When planning a garden room, many people ask whether it is possible to connect water. The simple answer is that it is usually possible, although it depends on various specific factors. Whether you choose an on-grid or off-grid water supply, and whether you need permission, all rests on precisely what you are planning to do with your garden room, and why you need the water supply.
There are various reasons why you may want to connect water to your garden room or shed. It could be that you’d like to be able to wash your garden tools off without traipsing dirt into the house.
Maybe you are installing a garden office or gym, and would like a convenient cloakroom to hand. Some people use their garden rooms as hobby or craft studios, so it is handy to have a sink. The same goes for garden spa rooms where clients are receiving treatments and a sink is a necessity. And of course, if you are kitting out your garden building as a bar, then running water is going to be a must.
Whatever your reason for needing a water supply to your garden room, there are various things to consider.
Permitted Development rules allow garden buildings to be constructed without planning permission, providing they follow various guidelines. Since 2016, outbuildings only fall under Permitted Development rules if their purpose is incidental to a house. This means that self-contained usage is not allowed without the appropriate consent.
So, if you are planning on using your garden room exclusively as an ensuite bedroom, a bathroom or a kitchen for example, and that is why you need the water supply, then you most certainly will need planning permission, because the installation will need to follow Building Regulations.
There are two options for your water supply: off-grid and mains.
Consider: do you really need to be connected to the mains? Is hot water necessary?
Connecting to the mains isn’t always needed. You could make do with a water butt if you are simply washing garden tools. All you need to do is get yourself a water butt kit complete with base, tap assembly, downpipe diverter and gutters and there you have your rudimentary water supply.
Other off-grid options include a septic tank, although this is quite an expensive undertaking and generally only considered when a mains connection is not possible but a full bathroom is desired.
A soakaway is another alternative; this consists of a hole dug into the ground, filled with rubble and stone, allowing surface water to filter back into the earth. Do be aware though that if you have clay soil, a soakaway will probably not work. Furthermore, it is not possible to use this method to discharge effluent waste without applying for a permit or adding a drainage field.
A macerator could be a solution, but access to a soil pipe will be required to take the waste to the main sewer. If this is not possible then a macerator pump station will need to be fitted. Finally, if all of this sounds like a lot of time and expense, a chemical toilet might be the answer.
There is some useful information here on the Environment Agency website, including guidelines on siting a septic tank.
If on the other hand you do consider it necessary to have a mains water supply, perhaps because you are installing a garden room with bathroom or a garden office with toilet and kitchen, then you will need to call in the services of a plumber to assist with your new water supply connection.
A trench will need to be dug, which you can do yourself if you wish, although professional advice is recommended before you get started. There is a lot to think about, including keeping the new pipework a minimum distance from any services such as gas, electricity and cable television.
Bear in mind that if you wish to run a water heater or electric shower, then you are going to need an electricity supply to your garden room too.
The key message is that it is vital to always consult professional tradespeople before you attempt any form of water or electrical installation for your garden room.
At Surrey Hills Garden Buildings, we have earned a reputation as the go-to supplier of all types of garden buildings, including garden offices, summerhouses, gyms, studios and leisure rooms.
Why not pay a visit one of our dedicated show sites? Our friendly team is on hand to provide you with expert advice on creating the garden building of your dreams, with full guidance on connecting it up with all the services you need to meet your work or leisure needs.
You are also welcome to get in touch to discuss your garden outbuilding ideas. We look forward to speaking to you.