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Elevate the value of your home extension: top tips when it impacts your garden

There are opportunities to elevate the value of your house extension by taking a few garden design ideas into account.  If you are planning your house renovation with an architect, in the early stages you may not be thinking about how it will function with your garden, or how it will look.    

Here are some of our garden design tips and ideas which relate to planning a house extension and its possible impact on your garden. 

This is the second in a series of blog posts which seeks to raise the awareness of the impact of house extensions on gardens.  We hope that by providing key garden design ideas,  homeowners can increase the value of their renovations.  In our first post, we discussed ‘how big is the house extension’.  We highlighted in what ways the footprint of the house extension can impact on the garden.

Increase the value of a house extension and impact on garden design

When extending your house footprint, make sure you leave comfortable access around the house

This should be at least 1m for pathways and access. The ideal width is 1.2m, and 1.5m if you are likely to need access for those with a disability.

Think about your views from the windows and doors

If you live somewhere hilly and the ground slopes up from the back of the house, then sliding glass doors are likely to look out onto retaining walls or a leaf littered patio. You might find a picture frame window would work well instead, giving you a view out to planting and allowing you to put furniture up to the wall as well. What will an extension will look like through existing windows ‒ e.g. a new porch can disfigure the view through a picture window.

Consider the impact of extending your footprint on circulation from inside to out

Consider level changes from a new door threshold ‒ are you going to have to go steeply up or down? Are you going to have space to comfortably get outside and travel around the house?

"Designing your home doesn't stop at the front door.  Having a garden design professional involved early on during the home renovation process, will enhance how your outdoor space connects with the interior of your home. We have experience in seeing opportunities that would otherwise be missed."
Garden Designer, Ilkley Skipton Otley Menston Bingley
Melissa Morton

Make sure you factor in enough space for safe steps

Remember that when you go up a step in a garden you should travel around 35-45cm horizontally for every 15cm vertically.

Don’t “bridge” the damp proof membrane (DPC)

Where the damp proof course/membrane (DPC) is located in the house extension can dictate the ground level outside. A general rule is the ground needs to be a minimum of 15cm below the DPC. If you’re in doubt about what this means, you or your architect can contact your local building control officer or talk to a reputable garden designer.

Remember to leave space for planting

A planting area of a certain size may be needed to provide screening / softening of houses opposite, provide some sound barrier from busy road, and create feeling of being nestled within garden setting.

Have discussions about style elements early on so the interior and exterior will match.

‒ Doors and windows for a garden room should suit architecture of house
‒ flooring can be added to match proposed decking material at concept stage

Have a full topographical survey done.

This will ensure that e.g. dropping ground levels around an existing drain for new door to garden room could be discussed as a feasibility stage. 

Finally have you left space for access when it comes time to build the garden?
If no thought has been given to this ‒ are all machines and materials going to have to come through a newly built kitchen?!

To maximise the value of your house extension investment when working with an architect, appointing a garden designer early on can really help. 

Including plans for the garden at the outset, alongside designs for the house, will also optimise how the inside and outside spaces work together.

Consulting a garden professional as early as possible in planning your extension, will reap rewards in the long term.