Conservatory and greenhouse: design ideas, inspiration & pictures

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Ideas and inspiration for conservatories

Canada’s passion about gardening and conservatories is well known. It is home to a number of public orangeries like Centennial Park, Muttart and Bloedel Floral Conservatories. Many a private dwelling is adorned with beautifully designed greenhouses as well. This craze of a carefully designed greenhouse is partly fuelled by its climate.

The continuous cold weather and snowfall are not conducive to the growth of tropical and semi-tropical plants. Avid gardeners do need to install a solarium in their respective gardens to plant and take care of many ornamental, fruit and vegetable plants.

Conservatory designs

A conservatory can be attached to the main building. It can as well be a standalone structure in the middle of landscaped garden. The changing face of architecture has also left its mark on the conservatory design. You will now see many contemporary glasshouses decorating the front or backyard of a building. Sometimes they are built to increase the living area of a small home as well.

Considering how supremely stylish a garden with sunrooms can be, it is quite natural that you too would like to have one built on your premises. Depending on the architecture of your building, you can opt for a classical, eclectic or modern sunroom. While classical styles tend to be more elaborate in nature, contemporary ones have more geometric forms dominated by clean lines.

You may plan conservatory designs based on the magnificent baroque homes of a bygone era or look forward to a more voguish style suitable for your contemporary home. You will also need to vary the size according to the available space. If you intend to use it as an added storage space and not exactly for preserving your exotic plant collection, then a relatively small conservatory can answer your needs.

Your orangeries can double up as a breakfast room, outdoor entertainment zone, studio or garden shed as well. Naturally, the design will be affected by your purpose for having it installed in the first place. You will find a variety of conservatory ideas here in homify. Feel free to take inspirations from the conservatory photos and apply them while designing your sunroom.

Ideal sites for greenhouses

Greenhouses must be built on a spot that enjoys generous amount of sunlight, but does not need to put up with high winds. Try not to place them under big trees. The shade will not help the growth of your sun loving saplings. While at work or resting, if you aspire for peace and tranquillity then do not have your orangery built near the main entrance. You will not have the necessary privacy either. This might be alright if you intend to use the space as a living room or occasional party zone.

Avoid building a glass house on a site that gets water logged. It will damage the structure and the plants inside. If that is the only place where you can think of building an orangery or installing a pre-fabricated one then you must arrange for proper drainage. Raising it on a ramp would also be helpful. Remember, you will need to arrange for plumbing and electrical fixtures. So select a spot where this can be done fairly easily.

Glass house flooring materials

Choices of flooring materials are no less varied than the interior of your home. Wood is a popular choice for many. If you have plans to use this space as an outdoor living room or studio, wood is going to be a more stylish option. High quality wooden floor is not affected by mould and mildew.

Concrete flooring is a cost effective solution. Both these options help to improve the drainage of your sunroom. You can use coloured concrete to spice up the conservatory interiors. Brick and flagstone retain heat very effectively. Gravel is used as a flooring material as well. Though it does not give as much comfort as wood or concrete, it can be an appealing choice for country style homes.

Organic compounds like sawdust, wood chips etc are sometimes used for this purpose. They are hailed for their eco-friendly nature. But until you change it frequently, they have a tendency to decompose over a period of time. This can pose a threat to the health of your plant species. It could be troublesome to overhaul the flooring at regular intervals too.

Choice of models

Instead of building from a scratch, you can easily buy a pre-fabricated structure for your home. You may also buy a diy kit available in the market and build an orangery according to your tastes and requirements. Our regular tips and tricks as well as charming green house photos will give you the necessary motivation to work on a project like this.

However, you will need to decide on a key factor before buying a pre-fabricated structure, building one with the help of the experts or trying your hands at it. You will have to decide whether a freestanding structure or a lean to orangery will be more suited to your requirements.

Freestanding conservatories are available in a variety of styles. They can be built on your preferred spot. Future expansions are relatively easier in this case. A freestanding orangery is built to get maximum amount of natural light. However, your arrangements for drainage, plumbing and electrical wiring need to be extensive, especially if it is built far away from the main building.

You will have to be prepared to tread the distance between your house and the conservatory even in rough weather. There could be a rapid loss of heat in colder part of the year in a structure built away from home.

A lean to structure, on the other hand, is easily accessible under all weather conditions. Arranging for proper insulation, plumbing etc are considerably easier in this case. You do not need to stress your budget to arrange the same at all. They can be used as an extension of your small house. However, they may suffer from a lack of adequate sunshine.

Conservatory interiors

Your choices will depend on your use of the conservatory interiors. The following options are applicable for those who intend to use it as an additional living space and to take care of a prized collection of exotic plants in the same space simultaneously.

You need to pay special attention to insulation and ventilation of the space. Monitor the interior temperature as closely as possible. Glaring light and inadequate ventilation may make the space suffocating for the inhabitants and unhealthy for the plants you are trying to preserve.

Try to make this space as versatile as possible. Bespoke conservatories are easier to extend. The same cannot be said for pre-designed structures, though there are manufacturers who can make such amendments in design at a future date. As any other feature of your home, you must choose a durable structure. It would be better not to simply focus on eye catching designs. Check the warranty on the various parts of a pre-fabricated structure.

Conservatories must have UV protection and the framework and glazing should be UV treated. Polycarbonate roofing provides better insulation and is more affordable, but glass roofs look better. You can have self-cleaning glass roofs installed here as well.

A living area will also need couches and chairs for a comfortable seating under the blue sky. Invest in chic cane, bamboo or rattan furniture. Handcrafted wooden furniture with a slight rustic appeal would also look great in a space like this. Wood or wrought iron pieces would be particularly suited for classically designed structures. Use cosy cushions to deck up the couch and the chairs. Buy cotton or canvas cushion covers that are better suited to withstand long exposure to the sunlight.

You will also need a small coffee or side table for this space. Keeping a few sculptural pieces will augment the beauty of this space. But try not to clutter this area with too many objects of décor. Besides, your choices of materials and decorative features should be very easy to clean and maintain. Doing otherwise will only increase the burden of your already busy schedule.

Lighting options for the conservatories

When it comes to lighting, sunrooms or orangeries have special requirements. Sunshine in itself may not always be sufficient for your indoor plants. Opting for fluorescent grow lighting is highly recommended. They do not increase the interior temperature. Their barely visible blue light tends to encourage bushy growth of the plants. It is generally believed that different shades of lighting have different impacts on the plants.

Full spectrum fluorescent promotes blossoming of the buds. High intensity discharge lamp can help with this as well. LEDs are more energy efficient and ideal for the conservatories being used as a living space. Proper lighting can also have a glamorising effect on the ambience. Design a structure that feels delightful to you and enjoy spending time in close association with nature.