Orangery Conservatory Designs and Features
Orangeries have long been considered by some as used only for grand mansions or stately homes, but that’s a long way from the actual situation.
Whilst it may be true that Orangery conservatories are more complex in design than a typical conservatory, there are many examples of modern orangeries that can suit all types of homes.
It may be that you already know all you need to know about orangeries, and all you want is a price guide, you can see some example orangery costs later in the article.
But, if you are not sure in which direction to go, or even not convinced if an orangery is what you want, then this guide should be able to answer a lot of your questions.
Here’s what we will cover in our 10-point guide to orangeries.
- What is an Orangery?
- What is the difference between an orangery & conservatory?
- Orangery design options. What are the popular styles?
- Which is the best type of orangery: Wood, Aluminium or UPVC?
- How much do orangeries cost?
- Roof options for orangeries.
- Window & Door options.
- Cooling & Heating your orangery.
- Planning permission for an orangery.
- How to compare prices and get a better deal?
1 So what are Orangeries?
An orangery, these days, is used primarily as an extension to the home. Not quite a full-blown bricks & mortar extension, but more substantial than a conservatory.
You will find orangeries with a lot more columns and pillars in the side sections than you get with a conservatory, but very rarely with completely solid sides like a conventional extension. Whilst the typical brick home extension can be the full height of a 2 storey (or higher) property, an orangery will be found only as a single storey room.
What you have in an orangery, is the perfect middle ground between glass conservatories and solid conventional extensions.
2 What’s the difference between a conservatory and an orangery?
There are ways to tell orangeries and conservatories from each other quite simply – and the 2 things that can easily distinguish one from the other are:
- The roof design.
- The amount of glass.
One of the other major “give-aways” is the area where the roofline meets the sides of the room.
A conservatory roof visibly extends to the very edge of the meeting point with the sides ,and you will also be able to see the rainwater gutters fixed at that point where the roof and sides meet.
Orangeries, on the other hand, will always have a substantial fascia & soffit built at the edge of the roofline, very often with the rainwater gutters hidden above and behind the fascia. Said to be originally of Roman origin, sometimes referred to as the entablature which are horizontal moldings that sit on top of columns.
One point of note, is that potentially an orangery may need planning permission in order to be built, always check with your designer, installer, or local council beforehand.
Planning permission is almost certainly going to be needed if:
- you can see your orangery from a public highway (maybe you are building on the side of a corner plot).
- you will be using more that 50% of the land around your home (including previous extensions).
- you live in a listed property, conservation area or AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty).
You can find more information about planning permission here: UK Planning Portal
3 Orangery Design Options
Even though Orangeries are individually built to the preferences of the individual customer, it does not mean that design options cannot be influenced in much the same way as for conservatories. Whether you are looking for something modern or period, an orangery can be adapted to the situation at hand.
Here are a few of the more popular styles of orangery:
Georgian & Victorian Orangeries
These design styles are quite similar in many respects, both being “period” rooms. Based on the architectural influences during the time of Queen Victoria and King George IV. Both are quite ornate in their outer appearance.
Victorian and Georgian orangeries feature ornamental decoration and are most often seen with small paned glass sections – these glass dividers have adopted the name Georgian bars.
Sash type windows combined with French doors also are favoured for this design and are very often seen in classic Victorian or Georgian type orangeries.
This style of orangery takes it design cues from the reign of King Edward 7th of England and, whilst still classed as one of the period style rooms, Edwardian orangery designs are usually less ornate than Georgian or Victorian.
Featuring lots of full length glazing without the use of Georgian bars or dividers, the Edwardian style of orangery developed to take advantage of as much natural light as possible.
Whilst you can see them with sash windows, you can also see examples that make use of awning style casement windows.
Edwardian conservatories work equally well with French doors (albeit without the classic mullioned panes) and bifold doors.
The word contemporary is used to describe a lot of things, but when used in conjunction with modern orangery designs it is quite appropriate as it means “belonging to, or occurring in, the present”. The present trend for contemporary orangeries is to move away from the ornate to the more streamlined and “stripped-back” appearance.
This approach often manifests itself in clean lines, large amounts of glass, even to the extent of using a moving “glass wall” approach. By widespread use of slimline Bi-folding doors, that when opened leave the room absolutely wide open, it can almost completely merge the garden & orangery into one – this effect is even more pronounced if two adjacent of the sides of the room use the moving glass wall approach.
This style seems to have moved away from the extended use of wide brick sections and more towards featuring pillars which make the inside of the room much lighter. That’s not so say that you don’t see contemporary orangeries using exposed brick, just less of it.
