Do I Need Planning Permission for a Garden Room?

Garden rooms are a beautiful and versatile addition that can add utility and value to your property. A garden room can meet a broad range of needs from home business premises, office space and Airbnb to home gyms, playrooms, bars, art studios and more. Whatever you need extra space for, a garden room is the answer. There’s no doubt a garden room is a wise investment, but can you get around the headache of applying for planning permission?

The short answer is yes! But there is a bit more to it than that. You can’t build any garden room you want on any type of property. You will need to ensure that you stay within the rules for permitted development.

Permitted development rights grant you the right to carry out certain works on your property without the need to apply for planning permission. If you’re looking to carry out home improvements, it’s worth getting to grips with these rules as working within them will save you time, money and hassle.

Garden rooms & permitted development rights – The key factors

Modern garden rooms don’t usually require planning permission because they fall under class E of the permitted development rules. In relation to garden rooms, these are the key factors for staying within the rules:

  • Your garden room must be no more than 2.5m in height, measured from the bottom of the building to the top of the roof (if it is within 2m of the boundary)
  • Your garden must not be used for living or sleeping accommodation
  • Your garden room, along with any other buildings, must not take up more than half of your garden area

So, if you want to build a larger than average garden room, you will need to go down the planning route.

You will also need to go down the planning route if you want to use your garden room as an extra bedroom or guest living space, including Airbnb.

Most standard sized garden rooms, for purposes other than living or sleeping, will be allowed under permitted development and you will not need a planning application.

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Exceptions

There are some important exceptions under permitted development rules that you need to be aware of. These are not exclusive to garden rooms but include other alterations and extensions also. If your property might fall under any of the following exemptions, you should not assume permitted development rights and seek further guidance:

  • Properties in National Parks
  • Properties in the Broads
  • Properties in areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Properties in World Heritage Sites
  • Properties in conservation areas
  • Listed buildings
  • Flats or maisonettes
  • Converted houses
  • Houses created as a change of use via permitted development rights
  • Buildings other than houses

If you are thinking of getting a garden room and are not sure whether the building you want will require planning permission, it is advisable to read the government’s technical guidance on permitted development rights which can be found here. This contains detailed guidance on all the rules and exceptions.

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5 Top Tips for Living in a Tiny Home

The tiny house movement has been gathering pace for some time now and shows no signs of abating. Part of the minimalist trend, tiny homes are popular because they save people money and allow them to downsize on material possessions which is widely believed to boost happiness and wellbeing. Tiny homes also go some way to solving some of the world’s biggest problems including environmental decline, homelessness and overpopulation. If you’re new to tiny living, here are our top 5 tips for making a tiny space liveable…

1. Share Facilities

It’s easier for two people to live together in 400 square feet than one person living in 200 square feet because you can share facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces. You could go one step further and live in a communal setting where facilities are external and shared by all community members. This type of arrangement means that you don’t have to sacrifice space in your tiny house for shower rooms or cooking facilities. It all depends on your priorities.

2. Make Every Inch Count

Make every inch of your tiny home count by doubling up on functionality. A dining table can also be a kitchen worktop and a study area. If it gets in the way when it’s not performing these functions, make it fold up onto the wall. Make a cover for your bathtub so it doubles up as a seat. Almost anything can be hung up out of the way on the wall, whether it’s cooking equipment, shoes, kids toys or your bike. Part of the fun of tiny living is being creative about your use of space and building problem-solving skills. There’s loads of inspiration online if you’re not sure where to start.

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3. Design Your Space Around Your Lifestyle

You can incorporate all the clever storage solutions under the sun in your tiny home but if you’re not actually going to use them then they are a waste of valuable space. Do you actually eat at a table or in front of the telly? Will shelves be useful or just encourage you to accumulate more things? How much storage space do you actually need and what is it for? Think about how you actually want to use your home on a daily basis and then design it to meet those needs.

