Conservatory Vs Orangeries: Which is best for my home?
Allerton Windows

Conservatory Vs Orangeries: Which is best for my home?

By Tony Hanratty on 19th November 2019 (updated: 16th January 2024) in Blog

If you’re looking to bring a touch of nature and sunshine into your living space, then you’re in for a treat. Working throughout the North West, including Liverpool and the Wirral, Allerton Windows specialise in the construction of orangeries and conservatories. Our extensive services offer a wide variety of orangeries, conservatories and sunrooms in various styles, shapes and sizes, perfect for enhancing your home and lifestyle.

In this blog, we’ll explore the age-old question “What’s the difference between a Conservatory and Orangery?”. We’ll run through the differences between the two, whether you need planning permission and the average costs involved.

Picture this, you wake up on a beautiful sunny morning, birds chirping, and a gentle breeze whispering through the trees. But wait, which option should you choose to achieve this blissful experience? We’re here to guide you through this delightful conundrum. Now, hold onto your gardening gloves and let’s dive in!

Images showing the differences between orangeries and conservatories by allerton windows

What is a Conservatory?

With its air of sophistication, a conservatory evokes images of grandeur and hushed conversations amid lush greenery. It beckons us to sip tea and read classic novels while sunlight dances upon our faces.

A conservatory is a splendid space designed to bring the beauty of the outdoors into the comfort of your own home. In its essence, a conservatory is a room with abundant glazing, typically featuring glass walls and a glass roof. This clever design allows natural light to flood the space, creating a seamless connection between the interior and the surrounding environment. It’s like stepping into a secret garden, only without the worry of unpredictable weather or wandering rabbits.

With its vast expanse of glass, a conservatory offers panoramic views of your surroundings, the perfect vantage point to admire the changing seasons and watch as the world transforms before your eyes.

But a conservatory is more than just a glorified greenhouse. It is a versatile space that can be tailored to your needs and desires. It can serve as a cosy lounge area, an inviting dining space, or even a whimsical home office where inspiration flows as freely as the sunlight.

Conservatory installation in Liverpool.


What is an Orangery?

A name that’s just as charming as the fruits it was once meant to shelter. With a touch of Mediterranean flair, it transports us to a time when citrus trees reigned supreme, and elegant soirées were held under the warm glow of lanterns.

Historically, orangeries were designed to protect delicate orange trees and other exotic plants during the colder months. These structures originated in Renaissance Italy and quickly spread their whimsical charm across Europe. As their popularity grew, orangeries became not only a sanctuary for plants but also a symbol of wealth and sophistication.

Stepping into an orangery is like entering a secret garden, where sunlight pours in through large windows, casting a warm glow on the vibrant foliage. The architecture often features sturdy brick or stone walls, elegant columns, and a stunning glass roof, creating a seamless fusion of nature and human craftsmanship.

It offers a versatile space that can be used in myriad ways. Imagine turning it into a cosy reading nook, a serene dining area, or a delightful spot for hosting soirées with friends. The possibilities are as endless as the branches of the trees within.

Orangery extension with roof lantern in Liverpool by Allerton Windows.

Orangery extension with roof lantern in Liverpool.


What is the difference between a conservatory and an orangery?

There isn’t always a huge difference between orangeries and conservatories, although they have some different characteristics. Both emerged at similar times in the 16th century and both were used to keep oranges and other fruit trees alive throughout the British winter. While both conservatories and orangeries have their unique charms, they share a common purpose – to bring the great outdoors within the cosy confines of your home. Think of them as stylish botanical bridges connecting your interior and the glorious world of flora and fauna.

In England, a structure is classed as a conservatory if at least 50% of its walls are glazed, as well as 75% of the ceiling, although it is often a higher percentage than that. The glass either spans the entirety of the walls or a small dwarf wall of around two feet is built to support the windows. Whereas orangeries tend to have a higher proportion of brickwork and can appear more like a natural house extension than a separate room.

Do you need planning permission for conservatories?

The good news is that for many homeowners, erecting a conservatory can be a smooth and hassle-free process. Thanks to certain regulations and exemptions, in many cases, planning permission may not be required.

Now, let’s shed some light on the specifics. In general, if your proposed conservatory meets certain criteria, it falls under what is known as “permitted development rights.” These rights grant you the freedom to extend your home without having to go through the often-dreaded planning permission process.

