A conservatory is presents an ideal place to relax and unwind. A sun-filled conservatory provides a peaceful atmosphere and is perfect for some leisurely reading or a spot of breakfast,

A conservatory will be a valued addition to your home but before you phone up a conservatory specialist, there are many things you need to take into consideration.

When it comes to planning a conservatory, it is crucial to have a clear idea of what you will require. Design, planning permission and build are all things that must be taken into account if you want to get the perfect match for your property.

This conservatory guide will offer some important guidance and tips.

Planning For Your Conservatory
Planning Permission
Building Regulations
Conservatory Sizes
Conservatory Style
Heating & Cooling Options

Planning Permission

Planning Permission For ConservatoriesConservatories in general, do not require planning permission as they are considered to be permitted development.

However, there are limitations such as size and height. Before your conservatory is installed you will need to find out whether planning permission is required.

As long as you meet the following conditions, then you will not require planning permission. We do however recommend that you visit the governments planning portal to view the regulations for yourself.

  • Conservatories must be no more than half the size of your existing property. It must also not be wider than the original width.
  • Your build must have no fronting highway with verandas, balconies or raised platforms
  • The roof must not be higher than your existing property. If within two metres of a boundary, the eaves must be no higher than three metres.

Planning Permission Wales

Building RegulationsHome owners in Wales will need to adhere to the following requirements:

  • Conservatories must be no higher than 10% of the original property. This applies to anyone living in a terraced house, a National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Conservation Area or World Heritage Site.
  • Your conservatory must not be higher than your existing roof
  • The conservatory must not be built within 20 metres of the boundary of your property.

Ignoring these regulations can result in a £5000 fine and your conservatory may have to be altered or demolished. If you require planning permission then you will need to submit a planning application to your local building authority.

In most cases, your conservatory installer will be able to organise this on your behalf. Those who are FENSA registered will provide you with a certificate on completion of installation.

Read more about planning permission here.


Building Regulations

Planning Your ConservatoryBuilding regulations will not apply if:

  • Your conservatory is at ground level
  • Less than 30 square metres
  • Glazed with an external door linking your house and conservatory

Glazing and electrics must comply with current building regulations. Be sure to check with your local authority as regulations will differ for England, Wales and Scotland.


Conservatory Sizes

What size should your conservatory be?  The size of your conservatory is important and not just in terms of planning permission or building regulations. Your conservatory should be proportional to the size of your existing property. For example a small property will be ill-suited by a conservatory big in depth.

Conservatory Build

The size of your garden should be considered too.  If you are a garden lover and are frequently outside tending your plants then you don’t want your conservatory to detract attention away from its beauty. Instead, you want a conservatory which will compliment both house and garden whilst providing you with a wonderful view.

When looking at conservatory size you will also want to consider potential future buyers. A conservatory which is too big and cuts off half of your garden will not add value. Losing decent outdoor space will put you at a disadvantage. Big conservatories should be reserved for big properties. Think about your property size.


Conservatory Style

Conservatory StyleWhat will you use your conservatory for? You will need to think about the purpose of your conservatory.

Will your conservatory be a dining room, living room, home office or playroom? Conservatories offer a very versatile space.

Once you know how you will use your conservatory, you can then consider furniture.

How much floor space will be available? Big suites of furniture will demand a bigger room.

When choosing conservatory furniture, always have your dimensions at hand.It’s always a good idea to have a visual reference. You will want to decorate your conservatory with furniture that compliments its style as well as space.

Conservatories: Contemporary or Traditional?

Conservatories can be classed in two categories: contemporary and traditional. Contemporary conservatories are simple in design with clean lines and understated frames.  Square or rectangular in structure, their roofs are either pitched, flat or lean-to in style.

Traditional conservatories are drawn from classic architectural structures. More extravagant and bold in design, these conservatories are commonly seen within period style properties.

The terms for these conservatories may differ between supplier so it is vital you make sure you and your installer are on the same wavelength, especially in terms of the broad definition.

Which Conservatory

Popular Conservatories

Victorian ConservatoriesVictorian Conservatories. These conservatories are octagonal in design with faceted fronts. They have pitched roofs and ornate ridges.

This classic style is elegant & charming, bringing a traditional quality to the most modern of homes.

Lean to ConservatoriesLean-To Conservatories. This contemporary structure is rectangular in shape and provides smooth clean lines.This understated design is also known as a Mediterranean sun-room.

The most cost effective of all conservatory designs, this simple conservatory will suit any type of property.

Gable Fronted ConservatoryGable Conservatories. These conservatories have a vertical front and a steep pitched roof which mimics the design on most houses.

This traditional conservatory is classical in appearance with lots of ornate detail, making it highly suited to period style properties. This grand conservatory provides a generous amount of space and ceiling height.

Edwardian ConservatoriesEdwardian Conservatories. Symmetrical in structure, this flat walled design will provide you with greater floor space than the Victorian.

Square or rectangular in shape, it features a low pitched roof and plenty of ornate detail.

Which Conservatory Roof?

What kind of roof do you require, plastic or glass? Polycarbonate (plastic) roofs are the most cost effective and common type of conservatory roof. However polycarbonate is deemed to be poor at regulating heat, leaving conservatories cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.

Which Conservatory Roof?

Polycarbonate roofs may be light, low cost and durable, but they are harder to clean. They also offer poor noise reduction, especially on those rainy days.

Glass roofs are thought to be more energy efficient, making them more cost effective in the long run. They are also excellent insulators of heat. It is best to ensure that there is a 25 degree slope on the roof as compared to a shallower pitch, it will clean easily.

There are however, many glass options out there including self cleaning glass which does exactly as its name implies. Again, review all your options when conservatory planning. Your conservatory roof is an important aspect of the build.


Cooling & Heating Options

Cooling & Heating OptionsFor those that ignore cooling and heating considerations, do so at your peril. Not planning how to keep your conservatory at a comfortable temperature will put you at a great disadvantage.

Conservatories are fantastic at capturing sunlight and brightening up your property but this sunlight can cause your conservatory to overheat during summer.

Summer is the time you will want to get the most out of your conservatory so you don’t want to open your door to a sauna. Air conditioning can be expensive so make sure you have planned your conservatory with this in mind.

Keeping Your Conservatory WarmThe same applies for the cooler months. You want your conservatory to be usable whatever the weather.

Heated flooring can be a godsend, especially in during the dark and cold depths of winter. Again, consider your budget.

Heated flooring is likely to be costly so you may want to consider other ways of insulating your conservatory such as energy efficient glass. However in the long term, heated flooring is likely to outweigh its cost.

Glazing | Conservatory Glass

Conservatory GlassYour conservatory glass will have to meet current Building Regulations which specify the U-values you need. U-values measure the amount of heat which passes through the glass.

You will need to consider the position of your conservatory before deciding on glass. The position of your conservatory will affect the temperature and a south-facing conservatory will be exposed to the sun.

Solar-control glass is suitable for south-facing conservatories, helping to reduce the affect of the suns UV rays.

Conservatory Blinds

Conservatory BlindsConservatory blinds will prevent your conservatory from being exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays.

They can be installed in the roof, windows or doors of conservatories and allow you to regulate the amount of light which enters your extension.

Conservatory blinds can be costly however, especially for a large conservatory. Take into consideration your conservatory’s position.

If it faces North then it is unlikely to overheat and you will need to concentrate on making sure your conservatory is well insulated.