The Benefits of Fitting Skylights in Your Garden Lodge or Home

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Skylights have been a feature in many modern houses for some time, and can add natural warmth and brightness to a home or extension, as well as ventilation if it can be opened. Whether it’s a starry night or bright blue skies, skylights offer a beautiful and natural view to the outdoors.

With any windows on a building, precious heat can be lost during the winter months. The Consumer Energy Centre reported that up to 35-45% of heat can be lost through convection with a skylight. However electricity could be saved during the daytime instead, due to natural light coming through the window – so no need for artificial lights.

Instead, look for ‘Energy Star’ or ‘Energy Efficiency’ rated skylights, these are companies backed by both UK and US governments, and are there to help consumers identify products that can help them save the environment whilst saving money.  Consumers who purchase these approved products can look to lower their household outgoings by 7-15% and shrink your carbon footprint, according to Energy Star.

Heat loss through skylights can be prevented by considering the position of the window. For example, a south-facing skylight can help with warming up your home in the winter, otherwise known as passive solar-heating.

Fitting roller or Venetian blinds can help to further insulate or protect the room from sunlight. A west facing skylight won’t have passive solar-heating capabilities, so it will serve to keep you cooler in the summer months because it’s not generally in direct sunlight. 

There have been various studies into the other benefits of fitting skylights in your home, which include improved productivity and enhanced psychological well-being, due to increased natural light in your home.  Why not consider fitting a skylight in your study or home office to take advantage of these positives?

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Top 5 Small Garden Ideas

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Large gardens needn’t have all the fun, smaller gardens can be multi-tasking too – it’s all about planning. Here is our top five ways to add interest to small urban gardens:

Pick a theme
A small garden with a mixture of themes can look disjointed and make it appear much smaller. Pick the same colour and material scheme, then stick to it throughout – this also applies to gardens built on many different levels – it’ll keep the look harmonious.

Simplicity is key
Minimalism as a garden trend has been around for years for a reason, because it can fit effortlessly into many spaces without being overbearing – plus it needn’t look boring. Choose urban materials such as granite and chrome, and then mix it with warmer wood decking and soft flowing grasses and other greenery.

Beauty is in the details
A garden is a commitment and will require some work, no matter how low maintenance you require it to be – so the details are very important. Small gardens benefit from a linear design, which serves to extend the space to the human eye. Consider neat borders and hedging, as well as installing a minimalist water feature on the wall. Planting interesting and exotic blooms and plants will also add interest, as well as fruit trees and herbs for a subtle scent.

Outside Flexibility
Small gardens need to be flexible, as space for entertaining can be limited. To combat this problem, consider folding garden furniture or stackable stools to save valuable space. Remember furniture that can work inside and outside your home is also a great space saver, as well as using throws and large cushions outside on a summers evening will also add to the cosiness.

Go Vertical
Why not build and grow yourself a vertical garden? Not only will you save your back from bending over to tend to it, or controlling pests more carefully, it’ll save space and you can have more plants in your garden. Fix trays or plastic pots to walls or trellises, or search online for ready to install ‘vertical wall’ garden kits.

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Entertaining Alfresco | summer trends for outdoor entertaining

Here are our top tips for entertaining alfresco in your garden this summer:

Cooking
The humble BBQ tends to be high on the agenda for many people wanting to entertain during the balmy summer months; however Brits are now discovering other outdoor eating habits favoured by Europeans and other exotic Continents. Believe it or not, pizza ovens aren’t just for cooking your favourite doughy treat; they’re also a surprisingly diverse cooking tool. Baking crusty bread or pasta dishes, to roasting tender meat and vegetables are just a few ways to get the most out of your pizza oven. If you haven’t got the space or the budget for an outdoor wood burning pizza oven, there is always the rustic Chiminea. Originating in Mexico and used to keep tribes warm centuries ago, this cost-friendly outdoor heating source will beat the chill on cooler summer evenings, plus you can purchase removable grills or iron pans to fit inside, so you can cook al fresco to your heart’s content.

Garden Rooms
Where to go when the weather takes a turn for the worse? A separate garden room with a decking area and an all-weather canopy is the perfect solution to your entertaining needs. Look through our range of garden lodges or contact us to get a design and site survey.

