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The earliest orangeries from the 18th Century were grand structures designed for leisurely strolls amongst exotic plants, palms and orange trees. Designed to be an area of contemplation for a family picnic or serious botanical study.

They differed from conservatories in that the designs complimented the Great House with tall Georgian Windows and stone columns whilst the conservatory would be entirely glass often in soaring architectural designs. The more standard structure of the orangery enabled a more even temperature to be maintained and thus plant management was improved.

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Nowadays there are more modest ambition. Unless you are super rich and famous then an orangery at least in style and spirit is available to enable a small portion of elegance to be attached to your home. Usually located to the rear of the house overlooking the garden the basic structure is designed to either match the fabric of your home, perhaps in matching brick or render, or alternatively as a statement to stand out. There are a wide choice of materials available. Orangeries are usually regular in shape, square or rectangular, they may be placed in isolation on the rear or side elevation of the property, perhaps in the corner of a ‘L’ or ‘T’ shaped return, or on a ‘wing’ as we used to say, or even free standing as a garden room detached from the house.

This impressive early 19th Century Orangery at Belton park is still in great working order.

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Once you have chosen your preferred location and thought about a suitable size, consider the requirements of planning consent on size, style and position in relation to the overall design. Georgian windows had small panes due to the limits of glass production, luckily we now have the technology to offer large unbroken surfaces of high specification glazing that enhances the performance and appearance of doors and windows. So you can now plan your orangery with the only restriction being size and shape. You may choose to put bi-folding or sliding doors in any elevation, matching windows where appropriate or even one elevation with a solid wall adjacent on which furniture, lighting, and pictures may be placed.

This modern orangery looks fantastic against this traditional house and revolutionises the use of space and garden.

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The roof treatment is unique to orangeries in that the roof lights (or skylights) give even light overhead, cutting down on overheating and direct sunlight. Dependent on your roof surface area you may choose to have a simple larger skylight or perhaps two or three smaller ones. Otherwise the flat roof would need to be constructed to approved structural standards to support the skylight which may, if you wish, have vents to allow ventilation on the hottest days, these may be manual or automated.

Here’s a typical modern orangery roof with a set of large sliding doors in the background.

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The cost of an orangery are usually in line with any extension to your home or conservatory. The build costs may be a little higher due to the nature of the construction materials however the roofing and glazing costs may well be less. What you do gain is a multi-purpose room. You can of course grow exotic plants, or stroll around at your leisure but it is a space to live in all year around and will certainly add to the value of your home.

With minimal fuss an Orangery can be matched to the existing architecture of your home whether it is traditional or modern.

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An orangery can be tailored to the space you have available. With the advantage of a large garden you can open two, or even three walls, to take bi-folding or sliding doors. Smaller spaces on terraced houses for example can usually accommodate a skylight and at least one feature wall to accept a set of doors. Optionally you may prefer a large window. In the instance that you want privacy from the side boundary a solid wall provides a great backdrop for plants, artwork or perhaps somewhere to sit and watch the birds in the garden.

Bi-folding doors on two walls in this orangery can be fully opened on warm days.

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