Extending into a small garden(26 Posts)
We live in a 3 storey town house. Small 4th bedroom (used as playroom) , toilet and large kitchen/diner downstairs. Large lounge, full bathroom and 3rd bedroom (used as office) on the middle floor, and 2 large bedrooms and full bathroom on the top floor.
The garden comes off the kitchen at the back of the house and is about 6mx10m ish. We have 6x3m patio and the rest is lawn. I want to extend over the patio to have a downstairs lounge, then the current middle floor lounge could be a big 4th bedroom.
DH thinks that it will make the garden far too small. I don't think it matters as there is a huge green at the front of the house, so if the kids need somewhere bigger to run around, they can go in, what my 3 year old refers to as, the "big front garden"
Would you extend and sacrifice a chunk of the garden to get all of the living space downstairs?
It depends how long you'll be there for I think, if you're moving in the next 10 years I probably wouldn't as you might find it difficult to sell/house might loose some value. If it's a house for life then I would do what worked for my family. Could be worth getting estate agents to value house before work and post work, then when you get builder quotes you can see if the numbers stack up.
Can you see the front garden easily from the sitting room or kitchen? Is it safely fenced in? If not and you are going to sell to a family with younger children it could be an issue.
Redial - do you not think people would rather buy a house with a downstairs lounge, extra bedroom and a small garden, or an upstairs lounge with 1 less bedroom and an extra 3m of garden?
Have got an estate agent coming round on Wednesday so hopefully they will be able to give me a bit more of an idea!
Singasong, you can't see it from the kitchen but you can from the playroom. We have a small front garden which is fenced off with a little table and chairs. At the minute, if my 2 are playing out the front, I sit there with a drink. The back garden is all fenced it and would be around 6x7m.
We are on the outskirts of a city so while our garden will definitely be small, we are not in an area with big gardens to begin with. We are on a new build estate. Lots of 3 storey and narrow houses. Most gardens are the width of the house and about 10m long.
We bought a house that had been extended leaving it with a small garden. It works for us. It gives the house a forth bedroom, which are lacking on the average price housing estate we wanted to live on (expensive estate all have four bedrooms, but the majority on this estate are 3 beds). It gave the house a decent sized kitchen and dining room which were all more important to me than a bigger garden. There is a field across from us too which helped with the decision.
Talk to the local authority as well, houses are supposed to be built with a certain amount of outdoor space for the internal space, this could apply to your house meaning that the existing garden can't be shrunk. You may still have permitted development rights though which would allow some extension without planning
There’s an estate near us where we have ruled out several houses for being over-extended like that. I love having a private garden and would sacrifice inside space for it. For me it’s kind of about the natural footprint of the house on its plot - not just actual space you’d use in the garden but how close to a wall/neighbours/fence the house is. But as others say if you’re not selling, up to you. And if you are you only need to find one buyer.
Maybe the upstairs lounge irritates me more than most then! haha! I thought that would be far more off putting to other people.
We extended into a small garden over a dark shaded patio. So the bit of garden we lost was crap anyway. This gave us a front room, rear large living/dining room, extended kitchen and upstairs the loft was converted so we had 4 beds. We sold last year (to buy a house with a big garden for the 3 DCs!!!!) Many of the family viewers disliked the tiny garden altho small gardens are totally the norm in our area - however most of our viewers were downsizers and none of them were bothered. I had expected our house to be appealing to mostly young families (esp as we were/are in catchment for a heavily oversubscribed outstanding primary) but we didn't have many family viewers at all.
So yes I did it and would do it again - it may or may not affect your resale, you could look at what other local houses are like and get a feel if you're worried about that. It is very difficult to get a big garden in our area so people wouldn't expect more than a very small outside space unless it was an expensive property (2 roads, 500k plus - we are in the north west so that is pricy here - for a decent garden).
I think the layout you would have after the extension is sooo much better and that would more than make up for the lost garden. I'm not sure there's that much difference between a 6x10m garden and a 6x7m garden really, neither will appeal to someone wanting a really big garden anyway. I would definitely do it.