Flooring
Board of your decking or want to bring your ‘crazy-paving’ up to date? Think wooden floorboards only look great in your home? Outdoor wooden flooring is soon to be a top trend for gardens. Consider a decked, golden teak patio to bring your garden up-to-date, just make sure to protect and treat the wood impeccably to resist rot and weather damage. If you have problems with water staying on your patio after it rains, invest in permeable paving which allows water to seep in through their surface to reduce run off.

Lighting
From small solar path lights, floodlights to wall lights, lighting is a simple way to transform and update your garden easily. This season sees the traditional table-top lantern as the light du jour to add ambiance to late evening BBQ’s; whether it’s a classic chrome style or fun pineapple-shaped, there’s a lantern to suit all tastes.

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Choosing The Right Type Of Wooden Flooring For Your Garden Lodge

Updating the flooring in your home to wooden flooring is a great idea. It can increase the value, is easier to look after and looks great. Any home can benefit from upgrading to wooden flooring, but how do you decide which type is right for the style of your house? Although upgrading flooring isn’t ridiculously expensive, it is something you want to get right so it will last for years to come. Here is a guide to help you decide the right type of wooden flooring for your home-

Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is usually the cheapest option when it comes to upgrading to wooden flooring. Laminate flooring is compressed fibreboard with a photographic image of wooden flooring laid on top to look like real wood flooring. You can expect to pay anything from £3 per square metre to £17. Laminate flooring can be laid almost anywhere but it is not always recommended for bathrooms. It is easy to install due to the ‘click lock’ design where it slots easily into place. It’s a great alternative to solid wood if you have a tight budget but be wary it may not look quite as good as solid flooring and is will swell easily when it comes into contact with moisture.

Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered Wood Flooring consists of four layers of real wood that have been glued together to create a plank. The surface is made of real wood veneer, this means it can be shaped and treated. Engineered wood flooring prices range from £12 per square meter to £70; it can be significantly more expensive than laminate flooring. It can be laid almost anywhere but again it’s not always advised in places that get damp or humid. It can be fiddly to install around things like toilets and sinks too. Engineered wood flooring is a great in between option, it’s cheaper than solid wood flooring but longer wearing and more realistic than laminate. A great option for engineered flooring is kahrs oak flooring.
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Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring is as the name describes, made from one solid piece of wood. Rather helpfully, each type of flooring has a ‘hardness score’ which determines how strong they are and how easily they can be damaged. The price varies from £14 pre square meter to £80. It can be laid almost anywhere and is great for adding value and as a selling point when it comes to selling your home. It is the trickiest of the three to install so it’s best to get a professional to do it as it’s not something you want to get wrong.

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look at some of the novel ways people have used their garden rooms.

Garden rooms have become increasingly popular in recent times. This increased popularity has been attributed to many different things, such as the current economic climate, people wanting to improve the value of their house and the growing trend of working from home. Garden rooms can provide the ideal small office environment, and this is a common use for the buildings. Leaving your house and walking across the garden to begin work is a great feeling; the geographical division of space creates the illusion of a definite journey and can have a direct impact on productivity in the work environment. However, some people decide to use their extra space in more novel ways, and in this article we will take a look at some of the more creative and inventive uses.

London-based opera singer Jacques uses his soundproofed garden studio to practice his singing. The room is ideal as it provides space away from the house so that his family are not disturbed by his practising; the building is also insulated and provided with electricity, meaning that it is great to use all year round.

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Garden rooms provide the ideal practising space for all musicians – parents are now safe to buy their children that drum kit and be free from the noise problem that comes with learning instruments.

Some owners of garden rooms have converted their new-found space into the perfect home cinema. With acoustic insulation available, that surround sound system you bought but never dared to turn up over half-way can be put to excellent use. With under-floor heating (among other features), there is no more comfortable place to watch your favourite films.

There are some owners that have chosen to use their garden houses as dedicated yoga rooms. Practising in the comfort of a dedicated yoga space is undoubtedly a fantastic thing, offering solitude and tranquillity in a beautiful constructed space. Regardless of the nature of your hobby, however, an extra, dedicated area can allow you to indulge your passion fully.

kitchenettes in a garden room, the building could be used as a guestroom for visitors. The building is sure to impress – guests would so enjoy staying that they may not want to leave! And on this note, there are always the long-term guests to consider by using your garden room as a Granny Annexe.

