Being in lockdown has made everyone even more appreciative of outdoor space, particularly if you’re in the fortunate enough position to have a garden or outdoor space to escape to.
For that reason, many have made the decision to extend their living space out into the garden with the likes of garden rooms and creating their own at-home bars.
We sat down with five Scots who have done just that to see why they opted for one in their garden and how they executed their own take on a garden room or bar;
Mother daughter duo Zoe and Diane Johnston:
We initially began looking at something to hide our barbeque, which led to us looking at shed-style bars online. We love entertaining in our garden butthe area was a dead space that didn’t get any sunlight.
We purchased a 4 x 4 shed from Tiger Sheds and my dad, who's an electrician, built it for us. After cutting a hatch in the front, and speaking to a few joiners, we managed to create a lift-up hatch, which connects to the roof and offers a bit of coverage. We then added a shelf to the front as our “bar”. This was from some left over composite decking and our inside shelves were made from the palettes that the shelf was delivered on. We painted it all ourselves – luckily the weather cooperated, considering we did this in March!
Our house is quite neutral so we wanted to release our inner maximalists when it came to the bar space. Having named it Club Tropicana, we obviously had to go down a tropical route. We painted it a gorgeous sage green colour on the outside and added 2 parrots (named Andrew and George) and a gold palm tree alongside a Club Tropicana sign. We also have added banana leaves and flowers to the roof. For the inside, we decided to go for a flamingo pink colour to really make the space pop. We have made a gallery wall and shelves to hold our collection of countless bottles and glasses. On the outside, we DIY’d a flower wall to add a space for pictures when we are entertaining.
We also love the fact that we can lock up the bar at night and use it as storage for our outdoor cushions, etc. which saves us space in our house.
Since we were in lockdown, myself and my husband were working from home and our two teenagers were homeschooling, we felt like we needed more space and decided to build a bar/bistro outside.We already had a decked area with a table and chairs but nothing more than that. We needed somewhere to socialise other than our dining/kitchen area, which was now being used as a work area.My friend is a joiner in Cumbernauld (Colin Cooley), which is local to us, so I asked him if he’d build me a bespoke bar. We designed it as we went along, and another friend owns a tile company, so they managed to give us some spare tiles for the top of our bar as I wanted a Spanish feel.Our main goal was to give our outdoor space a makeover and have it as somewhere both the adults and the teenagers would enjoy, not just for a bar for cocktails but also for dining al fresco.My favourite part is the tarpaulin sides as we can have them up or down depending on the weather, along with the clear perspex roof. This means we don’t lose any light from our living room and we can use it in all weather (hail, rain or shine). It also allowed us to decorate with flowers, curtains, etc.I would not recommend buying flat-packed bar kits. It’s best to get in touch with your local joiner, discuss your ideas and then you get what you want. For example, we got to design where shelves should go, the height and everything we wanted.
We had a company build the garden room, but then we built the bar ourselves through our company, Zen Garden Rooms, which now also builds bespoke garden rooms and bars.Our main goal was generally to provide a garden/outdoor social space to enjoy the garden and for watching sports and for family gatherings. And we love using it for just that. Watching sports events on the projector and socialising has been great.Definitely make sure to maximise the space and consider where you need sockets etc. when designing your garden room. I would recommend using a professional to build the room and for you to enjoy it as much as we do.
We wanted to create an area of usable space in our garden, which was a new build with heavy clay soil. I decided to create a garden bar with an integrated hot tub area. My main goal was to have a Tiki-style garden bar, with a rustic feel. My wife liked the idea of an integrated hot tub area, which if I’m honest was the deciding factor in persuading her to agree to it!We wanted to have LED lighting and a planter box with various annuals and perennials like hostas, utilising the foliage to soften the hard landscaping. I did the work myself and it took roughly four weeks to complete the build.My favourite part is the hot tub area and the garden swing next to the bar. My biggest tip would be to think big. And with a bit of hard work and good planning you can achieve incredible results. Think about what you want to achieve and envisage the final result.I learned a lot doing my garden build. It was a really enjoyable experience. It has given our garden a unique style that my wife and I love. It has transformed our garden, creating a stylish outdoor area.
