5 Key Differences Between A Garden Room & A Garden Annexe

Here at Zedbox, we’re often asked the difference between a garden room and garden annexe. Well, we’re the right people to ask because before Zedbox became the UK’s garden annexe breakthrough company, SMART Garden Rooms, Offices & Studios - the sister company of Zedbox - had been making garden rooms for over a decade and continues to do so today.

As designers, developers and craftsmen of both garden annexes (Zedbox) and garden rooms (SMART), we can see, from the inside out, the key difference these buildings have.  

Garden rooms and garden annexes can appear, from the outside, easily confused as not being too different at all. Take for example SMART’s Ultra range compared with our original Zedbox. Each modern style embodies Great British design; however, they both have key features that make them truly unique buildings in their own right.

We’ve highlighted the 5 key differences between a garden room and a garden annexe:

Building Regulations:

Perhaps the most important and core difference between a garden room and a garden annexe is how you as the owner can use them.

SMART: A garden room can be used as additional space at home all year round, yet cannot be used as a permanent or common dwelling.

Zedbox: Whereas a garden annexe due to being compliant with building regulations allows you to reside in one all year round, 365 days of the year.

Planning Permission:

SMART: The majority of garden rooms will not require planning permission, inclusive in this rule are our SMARTs. Although sometimes needed, the SMART range has been designed to rule out the requirement of planning permission as much as possible.

Zedbox: A garden annexe, however, will need planning permission no matter the circumstances due to the building becoming a room in which you plan to live (i.e. sleep in.)


SMART: SMART gives you flexibility of a size that suits your garden, budget and needs. With SMART having up to 10 sizes to choose from.

Zedbox: However, due to having to comply with building regulations and having to have planning permission, the Zedbox can offer a more ambitious sizing structure, one you most likely wouldn’t ever need for an office space, yet would for a living space, this means Zedbox has on offer over 50 sizes to choose from!

Comfort: SMARTs and Zedboxes have been designed for maximum comfort.

SMART: With SMART creating the perfect space for your office, art studio or hideaway, comfort is found in the thick chunky walls and optional lighting and customisation.

Zedbox: With the Zedbox, comfort can be found in each and every corner having been designed to be lived in. This includes the exclusive furniture range from Zedbox, even a more compact Zedbox can be made a truly luxurious living space, by adding in comfy space saving beds, or state of the art mini kitchens.

Both allowing ample space to be perfect for each of their individual uses whether work, play or sleep!


SMART: The garden room is still perfect for use 365 days of the year and excellent in all weather conditions, yet the specification is more centralised around making a space to be enjoyed as an additional room instead of living space, with unlimited double glazing and being able to position the windows and doors however you wish, the garden room provides a room at home with unbeatable flexibility.

Zedbox: With a garden annexe specified to meet building regulations, you will also discover a difference in the overall specification, with even thicker chunkier walls, fire safety features and beautiful aesthetic specifications such as a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom(s), the annexe has been created to allow the Zedbox to become your home.

Work and hobby space has an entirely different requirement in all five of these elements than a space designed to be lived in. Both the garden room – SMART and the garden annexe for Zedbox have been curated to allow these spaces to fulfil their potential and beyond. Plus, with the added benefit of both companies using their tested, trusted and industry leading TuSc construction system, each offer unbeatable strength and rigidity.

So, although similar in quality and sometimes style, these two intelligent types of garden buildings have been specifically designed in truly unique ways to create and maximise their ability as a working space or as a living space.

Want to know more? Contact the Zedbox team today.