With the rising cost of buying a new home recently, many people are trying to make do with what their current home offers and improve its offering where possible.
Whether you need more space to work, play or relax, a shipping container can help. You can convert a shipping container into a number of different uses, all of which can provide the perfect space for your family without the need to pack up and change address.
Uses for a Shipping Container in Your Garden
There are so many different uses for a shipping container. We’ve seen people convert them into business premises and even housing. However, in your garden, used shipping containers can provide the perfect place to meet your and your family’s needs.
Shipping container offices have been a rising trend over the past two years as more and more people began to work from home because of the pandemic. The rise in working from home or hybrid working pushed up the price of garden offices, so many turned to DIY solutions like shipping container conversions.
Containers also make for great car garages, especially if you have a potentially valuable model you are working on, as they can store tools safely too.
Another use would be for a workshop if you are starting out with your own business from home and want to move it out of the space you share with your partner or children. We’ve known joiners, landscapers, and even bakers who work in shipping container workshops.
A garden room can also be perfect for capturing more of the sun, relaxing in and reading a book while the kids are playing out in the garden, or for a playroom that keeps the kids’ toys out of the living room where you relax on an evening. We’re sharing our tips for converting a shipping container into a garden room in this blog.
Benefits of a Shipping Container
Ultimately, a shipping container is a perfect solution for many projects, and the garden is no different. The uses of a container can be as stretched as far as your imagination allows. They can be used for both permanent and temporary solutions, so if you want a playroom for the kids now but know they are going to outgrow it in 5 years, you know removing the container won’t be too much of a hassle later.
We’ve spoken before about the benefits of a steel storage container, but for families requiring more space, the biggest benefit is creating this without the need for uprooting everyone. You can choose to convert on site or convert the shipping container elsewhere, then move it into place once it’s almost complete, minimising disruption. They are also highly durable and can withstand almost any environment with minimal maintenance.
It’s also a more cost-effective solution than everything that comes with moving. Not only is a bigger home going to cost you more than your current home, but you also have the removal costs and any maintenance costs on the new home. Your insurance will also increase as the new home is bigger, but you may also find yourself paying more if you change areas. At least by expanding your current home’s space, you know the area well and are settled without having to learn all about a new place.
Do I Need Planning Permission for a Converted Shipping Container Garden Room?
For the most part, shipping containers are considered temporary structures, like sheds. Therefore, they generally do not require planning permission, especially when they are for personal use on your private land.
However, you may come up against issues if the container causes a loss of light or privacy to your neighbour’s property, it obstructs any other property entrances or could add to the noise or traffic in the local area. So for structures designed to be home business workshops where you offer collection, you may have issues.
Also, if you live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB), in a listed property, on National Park land, or your property is a leasehold property, there will be restrictions on what you can place on your land. Check any land registry documents and any documentation you received when you purchased your home to check this, as you may be asked to remove anything that goes against the terms you agreed to.
Can You Convert a Shipping Container Yourself?
It’s perfectly possible to convert a shipping container into a garden room yourself. With careful planning, the right tools, and decent know-how, you can undertake the project on the side whilst working or during a sabbatical.
It’s recommended that you get any major work completed by a professional, such as the electrics or the plumbing, if your garden room will have a toilet included. And if you do carry out the electrical work yourself, remember it has to be tested and certified by a professional. But painting, lining and cutting out spaces for doors and windows is an achievable feat.
How to Source a Shipping Container
First of all, choose whether you want a new or used shipping container, then shop around for the best place to buy a shipping container near you. At Flintham Cabins, we have used shipping containers for sale in London and can deliver new shipping containers to addresses across the UK.
Our top tips would be to speak to a company that is willing to help you source exactly what you need for your project and who will be able to supply fast and efficient delivery of your chosen container.
How to Create a Shipping Container Garden Room
If you plan to convert your shipping container garden room yourself, you should follow these steps.
1. Design The Space
First of all, you will keep to know what is going where. Get a plan drawn up, and decide what will go where, including doors, windows and electrics. If your garden room will have separate rooms within it, maybe for an additional toilet or garden office, then you need to work out where the walls will go for that. You need to know the dimensions of your shipping container before you plan the space, or you could plan multiple spaces to standard sizes of container to work out which will suit your needs most.
If your plan involves the removal of a significant section of a wall, you may want to speak to an engineer to check that this won’t alter the structural stability of the container.
2. Prepare your Land
You will then need to clear the land you will be placing your container on. This will include making way for your container to be delivered. The entire space will need to be accessible for the lorry bringing the container. You may have to cut trees back to allow for the crane and speak to neighbours if the container obstructs them during delivery.
3. Cut Spaces for Openings
Once your container is in place, you can make a start on the hard work. You will need to cut your openings first, making space for doors, windows etc.
While doing this, you may remove some of the anti-corrosive paint from the structure, so remember to retreat it once this aspect is complete. Then you can fit your desired windows and doors. The frames will need to be sealed to protect the container from the elements.
4. Treating the Inside
Many containers will have been treated with harsh chemicals inside, so you may want to remove the flooring and add a subfloor which will protect you from these. Then you can add your framing to insulate the inside, then add your interior walls and desired flooring ready to decorate.
5. Wire Your Container
During the above process, you will want to consider how much wiring will be needed and where, so you can carry out the process of adding the electrics while installing walls and floors. As mentioned above, you can do this process yourself but will need a qualified electrician to test and certify the electrics.
6. Repaint the Exterior
Shipping containers aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing for your garden, but a repaint can make a lot of difference. If you don’t want your garden room to “look” like a shipping container, you could choose to clad the exterior or make it into a living wall by installing a trellis around it and growing plants from it. There are countless ways to make your shipping container blend in with its surroundings, so get creative.
7. Add the Fixtures and Fittings
Once the inside and outside are to your liking, you can get to the finer details. Choose your relaxing sofa or chairs, put your office desk in place, or create that den the kids have always asked for. The opportunities are endless, and your container is yours to do with what you wish!
At Flintham Cabins, we’ll be happy to help you with your DIY garden room shipping container conversion and offer any advice regarding your project. We have many years of experience in delivering a variety of projects for both home and business use, including security guard huts and toilet units in London. Our bespoke shipping containers are perfect for getting the solution you want for your garden. Get in touch today on 020 8459 6972 or email us for a container quote.