By Ellis Cochrane
Garden Rooms are growing in popularity as they give us a currently rare opportunity to escape from our homes.
In 2021, our gardens are getting more luxurious as we replace our rusty and dull garden sheds with stunning garden rooms. Garden rooms are essentially an extension, that while not directly attached to your home, are used to give you some extra space so you don’t have to move to a bigger home. The cost is largely dependent on what you choose to put in the room, and are popular as most of the time they don’t require planning permission (saving lots of time and effort!). They offer multifunctional uses, which makes them able to be tailored to your individuals needs and be unique to you. If you’re not sure how you could use a garden room, here’s some of our favourite garden room types that will have you rushing to invest. Let the battle of he-sheds vs she-sheds commence!
With most of us working from home due to the pandemic, our living space has also become our office. Even if you are lucky enough to have a separate study or office space in your house, it can be hard to switch off at night in our homes like we used to. Enter the garden room office. It may sound silly but even the short commute to the bottom of your garden will give you that home-work separation. Garden room offices can be super stylish and save you the space of creating an office in your home. It may also save you having to clear your dining table every night before you make dinner! You can design the room to help you to feel professional, with a desk and chair that are comfortable and fit your needs. If your partner needs to use the space too, you can even get screens to divide the space up and take away some of the noise of those loud phone calls and clanking of keyboards. If you choose to invest in one of these garden room offices, you may never want to go back to your real work office ever again!
It’s time to make all your friends and family jealous by having a garden room turned bar. Whilst we can only currently socialise with our household, a garden bar/nightclub is a space you can relax in and feels like a retreat away from your home. By adding classics such as a pool table, tv screen or music speakers, alongside stock of your favourite drink, you can easily make your garden room bar feel like a trip to the pub or your favourite nightclub. If you want to use your bar for entertaining, you could host Zoom cocktail classes with your closest girlfriends, or for talking footie with the lads, and make it the perfect place for socialising. This is a good option for you, should you want to bring more fun to your outdoor space, whilst also adding an element of luxury in the space. Own private bar? Yes please!
Are you missing your local gym in lockdown? Or have you always wanted your own private gym with no one around to judge as you sweat profusely and struggle to breathe doing Charlotte Crosby’s ‘Belly Blitz’ workout? Maybe it’s time to create your own at-home gym with your garden room. Fitness equipment can take up a lot of room, so creating a space outwith the home for exercising is the perfect solution for carrying out those home workouts. Depending on the type of workouts you like, you can make it your own and tailor the space to your individual fitness needs. You could choose to kit it out with the latest gym tech such as treadmills and exercise bikes, or keep it simple with a small space for your yoga mat and some dumbbells. With an at home gym, you’ve no excuse not to workout, with no commute, flexibility to work out at any time of the day, and complete and utter privacy from your household and neighbours. I guess there’s only one thing left tosay Namaste?
We all need a bit of downtime every now and then, and what could be better than your very own garden room sanctuary that offers peace and quiet away from the rest of the household. For this type of room, you can design it exactly in accordance with however you find it easiest to relax. Maybe you want to put in a plush sofa with lovely lighting, perfect for reading your book. Or perhaps you want to put in a tv so you can binge watch Bridgerton for the 7th time or send your other half out to watch Car SOS without you and the rest of the family complaining! It’s really whatever makes you feel calm and serene and allows you to relax and unwind in the space. If it was my sanctuary space, the place would be decked in fairy lights, with a large tv so I felt like I was at the cinema, and equipped with a mini fridge to hold my movie snacks! A cinema garden room sounds pretty perfect too.
Fed up of sleeping on the sofa and getting backache every time your friends or family are round to visit? A guest bedroom garden room might be worth considering. It will give you all the blissful sleep you deserve and you’ll never have to give up your bed again!You could take it a bit further and make it into a studio, with a small kitchen, bathroom and bedroom for all of your guests’ needs. The studio could be turned into a granny flat or a room for your older kids to use while they save up for their first foot on the property ladder. If you make the space nice enough, you might even be able to rent out the room for some extra cash to those needing a more affordable option to stay. For these types of rooms you might need to get planning permission so just make sure to check before you invest!
