Optimised Outbuildings

Feature by Maria Stokes

Custom outbuildings have become the hot trend over recent years. Before covid, we certainly saw the odd impressive outdoor construction in our vendor’s gardens, however, over the last couple of years the number of garden outbuildings has risen significantly.

Many of these outbuildings have been installed or renovated to accommodate vendors working from home during the pandemic. However, as people have begun to return to workplaces, we are now seeing how many are turning their outbuildings into fun spaces, such as garden bars, games rooms or even cinema rooms, to be enjoyed by all their family and friends.

So, what is an outbuilding?

An outbuilding is an extra structure outside your home, it could be anything from an existing dis-used brick-built store or barn, to a newly erected log cabin with double glazing! If you already have a building on site and you’re pretty handy when it comes to DIY, then you could certainly re-purpose an old shed, detached garage, store or barn into a fabulous and fun space, incorporating heating and lighting to create an additional room that’s usable away from your main house.

Alternatively, if you are working with a blank space, you could instruct a specialised company to install an outbuilding complete with things like windows, doors, insulation, fittings and fixtures.

What’s the best way of using an outbuilding?

Now that hybrid working is more common than ever, many homeowners are enjoying their outbuilding as a work-from-home space. Situated away from the main home, an outbuilding can provide a dedicated space, away from the noise and distractions within a family home, in which to create an ideal space to concentrate. It can also be locked up at the end of the day as you return to the main home for family life and it certainly beats the old work commute when your office is situated a short walk away at the bottom of your garden!

But there are all sorts of ways you could use an outbuilding, such as;

Bar/Home Pub

Games Room

Cinema Room

Home Gym

Art/Hobbies Room


Think about whether you’ll want to use your outbuilding throughout all seasons or if it’ll mainly be used during the warmer months of spring and summer. This will help you to decide whether you need to incorporate a heating system and insulation for the colder times of the year. We’ve even seen some outbuildings with a feature log burner!

Will I need planning permission?

We’d always advise discussing any plans with your local authority’s planning department before building anything. Regulations limit everything, from height and size, to whether more than one person will be working inside. Generally, an outbuilding cannot be; more than one storey high, be situated to the front of your property, use more than 50% of the space you have available or function as an annexe or sleeping space.

You will need to know what permission is required, both to construct the outbuilding and to include in documentation when you come to sell your property in the future. An outbuilding you didn’t get planning permission for could be a major liability when it comes to selling.

Will an outbuilding add value to my home?

It could, but it depends on several things. The job must be done well. Cheap materials, shoddy workmanship or poor upkeep could mean your outbuilding becomes more of a burden during a sale rather than an incentive. A good outbuilding is likely to be valuable in a sale, but remember, a decent structure will cost a substantial amount of money. There is the cost of the building itself, delivery and the labour to erect, plus the price to outfit the building internally. You will need to consider power supply, lighting, heating, insulation, possibly plumbing and even insurance – which means incorporating security and fire safety measures. This could ultimately create a total spend of tens of thousands of pounds.

So yes, an outbuilding could add value to your home if done well, but at such a big cost, you should focus on what you would enjoy most from an outbuilding while you still intend on living at the property. However, we would not advise purchasing an outbuilding simply to help sell your property for a higher price, as you may not achieve the full return on your investment through your house sale.

Once you do look to sell your property, look for an estate agency that can match you with buyers looking for the kind of space you have created. It could be someone looking for a home office space, a film fanatic wanting a cinema room, someone who loves to entertain family and friends, or even somebody who’d like to create their own beauty salon in the garden!

Here at Arden, we listen to what our clients want out of their new home and we make notes, and because all of our offices are interconnected, we are able to introduce people from around the whole region to your property.

For more information or to book a Free Valuation, contact your local Arden Estates office.