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Among the many conservatory designs you will find on the market today, there is one design that stands slightly apart from the rest. This is the orangery – a structure you may commonly see attached to a stately home or other large or grand house.

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Orangeries date back to the 17th century so you could regard them as one of the first conservatory designs ever to be created. They have lasted well, even alongside more modern designs. An orangery was originally created for growing orange trees and protecting them by providing them with a place to be stored during the winter months.

Orangery vs conservatory

So how does an orangery differ from a conservatory? Well, an orangery typically looks far more solid than a conservatory. While conservatories are known for their large windows on all sides, an orangery may have two completely solid walls. The wall facing the garden may have large patio or sliding doors to open, and perhaps large windows sitting atop a dwarf wall along the remainder of that wall.

Indeed the brickwork, whether exposed inside or not, is a key feature of orangeries of any size. In contrast a conservatory is a far lighter structure. While it may have a wooden frame as opposed to a uPVC one, it will have minimal brickwork in the shape of a dwarf wall (if chosen).

Another signature feature of the orangery is the lantern section of the roof. This lets in additional light and is typically built into a flat roof, rather than the whole roof sloping to one or more sides.

How much does an orangery cost?

This may influence your decision on whether to opt for an orangery or a more traditional conservatory. Since the orangery represents more of a building than a conservatory does, you will probably be prepared for a much higher price. Obviously a lot will depend on floor size, the number and type of doors and windows required and the company you choose to take on the work on your behalf.

You may be aware that someone with reasonable DIY skills might be able to erect their own conservatory with the help of one or two others. This is not the case with an orangery, since it is a proper building in many respects. Think of it as a halfway house between an extension to your home and a conservatory, bringing in the benefits of each and combining them in the best possible way. As such the price will run into many thousands of pounds. A five-figure sum is almost guaranteed, possibly six-figures if you want something with sizeable dimensions. This does not include interior decoration or furniture either – another element to be aware of.

One company at the luxury end of the market quoted a rough price of around £48,000 for a fairly standard 4.1m by 3.2m orangery, while one measuring 8m by 5m could set you back around £92,000. Clearly size is a big feature here, and you may also get much lower prices by shopping around.

You also have the option, surprisingly enough, of buying your chosen orangery design and then hiring someone else to erect it for you. This is likely to save you money but the building costs will still very likely push it above the costs involved with a conservatory.

Choosing a company

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Clearly this is a very important step to consider. An orangery is going to set you back a considerable sum of money, so you must choose a company you are happy with. You should make sure they have a good track record and ideally a long history in the business as well. Ensure they have proper certification with CERTASS, FENSA and GGF since this will give you assurance that you have chosen a good company to work with.

As you may imagine, the best way to locate the best company for your requirements is to seek out a variety of quotes. It is recommended that you get at least three, but perhaps one or two more than this would be a good idea. If you know anyone who has had an orangery installed recently, ask for a recommendation if you can.

Planning permission

Orangeries are a little different from a standard conservatory in that they may require planning permission. However it can depend on the size of the orangery you wish to have. In this respect it is very likely to be easier to seek planning permission before considering whether to invest in an orangery or not.

Don’t let this put you off having one though; the end results can be quite stunning. It is the nature of an orangery that may require you to seek permission to build it.

The good news is many professional companies with experience in constructing orangeries for their clients will be able to handle this side of things for you as well. They will seek planning permission and will be aware of what may and may not receive approval in each individual case.

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Planning permission

There are specific rules and regulations that apply to the construction of an addition such as a conservatory. For the most part you shouldn’t have to get permission to install a conservatory since this is a permitted development. However you should check the rules and regulations prior to planning anything, since you must ensure you comply with these.

Install time

An orangery takes far longer to install than a conservatory. While a basic conservatory may be erected in just a few days, even when considering the base and dwarf wall requirements, an orangery of any size will take longer than this.

One company estimated a time of around two to three weeks but this can vary. For example if your garden slopes away from the rear of your home, more groundwork may be required in order to properly situate the orangery. This may add time to the project. Size also has a bearing on time, not to mention how many people will be involved in the construction process. You should check these aspects with your chosen company so you know what to expect.

Many would say the time and cost involved in having an orangery built is more than worth the finished result. Your home will be transformed and feel much bigger and brighter than it did before. So… would you consider an orangery?