What Are The Rules On Building Garden Rooms?

A garden room can be a valuable addition to your property. It provides you with a space somewhat removed from your home which you can use for both leisure and work purposes. But what are the rules for building a garden room on your property?

The rules for building a garden room will differ depending on your local authorities. Still, those rules typically dictate the maximum height and footprint of your garden room. Plus, rules will also specify what you can use your sunroom for and if you can supply it with power and plumbing. 

In this guide, you’ll discover everything to know about garden rooms and the rules you’ll encounter when trying to build one.

What Is A Garden Room And What Can You Use It For?

Understanding what counts as a garden room is pretty straightforward, as it’s all in the name. A garden room is a structure that you build in your garden, away from the main structure of your home.

But don’t let it fool you. A garden room is much more than a simple shed for storing your tools. Instead, it’s a comfortable and versatile structure that you can use for both leisure and work purposes. Garden rooms are even designed to include windows and doors, too.

Depending on where you are in the world, that structure can go by many different names. People who speak the Queen’s English typically refer to it as a garden room. However, other names for this structure include ‘sunroom’ and ‘solarium’.

What Can You Use A Sunroom For?

No matter what name you prefer to call it, a sunroom can serve many different purposes. As mentioned earlier, you can generally equip a sunroom for two purposes:

  • As a leisure room: Sunrooms make for ideal garden lounges, guest rooms, and even home gyms. By designating it as a home gym, for example, you’ll be able to use it at all hours of the day or night without bothering other occupants in your home.
  • As a work room: People worldwide are increasingly working from home these days. A garden room makes for an ideal home office that’s separate from the main structure of your home. As a result, it offers you reduced noise and added privacy.

Do I Need Planning Permission To Build A Garden Room?

First and foremost, there’s one thing you must remember about getting planning permission, no matter where you are in the world. Every locality in the world has unique rules about modifying or building additional structures on your property, even if it’s a sunroom in the garden.

So, you must always check with your local authorities about whether or not you have to get planning permission to build a garden room on your property.

In some cases, planning isn’t necessary. However, you’ll likely need planning permission if your garden room meets specific criteria. When you check your local building codes, be sure to consider the following rule areas:

Height

Sunrooms are typically only one story high. Still, your town council might have rules in place regarding the minimum or maximum height of your sunroom’s roof.

In many cases, a low enough structure may not require any permission to build. But, again, this is something that you want to confirm with your local authorities to avoid any risk of fines or other penalties.

Footprint 

Whether or not you need planning permission to build your garden room is also determined by the footprint of the sunroof’s structure. 

The term ‘footprint’ here not only means how much space the sunroom takes in your garden. But instead, it also includes any other floor-level add-ons like balconies or decks.

For instance, many locations have rules stating that the sunroom’s footprint can only take up a maximum of 50% of your entire garden. But, of course, depending on where you live, that percentage could be lower or higher.

Location 

Another criteria for building a garden room is its precise location. Most, if not all, local governments do not allow you to build any additional structure in front of your house. Instead, the sunroom must be built in the rear of the property, such as in a backyard.

Then, the rules will also dictate how far the building should be from the fence and your home’s main structure.

Purpose

Believe it or not, the declared purpose of your sunroom can also be subject to different rules. 

For instance, while there’s no harm in using your sunroom as a guest room, you cannot live in your sunroom as your primary home.

Plus, local governments have different rules for using your sunroom as a place of business. That’s especially true if your garden room office will bring a lot of visitors to your property and increase traffic on your street.

Lastly, it’s also worth noting that your sunroom’s purpose can also affect the property taxes you pay.

Other Structure Features

Lastly, rules can also dictate what additional features you can’t or can’t include in your sunroom. The first example of this is whether or not the rules allow you to build a deck or balcony attached to your garden room.

Besides that, local rules will also dictate if you can electrify your sunroom or add plumbing to it.

Can My Neighbours Object To My Garden Room?

Yes, your neighbours can object to you building a garden room if you’re required to apply for building permission. However, when you submit that application to your local authority, they will notify your neighbours and allow them to object.

Again, the rules will differ depending on your locality. However, a sufficient number of objections from your neighbours can prevent you from receiving permission to build your sunroom.

Here are two quick tips to help the process go smoothly:

  • Talk To Your Neighbours – Before you submit an application to build a garden room, why not talk to your neighbours directly? That will give you a chance to let them know your plans and assure them that the construction will not affect them negatively.
  • Be Mindful Of Your Closest Neighbour – Your garden room will likely be closer to one neighbour’s house than another. So, try your best to provide enough space between their side of the fence and your garden room. Also, try your best to prevent noise and dust from crossing over to their property during construction.

Final Thoughts

The rules for building an additional structure like a garden room can be pretty tricky. Sure, you can figure it out by communicating with your local authorities. However, you can also recruit a qualified builder to take the stress off your shoulders.

Qualified contractors will have a deeper understanding of local rules, and they can submit building applications and get permits on your behalf.

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A garden room can be an excellent addition to your property, for you to use as a leisure room or home office. Click here to discover what rules will affect your ability to build one in your garden!