Create a cosy all-year-round garden room

With winter just round the corner and the nights closing in, you may feel that the garden is out of bounds, but with a garden room you can make the most of your outdoor space all year round. I’m a complete convert to these beautiful buildings, and bought a garden office about eight years ago to free up space in the house for my growing family. In fact, I’m writing this from my timber-clad hideaway, looking out on to beds of Michaelmas daisies, with birds hopping around on the trellis by my window, oblivious to me tapping away at the computer inside.

I chose an Oakham office from Timbergarden (as pictured below) because it offered a good-sized room at a competitive price. For around £6,500, the 10 x 8ft studio came complete with colour-spray finish, which meant I didn’t have to paint it, Velux window in the roof, and double glazing throughout. And unlike an extension, which would have cost one hell of a lot more, it took just two days to put up, with no mess in the house and no planning permission required. My husband installed an electric power supply (Timbergarden now offer this service too) and a laminate floor, and with a simple oil-filled electric radiator it’s toastie in here whatever the weather, even in the depths of winter. Of course, a garden room doesn’t have to be an office; they also make great summerhouses and kid’s playrooms, or you could convert one into a teenager’s den.

Romantic inspirations

Outdoor rooms are also really stylish and will add an inviting focal point to your garden design. You also don’t need an enormous space to fit one in, as this beautiful octagonal room, The Baltimore from Scotts of Thrapston, proves (pictured below). Measuring just two metres in diameter, it would make the perfect feature to punctuate the end of a pathway or you could wrap it with flowers in a bed or border. It also looks really stunning with the copper roof option. I also covet the Reading Room (as pictured at the top), inspired by Virginia Woolf’s tool shed at Monk House, now owned by the National Trust, where she wrote many of her famous novels. This romantic dwelling is idyllic.

The Baltimore by day and night

Cutting edge designs

If romantic and whimsical is not your style, check out the super cool studios by Roomworks. Voted the UK’s Best Garden Buildings by House Beautiful magazine, the bespoke rooms combine innovative design with eco-friendly architecture, and I love their simple, clean lines, and the company’s ethics.

Home from home

Super-insulated and made from natural red cedar wood, you can also opt for a green roof that will attract wildlife, and help to keep the heat in during the winter and maintain a cooler environment in summer. Paul Barton, Managing director of Roomworks, says: ‘We can install all the services you’ll need, including running water, toilets, and telephone and wireless internet connections – the options really are limitless for large and small designs.’ If only I’d know this when my kids were going through that terrible hormonal teenage stage – I could have happily moved to the end of the garden in one of these dream rooms and retained my sanity.

Looking for great garden tools? Check out the Spear & Jackson promotion at ACHICA, which starts at 7am Sat 5 November 2011.

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Zia Allaway, Garden Expert

View all posts by Zia Allaway, Garden Expert