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Outdoor home renovations: considerations for your off-grid energy

A secret opening to a renovated garden
Many of us have rediscovered the joy of spending time outdoors with friends and family in recent months and this has prompted us to reassess how we use our outdoor spaces, looking at things like our outdoor functionality and whether or not we want to implement some renovations or changes here. 

Whether you’re looking to create more options for entertainment on those long summer evenings, or just want to freshen up a sometimes overlooked part of your home, sprucing up your outdoor space or garden is a great way to extend your living space. 

When it comes to improving your garden there are plenty of options, but it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some trending outdoor renovation ideas, some tips on how to plan renovations and what you can do to incorporate your home energy into those plans. 

What should I consider and plan before beginning renovation? 

There can be unexpected problems when it comes to renovations, which is why it’s a good idea to have a thorough plan and schedule before starting work. It’s important to build some contingency time into this plan, just in case things don’t go as smoothly as you would hope. 

If your renovation is classed as an outbuilding, which includes things like a summerhouse or home office, they will have to be built to certain guidelines. Always check with your local council about planning permission or any restrictions you might need to be aware of before starting on a project such as this. 

As a general rule of thumb, you won’t need planning permission for an outbuilding if it has a twin pitched roof up to four metres in height that’s no more than 2.5 metres to the eaves, or it has a flat roof and is no more than 2.5 metres in height, but it’s still best to check the requirements of the council and area you’re based in. 

If you already have an LPG tank on your property, then don’t build anything within at least 3 metres of the tank and ensure the adequate separation distances are adhered to. 

Current renovation trends

Build a summerhouse
Summerhouses are the perfect way to create an indoor, outdoor space in your garden. Whether you want to build something in the style of a beach hut or a log cabin, you can tailor it to your lifestyle and the aesthetic of your home. 

Summerhouses aren’t just for the summer either, adding blankets and heaters can help to create a cosy garden sanctuary that you can use all year round. 

Pathways and greenery 
There are some improvements you can do which can make a big impact on the aesthetic of your garden or outdoor areas, without a lot of money or extensive work needed to achieve it. 

For example, where you may currently just have grass, why not consider adding pathways that lead to your home? Alternatively, adding shrubs or plants can add more colour and shape to your space and provide an interesting way to create a flowing feeling in your garden. In addition, just cleaning any paths or patios and tidying up any greenery you may already have can help give the best first impression of your home. To go one step further, you could even add some well-placed trees to create shaded areas and make your garden feel more private. 

If you’re looking to add more features for entertaining guests during barbecues or summer parties for example, then there’s plenty of ways to approach it. A simple to install and effective solution is a fire pit. Fire pits give the perfect excuse to extend nights in the garden and get the marshmallows out once the sun goes in. With plenty of portable and more permanent options on the market, there’s lots to choose from to fit your space. 

It’s also worth noting that if you build a fire pit, you shouldn’t build it within 10 feet of your home and make sure it’s not close to any fences, overhanging branches or anything else that may be flammable. 

Another option is making an outdoor dining area. You could consider buying or building a table and seats so you can entertain guests in the garden. You can also use this space to work outside in the day or enjoy more meals outside with the family. Adding comfier seating such as benches, large outdoor pillows, or even a hammock can help to create a more relaxed outdoor space. 

Light can play a big part in how your garden looks and feels. In the summer, having a relaxed shady spot is ideal but if that isn’t the right option then consider investing in a pergola, which almost acts as an outdoor living room. This will provide shade when it’s needed but also offer shelter from the wind on cooler days. Alternatively, awnings or sail style shades can be an effective way to create shaded areas with style. 

To make your garden more aesthetically pleasing during the evening, adding string or fairy lights around the space can help to bring out warmer colours and form a more inviting area for guests for those days when entertaining goes into the night. 

Home Energy – planning your LPG heating storage

When planning your outdoor renovations or planning a revamp of your garden, why not also consider how your off grid heating or off grid energy and the storage solutions for this can work alongside it? 

When it comes to how you store your rural energy, there are three main options to choose from *subject to site survey: 

Above ground tank
Above ground tanks sizes are usually between 1,200 or 2,000 litres in size. But if you are looking to install one on your property, one of our energy specialists will pick the most suitable size for you. In fact, the whole LPG installation would be undertaken by our expert team, making the whole process straight forward and hassle free.

Underground tank
One of our two underground options is a horizontal tank that is discretely hidden beneath a green cover. We also offer a vertical underground tank that we aim to install in one day. As with all our storage solutions, a specialist will help find the right storage solution for you. 

LPG Gas bottles
If space is more limited and you don’t have the room for a tank, Calor also offers LPG in the form of gas bottles. They feature a change-over valve which automatically switches from one gas bottle to another, giving you continuous gas supply, with a small footprint that fits effortlessly into your garden.

Finding the right people
When it comes to switching energy, you will need to find a trusted, gas-safe registered engineer to fit your LPG boiler. Our handy installer finder tool allows you to find local engineers with ease:

If your renovation isn’t something you’re able to do yourself and requires more detailed planning, taking the time to find the right tradesmen to work with is a great place to start. Having the right professionals on hand will mean you can be advised on the best materials to use, and the best way to approach the project so you can begin to budget and plan a schedule. 

If you’re not sure where to start with contacting tradesmen, there are websites dedicated to providing information on local property services, such as well-known site,which also allows you to see reviews from people who have used a tradesmen’s service, as well as price guides for specific jobs.

How can outdoor renovations affect the value of your home? 

How your outdoor spaces look can be the first indication to a potential homeowner of whether they think the house is right for them and can play a big part in reflecting the lifestyle on offer in a home. In fact, a well-kept garden alone can add up to 20% to the value of your home.*

If part of the focus for renovating your outdoors areas is for resale value, then also consider what type of buyer you are trying to attract and tailor your improvements to them, whether that’s more family orientated buyers or for younger or older couples looking to buy. 

When it comes to outdoor renovations or garden revamps, the main considerations should be to establish what changes will suit your lifestyle the most, decide a budget and plan and think about how this may affect the value of your home in the long run. 

If you would like to know more about the best storage solution for you and your off-grid home, and how you can incorporate them into your plans, then visit the Calor website: