Conservatory Buyers Guide

Guide To Buying Conservatories, Orangeries and Lean-Tos

Purchasing a conservatory, orangery or lean-to is usually a more cost effective way of creating extra living space in your home than a brick-built extension. They are bright and airy and due to the excellent level of insulation can be enjoyed throughout the year.

We hope that this guide to buying conservatories, orangeries and lean-tos helps you in your decision making process.

Where can you buy a conservatory, orangery or lean-to?

There are a lot of companies manufacturing, supplying and installing these products and that can make it difficult to decide which company to choose. You can search for such companies on the Internet and they will arrange for a member of their staff to come to visit you to discuss your requirements and make suitable recommendations from their product range. This service is normally provided at no cost to yourself without any obligation. You should consider obtaining at least three quotes from different companies.

You could choose a member of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) to install the conservatory as they have had to comply with many tests. They also have to work within a “Code of Good Practise”. Ask for the contact details of customers that they have installed conservatories for and arrange to visit them to look at the work and obtain feedback from the customer.

Many people buy from a company that provides a full package i.e. they will design, manufacture and install your conservatory and also deal with things like planning consent/building regulations in the unlikely event this is required.

For those of you that are DIY enthusiasts, it is possible to buy a kit to erect your own conservatory thus saving yourself a considerable amount of money.

Difference between a conservatory, orangery and lean-to

A conservatory tends to use less brickwork than an orangery and focuses on providing a good view of the garden. An orangery is often larger and more ornate. A lean-to is a simple structure that leans against a wall of your home.

What can you use a conservatory for?

It has so many uses. For instance, it is ideal as a dining room or as an extension of your lounge or kitchen to create additional living space that lets so much additional light in. It could be used as a playroom for your young children where they can keep their books and toys. What you intend to use the conservatory for is one of the factors that will decide what size it is to be.


There are a variety of styles to choose from in keeping with the main structure of your home. For instance, if you have an older property then you may wish to consider an Edwardian or Victorian style or an elegant orangery. You could have either full-height glass walls or brick dwarf walls on top of which sits the glass. If you have a modern property then you could consider a contemporary design or a lean-to.


You will no doubt have an idea of how much you wish to spend on buying a conservatory, orangery or lean-to. However, do be aware that it should add value to your home.

You could spend under £2,000 for a DIY conservatory but some may choose to spend a six-figure sum on the construction of a beautiful, be-spoke orangery. It may be possible to arrange a further advance on your mortgage to fund the project.


When constructing a conservatory, orangery or lean-to, you could have the frame made in the likes of uPVC, hardwood or aluminium. A range of colours is available.

Any glass should be in either double or triple glazing to insulate the building as much as possible. There are different types of glazing such as A-rated energy efficient glass that keeps in the heat, lowers condensation and helps keep your heating costs under control. Any glass below 800mm of the floor must be to BS6206 standard and has to be safety glass.

You should have a choice of glass doors that could be a single one, French doors, sliding doors or bi-fold doors. The glazing for the doors should be in toughened glass from a safety/security point of view.

A conservatory or lean-to would normally have a glass or polycarbonate roof and an orangery a plaster ceiling. It is possible to have self-cleaning glass fitted to reduce the maintenance your conservatory will need.

The locks for the doors and windows should be high-security ones such as multiple shootbolt locking systems.

You will also want to ensure that there is adequate ventilation by incorporating windows and/or a fan.

You should have a choice of handles, fascias and sills to satisfy your taste.

Practical considerations

Location of conservatory – Many are located at the back of a property but some are installed on the side. Obviously any implications to do with planning consent/building regulations will need to be considered. It should normally be sited so that it benefits from as much sun as possible so the favoured choice is for it to face south and west facing.

Flooring - The floor’s concrete base could be covered in either carpeting, ceramic tiles or natural stone.

Heating – There are a number of options. For instance, if you already have radiator central heating you could have a radiator fitted on the dwarf wall. Alternatively, you could have under-floor heating fitted or just use a free-standing electric or oil heater.

Blinds – Blinds come in a variety of designs and colours. They help control the temperature in the room, block out the brightness of the sun when required and give you some privacy.

As you can see, there is a great deal to think about when considering buying a conservatory, orangery or lean-to. Fortunately, you have many design options from numerous companies who are competing for your business. As a result, you may be able to negotiate on the price or persuade the company to include some additional features at no extra cost to you such as better quality glazing or door and window handles.

We trust that you have found our guide to buying a conservatory, orangery or lean-to of benefit and that the one that you select provides you with a lifetime of pleasure.

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