Choosing a conservatory can be a difficult and daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be that way – we are here to help you get it right. We’ve compiled a few top tips from interior designers, architects, and well-known gardening experts to help you choose the right conservatory for your home. From getting the materials right to planning permission to design choices, these tips cover what you need to consider when adding a conservatory to your home.
Do I Need Planning Permission?
Conservatories are generally considered permitted development which means you can build them without planning permission from your local authority as long as it meets the following requirements:
- It is not higher than 4m or higher than the highest roof of your home
- It does not cover more than half the area around the original house
- It does not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 3m if an attached house or 4m if detached
- Your home is not a listed building or in a conservation area
- It doesn’t obstruct a public road
- It doesn’t include balconies, verandas, or raised platforms
Think About Its Use
How do you envisage using your new conservatory? As a playroom? A living room? A dining area? An office? As an extension to a kitchen and dining area? Do you want extra space for social events and entertaining? Or a comfortable and relaxing space to put your feet up and unwind?
Whatever your answer, your conservatory’s day-to-day use should help you determine how large it needs to be as well as which layout will work best. What you want to use your conservatory for and the function you want it to serve will greatly impact everything from the materials you use to its shape and size.
Choose Your Materials Wisely
There are 3 options when choosing a material for your conservatory – uPVC, aluminium, and timber. uPVC is the most popular choice as it is low-maintenance, long-lasting, robust, has great insulation performance, offers a variety of design options, and is the most affordable material.
Aluminium is more expensive than uPVC and is not as great an insulator, but does offer minimal maintenance and is available in a range of colours. Timber gives a more traditional feel but is the most expensive and high maintenance option.
Using uPVC to create your conservatory will enable you to benefit from years of hassle-free maintenance and is a more cost-effective alternative to aluminium and timber conservatories.
Think About The Position
Bear in mind the position of your conservatory. Conservatories are typically built as an extension to the back of the property looking out and leading to the garden, but they can be added to the side or the front of the house too.
You also need to consider the aspect of your conservatory and which way it is facing. Conservatories that face east will receive sun in the morning and won’t overheat in the day or evening. West-facing conservatories will get the sun from late afternoon onwards.
North-facing will receive sun at the start of the day and won’t overheat in the summer but can be cold in the winter. Conservatories that face south receive the most sun but can get too hot in the summer, and, as such, the need for adequate ventilation and blinds is crucial.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
When deciding on the size and dimensions of your conservatory, bigger is not always better. Your conservatory should be relative to the size of your property and the outdoor space available.
Once you’ve decided on the design and size of your new conservatory, it is important to check that it will complement your home rather than overwhelm it, and that it doesn’t take up your entire garden.
It is best to think of your conservatory as a fluid extension of your home rather than just an add-on, so the conservatory’s layout should flow naturally with both the inside and outside space.
What you will use your conservatory for will also impact its size – for example, if you want to use it as a dining room, make sure it is big enough for a dining table and chairs.
Which Type of Conservatory Is Best For You?
There are many different types of conservatory. The design you choose should complement your existing home and be in keeping with your unique style. Conservatory types include:
- Victorian – they have a curved bay front with a high pitched roof and ornate roof ridge
- Edwardian/Georgian – rectangular in shape with a flat front and ridged roof
- Lean-to – rectangular base with a sloped roof that leans onto the main property
- Gable – rectangular shaped with a triangular front and pitched roof
- P-shape – lean-to and Victorian styles combine to create a P-shaped conservatory
- T-shape – they have a central projection that extends across most of the width of the home
Consider All Glazing Options
Think about the type of glazing you’d like to use. Normal glass and polycarbonate will allow solar heat to penetrate into your conservatory, raising the inside temperature on hot summer days. To avoid this, whilst reducing heat loss in winter, there are a number of different options for glazing.
Solar-control glass will let light enter the space without letting it overheat. Low-emissivity glass will allow sunlight through but reflect internal heat back into the room. Thermally efficient glass will stop heat escaping from your conservatory. Anti-glare and reflective glass will reduce the sun’s glare. Self-cleaning glass will help keep your windows clean.
Ensure It Is Well Ventilated & Heated
Ensure that you have adequate ventilation and heating to keep your conservatory a comfortable temperature all year round so that you can enjoy spending time in it whatever the weather.
Heating options include extending the central heating system to the conservatory, radiators attached to the walls, underfloor heating, electric radiators, or free-standing heaters.
Ventilation options include roof vents that can be opened manually or electric that open automatically at a set room temperature. Vents will let fresh air in whilst keeping the elements out. You could also consider roof fans or an air conditioning unit.
Ready to Build Your Conservatory?
Take these factors into consideration when planning and designing your own conservatory. From position to materials to size, these tips will help you choose a conservatory that is right for you and your home.
For more advice on conservatories, get in touch today and our experts will be happy to help. You can also visit our showroom to view 14 full-sized conservatories to help inspire your new conservatory or if you are ready to build your conservatory now, book an appointment to kick start your project today.