06 Mar

How to use your orangery all year round: a seasonal guide

We take you through the four seasons of the year, showing you what makes a garden room such a unique addition to your home as the months go by.

By the very nature of its elegant design, a glazed extension should let your home and your garden merge together. Large, vertical panes of glass will flood the room with light and give you expansive views of the garden while you cook, dine or relax in your new extension. Our clients always tell us that, once they bring the outside in, they also invite the seasons in as well. 

Once you begin using your garden room daily, you become more connected to nature and the elements. Being so close to the outdoors, you develop an awareness of the weather and the light changing through the day. When it starts raining on the glass roof lantern, an enchanting patter sound makes you stop what you are doing and look up to the sky. When spring daffodils and primroses bloom, you are always the first to see them while you drink your morning coffee and look out over the frosty lawns and fields. Even in the stormy weather, a garden room can feel like a warm and cosy place to be. 

We design our garden rooms to be the heart of the home, adding value to both your property and, more importantly, your way of life. With an expected life span of 50 years, your orangery needs to be multi-functional, working for your needs as your family grows and your requirements change. It is fantastic how much usable space an orangery can add to your property, enhancing the way you use your interiors. Unlike poorly designed uPVC conservatories that overheat in the summer or feel chilly in the winter, our timber-framed garden rooms are comfortable and welcoming through all the seasons. 

Spring

April weather, rain and sunshine both together 

From picking Camellias and Bergenia blooms in the garden to sampling fresh spring greens at supper, this season is about celebrating nature with renewed vigour after the dark and dormant winter months. As your garden bursts forth with life, a glazed orangery is one of the best places in the house to enjoy it. This is the time of year when we notice that dawn starts a little earlier, and the evenings set in a little later than it used to. Sunlight seems warmer and brighter, complemented by a generous share of rainfall and the occasional storm. If the air is still a bit fresh for your liking, then you can feel warm, dry and cosy from inside your orangery, while you watch the new season beckon through the windows.

We recommend our clients give their garden rooms a small amount of maintenance on a biannual basis – once in spring and once in autumn. It requires less effort and is more cost-effective to treat your extension to a regular maintenance routine, than to potentially have replacements or repairs to deal with in the future. Our motto is to adopt a little and often approach and this will keep your orangery in top condition for years to come. 

Wait for a dry spell and take a stroll around your garden room. Check the structure over for any visible damage that may have occurred in recent storms, such as broken roof tiles or leaking rainwater pipes. You will also want to clear gutters from debris and check paintwork for scratches. Arrange for the glass to be cleaned by a professional – Westbury offer an exceptional cleaning service to all existing customers. For a more detailed description, please look at our spring home maintenance article, which you can find here

Summer

Mist in May and heat in June, bring all things into tune

The sheer spellbinding beauty of a British summer makes this the most pleasant time of year to enjoy your garden. This is when an orangery really comes into its own, as you open up your French or bi-fold doors to let your family go in and out, as they please. Leisurely days spent reading on sun loungers, hosting sunset drinks parties and eating picnics are fun for everyone, with access to your home close to hand, should those common summer rain showers occur

We use our expert understanding of glazed structures to design garden rooms that do not get too hot in the summer. The technologies we use when constructing the extension encourages a balanced temperature, so you can still comfortably spend time there even when the temperatures rise. Solar controlled glass is vital for south-facing extensions, as it reflects the solar heat away from the glass while reducing glare and heat build-up. As we all know, hot air rises – so our roof lanterns are fitted with automatic thermostatic vents that open when the room warms up. The warmer air draws up and out, creating airflow and helping to keep a temperate environment.  

Autumn

Now autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods, and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt – William Allingham

As the season changes and autumn creeps in, we start to make use of our homes and gardens differently. We do not make use of our garden as much, we cook hot meals more often, we shut the doors and windows, and we start to think about switching the heating on. When the weather turns wet, the roof vents detect the first drops of rain and close automatically, before everything gets a drenching. You do not need to worry about checking the vents before you leave the house – your garden room looks after itself.    

Towards late September or into early October is a great time to give your garden room another maintenance check so that it is well prepared for the winter ahead. Your paintwork will need a quick wash down with warm, soapy water to help protect it from organisms and bacteria. Check your flat roof and roof cappings, before the weather gets too cold and icy. Clear dropped leaves from hoppers and gutters to make sure they are not blocked. Give your heating a trial run, making sure everything is in working order so you can arrange for repairs long before it gets too cold. Here is our checklist of simple autumn maintenance tasks, which goes into more detail. 

Winter

Bounce buckram velvets dear, Christmas comes but once a year

‘Tis the season to gather with friends and family in the warmth, serve up comforting slow-cooked stews and settle on the sofa with a glass of vintage red. An open-plan space allows for large dining tables where everyone can sit together, and retreat to the seating area after dinner. At Christmas time, a large kitchen-diner orangery is ideal for hosting big meals and cocktail parties with neighbours. It will not matter if everyone stays in the kitchen, because everything is so close to hand.  

Underfloor heating is a highly effective way of heating your garden room during the cold winter months. Teamed with highly insulated walls and thermally efficient glazing, your extension will always feel toasty and welcoming while the night draws in. In addition to underfloor heating, many of our garden rooms and orangeries include an open fireplace or wood burner to help create a cosy atmosphere. A fireplace is a great way to separate different areas in a larger room, helping to define how your space looks, feels and functions. We would always recommend using a clean fuel if you have opted for a wood burner, to reduce carbon emissions.

Westbury are known for building well-designed, high-quality timber garden rooms and orangeries. Our glazed extensions will transform your home, adding space, light and style to your interiors. Contact us today to share your ideas in more detail with one of our designers, or you can also schedule a time to visit one of our showrooms in Essex or London.