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01st March, 2023

Demystify the Jargon: Key Orangery & Conservatory Design Terms Explained

If this is your first time embarking on adding a conservatory or orangery, you may be less familiar with some of the design, configuration and building terms used. You may have a clear picture in your head of the style and features that you want to include in the design of your glass room, but don’t know the names. Or maybe you don’t have a clue about exactly what you want to include, just know what the function of your new room will be. Here is a guide to some of the jargon used in conservatory and orangery construction and key design features that you may want to include in your dream conservatory or orangery.

A guide to orangery and conservatory design terms

Glass Structure Types

Luxurious white timber orangery extension on a larger Georgian country property

Conservatory: A conservatory has at least 75% of the structure covered in a glass roof, but more usually the entire roof is made of glass.

Orangery: An orangery traditionally has a flat solid roof with a glass lantern in the centre to let in light.

Glass Box
Garden Room
Beautifully Crafted Oak Framed Barn Garage
Oak Building

Glass Box: A full or partial glass room made from structural glass with no frame.

Garden Room: A room in the garden, with a door or window opening out onto or providing a view of the garden, with a solid roof.

Oak Building: A garden building, garage, workshop, studio or home office building constructed from oak.

Orangery & Conservatory Styles

Lean-to Conservatory

Lean-to: A glass conservatory or sunroom with a single-pitch roof that slopes down from the external wall of your home.

External white timber framed conservatory living space extension
Gable Ended
Small sage green timber conservatory with dwarf walls

Gable Ended: A gable-ended conservatory doesn’t have a roof that slopes back to the external wall. Instead, it has a pitched roof with a triangular glass gable end.

Victorian: A Victorian conservatory is a traditional British style, which has a multi-faceted bay front with an apex roof and an ornate roof ridge.

Edwardian: An Edwardian or sometimes also called a Georgian conservatory is similar to the Victorian style, but with a flat front and rectangular shape.

Traditional Edwardian style timber framed conservatory to match the property aesthetic
Lantern Conservatory

Lantern: A lantern structure is a conservatory but similar to an orangery it has a lantern roof surrounded by a pitched glass roof creating a two-tiered glass roof.

Large bespoke white uPVC orangery with brick dwarf walls
P-Shaped Orangery
T-Shaped Orangery

P-Shape: A p-shape conservatory or orangery is the ideal style for a large structure and forms a ‘P’ shape footprint. The P-shape is formed by combining a rectangular lean-to-shaped section with a hexagonal Victorian shape coming off the side.

T-shape: The T-shaped orangery or conservatory again offers maximum floor space, using the full width of the property wall with an extra section extending out from the centre, usually with a hexagonal front or even a gable end.

Modern bespoke slate grey aluminium conservatory with bi-fold doors
Rectangle Orangery
Modern oak orangery extension
L- Shaped Orangery
Elegant white timber framed hexagonal orangery with dwarf brick walls
Hexagonal Orangery

Rectangle: A rectangle orangery or conservatory is great for both smaller and larger, traditional or contemporary structures. It can span the entire width of the host wall of the property or just a section or event extend out further into the garden, longer than it is wide.

L-Shaped: Formed of two rectangular sections laid out to form an L shape along the external wall and then jutting out with a smaller extension into the garden at one end.

Hexagonal: More traditional orangery and conservatory design, the hexagonal offers a focal point for the home and includes a stunning hexagonal lantern roof or full glass roof.

Conservatory Construction Terms

Footprint: The footprint is the floor space of a conservatory.

Base: The foundations and concrete plinth built to support your structure

all glass box extension
Glass Box Extension with a Parapet Wall
Abutment Wall incorporated into a glass box extension

Abutment: an abutment is where one of the sides of a conservatory touches an existing wall.

Abutment or Parapet Wall: Where a side wall is built higher than the conservatory that butts up to it.

Host or House Wall: The host wall refers to the existing property wall that a conservatory joins to.

Lintel or RSJ: This is the additional structural support beam that you would have put in the host wall if you decide to open your property to your new structure creating a more open-plan design.

Cavity Wall: A wall comprising two walls of masonry, tied together with proprietary metal ties and insulated to improve energy efficiency.

White timber orangery extension with stone dwarf walls to match the aesthetic of the lister property
Orangery with stone dwarf walls
Conservatory with full height frames and glass

Dwarf Wall: A dwarf wall is a wall under the window frames on a conservatory or orangery.

Full Height Frames: A full-height frame is a full glass section from floor to ceiling with no dwarf walls.

Facet: The front-facing frames of a conservatory or orangery.

Box Gutter: A box gutter is a rainwater collection point when the conservatory roof slopes towards the host wall or fascia board.

Flashing: The flashing seals the conservatory roof to the host wall.

Orangery with a lantern roof and tie bars

Tie Bar: Tie Bars are used on conservatories and orangeries to ensure the structural integrity of the conservatory. The bars run across the conservatory’s width at the roof’s base. They often have decorative moulding in the middle.

Orangery & Conservatory Roof Terms

Lantern Roof

Lantern Roof: A lantern-style roof is when you have a flat roof and then a pitched glass lantern in the centre covering some or all the footprint of the structure. They give a real focal point to the glass room and let in lots of natural light. They can be included on an orangery or on a flat roof traditional extension.

Apex: The highest point of the roof.

Large gable ended sage green aluminium framed conservatory
A gable-ended conservatory roof

Gable Style Roof: When a conservatory has a square or rectangular shape and a ridge which runs the full length of the roof with a triangular end to the roof at the front of the structure.

Multi-Pitch Roof: One roof with various roof pitch slopes.

Mono Pitch Roof: a lean-to style roof that pitches at the host wall where the conservatory joins with your home.

Orangery & Conservatory Glass

Stunning glass box extension with a flat glass roof

Low Emissivity Glass or Low E Glass: Low E glass is specially coated glass designed to improve thermal performance.

The U value: The u-value indicates the thermal performance and efficiency of the glass. The lower the U-value the more efficient the glass is.

Glass Extension Windows & Doors

French doors

Double Glazed Unit or DGUs: A DGU is the term used when two panes of glass are kept apart by a spacer bar and are usually filled with air or argon gas.

Patio Doors: A large glass sliding door leading to a patio, garden, or balcony.

French Doors: Double doors open out from the centre onto the garden or patio.

Bi-fold Doors: Doors made from a series of panels that slide open on a runner and fold up against the wall like a concertina.

Roof Vent or Light: A roof vent or light is an opening window in a glass or solid roof.

Orangery & Conservatory Finishings

Orangery with cresting, finials and a finial point at the front of the roof
Small white uPVC conservatory with a gable roof
Conservatory with cresting and a finial point

Cresting: A decorative moulding located on top of the ridge of the roof to add style to a conservatory.

The Finial Point: The finial point is the end point of the central ridge of the roof at the front of the structure.

Finials: The finial is the decorative pointed feature at the front of the ridge placed at the finial point.

We have expert designers on hand to talk to you about your design ideas who will happily help you with creating your bespoke dream design. Let them demystify and break down the design elements required to create the perfect glass room for you. They will also be able to provide you with an idea of costs and a formal no-obligation quote as required.

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