Arisaig Centre

Conservatory + Greenhouse Blog

Monthly Archive: December 2016

Conservatories, part I

It is obvious that people have always had a special relationship with plants. We’ve always entertained and fancied the idea of growth and having a place where to grow. Ages ago, humans learned how to cultivate plants, for themselves and their animals, and we never looked back. Of course, over the years we’ve become more efficient and we learned much more – and so, something indispensable for everyday life transforms into something else. Did you know that greenhouses have existed since the reign of Roman Emperor Tiberius? That’s almost 2000 years ago!
During the Victorian age, special greenhouses called orangeries were used by the upper class to grow types of fruit that wouldn’t normally grow in the English climate (such as oranges and lemons, for example – hence the name ‘orangeries’). These little gardens would spring images of exotic places to mind, and of possibilities beyond the realm of normal individuals, as very few could actually afford them. We’ve come a long way since then as well, and today the situation is very different. Conservatories and greenhouses are usually very different things. Technically speaking, the two type of enclosures are defined more or less the same – as spaces that are built to protect plants that wouldn’t survive in certain conditions. However, the meanings of ‘conservatory’ and ‘greenhouse’ have branched off into very distinct places. While a greenhouse is what we refer to (mostly) as a place where people cultivate plants for consumption, a conservatory is an extension for a house that adds a different type of place to your home. The common things that have remained between the two are the plants and the usage of glass as a main building material.
Old-school Victorian-style conservatories are still fashionable today, yet they aren’t used for the same purposes. Today, the conservatory has become something else, while still maintaining an allure of exoticism: a different type of room in your house, a design choice for your house, a room for sunbathing, or a room for enjoying a sunny meal with family or friends, and so on. It is unlikely you will find someone who would build a conservatory for their house in order to grow oranges.
What’s not to love about the idea of a room where you can trap the warmth of the sun for an entire day and enjoy yourself with a nice view? It is scientifically proven that people who live in houses with more natural light are happier. The sun’s light is beneficial to your mood, and it can do tremendous good for your overall health. If the weather forecast isn’t ideal, having natural light instead of artificial light is still much better, even if it passes through a blanket of clouds.
In today’s world, conservatories are all about design, chic living space and comfort. They can keep you indoors and warm while you enjoy a snow-covered landscape. They can offer you a nice retreat, some time spent with a book, among plants. They can offer you a place to spend time with guests, and much more. However, a conservatory is also a commitment. It is definitely something worth thinking about, as the benefits can be amazing and your home will never feel the same. But you must think well about adding such an extension. Conservatories come in many shapes and sizes and they are built from various materials, especially different types of glass. Choosing the right one for your house can be a lengthy process, which mostly involves taking a decision in regards to your preferences – but it can also be a thoroughly practical assessment of your options. Depending on your house, location, and many other factors, you will want to consider every aspect involved in picking a type of conservatory – from the overall aspect and architecture style to whether or not having heated floors will be a necessity.
Part II of this post will go more in depth about how you can lean towards the right decisions for your home when adding a conservatory.