How to pick the perfect greenhouse or conservatory for your home

Seeking extra space in which to relax and entertain, or searching for practical yet attractive places for your seedlings and tender plants? Look no further...

Full span lean-to greenhouse from Alitex in floral garden

Versatile and stylish, conservatories offer valuable extra space. Here’s our favourite options…

1

This bespoke conservatory is made from timbers chosen specifically for their durability, from £40,000 +VAT, David Salisbury

Bespoke conservatory made from timbers from David Salisbury

2

A hand-painted garden room has created a bonus space in an unused part of the garden, from £45,000 +VAT, The Oakfields Group

A hand-painted garden room from The Oakfields Group

EXPERT TIP

Tom Hall, Alitex Greenhouses and Marston & Langinger Garden Rooms

‘As our greenhouses and conservatories are made from powder-coated aluminium, a simple wash with warm, soapy water will suffice. However, a build-up of algae is trickier to tackle. But the beauty of aluminium is that you can wash it without worrying about rot or having to repaint.’

 


3

For a townhouse short of space, this small lean-to conservatory was an ideal solution, similar projects from £25,000 +VAT, Vale Garden Houses

Small lean-to conservatory from Vale Garden Houses

4

The glazed pediment on this classic conservatory echoes the gables of the house, from £45,000 +VAT, Westbury Garden Rooms.

A classic conservatory from Westbury Garden Rooms

5

Oak timber is a charming solution if you’re looking for a more traditional aesthetic. Prices start from £45,000 +VAT, Prime Oak.

Oak timber conservatory from Prime Oak

EXPERT TIP

David Handley, Commercial Director at Prime Oak

‘Oak is characterful, robust and natural. The combination of glazing and oak creates a timeless extension that sits and ages sympathetically within the natural outdoor environment. This allows the garden and home to be as one. If built correctly, seasoned oak will have a structure that will last a lifetime.’


Greenhouse or conservatory: what is right for my garden?

Tom Hall, Owner of Alitex Greenhouses and Marston & Langinger Garden Rooms, shares his advice on which option is best for you

Advertisement

As an extra room attached to the house, or a space that transforms and opens up access to the garden, a good-quality conservatory will certainly add value to your property, perhaps in the region of 5 per cent. Although the same potential is not always as obvious for a greenhouse, a well-loved garden with a shed, garage or greenhouse is undoubtedly an asset. And a greenhouse can be more than just a growing space – a retreat, hideaway, office or studio – the list is endless. Increasingly, people are planning their greenhouses with seating or dining areas, including lighting, fridges and wifi, as well as patio areas.

Whichever you are building, the first step is always the most important. Never rush it! You have to live with it, so take time to get it right. Always think carefully about the space you have in mind at the end of the project. What do you want to use it for? Which will work better for you, greenhouse or conservatory?

Croft 2 greenhouse from White Cottage Greenhouses
The black colourway of this Croft 2 greenhouse would make a smart addition to your garden, £9,846 (including VAT), White Cottage Greenhouses.

Location is an important consideration when choosing a greenhouse. Ideally, you’d like the ridge running east/west so that you can shade the southerly roof and get good light levels. Think about how much sun the greenhouse will get – shading is possibly the most useful extra accessory if you are in a really sunny spot.

Your conservatory will be bound by planning regulations, which are based on the footprint of your house. Make sure you are making full use of the available space you can create. Conservatories and good-quality glass structures that are sympathetic to their surroundings are typically seen as favourable extensions to your home by planning authorities and conservation officers, as they provide a transparent structure from which the original property can still be seen. Most reputable manufacturers offer a planning service and will submit all the relevant paperwork on your behalf.To help ensure success for your planning application, it is important that the style and look of the conservatory you want to build is an elegant and beautiful design in its own right. It is also vital that the design is proportionate and in scale, while complementing the main house. It should neither compete nor distract from the character of the house and must remain subservient to the main property.

Victorian-style Rosemary glasshouse , £24,750 (including VAT), Griffin Glasshouses.
Victorian-style Rosemary glasshouse , £24,750 (including VAT), Griffin Glasshouses.
Advertisement

Colour choice is also a key consideration. Both traditional, period colours, and more contemporary shades of grey or bronze are usually well received by planning officers. People often think a conservatory should be the same colour as the windows in the house, which is why, historically, so many conservatories are white. Yet matching your structure to the colour of the building, or the landscape beyond, can be far more effective. If you choose soft green shades for the frame of your conservatory, you will find the eye is drawn past the frame to the garden beyond, rather than being distracted by the harsher contrast of a white frame. Darker greys are also great subtle colour choices.

A bespoke Victorian Lodge Glasshouse with a double porch,
A bespoke Victorian Lodge Glasshouse with a double porch, £POA, Hartley Botanic