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Using cutting-edge technology in your garden studio.

If you are considering purchasing a new garden studio, or even modifying an existing one, there are some fantastic (and easy) steps that you can take to enhance your experience.

Firstly, any garden studio owner should consider upgrading their lighting and electrical appliances. From a practical perspective, a simple step is to add external sockets – an ideal way to supply power to any outdoor events that you plan to host in the future. As well as ever useful external sockets, your studio could perhaps benefit from heating, in the form of either a branded air conditioner or even under-floor heating. Once you’ve made it toasty-warm, a wireless light switch would be the ideal way to continue to upgrade your studio into a comfort rich paradise. These features all help to contribute to a more useful and functional garden studio.

Moving from electricity to water – many studios can be upgraded to incorporate plumbing. This means that your super-slick studio could house a kitchenette to allow you a quick snack, small meal, hot drink or cocktail! Add an en-suite shower room and your studio has the potential to serve many purposes. A toilet & wash basin would build upon these features and transform your studio into a small home which would be more than capable of housing guests.

There are also wide selections of upgrades available for doors and windows. For added privacy, owners of garden rooms have the option to install laminated glass. More commonly referred to as ‘tinted’, laminated glass and will render your studio an entirely independent building to your main home.

With these added features, the potential uses for your studio are limited only by your
imagination. Children could easily relax and play together in there for hours on end, or the cosy studio could be used as a luxurious vantage point from which you and guests can look out upon your garden.

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Our Olympic building still going strong!

Here at Garden Lodges we are pleased to report that the lodge we built for the Olympic site in London is still going strong! Caroline, who deals with all our marketing here, was fortunate enough to have tickets for the Paralympic Athletics on Saturday and made a special effort to seek out the ‘garden room’ we created for the Olympic authorities for use as a security base, after another company could not
complete the contract in time.

It may be small compared to some of the giant stadiums and arenas nearby, but it is serving a great purpose and still looks as good as new. It also has a rather impressive position on the Olympic site – directly opposite the main entrance to the Olympic Park, just in front of the awe inspiring bridge which leads up to the imposing
Stadium and the Orbit.

Caroline had a chat with the security guards who are currently using the lodge as their base, and was pleased to hear they have been delighted with the building and it has been perfect for purpose. It may be rather different to the garden studios and garden rooms that we usually build, but the process was exactly the same and it proved that our buildings are suitable for a multitude of purposes.

Security was a big concern prior to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but it appears that not only has safety been top-notch, but worries about large queues and over-zealous restrictions have proved unfounded too. The unrelenting cheerfulness of all the volunteers and army personnel involved in making sure the Games went smoothly has been highly praised and has made sure that everyone’s experience has been trouble-free and very enjoyable.

Garden Lodges is proud to have a little example of their work on the Olympic site, and to have been part of an historic and hugely successful event in the UK.

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Garden Studios: The Next Step in Office Alternatives

The morning commute through rush hour traffic is the worst part of many a worker’s day. Being stuck at lights and behind inconsiderate drivers is a nightmare that has become all too real for many of us.

The garden studio is a real alternative that is perfect for anyone who is able to work from home. With this number growing – nearly a tenth of the working population is now able to work from home – a garden office could be just the thing for you.

Fitted with electricity, lighting and full doubleglazing, these garden rooms sacrifice none of the comfort you would expect from a more traditional office space. Those who work from home can appreciate the ability to restrict access to your office from children and pets – less simple to control in the actual house. Suitable for women as much as men, the traditional man-cave has been claimed by both genders as a place to work, think, and create.

While it is easy to see how a garden room could operate as an office, creative thinkers have long used garden offices as a place to escape to which inspires them to create. Roald Dahl, Henry Thoreau, and Phillip Pullman all used similar spaces.