Darker colours also seem to be making inroads into this style. Whilst white does feature in a significant proportion of orangery designs, you can see a lot of orangeries in light grey, dark grey, black or black/brown – I think darker colours make the room look more imposing.
Before you decide to run out and order a brand new contemporary orangery design, you need to be aware that for a really good quality example you are going to need quite a healthy budget, with some of the top designs coming in at well over £50,000 to £80,000.
Overall Appearance & General External Finishing.
For solid walling sections, pillars and columns, in fact any brick or block construction, why not look at using something other than just bare brickwork?
There are many options for external renders. These surface finishes can have quite a dramatic effect on the way your orangery will look.
“Olde-worlde” lime renders look great, but some of the modern wall coating products that are made from cement & silicone / polymers can be produced in around 50 colour alternatives. The coloured renders don’t need painting, which is a big “plus”.
Some external wall surface render finish options.
- Monocouche Renders (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monocouche_renders )
- Basecoat Renders
- Topcoat Renders
- Stipple Coats
How about making use of cladding? Using timber or uPVC cladding around the fascia can add some “drama” or style to your orangery extension
There are some great timber cladding options to think about, for use just to accent a particular section, or even to clad the whole room.
- Pine, Spruce, Birch.
- American White Oak, European Oak, Sweet Chestnut. (Temperate hardwood).
- Iroko, Meranti, Idigbo (Tropical hardwood).
- European Larch, Siberian Larch, Douglas Fir.
Those are just some of the options for timber cladding that can be found in the market.
4 What Type of Orangery Should I Build – Timber, UPVC or Aluminium?
All three of these materials have their own unique properties and, quite importantly to many, their own price range. As the primary material used in the frames of the room, you could expect UPVC orangeries to be in a lower price bracket than both Aluminium or timber.
- UPVC is relatively inexpensive to produce and is very popular for use in conservatories and double glazing. It does not have quite the same structural strength as aluminium or timber. Therefore you will very often have to use galvanised steel reinforced profiles for longer spans.
- Timber comes in 3 forms: Natural softwoods, Hardwoods and engineered timbers. Natural softwoods need to be well looked after to gain the longest lifespan. Hardwoods also need care but can last a very long time indeed. Engineered timber is virtually a softwood with the properties of hardwood. The way it is manufactured from a cross grained laminate of wood, cuts down enormously on the expansion and contraction. It can be made into long spans or even intricate shapes giving it a huge versatility.
- Aluminium is both light and strong. Many aluminium frames are much slimmer than timber or UPVC, allowing bigger glazed sections – more glass, less frame. The colour range is fantastic (over 150) and it can be surfaced with a timber grain.
Many will say you can’t beat a solid hardwood conservatory, but engineered timbers can virtually replicate any wood finish. However, an Oak conservatory is likely to be in the higher price Bracket.
Modern aluminium frames work exceeding well in orangery designs, but once again, occupy a higher price band.
UPVC is cost effective, has a decent colour range (about 20) and can be finished with a timber-grain effect. For practical purposes, it looks good and is priced lower than aluminium or wood.
5 So, how much will an orangery cost?
Here is a guide to what you could expect it to cost for a new orangery conservatory.
There are quite a few considerations to be taken into account when pricing.
- First and foremost, there is going to be the cost of the building.
- Secondly there will be internal fittings to consider, like floor coverings (tiles. wood. carpets etc.), lighting, power & heat.
- Finally, you need to consider the costs of any furnishings needed, not forgetting items like curtains or window blinds.
For the purposes of this price guide, we are looking at the first element, how much it could cost to build an orangery without fitting it out, but don’t overlook the pricing impact of the other two aspects.
Orangery Price Guide
6 What type of roof options are there for orangeries?
The classic design for an orangery is one of combining a flat roof with one or more lantern style glass sections. But as with most home extensions of this nature, people like to do things differently sometimes.
The pictures show single raised sections, but there is nothing to say that you can’t use 2, 3, or even 4 smaller ones if you have the room to do so.
The amount of glass used in the roof is up to you. Of course, the less you use, the less natural light you will get coming in (see picture below to illustrate). You can compensate for some of the lack of overhead light by increasing the amount of glass in the sides of the room.
Double Glazing is obviously recommended for use in the glass areas of the roof. Preferably toughened. Self-cleaning glass is a really useful option to save you getting up on top, or paying cleaner to get up on top, to clean the glass (Pilkington have a great product).
7 Window & Door options.
Windows and doors are an integral part of the design. Not only in terms of visual impact, but also in terms of safety & security.
