So you’ve decided to introduce a garden building into your outside space. Great. But what next? Whereabouts will you put it? What base will it sit on? Do you want it to stand out, or blend in? And how can the new addition to your garden be more than just an extra room, but become a part of a new-look, landscaped garden?
There are lots of things to think about when you’re integrating a new building into your existing garden lay-out: from groundworks and planting to paths and patios, decking and lighting. Getting your landscaping ideas in place before your new building arrives will save you time, and ensure your existing garden space is enhanced by your new investment.
Here are some tips on what you need to think about when you’re planning the landscaping around your new garden office/studio:
You may have a clear idea on where you want to place your new building. Depending on the size of your garden, you may have little choice. It’s important to get the location right. Once it’s there, it’s there to stay!
Position will often depend on the purpose of the building. For activities like exercise, yoga, or if you’re using the space as a therapy room, you and your clients will need privacy. So it makes sense to position the building away from the main house or neighbouring properties.
Think also about noise: if your teenage children will be using the space for band practice, you’ll want to put the building in a secluded space on its own!
We encourage you, if possible, to choose a spot that allows you to make the most of daylight hours, especially if you’ll need lots of natural light when you’re in the building, if you’re using it as an art or pottery studio, for example.
You may find it makes sense to locate the building close to the house if you’re planning on adding facilities like a sink, shower or toilet. Proximity to current services would be convenient, and reduce the installation/labour costs.
Part of the beauty of having an outside building is that wonderful feeling of being closer to nature. And a lot of our customers are keen to be in among the trees in their garden.
This is a great idea. It can be really inspiring, following the changing colour of the leaves through the seasons, watching the birdlife, admiring the acrobatics of the squirrels. Also trees/canopies can screen against sun and wind in the right position.
Trees provide the perfect back drop to a building, but be aware that overhanging branches can restrict light, particularly as the foliage becomes more dense in spring and summer. Some careful pruning should keep things in check and avoid overhanging branches touching the timber walls, which could lead to rot.
Once you’ve decided on the position of your new garden building, it’s time to work out the size you need.
This is obviously a question of budget, and significantly influenced by what you’ll be using the building for. But you’ll also be looking at what size is likely to work best in the location you’ve chosen for the building.
When you’re deciding on the ideal size, try staking out the area with some markers and string. This way, you’ll get a good idea of the footprint, and whether the building will fit well in the position you’ve chosen. Maybe you’ll discover it needs to be bigger, to fill the space and create better balance, or smaller because otherwise it would dwarf its surroundings.
Another tip is to mark out the size of any equipment you want to put in your building – desks, sofas etc. This will really give you a clear picture of how the space is going to accommodate what you need.
Creating this template of your new garden building will also help you to visualise the vista of the garden from within the garden building, and whether you need to tweak the orientation. And you’ll be able to see exactly how much sunlight you get over the course of the day.
All good things are built on solid foundations, and your new garden is no different. It’s really important to get the right base in place before you start construction.
It’s vital to get the base right before you start building.
We recommend a level, solid base for your building, built from either concrete, patio slabs or decking. It should be constructed to the size of the building. It’s a good idea to add a gravel border around the base for water run off. This also helps prevent splashing onto the timber walls.
For more guidance on the base you need, we’ve put together our Top Tips on How (& how not) to build a base for your garden building>.
Landscaping and planting
Introducing a new building into your garden presents a fantastic opportunity to improve the look and feel of your outside space, and, done well, may add financial value to your property.
Giving some thought to design can have stunning results
Your ideas will probably start in your head and move from there onto paper. Draw out, sketch, plan and discuss the ideas you have. This will give you the greatest chance of coming up with the optimum way of naturalising your new building into your garden and enhancing the appearance of the surroundings.
You may want to seek professional help with the design of your space. You’d be welcome to visit our display centre. We’d be more than happy to discuss your ideas and share some of our own.
Think about hard landscaping. A path leading to the building is practical, as it avoids bringing mud, dirt or grass inside. It also leads the eye, adding to the aesthetic of the space.
This slate path is practical and leads the eye
You can then landscape around this by adding:
- Paving/patio path area for seating next to the building. A paved area provides a great breakout space, and is perfect for coffee breaks and al fresco conversation. Adding tables and chairs and outdoor sofas will bring greater versatility to your new space, making it nice in summer, and bringing you closer to the nature in the garden.
- Pots filled with tall grasses or flowers, or even small trees like bay or fig, will add colour and texture. Pots can be moved to change-up the look of the space and create a path. Foliage will also help soften the edges of your building and create a path.
- Trellises. These are a great way of screening and adding privacy. Climbing roses, honeysuckles or vines add scent and colour.
A free-standing trellis is perfect for climbing plants
- Hedges. Even a low laurel or bay hedge will reduce the appearance and height of the building, improving the aesthetic and integration of the building into the surroundings.
- Fencing. Our Linea range is available with matching fencing, which is a popular option (see image below) to give continuity & style to create a path.
A living roof is eco friendly and easy on the eye
If your building has a flat roof, you may be able to see it from your upstairs windows (your neighbours may get a view too). So it’s worth making it look pretty. Why not think about a green sedum roof to make it part of the garden? For some tips and inspiration, read our blog on green roof buildings.
Mirrored glass adds style and the illusion of space
If you’re looking to make the garden appear bigger, add mirrored glass, which will reflect the garden back and create an illusion of space.
Spending some time on designing the outdoor space your new garden building will occupy will pay dividends. Add in personal touches, strategically place some of your favourite things, from trellises and pergolas to wheelbarrows and wind chimes. Bring in some outdoor lighting. Battery and solar LED lights mean this is easy and cheap.
The combination of your design and landscaping efforts will go a long way to making your new garden building the outdoor place of escape and tranquility you want it to be.