Modern orangeries

An orangery is a garden building that provides a bright and sunny living space that is connected to a garden.

(Author: Westbury Garden Rooms)

Orangeries originate in the Renaissance period in Italy and became very popular in England from the 18th century. The boom in the emergence of orangeries sparked the technical development of clear glass production, which made glazing arcades possible. As the name suggests, orangeries were originally intended for wintering delicate timber and growing citrus trees. They saw a rise in popularity particularly in aristocratic settlements where they became a status symbol among the wealthy. Today they are incredibly versatile. They are used as swimming pools, summer houses, or dining rooms and form an impressive and stylish garden building that serves a function and offers a beautiful view

The appearance of an orangery has changed over time and they are now generally built as a glazed extension to your house or a standalone building in the garden. Its main feature is the large floor-to-ceiling windows that offer unrestricted views of the garden. Whether it’s constructed from wood or stone depends on the material of the original house. The building can also be completed with various details such as columns, pilasters, or ornamental end elements whilst the entrance can be completed with stone statues or flower pots. Orangeries are not only suitable for Georgian-style homes, but work great for any home. It just depends on the style and overall harmonisation you choose

(Author: Westbury Garden Rooms)

What’s the difference between an orangery and a conservatory?

An orangery is generally a sturdier construction with a partially rigid roof. It is more walled with windows running all the way up so that it offers constant unrestricted views of the garden. Unlike a conservatory, an orangery is more practical in the sense that it can be used all year round. An orangery is usually constructed with a larger proportion of walls, which holds the advantage of allowing for furniture such as kitchen cabinets to be placed all around the room. A conservatory features a garden room with its own entrance

Both traditional and modern orangeries have all the same advantages as a conservatory (i.e. plenty of sunlight, garden views, etc.) yet inside it acts as a natural extension of the original home interior.

Planning the construction of an orangery

You can invite an architect or a professional company to plan the construction of your orangery and the company will then assemble and deliver it to you. Every orangery building is assessed individually by the building authority and if you meet the conditions, you won’t need a building permit to build it. If your orangery is part of a larger project, entrust the design to your architect who will also help you with the engineering of the entire building.

What to remember when planning an orangery?

Match the materials with the original house

Pay attention to details such as roof inclination, colour schemes and window articulation. Try to adapt the new masonry as much as possible to the original house. Unify the frames and colour of the windows to complement existing ones.

(Author: Evolution Windows)

Build an orangery that is usable all year round

Deciding where to put an orangery depends on the size of the plot of land and the architectural layout of the house. First, you will need to make sure that the passage between your existing home and new space is natural. It is important to clearly define the purpose of your orangery. This will then dictate the size and shape of the orangery as well as how it’s used and where it can be accessed from. Ideally, the floor of the orangery should be level with that of the original house. Consider whether the orangery will be placed higher than the garden or have a direct exit to the terrace.

(Image credit: Westbury Garden Rooms)

Get the most out of your garden while maximising natural light

The main attraction of an orangery is its close connection to the garden. Most period-style outbuildings open through French windows. More modern orangeries can have a sophisticated system of fold-out walls that open the room directly into the garden.
Maximising sunlight and garden views is also very important, so whether you are planning an orangery in a contemporary or traditional style, consider the type of glazing. In both cases, a smooth transition from house to garden is possible and will help create the perfect room with all the benefits of the outdoors.

Choosing the right window frames will give you the perfect view

You can choose from aluminium, wooden or plastic frames. Besides being affordable, one advantage that plastic windows have is that they are maintenance-free. However, they are not suited for more traditional houses where they would come across as inauthentic. Traditional orangeries had metal windows. Today, we can recreate the popular classic style using subtle, aluminium frames that make it technologically possible to produce the same types of ornaments that were used on Victorian- and Georgian-style buildings. Another advantage is any coat of paint and special surface treatment that allow for maintenance-free use of the orangery. Wooden windows are versatile and are ideal not only for traditional houses. Oak frames look stunning and when untreated, will age beautifully. The advantage of wood is its excellent thermal insulation. Massive frames can be treated to prevent the formation of mould, mildew, and fungi. Without further treatment, they will last for 10 years. Some manufacturers offer composite frames that take advantage of both materials – aluminium on the outside for weather resistance and low maintenance and wooden on the inside to enhance the interior atmosphere.

If you wish to enjoy using your orangery all throughout the year, then you must ensure you have the proper glazing, ventilation and heating.

(Author: Westbury Garden Rooms)

Choosing a suitable glazing

When building an orangery that consists mainly of large glazed surfaces, the most important factor is choosing the appropriate glazing to fulfil the superhuman task of blocking excess solar energy from flowing inside the orangery and keeping the orangery warm on colder days. As for the different types of glaze, we now have many options to choose from. A good choice is a triple glaze with an inert gas filling in the cavity, which significantly reduces heat transfer in the cavity whilst a thin coating on the low emissivity glass surface reflects heat. Other window solutions may have a metal glass coating that creates a “heat mirror” – transmitting solar energy inwards and preventing it from leaking in the opposite direction. Multi-layer and insulating glass also serves to control sunlight and protect you not only from cold winters but also from overheating in the summertime. For maximum transparency, the glass should be as clear as possible. Safety glass will do the trick. The glass roof must also ensure a pleasant temperature all throughout the year.

By choosing the right lighting, preferably dimmed, you will prevent reflection in many glass surfaces. It’s also important not to forget about shading from intense sunlight. Easy-to-use window shades, mats and blinds work best. Trees provide natural shading. External shading is several times more effective than internal shading because it captures sunlight before it enters the room. This is most noticeable in the summer months on roof panels. When choosing a shading technique, it’s not only necessary to take into account specific solar conditions but also weather effects; and you must also consider whether you want both automatic and manual control.

Ventilating your orangery

To ensure that time spent in your orangery is a pleasant one, it’s important to have a well-designed ventilation system. You could use roof ventilation with a solar or automatic indicator light that can also include a rain sensor. Other options include installing mechanical fans or ventilators on the ceiling, installing an air conditioning system, or leaving ventilation holes in the façade. Cooler air is supplied through the lower air vents while superheated air is supplied through the upper air vents.

Heating your orangery

If your orangery is well-oriented and has good insulation, natural solar energy can compensate for the losses caused by artificial heating in bad times, so heating may not be expensive at all. For winter months, heated floors are the most practical heating method and don’t take up a lot of space. A great stylish addition is a wood-burning stove, which creates a pleasant atmosphere in the room.

Harmonising the indoor and outdoor spaces

By choosing the right plants for your orangery, you’ll create a smooth transition between the original building and the new construction. An orangery increases your level of comfort for family living, providing you with a pleasant and balanced indoor climate and, above all, an unlimited view of the garden whether it’s freezing outside or the sun is blazing.

We will gladly design this original and refined garden building for you and deliver it straight to your front door. We represent the English company Haddonstone, which has a rich experience in assembling orangeries. It produces columns and pilasters in a variety of styles and is able to produce elements that match your individual specification. Additionally, at Divine English Home & Garden, we will help you choose the right location for your building and arrange the interior of the orangery to meet your user and aesthetic needs. We design and produce custom kitchen or solitary furniture such as tables, dressers or sideboards. We also produce windows, doors and interior wall cladding so that you’ll get a complete orangery with all its furnishings in one place.