Let’s assume that you have looked around, set a rough budget and are now ready to add a new garden building or room to your property. Whether it’s for extra leisure space, additional accommodation, a gym, workshop, craft studio or even a home office, there are lots of different styles out there so it may be difficult to know where to start. However, that’s where our handy guide below can help.
We can generally break commercially available garden buildings down into just a handful of core styles. (Photographed examples below are courtesy of Gembuild who make high quality garden buildings, rooms, studios and offices in all of the styles illustrated).
‘Traditional’ style garden buildings
Owners of period and traditional country style properties have a natural first choice – a traditional timber-framed ‘barn’ style garden building. There are many sub-genres within this one category but they will generally have attractive, traditional features such as hipped roofs, ceramic tiles or cedar roof shingles (or lower cost alternatives which give a similar impression), perhaps oak windows and doors and often dark, stained feather-edge timber cladding to elevations so as to mimic the feeling of farmyard barn conversions. There are also ‘New England’ variations on this theme where, instead of dark stain, the exterior feather-edge cladding might be painted in a vintage colour such as ivory, putty, taupe or powdery green like you’d see used in a National Trust property or Farrow & Ball paint chart. A slightly more modern twist on the theme might be to use natural cedar cladding without staining or colouring at all.
‘Neo-eclectic’ style garden buildings
This more modern style is rather more bold and may combine influences from assorted architectural genres into the one garden building, along with embellishments and extra details sprinkled here and there. Gembuild’s Synchro range is a good example and you can see the flat-painted exterior, geometric lines, picked out colour detail and embellishments such as the large modern clock to the top of the front elevation. In the appropriate modern setting, the neo-eclectic style can really work, particularly as colours are not set in stone so can be tailored to match or complement those of the main dwelling.
‘Contemporary’ style garden rooms
There are many contemporary garden building variants out there and they tend to be characterised by clean lines, open spaces, lots of light, often deep overhanging flat roofs to give cover and shade for outside seating and all wrapped up in a no-nonsense, modern and attractive design. This style especially suits when the main residence itself is new or has been updated to incorporate modern twists such as open-plan living, modern finishes and materials such as steel and glass, even if the underlying building design may have originally been traditional. Contemporary garden buildings also suit a particular style of garden, for example one which is immaculately kept with well-defined borders, paths and planting areas or one incorporating architectural plants such as bamboos, tree ferns and palms. Gembuild’s Neoteric range of garden rooms are typical of this contemporary style and even include decking to two sides (not shown).
Of course there are many variants of the core themes above but occasionally we’ll also see garden building styles which are well outside of the norm. Increasingly, for example, you may read about organic looking ‘hobbit’ houses which, as the name suggests, would not look out of place in a J. R. R. Tolkien novel or movie. Rustic tree houses are another example and some are truly amazing although are perhaps not as practical as ground level buildings. At the other extreme we occasionally see garden rooms right out of the space age with all glass or mirrored elevations and amazing eco credentials. However all of these tend to be one-off self-builds or more expensive architect-designed creations rather than commercial norms available to the wider market.
Whatever you choose, make sure you select the style that’s in keeping with your particular property and garden so that it complements what’s already there and becomes an asset – in all respects. After all, a high quality garden building may well last decades, so it needs to be right.