Bring The Outside In With An Orangery

Elegant and refined, the modern orangery provides luxurious additional living space to be enjoyed throughout the seasons. A picture-perfect place to relax, dine and entertain, a carefully designed and crafted orangery will bring the outside in, adding masses of appeal and functionality to any outside space.

What is an orangery?

The masterly designers of Italian Renaissance gardens during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries first incorporated orangeries into their landscape schemes. These ornate symbols of wealth and status were used to house and protect sun-loving citrus, tropical and ornamental trees throughout the colder winter months. They were literally used to bring the outside in!

Initially constructed of stone with glass panelling and a glazed roof, traditional orangeries haven’t changed dramatically in design or proportion. But as manufacturing technology has evolved, the production and installation of modern orangeries has led to a mountain of new, easier to manufacture construction materials, teamed with more straightforward installation.

These days, orangeries are still used as ‘green houses’ but are more often chosen to as a continuation of the architecture of the home. They provide additional living space and create elegant and almost seamless integration between the garden and home. They are also favoured by hotels, spas and venues keen to offer clients a beautiful relaxing space.

What is the difference between a conservatory and an orangery?

By definition, a conservatory and an orangery sound like the same structure, but there are big differences in their quality and versatility.  
 
A conservatory is usually made from glass or polycarbonate panels and is generally much smaller in scale than an orangery.  A conservatory will not require planning permission if it extends up to six metres on a terraced house and eight metres on a detached home.
An orangery is a much stronger structure, usually constructed with solid walls and roofing, and full height brick pillars.  Because of this building an orangery does require substantial foundations and therefore planning permission (see below).
Maintaining the temperature in an orangery is easier than a conservatory, meaning that it can be enjoyed throughout the seasons, even in one the coldest of days!  It will remain warm during the cooler months and pleasantly cool when the summer months arrive.

 

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What are the benefits of building an orangery?

Whatever design of orangery you choose, and whether you go for a standalone garden building, or integrate it with your home for open-plan living, it will expand your living space and add the ‘wow’ factor to your property.

Their expansive floor to ceiling windows and glazed lantern roof lights will bring in lots of natural light, while the warmth afforded by an orangery provides a more elegant alternative to a conservatory and offers the ideal place to relax, dine and entertain.

Can you use an orangery all year round?

The simple answer is yes!  A high-quality orangery will retain its heat during the winter and offer the perfect sunroom setting during the spring and summer months. It’s the ideal place to relax with friends and a cold drink in the summer – and to keep cosy and warm when the temperatures drop.

Do you need planning permission for an orangery?

Because an orangery is considered an extension to your property, you will need planning permission first before you build an orangery. You may be able to build under permitted development, which enables you to:

  • Build a single-storey side extension up to half the width of your existing property
  • Build a single-storey rear extension up to 4 metres in length for a detached dwelling, and up to 3 metres long for a semi-detached or a terrace property
  • Build a 3 metre two-storey rear extension (in certain circumstances).

However, as a rule of thumb, building regulations still apply and building control sign-off is required when building an orangery.

For more information on UK planning permission regulations visit the UK Government website.

What is the best flooring for an orangery?

Almost any flooring is suitable for an orangery.  However, as it will experience changes in temperature and receive a lot of foot traffic, it’s best to choose practical and hard-wearing flooring. Some options include:

  • Tiles – the design options are almost limitless. Porcelain tiles are available in plain, patterned, wood and stone effect, and in many shapes, colours and sizes
  • Vinyl – this versatile material has come a long way in the past few years and there are now several high-end luxury flooring manufacturers offering the option to lay the visual effect of wood, stone or tile flooring easily and at a fraction of the cost
  • Wood – works perfectly with a wood-based orangery or extension, however, changes in temperature could cause wooden flooring to expand, contract and warp and if the room temperature isn’t regulated
  • Stone – natural and cast stone orangery flooring are good options for orangeries as they create an elegant, natural and traditional effect. It is worth noting that this type of flooring should be etched and sealed to protect it from UV rays and changes in temperature. Our cast stone orangery flooring is available in a range of colours and is etched and sealed at the manufacture stage. Your flooring installer would then need to seal it on installation and our team can assist them with instructions for this.

Underfloor heating is a great idea as it will ensure your orangery flooring remains toasty warm during the colder months!

How much does an orangery cost?

This all depends on the size, scale, features and your preferred design. As a bespoke garden building, the price of producing and installing an orangery is on application. For more details about Haddonstone’s range of orangery options, contact our friendly and expert team to discuss your project and for an estimate.

 

Do orangeries add value to a property?

