How to build your garden room with U-Build

Article by Studio Bark

Whether you would like a family amenity area, an extra storage or a studio, a garden room might be the ideal thing to build.


Self building a garden room can be a cost effective option. With modular construction parts, affordable materials and clear instructions you can build your own room even if you haven’t got any building skills. Garden rooms often don’t require planning permission, however, it is best to check with your local planning office before you start planning as to whether you need to apply for permission. See here for more details.

Our Manbey Pod project is a perfect example of a self building journey. Using the U-Build system, a couple in their mid 50’s, Peter and Joan, constructed a beautiful studio on their back garden and kept a record of their process to share with future self-builders.

They started with mounting the modular timber boxes of U-Build using only simple hand tools such as a rubber mallet and an electric screwdriver. Once assembled together these different sized boxes formed the walls, floors and ceiling of the studio. As in Peter and Joan’s case, it took as little as only 10 minutes to assemble a single box and just evening to get all the boxes ready for the whole floor.

The self-builders can either assemble all the boxes from the start or go as they need. The nature of this self-build method makes it very easy to set out and adjust to your needs as you go along. Once there are enough boxes ready to start building, they can be rested on bricks, on a concrete base and a damp proof membrane. In just half a day you can finish putting the floor down and move on to the walls and ceiling.

After getting the structure ready, the next step is putting the insulation which is made of sheep’s wool inside the wall boxes. This is a very easy process in as the wool slabs come cut in the right size, and all a self-builder needs to do is to press them into the timber boxes. Different from the walls, the ceiling is advised to be insulated with a rigid thermal insulation board for maximum durability. Once all the insulation parts are in, the walls and ceiling need to be covered with breathable membrane which is fixed onto the structure with staples and tape. At the end, your garden room becomes watertight.

We can summarise the self-building journey in three phases: assembling the boxes, constructing the building and doing the finishing tasks such as cladding and painting where desired.

There might be times during your self-build journey where you might need an extra hand, such as moving larger boxes around or fitting the windows, or you might spend a lot of time on a particular phase. However, each and every task still can be done with simple hand tools for the self-builder’s convenience. As a summary for the self-build enthusiasts, besides being easy to understand and intuitive, the U-Build system also gives you the flexibility of choosing from a variety of sizes and configurations that suit you.

For Peter and Joan, the finished product is an energy efficient cozy garden studio that can be used all year around. It has fantastic natural light coming through the large front window and skylight, and on a daily basis they can now proudly enjoy the space they built together.

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