How to build a room in the garden

Need extra living space but don't want to move? Building a room in the garden is a clever and cost-effective solution

garden area with wooden shed
(Image credit: TBC)

Creating a separate room in the garden gives you a great getaway for work, hobbies, or just some piece and quiet.

‘A garden room adds appeal to a house, making it attractive to all types of buyer, and a real draw for families,’ says James Redington from Foxtons.

What are my choices?

The simplest cabin or summer house is similar to a shed, with either shiplap walls and cedar roof shingles or a log-cabin construction. These are usually supplied in pre-fabricated panels and, if you’re a skilled DIYer, you could put one up yourself. More advanced ones, with sliding glass doors or a deck, for example, will need to be built on site by a specialist. Once the concrete base or piles are in, installation can take from one day to two weeks.

Limitations and security

Avoid positioning the garden room near growing trees, and ensure there’s access for maintenance. You’ll also need to think about access for delivery, though panels could be carried through the house.

As for securing your garden room, it's best to fit locks on doors and choose toughened glass. Check that the locks comply with your home insurance requirements. It’s worth considering external lights, a burglar alarm and Venetian blinds to prevent anyone seeing in.

Can I use it all year round?

If you insulate well and fit double-glazed windows, you’ll be fine for the colder months. An electrician can run a cable from your house to the room to power lights and heating. In some cases, downlighters, sockets and wiring may be pre-installed in the panel walls.How to use your garden room?

Plan your room to ensure it’s fit for purpose

Home office Companies such as Henley will kit out your office with fitted furniture.

Gym Equipment can be bulky, so you’ll need a large room. It’s also an investment, so ensure your security is up to scratch.

Games room You’ll need plenty of space to play table games – L247cm x W153cm for a table tennis table, for example.

Music room Use a company that specialises in sound-proofing, such as The Qube.

What permission do I need and how much will it cost?

If your building is away from the house, takes up less than 50% of the garden and is smaller than 15sq m, or in some cases 30sq m, you’re unlikely to need planning permission or Building Regulations Approval. However, there are exceptions – such as if you intend to use the room for sleeping – so check online at, and consult your local council’s planning department.

Prices start from £439 for a Buckingham summerhouse (H213cm x W198cm x D205cm) from B&Q to around £22,600 for a bespoke design from InsideOut

Useful contacts

These companies can help with your project.

Wickes sells a range of self-assembly log cabins from £1,699.

Garden Affairs stocks summer houses from £1,696.

Henley offices sells compact mini home offices from £6,169.

Sanctuary Garden Offices has traditional garden rooms from £11,025.

The Qube stocks studios from £17,000.

InsideOut designs environmentally friendly buildings from £22,600.

Check out housetohome's guide to conservatories for ideas on creating more room in your home for summer.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.