Building a Sunken Garden Room

So, you have this space in your garden, and even though is an important part of your property you feel it’s kind of dull. Yes, it’s been said again and again that a garden is a collection of possibilities, but how do you realize those possibilities? What can you do to reach the full potential of all the space? How can you give your uninteresting garden an unforgettable wow factor?

Well, a sunken garden room might be the answer you are looking for, as the many highlights they possess would carve a slice of that potential into your own private sanctum for family and friends.

What is a sunken garden room?

A sunken garden room is a broad term that can be used in several ways, but more often than not would refer to an area in your garden where an “entertainment space” has been designed at least a foot bellow the main ground level. Definitively a feat of design, engineering and gardening, this “entertainment space” can have a roof or not, usually has a seating area, its features could range from a fire pit to a small fountain, and the floor can be covered by anything, from cobblestones to planks of wood.

Although it can have access to electricity, Wi-Fi and anything you want, a sunken garden room can also be a small bucolic paradise within the boundaries of whatever urban cityscape that surrounds you.

Design: an extension of your personality.

Rough cobblestones, smooth concrete, rustic style wood are not only materials, but means to convey a message: how much of your personality defines your surroundings?

There are near infinite possible configurations for what a sunken garden room can be, but it has to accommodate your wants and needs. Floor space, seating area, angular and geometrical shapes or a more circular flow of the space are things to take into consideration.

Engineering: where the experts come from.

After you have considered a range of possibilities and have a clear vision on your mind’s eye of what you want in your garden room, it’s time for consultation and budgeting. There will be landscaping, uprooting and foundations to be laid. In addition to those basics, any extra features you’ve considered that require power and electricity, and the strategic location of a Wi-Fi signal booster if your sunken garden is located far away from your internet router. Drainage will be key, as lower ground would gather more water, so be sure that those are properly placed.

Consult with your local authorities if there’s any need for planning permission and don’t forget to be a good neighbour: give them a heads up that things might get noisy for a bit. They’ll appreciate that you are being considerate, but they will also be aware if you don’t invite them to future barbecues.

sunken garden room
Special thanks lammoreaux for providing the image


Even if you manage to somehow an outdoor home cinema in your sunken garden room, bear in mind that it’s still a garden. Harmony and contrast are vital points of beauty, and which plant life you place where will dramatically change the experience for anyone visiting your self-realized oasis. Succulents are all year persisting plants; floral greenery will provide an explosion of joy in every long awaited spring; and small birches can have the feeling of a small forest and yield those lovely autumn colours that grant unshakable memories. Imagine a measured combination of those styles and you’ll get seasonal highlights all year.

Think of day, think of night.

Lightning is not something that a person would pay much attention when it comes to the external area of the property. Maybe some lights in the porch and driveway, but when you are making the investment to have a sunken garden room in your garden, you don’t want such a feature of your property to fade with nightfall. Anyone should be able to take advantage of that space at any time of the day. A sunken garden room not only need to be a place to be enjoyed while sunlight lasts, but even some discrete illumination is required if you are having late drinks with friends or when you want to have your own ritual of solace, with a book and a cuppa during sunset.

And think of the beautiful night photography an estate agent would get if you decide to get your property on the market!

Look up in the sky…

Even if your beautifully designed, perfectly engineered sunken garden room is the jewel of the crown that is your garden, the weather cannot be controlled and you’ll be at the mercy of nature. A way to have your cake and eat it too is to have a gazebo installed. A palace within your palace to let you and yours enjoy fresh air; or even a series of pergolas, with vines intertwined and a transparent ceiling to protect you from the elements is another creative way to have nature and home just a few steps away.

In for a penny in for a pound.

As you are planning and budgeting how to best use all the free space in your property, the cost would start to compound and second thoughts would appear. Should I go for an extension? Should I invest in a home office? Should I build an annex house instead? Sometimes the answer is all of the above. A quick internet search will lead you to some innovative examples of roofed garden rooms that themselves have a garden on the roof. This are more expensive builds that require solid, load bearing columns, but lead to astonishing results. You cross the boundaries from a sunken garden to an elevated one! Underneath there could be a home office, personal gym, entertainment room, etc., and above it a rooftop garden that would make you fall in love again and again with your own home. 


Have a vision of how do you want your sunken garden room to look like, have a clear budget, be sure you find someone trustworthy that uses quality materials to realise your project. 

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