New Outbuilding? Tips to ensure it blends in

9 Dec, 2020

New Outbuilding? Tips to ensure it blends in

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Many homeowners find that over time they add outbuildings on their property for all kinds of reasons. You may need an additional workspace, a shed space to store materials and tools, or a sheltered garden play area that adapts for many uses. What ever your reason for adding this new outbuilding it is always advisable to take proactive steps to ensure the structure blends in.

Here are some easy tips and suggestions to help you do that.

Planning new a outbuilding

new outbuilding
Select construction materials similar to other buildings on the property

New dog kennels?

Top tips on building a dog kennel

dog house
Matching the dog house to your home can make a difference

It’s true that many people love sharing the couch or bed with their dog. However, if you are not one of them and you want to put a good stand to use in order to make the perfect home for your little friend, read on.

Building a good house for your dog is not a very complicated task. However, but it might take you a bit of time. So you want to make sure that you do everything needed to get your dog house right first time. After all, it’s where your furry friend will spend quite a lot of time, so it needs to be a great lounging spot.

Planning the size of the dog house

Of course, the first thing you should take into account is how big the house should be. If you have a pup, you will need to think about his or her size after reaching maturity, as this happens very fast, and you don’t want to build two houses over a couple of months.

Next, you should know that a dog is comfortable having around ⅓ of his or her height of air above their head. So ensure the space doesn’t feel cramped. We’re talking specifically about the dog’s height while standing. If your pup is already grown up, then measure him or her and determine from the measurements how tall the house should be.

Keep in mind that the dog needs to be able to look out of the entrance comfortably. They should be able to see while standing or sitting. Consider this when determining the right position for the access point as well.

How to ensure any new outbuilding blends into your outside space’s Russ Jones explains how to ensure an outbuilding blends in rather than stands out, by making full use of its surrounding environment Sustainable property construction is deservedly rising up the public’s agenda, but the environmental impact of outbuildings is less commonly considered.

Functional and often constructed in relative haste as an add on outbuildings need to work hard to blend in with the architecture look and feel. Usually hidden from public view unlike a well designed street fronted house or apartment block they therefore make little statement on the property. Yet a new outbuilding offers a great opportunity to repurpose the old while encouraging new growth.

Whether you’re building a home office or a hangout for the kids, creating a new outbuilding is a choice rather than a necessity. As such, it’s vital to ensure each step minimises the structure’s environmental impact as far as possible…

Use sustainable construction materials

Many people’s first thought for a sustainable construction material would be timber. Ethically sourced hardwoods are readily available, each with their own distinctive colour palette and
propensity to weather over time. Yet there are plenty of other sustainable construction materials available – including concrete, which is energy efficient to produce, economical to acquire and capable of retaining solar heat.

You could also consider resilient natural materials like straw bales or rammed earth, which are particularly practical if the roof height is lowered…

Digging deep

It’s possible to reduce the use of construction materials by digging down to create a partly-sunken outbuilding. Spoil from the dig could be used in aforementioned rammed earth walls. Such walls offer excellent insulation properties.

If you’re considering building a partly-sunken outbuilding, you may find an earth auger to be a useful tool for digging the necessary foundation. You can try finding an earth auger for sale at hardware stores or online retailers specializing in construction equipment.

Investing in an earth auger will not only make the excavation process more efficient but also contribute to sustainable construction practices by minimizing material waste and utilizing natural resources effectively.

A lower roofline has a smaller visual impact, bedding into its surroundings, especially if you taper the side facing your property down to the ground. This can allow a green roof to flow from the garden over the new building, enhancing its insulation while maintaining previous levels of outside space and cultivatable land.

Integrate drainage channels into a green roof, capable of supporting herbs and other home-grown foodstuffs. A partly-sunken structure also needs tanking with sustainable waterproof membranes, to keep it dry inside.

Softening visual impact

Regardless of whether or not you’re submerging your new structure, there are plenty of ways to mitigate its appearance. Choose a location where it’ll be less noticeable from the house – ideally a side plot or a far corner. If your preferred site is framed by trees, painting exposed sides green can camouflage it. You could also grow roses or clematis up the walls on trellising to create a sense of place.

Plant ornamental grasses, shrubs or hedging in the foreground to create a visual barrier. If you need to add rooflights, install them on elevations not visible from your home. This is because sunshine might reflect off the rooflights at oblique angles and generate an unpleasant dazzle. It’s also advisable to extend existing paths up to the new outbuilding, helping it the structure sit more comfortably in its environment.

new outbuildings
Using recycled materials can help a building look like it belongs

Recycled components help a new outbuilding settle in

There are plenty of ways to repurpose waste when constructing a new outbuilding. Because this structure won’t be permanently inhabited, you aren’t bound by the constraints of conventional accommodation.

There’s nothing to stop you creating details like a porthole window with old wine bottles cemented together. Using this feature with the bottles on-end will create a stained-glass effect. For wall panelling using old tea chests broken up with their original markings proudly displayed.

Sand and paint wooden pallets to fashion stunning floorboards and doors. Alternatively, use softer metals like copper and zinc reforming them into anything from handles to guttering. They give a softer, lived in feel to the accessories of a new outbuilding.

Upcycle Furniture

An old bath cut in half widthways could make you a tub chair, or a glass-topped engine polished to form a spectacular table. There are many ways to help a new structure look like it’s been there a while. Always try to reflect something of the main property so ensure a wholesome cohesive look if possible.


A final word on the presentation of a new outbuilding

However you are planning to build or renovate your outbuilding give some thought to its presentation alongside your home. A little time invested in painting, adding accessories or even planting can make your whole property seem more homogenous and presentable.



At we like to offer our readers a selection of appropriate articles similar to the one you have just read. Please read on to find more reference articles on home maintenance and presentation.

Dog kennel – How to build and style one for your dog

Garden outdoor storage shed – Reasons to build one on your property

Planning your holiday home and pet care

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