How to build an eco-garden room

How To Build An Eco-Garden Room

See how to build an eco-friendly garden room and chose materials from sustainable sources

How to build an eco-garden room

With space at a premium and people spending more time at home, the demand for garden offices and garden rooms have increased. 

They have multiple uses, whether it’s for relaxing, a work-out space or a home office and they offer that much-needed increase in square footage, which depending on the quality of the build, can increase the value of your property.

So how do you build an eco-garden room?

The most important thing you need to do when building an eco garden room is use materials from sustainable sources such as timber or recycled bottles for the structure; Hemp, sheep or cork insulation for the walls, floors and ceilings and solar power and green roofs for a water and power source.

There are also, other considerations you will need to make such as deciding if you want a toilet inside and the interior design once your eco-room is built, which we will discuss in more detail in this article.


  1. Sustainable materials 
  2. Insulation for Walls Ceiling Floor
  3. Water Source and Plumbing
  4. Power 
  5. Compostable Toilets
  6. Interior Furnishings

  1. Sustainable Materials 

There are several different materials suitable for building the structure of an eco-friendly garden room, depending upon the size and your requirements.  

Whether it’s being built and supplied by an external company or being designed and built by yourself, the most eco-friendly materials are: –

FSC Sustainable Timber 

FSC sustainable timber is grown and cut from managed forests.  The certification ensures that the timber meets the highest environmental and social standards, allowing consumers to be confident that the wood has come from a responsible source. 

Upcycled Timber 

It is possible to make an eco-garden studio from recycled materials. I have seen garden rooms made of pallets and timber destined for landfills e.g floor joists, floorboards. 

In Alaska, students are taught a method called “Cordwood Masonry” (1) this method utilises short lengths of timber combined with sawdust and mortar, to create a “wooden” building block effect, often utilising old telegraph poles which allows for totally unique structures.

Recycled Plastic Wood 

Recycled Plastic wood is a new product created and manufactured in the UK by a company called “EcoPlastic Wood”. (2)

The company manufactures eco-friendly garden offices and studios as well as other products, made from 100% recycled plastic waste and plastic bottles. As well as being fully recyclable and eco-friendly, these structures have the additional benefit of being fully waterproof and requiring very little maintenance. 

2. Insulation (Walls, Floor & Ceiling Insulation)

If you want to use your garden room all year round insulation is a must. You will want to keep it cool in the summer months and warm in the winter.

EcoHomes Multifoil insulation (3) is one of the best insulations for garden offices. It is eco-friendly as well as being suitable for insulating the roof, walls, and floor.  Its thin, flexible, and easy to install whilst providing a high performing vapour control layer. 

Other types of eco-friendly insulation include natural sheep’s wool, cork, or hemp insulation.  

These may require additional vapour layers and breathable membranes fitted to reduce the warm moist air passing through the building and becoming trapped in the fabric of the building leading to rot and mould growth. 

Windows and Doors

Don’t forget about the windows and doors, if your eco-friendly garden room is to be used as a home office or for more regular usage, the thermal performance and ability to keep out draughts needs to be considered.  Many companies can supply double or triple glazed multi-locking point doors and windows to provide security and provide additional insulation. 

Living Roof 

One point to consider is the roof, one way of providing additional sound and heat insulation is to have a living roof.  This environmentally friendly roof is an ideal way to incorporate more greenery into your property if you live in an urban area. 

Living roofs can be planted out with sedum, or plants and vegetation specifically designed to attract the bees and butterflies.  Not only does it look attractive, but it also provides water buffering, air purification, and encourages biodiversity.

Having a green roof provides a heat regulating effect in the summer, whilst the additional substrate provides a thicker layer than a standard garden roof, providing an additional insulating layer for winter. 

An added benefit of the green roof is its sound-insulating qualities, which are said to reduce sound resonance by 3dB and provide sound insulation of up to 8dB. (4).  This can be very handy for people living in busy areas, reducing the sound of traffic, and helping to provide a peaceful environment. 

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3. Water Source 

Green roofs are ideal for wetter climates as they absorb up to 70% of the water that falls on them.  With the remainder of the rainwater run-off, this can be drained and conserved in water butts and used to water the garden.

If you are wanting to have a fresh supply of drinking water in your eco-garden room, it’s important to do your homework. A mains water supply may facilitate the need for planning permission so check with your local council. 

One way of negating the need for planning permission, so you are not endlessly traipsing backwards and forward to the house, is to install a water cooler. There are several companies that supply eco-friendly water dispensers.  These can provide fresh drinking water without taking up too much space and don’t require main connections. 

4. Power 

Depending upon your usage and your requirements, getting power into your garden room is an important consideration. 

If you are using your eco-garden office for 8 hours a day, your power requirements are going to be a lot greater with the need for laptops, printers, lighting, heating, and powering a kettle and/or mini-fridge.

If you are only using your eco-pod garden room as a yoga workout space, the power consumption will be a lot less.

Planning permission isn’t required to run full mains electrics from the house to your eco garden studio, but they must comply with Part P Building Regulations.  

The electrical works should be carried out by a qualified electrician who will test the system and provide an Electrical Installation Certificate and register the information with Building control. 

For an eco-friendlier alternative, there are several companies who can supply solar panels and solar power stations in a variety of costs and sizes to power appliances and these are worth investigating and exploring depending upon your personal usage.

If your budget allows utilising a mixture of solar and mains electrics can satisfy all your power consumption requirements and will cover all eventualities. 

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5. Compostable toilets

An additional convenience worth considering in your eco garden room is a toilet.  There are several eco-friendly toilets available, marketed as Waterless Toilet, Dry Toilets or Composting Toilets.  

Modern compostable toilets, look like normal indoor toilets, but rather than connecting to the mains waste-water system, they have collecting tanks where the solid and liquid can be collected and the canisters emptied at regular intervals. 

Some systems allow for the waste to be separated, the urine filtered down into an odourless liquid, and the solids either composted down or incinerated into ash.  All the waste by-products can then be safely composted to be used as either fertiliser or compost for the garden on your non-edible plants. 

Be aware that some composting toilets do require a power source to be able to run fans and vents to direct the stale air and reduce the smell that can be attached to toilets. 

6. Interior Furnishings

Once your eco-garden studio is built, attention can be given to the interior. Whether it’s being used as a home office and needs to be kitted out with a desk, computer, and storage paraphernalia or as a relaxing tranquil space to get away from the pressures of modern life.  

If you are not utilising existing furniture, an eco-friendly way to kitt out your new eco room, is to give a new home to unwanted furniture that still has life left in it.  Carrying out local searches in charity shops or on Facebook Marketplace can unearth some real gems. 

This utilises existing furniture at sometimes little cost, saving it from landfill and with a lick of paint and a little inspiration, you could make a totally unique beautiful interior for your new eco-garden room/home office.

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Key Takeaways

Time spent at the beginning of the build getting a design in place is one of the most important steps to creating an eco-garden room.  It is vital that you spend time looking at your personal wants and needs as well as considering your local council’s planning permission and permitted development requirements.

With a little planning on how you will use your garden space and some ingenuity, you can build an eco-garden room that is not only attractive and functional but also eco-friendly. Adding value to your home as well as providing the additional space required for modern living, without compromising on quality or impacting too much on the environment.