However, it’s important to note that these criteria can vary depending on your location. The rules and limitations differ across different countries, regions, and even local authorities. It’s always a good idea to consult with your local planning authority or seek the advice of a qualified professional to ensure you stay on the right side of the regulations. Here are a few common conditions that, if met, may exempt your conservatory from requiring planning permission:

  • The size and dimensions of the conservatory
  • Its placement and proximity
  • Any restrictions on materials or appearance
  • Additional regulations and permissions apply for listed buildings

The world of planning permission can be a maze of rules and regulations. While the prospect of navigating this labyrinth may seem daunting, it’s important to ensure you’re on the right side of the law and avoid any surprises down the road.

Seek professional advice and guidance from architects, builders, or planning consultants like ourselves. We can assist you in understanding the specific requirements for your location and ensure your conservatory project sails smoothly through the planning process.

How much does a conservatory cost?

The cost of a conservatory in the UK can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the size, design, materials used, location, and additional features. While we can provide you with a general price range, it’s important to keep in mind that these figures are approximate and can fluctuate based on individual circumstances and market conditions.

On average, a basic uPVC conservatory in the UK can start from around £6,000 to £10,000 for a smaller size (e.g., 3m x 3m) with a standard design. This price typically includes the supply and installation of the conservatory.

For larger and more complex conservatories, prices can range from £15,000 to £30,000 or more. These higher-end options may feature bespoke designs, premium materials (such as aluminium or timber frames), advanced glazing options, intricate roofing styles, and additional features like underfloor heating or integrated blinds.

It’s worth noting that these figures are just estimates, and the final cost can vary based on factors such as the specific design choices, location-specific labour rates, site preparation requirements, and any customization or special requirements you may have.

How big can a conservatory be without planning permission?

There are restrictions on the size and dimensions of the conservatory. In many cases, the conservatory should not exceed a certain height and should not cover more than a certain percentage of your property’s land area.

In England, for instance, a conservatory constructed under permitted development rights should not exceed 4 metres in height (from ground level) and should not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 3 metres for an attached house or 4 metres for a detached house. These dimensions are general guidelines, and they may differ depending on various factors, including whether your property is in a designated area or if any previous extensions have been made.

The conservatory should not cover more than a certain percentage of your property’s land area. Again, this can vary depending on the location, but it’s common for the coverage to be limited to 50% or less of the total garden area. It’s worth noting that this percentage includes any previous extensions or outbuildings on the property, so it’s essential to take those into account.

It’s important to remember that these are general guidelines and may not apply universally. Some local authorities may have their own specific regulations or restrictions, particularly in conservation areas or for listed buildings. Additionally, factors such as proximity to boundaries, roads, and other structures can influence the size limitations.



Do you need planning permission for an orangery?

When it comes to planning permission for an orangery in the UK, the regulations are similar to those for conservatories. However, it’s important to note that specific guidelines and exemptions can vary depending on your location and individual circumstances. In many cases, homeowners can take advantage of permitted development rights to build an orangery without the need for planning permission. To fall under permitted development, an orangery must meet certain criteria, such as:

Size: The size restrictions for an orangery under permitted development are generally the same as those for conservatories. The orangery should not exceed certain height and projection limits, and it should not cover more than a certain percentage of the total land area.

Placement and Design: The orangery should be constructed at the rear or side of the property. There may also be restrictions on how close it can be to boundaries, roads, and other structures. Additionally, the design and appearance of the orangery should be in harmony with the existing building and the surrounding environment.

Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings: If your property falls within a conservation area or is a listed building, additional considerations and restrictions may apply. These areas often have stricter regulations to preserve the historical and architectural character of the surroundings.

These guidelines serve as general principles, and it’s advisable to consult with your local planning authority or seek professional advice to ensure compliance with the specific regulations in your area. By adhering to the permitted development guidelines or obtaining the necessary planning permission, you can proceed with your orangery project with confidence.

How much does an orangery cost?

When it comes to determining the cost of an orangery in the UK, it’s essential to consider various factors that can influence the overall price. While I can provide you with a general price range, it’s important to remember that the final cost will depend on your specific requirements, design choices, materials used, location, and other individual factors.

On average, an orangery in the UK can range from approximately £20,000 to £50,000 or more. However, it’s worth noting that this is a broad estimate, and the actual cost can vary significantly based on the size, design, style, materials, base structure and foundations, plus additional features such as underfloor heating, internal and external lights and integrated blinds.

How big can an orangery be without planning permission?

When it comes to the size of an orangery without requiring planning permission in the UK, the guidelines are generally similar to those for conservatories. However, it’s important to note that specific regulations and exemptions can vary depending on your location and individual circumstances.