4. Make Use of Community Spaces

Part of the appeal of tiny living is that it allows people to focus more on what really matters, which usually means spending more time with others. A great way of doing this is by utilising community spaces for larger gatherings; if you can’t fit everyone round your tiny table for celebration meals, why not have them in your local community centre and invite other people from the community along too. When the weather is good, make use of natural spaces in the community such as parks and beaches.

5. Make Space to be Alone

Sharing your tiny home is great but, if you’re not careful, you can tread on each other’s toes. Make sure you make time and space to be alone. This can be done easier outside of the house when space is of limited supply. Go exploring the local area and find places that are perfect for alone time, whether it’s cafes, gyms, libraries or outside places. For many people, this is key to making their tiny home lifestyle work long-term.

 

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Micro-Living: Are Small Spaces the Next Big Thing?

Micro-Living refers to tiny living spaces that are deliberately designed not to conform to minimum space standards. Whilst some people live this way out of necessity, micro-living is becoming an extremely popular choice for people worldwide as an offshoot of the broader minimalist movement. In this post, we explore why micro-living is becoming so popular.

Money-Saving

One pretty obvious reason why downsizing might be a popular choice is that it gives people the opportunity to save money. Whether you buy or rent, size is usually the best indicator of price after location. Generally, the smaller your property, the less you pay out each month on rent or mortgage payments relative to other properties in the same area.

The cost of utilities and household bills also tends to correlate to the size of a property – think of the extra energy it takes to power a large house or the council tax banding associated with having more rooms. Downsize your space, downsize your bills.

Another way micro-living can save you money is by limiting the space you have available to accumulate things. Which cost money. It forces people to be selective about the material items they buy, leaving more money in their pocket and less in the store.

So, for practical money-saving reasons, micro-living is a great idea. But, for many people, the appeal goes much deeper than that…

Minimalist Lifestyle

The minimalist lifestyle generally refers to the rejection of the consumerist notion that material possessions can bring happiness. Minimalists seek to reduce the number of material possessions they have, with each item they own being justified as something which is necessary, useful or bringing joy.

Of the many reasons that minimalism continues to grow in popularity is the sense of escape it offers to the mainstream culture which, for many people, has caused nothing but stress and dissatisfaction. People, in western societies at least, increasingly feel overworked, underpaid and that their lives lack meaning. When they turn to minimalism, they free up time and space for the things that really matter such as people and spending time doing what they love.

Micro-living is one expression of a minimalist lifestyle; when people drastically downsize, they necessarily must have minimal possessions because they simply cannot fit them into their property. Tiny living spaces directly challenge the long-held value that we have put on the idea of property and property ownership in western capitalist societies.

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Solving the World’s Problems

For some people, micro-living is not simply a personal choice but rather a solution to many of the modern problems we are facing in the world today. Of these problems, the primary one that comes to mind is overpopulation. We simply don’t have enough space to keep building houses for the ever-growing population. Micro-living offers a way of solving this problem – if we all live in tiny houses, more of us can squeeze onto the finite space we have available.

Another major issue that micro-living can go some way towards helping is the environmental crisis. Our properties, and the things we fill them up with, use vital resources which are depleting at an alarming rate. Smaller properties which demand us to buy less stuff are perhaps one part of the solution. Where micro-living really makes headway in this argument is when reclaimed materials and resources are used to create the living spaces and they are designed to be super eco-friendly in their energy usage.

As well as environmental decline and overpopulation, micro-living is also seen by some as a possible solution to the homelessness crisis. Smaller properties are often more accessible to those on a low income who may otherwise have nowhere to live. In some places, experiments have been done using shipping containers as temporary housing for the homeless, which is one example of micro-living in practice.

So whilst micro-living can not claim to be the complete solution to any of these major problems, it is perhaps a creative element that, in combination with other things, can make a real difference.

Whether for practical, ideological or ethical reasons, micro-living appeals to many people. Whilst some people value their space too much to drastically downsize, the micro-living trend is a great example of the growing innovation we are seeing surrounding living spaces.

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