Conservatory is green oasis, if it is properly designed and built. For plants to feel good, grow richly and be healthy, we must ensure appropriate conditions. Different points of view are important, from choice of materials and manner of heating towards suitable ventilation and shading. We must think of all this before the beginning of construction.
Shapes of conservatories can be different. Conservatories of perpendicular shapes are being built most often with different gradient of roof. This shape allows best utilisation rate of a place. Also other shapes are possible: semicircular, round, triangular, and other correct and incorrect shapes. It is important, that we consult with the builder of construction about shape before planning. He will advise us, which shape is the most appropriate for our wishes and needs.
We must consider two things at planning of new conservatory: our wishes and abilities. First, we decide what will be primary use of a conservatory. If it will be only place for plants, then it is not necessary that we have much free space in it. But if it will be extension of living room or corner for relaxation, then we need space for furniture. As soon as our wishes are finalized, possibilities for the construction should be checked. Do we have enough sapce? Do we have enough money? Do we have enough time for maintenance? We must keep in mind, that costs of a setting up and maintenance increase with size. We must consider possibilities for cleaning glass surfaces from outside. Large conservatories demand more maintenance and we will have to order cleaning service with suitable equipment to clean glass walls and roof.
In phase of planning is time to decide which type of conservatory we would like to have. Choice of materials and technology of heating and ventilation depends upon type of conservatory. The setting up of warm conservatory will be most expensive, because we will have to buy well isolated glass elements and install strong and efficient heating system.
In phase of planning we must also decide where and how will plants be planted. If we decide for classical flowerpots, we must ensure a straight floor and some shelves, where smaller plants will be grown. We can plant plants into floor beds, that are reaching under height of a floor or in flower planters.
Best location for conservatory is southern side of a building. It is sunny side and plants will flourish definitely best. We can put conservatory also on eastern or western side. Northern side is inappropriate as there is not enough sunlight and only shadow plants would flourish (e.g. of ferns). Conservatory on a northern side also demands more heating in winter, because sun doesn't warm it up.
Efficiency of sunbeams in winter depends upon gradient of the roof. Steeper roof means warmer conservatory. It is possible to have straight roof, but less sunshine will penetrate as snow will be blocking sunlight.
Winter garden is usually attached to existing building. This mean knocking down one of building's walls removing large window. Conservatory usually has three glass walls and glass roof. We can plan it as a part of a house when planning new house. In this case only roof and one or two walls can be made of glass.
Basic material for conservatory is glass. Different shapes of glass elements are being used. Because glass is covering major part of surface, it must have suitable isolation characteristics, that not too much warmth is lost. Glass elements with two, three or more layers are being used today. They have better isolation characteristics than individual glass plates that were used in past.
Roof is exposed to hail which can damage or destroy glass elements. Therefore safety glass is being used (usually tempered glass) for the roof.
Elements from artificial materials can be used instead of glass. But they are not as good as glass as some kinds are not so permeable for light.
Carrying construction can be wooden, from aluminium or steel. It is matter of opinion which material we choose. Today all three materials are being used.
Wood constructions have very good isolation characteristics and beautiful natural appearance, but need regular maintenance. Painting with protective paint is necessary every few years. Wood construction is also thicker.
Steel constructions have high load capacity. They are elegant and at least noticeable but have worse insulation properties then wood.
Aluminium constructions are resistant to weather. As aluminium is good thermic conductor, they have worst insulation characteristics. Therefore producers combine aluminium with artificial materials which are better at insulation.
First we create foundations which well be carrying floor plate and construction. Floor plate with proper water and thermic insulation is placed on foundations. Next step is putting together the construction and making joints with an existent building. Then it is time to install glass elements. At the end we install heating and watering system.
Building conservatory is demanding procedure, that is better left to specialists. If we don't have enough practice, we may have problems with thermic bridges and conservatory will not be what we wanted it to be.