Orangery extension with open bifold doors in Liverpool by Allerton Windows.

Orangery extension with open bifold doors in Liverpool.


Orangery home extension with bifold doors in Liverpool by Allerton Windows.

Orangery home extension with bifold doors in Liverpool.


Orangery extension with closed bifold doors in Liverpool by Allerton Windows.

Orangery extension with closed bifold doors in Liverpool.


Which is best for my home?

Choosing between these two home extensions can be quite a conundrum. Let’s delve into a detailed comparison to help you determine which option may be best suited for your home.

Design and Aesthetics

Orangery: An orangery typically features brick or stone pillars, large windows, and a more solid structure compared to a conservatory. It often incorporates a lantern-style roof, adding an elegant touch and a sense of grandeur to your home. Orangeries are known for their blend of traditional and contemporary design elements, offering a sophisticated and timeless aesthetic.

Conservatory: A conservatory is predominantly made of glass, providing an abundance of natural light and panoramic views of the surroundings. Its design tends to be more open and airy, seamlessly merging the indoor and outdoor spaces. Conservatories often feature a range of architectural styles, from traditional Victorian or Edwardian designs to sleek and modern structures.

Usage and Functionality

Orangery: Due to its more solid construction, an orangery tends to offer better insulation and temperature control compared to a conservatory. This makes it suitable for year-round use, providing a comfortable living space that can be enjoyed in various weather conditions. An orangery can serve as an extension of your living area, a dining room, a home office, or a versatile space for entertaining guests.

Conservatory: Conservatories excel at creating a bright and airy space, perfect for relaxation, enjoying the garden views, and embracing a sun-soaked atmosphere. They are ideal for activities such as reading, gardening, or simply unwinding in a tranquil setting. While advancements in insulation and climate control have improved conservatories’ usability throughout the year, they may still require additional heating or cooling in extreme weather conditions.

Planning Permission

Orangery: Building an orangery may require planning permission, especially if it exceeds certain size or height restrictions, or if your property is located in a conservation area or near a listed building. It’s essential to consult with your local planning authority or seek professional advice to ensure compliance with the regulations in your area.

Conservatory: In many cases, conservatories can be constructed under permitted development rights, without the need for planning permission. However, there are specific size and height limitations, along with other guidelines, that must be adhered to. It’s crucial to check with your local planning authority to confirm the requirements for your specific location.

Cost Considerations

Orangery: Due to its more substantial structure, use of premium materials, and intricate design elements, an orangery tends to be more expensive than a conservatory. The cost of an orangery can vary widely depending on factors such as size, materials, design complexity, and additional features.

Conservatory: Conservatories generally offer a more cost-effective solution compared to orangeries. The price range can vary depending on size, design, materials used, and customization options. There are more budget-friendly options available, particularly with uPVC frames, while higher-end conservatories with bespoke features can be pricier.

Our Orangeries and Conservatories

All of the glass we use is from Celsius, which is among the highest quality glass available and absolutely perfect for conservatories and orangeries. We have three different options to choose from depending on the location and usage of the structure, all of which have a minimum of 58% heat reflection and as little as 38% visible light transmission. Thanks to the construction of these argon-filled windows you can both reflect external heat and insulate interior warmth.

Rainfall and traffic noise are massively reduced when compared with polycarbonate, and Celsius’ Easy Clean technology reduces the need for time-consuming manual cleaning by enabling rainwater to bead and run off the glass, taking dirt with it.

Our conservatories and orangeries are also made with Liniar systems, which are all completely lead-free, multi-chambered PVCu profile designs which go way beyond British Standards for weather performance. Choose from dozens of effects, styles and door options with noiseless glide and an effortless opening mechanism. For your security, Liniar’s patented ModLok system in conjunction with Yale helps to keep your extension safe; meanwhile, our ten-year guarantee against fading, cracking and warping means that you’ll never need to treat or paint your conservatory or orangery again!

Liniar logo

Allerton Windows can help you choose

In the end, the choice between an orangery and a conservatory depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Consider factors such as the desired usage, aesthetic appeal, level of insulation, planning permission requirements, and cost implications.

Whichever option you choose, both orangeries and conservatories have the potential to add value, charm, and a touch of luxury to your home. We hope your decision creates a space that perfectly complements your lifestyle. For an effortless and effective addition to your home, contact Allerton Windows, or browse through our orangery and conservatory pages today!