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A guide to having an orangery extension

An orangery may sound a bit old-fashioned compared to a single-storey extension or even a conservatory. But it’s not. In fact, orangeries are making a come-back. And no wonder when you see some of the amazing double height orangeries out there, for instance.

Actually, an orangery doesn’t have to be double-height to impress. All that glass and neat brickwork make it a light, airy space that every home could benefit from. More room and a boost to the value of your property – that’s not something to be sniffed at.

Back in the day (17th to 19th century) orangeries were brick and glass rooms that did indeed house orange plants and other greenery. This was to protect them from the harsh British winters. Today they are used as an additional space for the home – one that brings in sunlight and makes the home feel bigger and more open.

How to choose where to put your orangery

Location. The first thing to consider when adding an orangery to your home is its location. Bearing in mind southern-facing sides of the property will get the most sun. The east side gets it in the morning and the west in the afternoon. So, the ideal location would be southeast or southwest. That way the orangery gets the sun, but also the opportunity to cool down.

Planning permission. Next, work out whether or not you will need planning permission before going ahead with your orangery. It’s too costly a project to have to pull it down afterwards (retrospective planning permission is something to avoid – best get it all sorted out beforehand). To do this get an architect in and see what he or she suggests. They’ll probably have contacts with your local council’s building control and planning department anyway.

Foundations. Find out whether the soil in your garden can cope with a heavy extension. If you have clay soil, for instance, then your foundations will have to be deeper than for rock or gravel.

Heating. Underfloor heating is ideal for an orangery. It’s cosy in the winter months under tiles or wooden flooring. It doesn’t take up space either – unlike radiators dotted around the room. Remember to add in ventilation for the summer months too – otherwise, the sun can prove stifling at times (especially if you don’t have any shades to block it).

Purpose. What will you use your new orangery for? Would you like an extension to your kitchen? Or perhaps you’re desperate for a sunny dining room? Maybe you want your orangery to be used for its original purpose i.e as a bit of a garden room with plants that you can relax in? 

@ILIVfabrics: “Plants work particularly well in this environment, not only from a growing point of view but also for our wellbeing.

‘Many studies have shown that plants inside the home can calm the heart rate and reduce stress, making us feel comfortable and relaxed at home.”

Whatever you decide to do with all the new space and light, we’re sure you’ll wish you had done it sooner. In fact, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.