can cost more to heat than the well-insulated modern house it is attached to.
Make sure that the dwarf walls and base are insulated, and consider the benefits of specifying low-e glass in the windows and an improved standard of roof system.
Think about how to keep the conservatory comfortable in summer. Limit the solar gain using solar control glazing or roof blinds, and ensure that high rates of passive ventilation can be achieved.
  • Apropos -hi tech conservatories in aluminium and glass, made in Ashton under Lyne.
  • Carpenter Oak -based in Totnes, Devon, their websites has a huge gallery of completed projects which are great to give some ideas.
  • Gabriel Ash -western red cedar greenhouses and glasshouses endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Richmond Oak -individually designed hardwood conservatories and orangeries in naturally-seasoned oak.
Public Glasshouses to visit:
  • Eden Project -Tim Smit's ambitious project in Cornwall to construct biome conservatories containing plants from the rainforests and the warm temperate regions of the world.
  • Kew -glasshouses at Kew Gardens, including the recently completed Princess of Wales Conservatory.
  • Sheffield Winter Garden -Pringle Richards Sharratt's spectacular laminated timber glasshouse.
  • Wisley Glasshouse -the newly built glasshouse at the RHS Garden in Wisley

Eco lodges and tree houses:

  • BaumRaum -uncompromisingly modern and startlingly beautiful treehouses from Germany.
  • Blue Forest -high quality tree houses and eco lodges made in East Sussex.
  • Breeze House -African inspired thatched garden enclosures, suitable for everything from dining out to hot tubs.
  • Ecopods -builders of environmentally sensitive treehouses using timber from sustainable forests within Derbyshire's Peak Park.
  • Great Escape Treehouse Company -bespoke treehouses, play structures and log cabins made in East Sussex.
  • Iron Shirt -low impact fantasy eco cabins made by Grant Oatley from natural materials (straw bale, turf roofs), plus home made furniture made from wood or recycled materials and wood burning stoves made to order. Based in North Devon, he also takes ommissions for alternative and innovative artworks and structures.
  • Outpost Garden Pods -elegant cubic structures in locally sourced timber, suitable as a summerhouse, garden room, gazebo, retreat, sleepover space.
  • The Treehouse Company -individually built treehouses by John Harris in Ayrshire from £15,000 upwards.
  • Willowbank -design and install living willow structures and sculptures. Also run courses at Ragmans farm in the Forest of Dean.
  • Timber Intent -modern eco friendly timber and tensile fabric outdoor structures -generally used for public buildings, but they do have small outdoor "sails" suitable for descked areas.

Garden Offices:

Don't forget that you may need planning approval to erect an office or workshop in your garden (see the Government's Planning Guide for householders), and it will also affect the Council Tax you pay. However, if you are lucky enough to have a largew enough plot, then working from home can be one of the most sustainable things you can do, with the attendant reduction in travel.

  • A frame Architecture -founded by Jeffrey Dutt following his research into timber frame building the practice has exhibited its innovative sustainable garden buildings at Chelsea and other major garden shows.
  • Alternative Space -insulated and sustainable garden rooms made in East Dulwich, London.
  • Artisan Shepherds Huts -traditional wheeled shepherds huts made by joiner Paul Smith in West Sussex.
  • Ecospace -green-roofed cedar studios and garden structures developed in collaboration with architectural practice Idris-Perrineau Town.
  • Garden Escape -contemporary garden rooms made from Structurally Integrated Panel System (SIPS) clad in red cedar.
  • Green Retreats -simple elegant garden retreats manufactured in Gawcott, Buckinghamshire.
  • Green Roof Garden Buildings -go one step further by using a sedum roof that effectively replaces the green area your building takes up -made in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
  • Guy Martin -ecologically sensitive interior furniture and garden retreats.
  • Imicraft -north London company offering modern studios and offices for the garden.
  • In.It Studios-brainchild of an architect and joiner partnership, provide garden rooms and home offices in Leicester.
  • Inside Out Buildings -quality, eco-friendly timber frame garden offices, granny flats, and en-suite studios made in Lancashire with eco friendly materials.
  • Lindahl Lodge Company -tailor made summerhouses, garden offices, follies, tree-houses or cabins individually made in Richmond Upon Thames, Surrey.
  • the Orb -spectacular oval mobile structures suitable for use as garden buildings and holiday park homes.
  • O-Pod -somewhay impractical, but fun, the O-Pod was successfully featured on Dragons Den where the owners did a deal with Theo Paphitis. They also manufacture the space-pod in a more conventional rectangular format.
  • Qube -timber clad garden buildings made using structural insulated panels.
  • Shedworking -a great blog with loads of illustrations and ideas for anyone wanting to set up a business in the back garden.
  • Studioni -based in County Tyrone, Studio NI have been producing sustainable garden rooms for 14 years.
  • Vivid Green -design and construction of low impact, low energy garden offices and garden rooms in Hertfordshire.
  • Uz -a Cheshire-based company specialising in the design, build and installation of garden studios for the home or workplace.
  • Zen Cabins -ecological garden buildings and sheds made using a modular structural insulated panel system.

Sheds and Pavillions:

  • Butterfield Blacksmiths -authentic replica Dorset Shepherd Huts (and other classic ironwork).
  • Cat and Mouse Landscapes -the whole package -garden design. landscaping and bright summerhouses; based in East Sussex.
  • Classic Shed Company -unique summerhouses, gazebos sheds and huts made in Norfolk using locally sourced materials.
  • Gem Build -make a rather elegant range of mini barns.
  • Painted Pavillions -colourful painted timber summerhouses, sheds and arbours.
  • Scotts of Thrapston -long established joinery company that makes summerhouses and pavillions in Europen Redwood as well as garages, stables and other timber structures.

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Featured books:

Hideaways: Cabins, Huts, and Tree House Escapes by Sonya Faure (Hardcover - 4 Sep 2007)
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Conservatory Style: Garden Rooms, Glasshouses, and Sunrooms
Jackum Brown
Hardcover - 20 Feb 2007
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Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution
Alex Johnson Paperback -Jun 2010
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