A conservatory can increase the value of a property, as well as add space. Conservatories are used as offices, garden rooms, guest bedrooms, dining rooms, and other liveable spaces. Period conservatories can add a traditional element to the home. This type of conservatory is especially appropriate for a period or heritage property. More contemporary styles can be used to enhance living space and bring the home closer to the outdoors by providing an airy and bright addition to a house.

Types of Conservatories

Whether a conservatory is a period piece or incorporates contemporary style, they typically feature common designs or layouts. A P-shape design provides ample space, while a T-shape conservatory is suited for providing access into a garden. The main projection in a T-shape design can feature doors or a porch. A corner in-fill design requires two external walls and can be a cost-effective method of adding a conservatory to a home. A gable front conservatory is rectangular or square and maximises light.

Period conservatories include Elizabethan, Regency, Victorian and Edwardian styles. While Elizabethan conservatories feature simple lines, Victorian conservatories offer a more extravagant look. Victorian conservatories generally feature a three or five facet design. Regency conservatories are generally rectangular and maximise space and Edwardian or Georgian conservatories feature sleek and sharp lines with a pitched roof.

Garden rooms offer a modern look with clean lines. This type of conservatory provides a contemporary feel and helps bring the garden into the home. A conservatory verandah can be added to provide a sheltered area for outdoor living. Garden rooms are also known as lean-to conservatories or sun rooms, and are best suited for smaller properties or houses with height restrictions.

An orangery blends traditional and contemporary styles by using classic lines and modern materials. They add style and elegance to a home since many orangeries are often found in stately homes. Orangeries are generally built using brick pillars and large glazed windows. You might wish to view different types of conservatories online, at showrooms or in real homes as well as speak to several conservatory installation providers.

Planning Permission for a Conservatory Project

Planning permission is not required for most conservatory projects. Permission is needed when a conservatory occupies more than half of the area of land around the existing house and when it fronts a highway. Planning permission must also be sought if the conservatory is higher than the highest part of the roof and is significantly higher than the rear wall of the house. Other cases where planning permission is needed include when the house is in a designated area or when including a veranda, balcony or raised platform in the project. Permission is also generally required when the house is listed. To confirm whether planning permission is required, it is important to speak with the Local Planning Authority.

Conservatories and Building Regulations

Unless the project is part of an extension to the house, conservatories are typically exempt from building regulations. This exemption applies to conservatories that are built at ground level and have a floor area of less than 30 square metres. Building regulations do not apply when the conservatory is separated from the house by external walls, doors or windows and has an independent climate control system.

There are certain circumstances where building regulations still apply. Glazing and any fixed electrical installations within a conservatory must comply with applicable building regulations. Conservatories must also comply with fire safety requirements. For example, a conservatory should not restrict ladder access to windows in other parts of the home. Building regulation approval is also needed when creating a new structural opening between the existing house and a conservatory.

Energy Efficiency and Conservatories

A poorly designed conservatory can be lead to high energy bills. Conservatories have the potential to use a lot of energy and may be a source of energy waste if not properly insulated. When building a conservatory that is attached to the house, it should be designed as an extension. In these cases, the conservatory should have added insulation and energy efficient glazing to ensure a high level of energy efficiency. The best way to avoid problems is to create a conservatory that is separate from the house.