Just like adding an extension to your home, a high-quality orangery can add significant value to your property. In some cases, it can increase the value of your home by as much as a typical bricks and mortar extension. Whilst the cost of adding an orangery isn’t cheap, the practicality and long-term value of owning an orangery will outweigh the costs.

As a rough guide, a quality conservatory costing up to £10,000 could increase the value of your property by up to 10%.  So, adding a more ‘statement’ extension like an orangery will likely outperform this significantly.

Top tips when considering adding an orangery

As a significant project, choosing the right orangery design is paramount. Here are our four top tips when choosing your orangery:

Scale

Consider the balance between adding that much sought-after, additional living space to the home, and encroaching too much into your outside space and therefore decreasing the size of your garden.

Design

One of the most important choices you’ll make. Blend your orangery design and proportion with the architecture of your home for harmony and flow.

Materials

Always choose high-quality materials from reputable manufacturers.

Permission

Ensure you have the correct planning permission before you start and factor this into your budget.

 

Orangery Inspiration

Adding water features

Orangeries have always been used to grow plants and incorporating a water feature will transform your garden buildings into a calming, natural oasis. The simplest water feature to install is an electric-powered self-contained fountain that can be up and running within an hour or two.

Often a self-contained fountain requires little or no excavation work and will not need to be installed by a specialist. The beauty of these water features is that you can transfer them easily to another area of the home or garden.

A longer-term option is a wall fountain This will need to be installed with the help of a specialist water feature contractor and will require some excavation work. They can be retrofitted or incorporated into a new build design.

Read our guide to choosing the best water feature for your garden.

Which plants grow well in orangeries?

An orangery provides the ideal location for plants and shrubs of almost all varieties to thrive. Adding colour, texture and interest all year round, an orangery is the ideal location for keen gardeners and amateurs alike to create an oasis and bring the outside in.

Things to consider:

Ventilation

Prevent pesky pests and rot by ensuring enough ventilation. Leaving windows and doors open during the summer can be enough to keep the air flow circulating and preventing a build-up of moisture.

Humidity

Spraying glasshouse and orangery plants with water is a good way to increase nurturing humidity and keep their leaves fresh and healthy.

Temperature

Choose sun loving, heat tolerant indoor plants.

The best plants to grow in an orangery:

Citrus trees

From their early beginnings, orangeries have been used to grow orange, lime and lemon trees. These sun loving plants thrive in their warm, light environment and will provide with a zesty crop.

Lime ‘Tahiti’ is a small, seedless lime that will grow up to 6ft tall and is very productive.

Lemon ‘Garey’s Eureka’ will bear flowers all year round and offers a deliciously vibrant zesty punch.

Tropical

Don’t let the British weather’s reputation stop you from growing your favourite tropical fruits. The climate inside an orangery is ideal to grow pineapple, pears, kumquats, peaches and many other tropical fruits. Depending on the scale of your orangery, with careful tending, you could even grow a modest, fruit-bearing banana tree.

Kumquat ‘Nagami’ will grow well in an orangery and bears dozens of tasty fruits with sour flesh and sweet rind.
Banana ‘Musa basjoo’ is a hardy Japanese banana plant that can be grown in an orangery before being replanted outside once established. With striking foliage and creamy flowers that will bear small fruits after a few years.

Succulents and cacti

Some of the easiest plants that require very low maintenance. Choose from an almost limitless array of varieties that simply ask for a weekly top-up of water, but will reward you with plenty of vibrant colours, textures and interest.

‘Echeveria elegans’ is one of the UK’s most popular succulents as it works well both indoors and when planted in summer bedding displays outside. Its pale, rosette-like green-blue foliage has afforded its common name ‘Mexican snowball’.
‘Kalanchoe blossfeldiana’, or ‘Flaming Katy’ as it is more commonly known, is grown for its masses of bright flowers and glossy, dark contrasting leaves. Easy to grow, it will produce flowers and a slight scent for months.

Scented

What better way to enjoy your orangery than to fill it with the heady scent of herbs, jasmine, fuchsia, orchids and bougainvillea? Match these colourful plants with your interior scheme for effortless style.

‘Star jasmine Trachelospermum’, or ‘Star of Venice’, is an evergreen and highly scented white jasmine. A prolific climber, this very fragrant indoor variety produces masses of attractive, star-shaped flowers.
Bougainvillea ‘Pink Pillar’ is a good, hardy variety that can be grown indoors. Typical of Mediterranean and tropical climes, Bougainvillea requires at least five hours of sun, making an orangery the ideal location during the summer months.

For more information about designing your orangery, contact our friendly and experienced team.

 

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