Monthly Archives: March 2013

An Alternative option to a Care Home for your Dependant Relatives [Infographic]

If you’re ever in the unfortunate circumstance of having to decide what the best option is for your dependant relatives, it is a diffcult decision. do you get home help? send them to a care home?

Gembuild may have the answer! We have built many garden rooms for the purpose of using them as a Granny Annexe.

We have put together this Infographic which shows the benefits to such an idea.

“Why a Garden Office is the Ideal Accommodation Choice for your Dependant Relatives”


Please comment, share and let us know what you think

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What Makes a Great Garden Office? [Infographic]

Recently, I was looking through some of my competitors websites and was alarmed to see the low building specifications they were offering!

I think its important the customer knows exactly what they are paying for, as I have found many lower quality buildings are no cheaper than the high spec garden rooms Gembuild are proud to produce.

For this reason I had the below Infographic created which compares a high specification garden office to a lower specification one.


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The Different types of Wood we use to build our Garden Rooms

Here at Gembuild we use three different types of wood cladding or external cover; larch, cedar and thermowood.

What effect does each have on the final building?  Where do they come from and how long do they last without needing to do any maintenance work?

We are surrounded by it, we have walked under it, we have known about it for as long as we can remember. We have sat on it, slept on it, burnt it and eaten from it. We have walked on it, put things in it and we have touched it. It is wood, it is lovely, it smells nice, it lasts, we love it.

No doubt we take wood for granted growing as it does whenever there is a clear patch of earth but what does the wood in your garden office have to say? What is the hidden story behind the bark?

Gembuild’s designs use larch, cedar and thermowood for the external cladding, which can be dyed in different colours.

Wood knots, grain and textures are generic, and vary with their climate and habitat but each unique giving the offices a natural and individual appeal.

Take the Siberian larch which having grown in arboreal forests with wintering temperatures of -50 ‘C has endured conditions that can be variable and uncertain. Yet, during summer, close to the Arctic circle, there is midnight sun on the tree tops but underneath, wild boar, red deer, bears and tigers endure harsh conditions.

This wood, once felled and treated, survives the Western European climate for up to fifty years or longer.

Or take the Canadian western red cedar, still sent down the Fraser river to the Strait of Georgia and the Vancouver harbour, floating under Lions Gate bridge, where lumberjacks for centuries felled the statuesque tree for its beauty and utility.

It has qualities that make it a practical option for the outer walls of your garden office, as well as a certain quality that means for the owner, less upkeep.

Our cedar cladding designs include the Neoteric, Rusper, Faygate. Warnham, Ockley and the Colgate.

Our third type of cladding is thermowood.  Although wood is good to go thermowood is especially chic at the moment.

It was no surprise that without courting controversy people wanted to further improve wood’s insulation properties using modern techniques while keeping it’s natural qualities.  No need to debate the natural credentials if you only treat it with water and steam.

So the increasingly popular thermowood, became part of a growing area of timber framed houses in the UK. The scale of their use shows it is now an acceptable building material

Thermowood is Scandinavian, infact it is manufactured in Finland. You can identify it because having been treated under tightly controlled conditions as it has a registered trademark, from The  International ThermoWood Association.

If you have this conditioned thermowood you can expect a better and more durable insulator, with a thermal conductivity reduced by at least 20%  so stopping heat escaping that much better.

This much you can know you don’t take too many risks when you choose wood cladding and each plank has a story to tell with a whole world behind it.

Incorporating an Outdoor Office or Room into a Garden Design

profile pic b&WThis week we spoke to RHS Gold medalist Melissa Jolly, who gave us her insight into the different aspects to consider when incorporating an outdoor office or room into a garden design.

Melissa has innovation at the heart of her designs but also a strong awareness of structure and balance. She is a designer who believes that a garden must have a sense of proportion and flow, which blends in with the house.  Additionally, the right aspect and everything has to be really practical for the modern busy lifestyle.

Melissa Jolly: “When I am asked to include an office or outdoor room into a garden design there are a couple of key points that need to be addressed from the start (aside from the practical issues of size, planning and specification).

MJ: Do you want to be able to see it and what will the room be used for? So to begin with, do you want to have the building on show or hidden?

MJ: This will depend on the size of the garden, and in most cases it will be difficult to hide a garden building in a small plot.  Therefore it is important that the building is designed into the layout of the garden.  It must integrate with the siting and style of the house.

MJ: However, also think of juxtaposition; often a very modern house could have a more traditional, rustic building nestled amongst the trees and grass, and equally a country house could have an ultra contemporary office with large glass windows looking back at the house.

MJ: Consider aspect: a little sun to warm the room up and flood the space with light is important but you do not want to have so much glare coming in that you can’t see your computer screen, or so that the office heats up like a conservatory.  Have doors and windows that open up fully in the summer months to make the most of being in the garden, and plenty of insulation in the building to keep it snug in winter – perhaps even with a log burning fire.

You will not make the most of the room unless is it comfortable to be in.

It is possible to soften the building once is it in place with the use of planting

Then, if you want to conceal the building it could be placed behind a timber screen or even a trellis or hedge.

MJ: Consider the finishing: Think about the finishing touches such as if the building will be left with its natural wood finish to grey down over time, or will it be painted or stained with a striking colour? That is, dark colours are a fantastic backdrop to the vivid greens of plants up against them.

MJ: Also consider the views: Think about the views from the garden building as well as the views of it.  Views of the garden can be calming or inspiring or energizing as you wish.

So that is one key point and the other is what the room can be used for:

MJ: For a Home office or music room, a kids’ play den or a general chill out room.

MJ: In most cases I would advise not placing it too far from the house.  That is, it

  • Needs to be convenient for all the necessary services: electricity, water and even soil waste for a toilet,
  • Also needs to be convenient for us to go out to.

MJ: The access must be easy: a path leading to it with steps if necessary to avoid having to walk across a wet/ muddy lawn and also to draw the eye down the garden.

MJ: The path should be well lit so access is possible at all times of the day (don’t forget how early it gets dark in the winter months).

A pergola along the path also helps to create interest and draw the eye towards the garden room.

MJ: Something else important is to be aware of security because offices and music rooms will contain expensive equipment and could be an easy target for burglars.  To address this, think of installing a PIR light, which will go on if anyone approaches the building, or of placing the building so it can’t be seen from outside the property.

Melissa Jolly grew up being taken by her architect mother around different building sites.  As such Melissa realises that the mood of a garden can be altered by considering the different points outlined.

To bypass the changes in contemporary styles why not try to have something that suits you personally perhaps you will find that these will turn into timeless qualities?