How to Plan a Conservatory

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Added on October 8th 2019

Having a conservatory can really add to the living space within your home, giving you extra room for dining, entertaining or just for, well, living.

It’s not as simple as just planting a glass, concrete and metal structure on the side of your house, though. There are lots of things to consider before you start thinking about size, shape and materials.

What will your conservatory be used for?

What’s the main purpose of this conservatory going to be? Is it a playroom, a dining room, a home office or just an all-purpose breakout and occasional guest space?

If it’s a playroom, for example, then you’ll need blinds to keep out strong sunlight. If it’s going to be an office, with expensive equipment in, then you’ll need extra security measures and thick blinds so no-one can see in even when the lights are on inside.

How big does it need to be?

When you know what it’ll be used for, you’ll have an idea of how big it should be. You’ll need enough floorspace to fit all your furniture in, as well as some space to move it all out of the way if necessary.

What materials should you use?

There are loads of designs, as well as the types of glazing, roofing and masonry, so think about what you want the conservatory to be. If you think of it as another room, then choosing brick for the lower walls will be ideal. If it’s “set apart” from the rest of the house, then floor-to-ceiling glass will help this feeling along.

What about planning permission?

Most conservatories don’t need planning permission, but a quick check won’t hurt and could save you a lot of money.

If the roof will be higher than the roof of the main property, or if the footprint is more than 50% of your garden, for example, you might need planning permission.

Where’s the best position?

This is possibly the biggest consideration because if it’s south-facing you could be too hot in the summer, whereas north-facing is too cold in the winter. Of course, you could use special glass to prevent excessive heat gain, or extra insulation for a northern conservatory, or opt for a west-facing structure instead.

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