Sunrooms and greenhouses are a wonderful asset to any type of building be they attached to the building or freestanding in another part of the garden or property. These types of rooms are traditionally made mainly with glass, rather than brick or stone – or can be brick up to waist height, and then roofed with glass. Other types of greenhouse can use Perspex or clear plastic – this is usually lighter, cheaper and easier to replace than glass, but can also stain easier, and be harder to clean. Depending on the area of the building, some sunrooms can be open roofed and open to the elements, or even have a detachable roof that can be attached only in the winter.
The exposure to a lot of natural daylight is known to be very beneficial for the human body, as it creates vitamin D, which can help combat depression and seasonal effectiveness disorder (SAD). Creating a light, airy room with a lot of glass, that can be used for relaxing and entertaining, is a great asset in any kind of building, be it residential or an office, or with a sustainable ethos or not.
A Gardener’s Delight: Growing Plants in Greenhouses
Anyone who has grown up with gardener-parents and a greenhouse will know how much an obsession that growing plants of all kinds from seed, all year round – even in the depths of an British winter, is; and how this glass room fulfills that obsession. Anything can be and is grown in greenhouses across the UK – exotic plants and fruits from around the world, including bananas, olives, and grapes. The concentration of light and seasonal heat is extremely beneficial to plants, and having a greenhouse allows a keen gardener to create the ideal growing conditions for this.
Non-gardeners can enjoy being in a space with lots of growing plants: hopefully they can sample some of the fruits and vegetables, and enjoy the shade offered by the plants. It is beneficial to be around plants, as well as enjoying enhanced sunlight – as long as you don’t get sun burnt.
Practical Considerations for Building Sunrooms and Greenhouses
There are many companies advertising in the UK who will design and build an entire sunroom or conservatory package for the householder. Often these deals work out very expensive, and often include unnecessary extras like laminated floors and fancy blinds. Most of them do not use materials from renewable sources or ethical products, so if you use one of these companies, check the products they intend to use before you commit. Many eco-architects are happy to take the design of a glasshouse or sunroom, of whatever size, and may come up with interesting ideas you hadn’t considered in your original plan.
Always make sure any additional room has (if it needs it) planning permission from the Local Authority, and check that the proposed land to be built upon doesn’t have pipes or a well that might need to be accessed. Make sure that the proposed site does get the maximum amount of available light, and is not actually partially shaded throughout the day by other buildings or trees.
Also, do check how exposed the proposed structure actually is – and make sure the materials used ensure the construction can withstand a storm or any adverse weather conditions – a heavy snowfall can bring down a poorly constructed conservatory or greenhouse. Take this into consideration when designing the structure.