Beginning to get tired of constantly having to keep the kids occupied? We know how you feel! Why not create a garden playroom to give them a place to play and get them out of your hair. Not only will having a garden playroom or gaming room keep your house much tidier from the mountain of toys, but it is a better place for them to carry out messy arts and crafts, and loudly play the latest XBOX/PlayStation game without disturbing you. As the kids get older, you can alter the garden room into something else. For example, you could turn it into a place for their teen hangouts with friends, or to do their homework, or eventually a space for yourselves when they finally move out.
It used to be that the one place you had in the garden to escape to was a shed, but over the last decade, with the rise in adult children staying in the family home longer and – certainlyin the last year – people working from home, the garden room is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Here we showcase just a few examples from Outside In Garden Rooms of how a small space in your garden can be made into so much more for less than £15k.
The Scottish Personalised Gift Company
Sandra Craig, who runs the Scottish Personalised Gift Company, had been working from a cold, sterile commercial unit but – aside from feeling it stifled her creativity – she also wanted to strike a better work/life balance. “It was a huge lifestyle change for me,” she says. Working with Outside In Garden Rooms, Sandra was able to create a functional area where she could use the area in her garden and build a space to accommodate sewing machines, work tables and also provide a space for entertaining to maintain the life side of the balance! The room features white laminate flooring, which may sound crazy for a garden room however with a business like Sandra’s, she neededto be able to quickly see any dropped needles or thread so white was essential. Even though the rooms are highly insulated, there is an electric oil filled radiator, but demand is low for it. When the garden room is used as a workshop, Sandra has used the space cleverly with pop up work tables. These can then be tucked away when the room is claimed as a social space.
Outside In Garden Rooms was hired by Nicola Ross to create a dual purpose garden room in Glasgow’s Knightswood. The 5m x 3m building combines an office with a gym. By using sliding UPVC doors, the most is made of the space needed for a gym space, while providing a separate office area. The sliding internal door avoids the need for a swinging door therefore maximises space and privacyfor both areas, and windows on all sides bring in light at all times of the day and provide much needed ventilation in the gym!
John Amabile’s Scots Safari Lodge
Interior designer, John Amabile, collaborated with Outside In Garden Rooms when he wanted to create a multi-purpose garden retreat. Nicknamed Scots Safari Lodge, he wanted a space separate from his house to showcase his interior design skill, but also to entertain friends. As you would expect, John’s escape hideaway has every tech gadget needed. With a lovely kitchen space, the room can be used for many uses. Accessed via vast, sliding aluminium doors to the front, it’s highly insulated for all year round use, and has an energy efficient, oil-filled electric radiator that is controlled via an app. The room itself is clad in Siberian larch with the exterior requiring little or no maintenance. When weathered over time, the timber will gradually change to a gorgeoussilver colour. Surrounding the room is a deck of compositeboards which leads into John’s beautifully landscaped garden. Don’t I need planning permission? Surprisingly, in Scotland, most ancillary buildings don’t require planning permission, because most meet a set of rules called ‘permitted development’. Our advice is always to check with your local authority as to the specifics of your area.However, the following is the ScottishGovernment’s guidelines:
The permitted development rules for an ancillary building are:
• it’s located at the back of the house
• it isn’t used as a separate home to live in
• it doesn’t take up half of the grounds behind your home
• it isn’t higher than 4 metres
• any part that is a metre or less from the boundary is no higher than 2.5 metres
• the eaves (the part where the wall meets the roof) is no higher than 3 metres
• if the land is in a conservation area or in the grounds of a listed building, the ancillary building has a footprint of less than 4 square metresIf you wanted a bathroom installed, that would require a building warrant and possibly planning permission.
For further information regarding the Planning Permission process go to https://www.mygov.scot/planning-permission/Check out our online gallery and read our case studies as the first port of call. We also have a showroom at Klondyke Mortonhall Garden Centre in Edinburgh, as well as a garden room which can be viewed by appointment in Glasgow’s West End. Please visit our contact page for more information or to make an appointment.
By Chloe Suze