Safety: There are UK building regulations covering the use of glass. Broadly, if the glass is in a high traffic area, is close to a door, in a full length glass door or comes within a certain distance of the floor it must be toughened safety glass. You could “upgrade” by using laminated glass, but it will be more expensive.
Energy Efficiency: So, there is a lot of glass, not as much as a regular conservatory, but still a lot. This means you are going to need a way to control heat loss, heat build-up & heat loss.
Firstly, about heat: Keeping your orangery warm or keeping it cool can prove impossible with single glazing. So fit double glazed windows at the very least.
28mm sealed, gas filled double glazed units are the most efficient in the range, but any unit 20mm or above can perform adequately. Adding gas into the unit can lower the heat (or cold) transfer dramatically. For example, Argon has only 67% of the heat conductivity of air, and Krypton and Xenon can have as little conductivity as 50% of Argon.
Secondly, trickle vents should be included in the frames here and there, to help eliminate condensation. Roof vents are also very effective at ventilation. You can have manual or mechanically operated versions of roof vents.
The same building regulations apply to doors in terms of sealed units and toughened glass.
Security is provided by means of the double glazing itself, which is much tougher to break than single glazing – add laminated glass and that level of security goes up a lot.
- Multi-point locks are fitted to both doors and windows as a means of keeping unwanted guests out.
- Sliding doors are fitted with anti-lifting devices and all the glazing is fitted and beaded from the inside.
- Most opening windows will have internal key locks.
- 3 or 5 lever locks fitted to doors which are Anti-pick, bump & Snap resistant.
Orangery door design
The most popular door for a truly classic or period orangery, is probably the French Door. French doors work well with period designs as they can match and enhance the ornate nature of a period conservatory.
More contemporary orangery designs make use of big patio doors, like inline sliding or Bifold patio doors. Bifold doors work exceptionally well with modern minimalist orangery designs, allowing a huge opening to be created, helping to blur the line between the interior of your orangery and your garden.
Much use of bifold patio doors is being made in the latest trend in orangeries, which is fast becoming regarded as a “moving glass wall”. If you have a full width set of bifolds, then when you open them it is literally creating a moving glass wall – great exterior views when closed, and creating massive clear entryways when opened.
- This image shows an excellent example of using bifolds and is from https://www.hehku.co.uk/orangery-house-extension#&gid=1&pid=2
8 Heating your orangery.
Giving consideration to how you are going to keep your orangery at a comfortable temperature during the UK’s long, cold autumn and winters is best done early on in the process.
You could of course opt for some form of mobile heating, such as electric or gas heaters, but they tend to get in the way, don’t spread the heat around too effectively and can be a bit pricey to run.
The other option that has been around for a long time is to fit central heating radiators around the room. Regular designs, bespoke designs, low level designs are readily available in the market.
However, it could be well worth considering underfloor heating as it has a few advantages over both of the previous options.
- It does not take up space in the room like a radiator or mobile heater.
- It spreads heat evenly across the whole room.
- No “cold feet and hot head syndrome”.
- Energy efficient.
- Wet or dry systems (electric cable or water pipes underfloor).
The only slight drawback is that it’s not “instant heat”. It will take a bit of time to warm up and to cool down).
9 Planning permission for Orangeries
It’s often said that it’s possible to build an orangery without planning permission, and that it true to a certain extent.
If you have a listed property, live in a National Park, Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), for sure you are going to need to consult with the local planners about your project.
However, there are Permitted Development Rights and a general Development Allowance for properties usually from your local planning authority https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
Your permitted development rights are bound by rules and so it’s not automatic that you can build without planning permission. See more on the https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200130/common_projects/10/conservatories
To make sure you get it right, take the time, not only to have a detailed discussion about planning with your installer, but also take the time to get in touch with your local authority planning department for guidance.
If you are not sure, don’t start building any extension until you know what’s needed. It is potentially possible to get retrospective planning permission, but it’s not a simple task. If you make a mistake, in the worst case scenario, the council can make you demolish the building entirely.
10 How to compare orangery prices and get a better deal.
Well, you could always dig out the yellow pages or look thru the Thompson local (if it’s still in print) and start phoning around. Maybe you can go to Yell online and look for orangery installers and then call them one-by-one for a quote.
Or you could do it the simple and quick way by using a service like ours. Our access to a Nationwide network of professional installers means that we can bring the experts to you.
All you need to do is send us a few basic details about your project and we will arrange for as many quotes as you like from independent and accredited installers.
If you have a minute or two to spare, because that’s all it takes, simply click the link below to go to our quotes request page – once you have done that, just sit back and relax because we take care of the rest.
Compare orangery quotes at the click of a button.