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North facing garden? How to make best of it? Would you flip these rooms around?

(26 Posts)
Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 12:29:12

Renovating a v small bungalow for downsizers.

Currently lounge and kitchen are at the front (south facing) - "front door" is at the side and there are 2 beds to the rear which overlook a small north facing back garden....but without direct access to it - you need to go out the front/side door and in thru garden gate.

Thinking of flipping the rooms - so that kitchen and lounge are all at the back of the house and adding floor to ceiling doors for access direct to the garden -- was also thinking of cutting in skylights to these back rooms to bring in natural day light from above.....

But wondering if it will be worth the bother as will still be left with a small nth facing back garden....would you want to look out on to it? Is there anything you can do maximise its appeal....front garden is a boiling hot suntrap and current occupant often has patio table and umbrella there for that reason - but there is no privacy ... should I go for it?

Pannacotta Sat 20-Dec-14 12:39:26

Bedrooms often work better north facing as south facing bedrooms get too hot in summer.
It would also be very expensive to change the services needed for the kitchen and to add skylights.
Cheaper to improve access to back garden and/or create more privacy in the front if either is possible?
Pics would help if you have any?

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 12:55:10

Thanks Panna - sorry no pics available...

Back garden is never used currently as it involves going out the front/side door and down the side of the house - the only way we could improve access to the back garden with existing layout is by putting in a french door from one of the bedrooms....but this would mean walking thru a bedroom if you wanted to have a quiet cup of tea or read a book in private outside...which is less than ideal.

We could screen the front garden -- but as there is only one allocated parking space further along the cul de sac - I thought it would be better to apply for PP for off street parking in the front garden.

Not too worried about costs of skylights and moving services as we need to rennovate and it is in a v desirable area so would recoup I think -- but still concerned a small, overshadowed Nth facing garden is even woth having access to over looking?

addictedtosugar Sat 20-Dec-14 12:58:28

Our house faces N-S, tho with a south facing garden.

The better bedrooms are north facing - much easier to keep cool in the summer, and makes little difference in the winter as the curtains are drawn, or were at work! (weekends excluded).

Sitting room and kitchen face south, and are lovely, especially as they both have french doors into the garden (I know this wouldn't be possible). Dining room and study face north, and are fine.

Do you need the front garden for cars? Or could you add some privacy through trees or clever planting at the front?

Do you actually know how much sun the north facing garden gets? The houses opposite are OK - not brilliant sunshine, but they have some fab planting, and it does catch the sun at certain times. And the lower roof will aid that in the summer.

addictedtosugar Sat 20-Dec-14 12:59:46

Any way (suspect not!) of widening the side gate enough to have the car space at the back of the house, and then screen the front?

Pannacotta Sat 20-Dec-14 13:09:35

Oh I wouldn't use the south facing garden for parking unless you really have to.
You can make a north facing garden nice, it will be sunnier at the far end and as addicted says having a low roof will mean more sun than with a two storey house.
Is there no other way of creating access to back garden, ie change gate or move the door?

Pannacotta Sat 20-Dec-14 13:18:32

Any way of creating parking in the back garden? That would mak emore sense if possible...

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 13:28:03

Thx add & panna - Yes the back isn't too bad - remembering being there in the summer and it was bright as has low fences to either side - tho I would want to raise these for privacy.

There is no chance of getting car round the back - only a narrow only way to improve access now would be to put in french doors from the existing bedrooms....which is less than ideal - so thought that if going that far - why not just swap the room functions around?

If I moved the kitchen and lounge to the back - would adding large sky lights (it is a bungalow) to these rooms over-ride the negative nth facing aspect of these rooms?

Purpleflamingos Sat 20-Dec-14 13:28:04

We have a south facing garden (with off street) parking and a north facing garden. The north facing garden is lovely for about 5 months of the year in which time it's used 7am until 10pm. The rest of the year we park on the street and let the dc play in the south facing garden in the sun. You can make a north facing garden lovely, we have fruit trees, a vegetable patch, garden furniture, plus a trampoline, play house and toys etc. I wouldn't swap the layout. Our sitting room is south facing and is lovely. We are in there now with no heating on because the sun is streaming through the windows.

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 13:32:57

Thats a good point Purple - we could look to multi-purpose the sth facing from garden - as I said there already is an allocated bay -- I just think that downsizers will want to be as close to their front door as possible for security and access.,,,but as I said current tennant - lives alone and is always in the front garden passing time of day with neighbours on the cul-de-sac

Pannacotta Sat 20-Dec-14 13:49:15

I think it would be mad to change the rooms round simply to gain access as its lovely having a sunny kitchen/sitting room (am sitting in my sunny south facign kitchen now and its so warn and bright).
I would also think about having the front garden as parking and seating.
Gather you wont be living there?