One query, are you intending the 6x3m extension to be a separate room? As if so that will be quite a long thin room and maybe it would be better to have a smaller but squarer room so just extend 4x3m and keep a bit more garden. Or are you intending to open it up to the kitchen diner to make a big family room? (That's what I assumed when I wrote the comment above but just reread your OP)
Minipie - we currently have a big window and set of double doors from the kitchen into the garden so the plan would be to take them out and have a semi open plan kitchen/diner/lounge.
I basically want what these people have done!
Your house sounds very like mine, including the green out front.
We've just managed to sell our house, 90% of viewers found the small garden to be a deal breaker on an otherwise nice house. So I'd be wary.
I would also be very careful. With smaller children, people like a decent garden. You can have a house that’s too big for its garden.
New build would also concern me. I would probably move. Will you neighbour’s like the extension as it will be close to them?
Could you perhaps knock the playroom into the kitchen diner and create the look you're going for (more glass) to create the living space rather than extend? You could still use the now lounge as a big bedroom?
I have 3 DCs including a football mad son and would discount a house with such a small garden immediately. A public green even if it is very near the house is completely different to an enclosed back garden. I think you'd really lose a lot of potential buyers when you come to sell.
You may find a time when having a seperate lounge is useful- a kitchen/diner/seating area is all fine and good but we use our lounge a lot too. As DC get older it comes into it's own.
Can't knock through for an open plan downstairs as the toilet is between the kitchen and playroom (although we could move the toilet under the stairs and use the space to make the den bigger. It would take the playroom from 3x2.5m to 4.5x2.5 so we could get a couple of sofas in)
I like having a separate lounge as well, but it's upstairs which is annoying. If we extended, we could
have the current playroom as a small, grown ups only lounge and the extension would be family room (toys, sofa, tv etc)
Thanks for the advice. We are going to hold fire on making any decisions for a while, at least until after summer. I think it bugs me at the minute because the weather is miserable so we've not been in the garden as much. I want to do something with the house to improve the living space downstairs. Extending might not be the right choice though!
I'd be wary of extending to the extent that the size of house seems very out of kilter with size of garden. A neighbour has done this and the house has been on the market for nearly 2 years with v little interest. (price also 'optimistic' of course.)
If you're not planning to sell for the foreseeable future, and just want the optimum space for your own family, this may not be an issue, though.
My former next-door neighbour did this, & when you took into account the shed in the garden there was very little garden left, & the house was sold (eventually) as a HMO by a buy-to-let landlord. It had ceased to be a family home as the garden was miniscule - and like yours, there was a field in front of the house.
Reading with interest. We have this problem too. Dh wants the extend and thinks it won't put people off. I disagree.
Agree re the need for a garden of usable size. We viewed an average sized 4 bed house once that had barely no garden at all. We'd already said to the estate agent that a reasonable sized garden was essential, so during the viewing he pointed at the large woodland right next door and referred to that as the "garden". Much as I'd like woodland/a common/a field right there by the house, you can't leave your children to play there like you can in a secure garden.
I've been keeping a very close eye on the market in my area for the past year whilst we sold our house. Family size house (3+ bedrooms) with small gardens seem to be the hardest to shift. They seem stick around for ages.
I get the upstairs lounge is annoying but isn't that a fairly standard layout for new build townhouses?
This is exactly what we did last summer and for us it has been absolutely worth the garden sacrifice. We now have a fabulous big space and as there is a park literally round the corner which we use frequently, the kids are happy. I say do it!
I'm still in favour (and I like the semi open plan idea). As you say, playroom could become a grown up living room/TV snug.
I'm not fussed about losing the garden space BUT I live in London so small gardens are the norm here and buyers accept this. What are gardens like near you generally?
New build estate on the outskirts of a city centre so not very big gardens anyway. I'm still umming and aahing over it. I need DH to want to do it and not just do it to please me as I'd feel guilty if it made the house harder to sell or knocked value off because of the garden.
It would undoubtedly work better for our family though. We would use the new room all day everyday whereas the garden is hardly used in winter.
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