This makes the garden office a perfect creative space for all you sculptors and artists out there. One tremendous benefit this offers is removing the need to free up space within the traditional home to work in. Your current office can be turned back into a living space, playroom for the kids or the library you have always wanted. Those of you who use the kitchen table have the option of a cheaper alternative to buying a house with an extra room. Using a garden studio is good for your health too. Psychologically it creates a distinction between home and work in your brain. Getting rid of the burden of constantly being in your office has advantages it is difficult to ignore.

Worried about your carbon footprint being left behind when you’re gone? Garden studios are environmentally friendly and genuinely help the planet. Think about it: practically everyone drives or gets the bus to work. With a garden office work is always walking distance away. Commuting is the highest contributor to people’s carbon footprints and the removal of fuel consumption can more than halve yours. It will save you a fair bit of money too. Reduction in carbon is not the only benefit that garden rooms offer.

There is generally no need for planning permission, an issue that often crops up during attempts at housing expansion in conservation and restricted building areas. A garden studio provides the alternative that people are after in terms of a relaxation space. It provides a home away from home, at home! Adding value to your property, the extra space is a fantastic addition to anyone seeking that something extra to get them ahead of the Joneses.

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Garden Rooms – More Than Just a Posh Shed

No matter how large their house, most homeowners feel they could do with a little more space. Perhaps you’d like a playroom for the children, an extra bedroom for unexpected guests, a place for that cumbersome running machine or just somewhere to relax and unwind. This desire for extra space has led to an explosion in the market for garden rooms. Rather than moving home or putting up with weeks of noisy and messy construction work in order to build an extension or convert a loft, many homeowners are instead choosing to make better use of their gardens.

Fully insulated, double glazed and complete with lighting and power, garden rooms are far more than just posh sheds. They can make an ideal office, home gymnasium or studio, or they may simply become an additional space in which to relax or entertain guests.

Garden rooms cost less than extensions or conservatories and do not usually require planning permission. In most cases they can be completed within a matter of days. With a wide range of designs and specifications available, it’s easy to find one that suits all your needs. If you want to use the space as a home library, you can allow room for plenty of shelving. If you decide to use it as a rehearsal space for a band, you may want to consider additional sound proofing. If you are an artist and plan to use the room as a garden studio, you can choose a design that makes the best possible use of natural light.

Garden offices make ideal work environments and can help to boost your productivity as they will isolate you from the day-to-day distractions and interruptions that occur at home. Working from home also cuts the cost of commuting or renting office space elsewhere, all of which can easily mitigate the initial cost of construction.

Having a garden room allows you to make full use of your garden all year round, rather than just during periods of good weather. A well-designed room can enhance the look of your garden and will also add to the value of your property. If you want to find out more about the many benefits that garden rooms have to offer, why not call our team today?

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The top garden room ideas for the guys

Here at Garden Lodges we understand that every individual has a different way of using their garden room or garden studio. This week we are going to take a look at the many ways in which men are using this unique space, so read on for some inspiration.
For many years, the idea of a private space for the man of the house to escape into has been a popular idea – once it was the study, then the ‘den’ and these days, it’s increasingly in an outdoor location. These ‘man sheds’ are used for many different things from simple DIY activities to reading a book and maybe having a drink or two.

According to Professor Alan White of Leeds Metropolitan University, this type of seclusion can be therapeutic for men, as it allows them to potter about and often undertake tasks through from start to completion, which can boost self-esteem.

If a ‘man cave’ sounds right up your street you may want to consider a modern equivalent – a garden room! The possibilities are endless and you can share the area with some of your mates if you wish. How about kitting it out with an LCD TV, a mini fridge and a couple of sofas – all ready for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics? Or if you are really into sports, you could turn it into your own personal gym to suit your training needs.

If you are more of a hands-on type of guy, a garden studio may suit you better – you could set up your new area ready to get creative with your favourite hobby. A garden office is the best choice if you have lots of admin work to do, or run a small business.
Statistics have shown that men spend an average of three hours and twenty minutes in their garden shed per week – that’s more than seven full days a year! And what are they doing in there? The top ten shed activities are DIY; cleaning things; working on bikes; painting; making and mending furniture; listening to the radio or music; catching up with work; having a beer or a sneaky cigarette
and lastly exercise.

If a garden room sounds appealing to you visit us at Garden Lodges where our friendly team will help you design and develop a perfect space to suit your needs.

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