BrowersBlues Sat 20-Dec-14 13:53:59

I wouldn't buy a house that didn't have a south facing kitchen and living room.

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 14:51:52

Thanks Panna - it will be for downsizers - so no I will not be living there....and think that they would appreciate an additional off street parking option so that they did not have to drag shopping across the cul-de-sac from their allocated bay, Seating is a good idea at the front - not sure how I would squish both in.

I think some out door privacy is important even if it is north facing - I think that neither access down the side of the house as currently or thru bedrooms are ideal - hence the swap idea.

But would large skylights - throwing down vertical light not make these north facing rooms bright and warm?

Spickle Sat 20-Dec-14 14:56:45

I have a very similar layout to the one you describe and I have no problem with sun in a north facing garden but I'm not overlooked so sun is in the garden most of the day, apart from the bit beside the outside wall of the property. I think it's lovely because there is shade if it's too hot. My bedroom is at the front of the property (south facing) and kitchen and dining room at the rear (north facing). We have created off-street parking on the front (south facing) and I can only see advantages from my previous house which had a north facing driveway. If it is icy/frosty/snowy, the drive (and cars) now clears much quicker than the north facing driveway. I had a problem with moss growing on my north facing driveway which I don't have on my south facing driveway. Similarly my bedroom is not too hot at all. The sun sets in the west so by early evening the sun has disappeared and the room is cool when I go to bed.

I wouldn't like not having easy access to the rear and I prefer a kitchen to be at the rear, so this would be a deal breaker for me. If you are renovating to sell on/rent out, I would be put off with your current layout. As a compromise, could you switch it so that lounge and kitchen are one side of the bungalow and the two bedrooms the other side, so that one bedroom is north, the other south. Then decide which is easier to move out of the lounge and kitchen so that one is at the front, the other at the back.

Spickle Sat 20-Dec-14 15:00:41

A builder friend of mine says a pitched roof with velux windows throw more light into a room than lantern style roof lights, but yes, I think you would easily gain more light by adding skylights.

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 15:06:28

Thanks Spickle - I think that not having access to the rear now or even if I created it thru bedrooms is really bugging me and I worry that that would put of other buyers as I am trying to get around it - currently it like living in an upstairs maisonsette --- the garden is just not used as you have to take your front door key and lock up just to have a cup of tea outdoors in I feel I need at address this...good idea to maybe keep sunny lounge which currently has french door on to sunny front garden but swap the kitchen/diner to the back and move bedroom to front - then think would make the best of the situation....!!

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 15:11:50

One other Q...if I am doing all this jiggery pokery -- would it look a lot better to move the "front" door from the side of the house to the front - it would then be central/double fronted with a window either side?

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 15:19:55

This house is exactly the same....

PeruvianFoodLover Sat 20-Dec-14 15:21:46

If it's for " downsizers" then I assume a mature couple living alone?

Nothing nicer, IMO, than French doors off a bedroom, for sitting out with a morning cup of tea - pottering in and out on a summers afternoon, letting the yorkie out for a wee in the night; loads of the retirement bungalows near me have that setup.

When friends/family visit, the side access can be used.

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 15:24:56

and the plan is potentially to extend a long narrow (6ft wide) extension from bed 2 - in which would put galley kitchen - vaulted roof lights and floor to ceiling glass doors which would then look west -

Spickle Sat 20-Dec-14 15:36:30

Central/double fronted with a window either side would look lovely, but depends on how much it would cost to move the front door and reconfigure the hallway compared to working with the current layout.

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 15:37:57

Yes Peruvian - would assume it would be a mature couple living alone - but would you not prefer to do that from your kitchen diner?

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 16:08:45

Think I have got it.... existing floor plan here....

1) Add pretty, small, conservatory type porch to centre and front to make it double fronted - this leads directly thru existing french doors to lounge, this stays the same - just block access to existing kitchen.

2) Swap bed 2 to existing front kitchen - create access from existing hallway which will become an internal lobby.

3) Fit kitchen in current bed 2 -- add big skylight and open completely up to garden and narrow extension to RHS with vaulted ceiling and sky lights for dining.

4) Create OSP and seating areas in sunny front garden.

LAST there any merit creating a further bedroom - which would be double for guests -- accessed directly off the end of the new dining room??

Somethingtodo Sat 20-Dec-14 16:09:24

existing floor plan here....whoops

addictedtosugar Sat 20-Dec-14 17:12:29

Just a thought on all the glass...
Our North facing rooms are MUCH colder than the south facing ones, both winter and summer. If you put in velux or similar in the roof, and so have no curtains, make sure they are a) very well fitted and b) the highest insulation rating you can find.

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