The principal difference between an orangery and conservatory is their construction.
Whereas a conservatory will typically have over 75% of its roof glazed, an orangery generally has less than 75%. Plus, over 50% of the wall area of a conservatory would also be glazed.
Both are popular with homeowners, but which you choose depends on the style of construction most suited to your requirements.
What is an orangery?
Orangeries became features of elegant residences between the 17th to 19th centuries. They were used to create an environment where it was possible to grow orange and other fruit trees by protecting them during the winter.
The solid build of the orangery gave enough protection for citrus trees to survive frosty weather and cold winter months. The concept of an orangery started in Italy and was architecturally adapted over later years to suit different climates.
In Britain, an orangery was a sign of luxury and sophistication and became a garden feature that symbolised wealth and prestige.
The popularity of orangeries
Orangeries are popular thanks to their strong construction – with a higher proportion of brick to glass. Their strength makes them versatile, and orangeries have been turned into kitchens and dining rooms – and sunrooms thanks to their atrium roof.
The atrium of an orangery is designed to boost light in adjoining rooms. The appeal of adding natural light, and the fact that orangeries can be larger than conservatories, have made them an ideal choice for homes in need of extra space and light.
The evolution of conservatories
As orangeries evolved from housing just fruit trees to becoming greenhouses for shrubs and herbs, the conservatory began to develop.
With both walls and the ceiling made of glass, the additional light of a conservatory allowed plants to flourish in this indoor/outdoor environment. But while orangeries were sometimes built as standalone structures in the garden, the conservatory evolved to become an extension of the home.
The construction of orangeries and conservatories
The key differences between orangeries and conservatories are in their design and construction.
Conservatories often act as an extension to the home. They’re an extra room that sits between the house and the garden. Because their construction contains minimal brickwork and mostly glass, conservatories are a good way to enjoy your garden whilst staying undercover.
Orangeries are constructed using more brickwork and are often larger. Although they’re primarily brick built, they still have large windows and an area of roof that’s glass to allow plenty of light into the house.
Advances in glass used in orangeries and conservatories
The materials used in the construction of conservatories and orangeries have changed over the years.
Conservatoires now tend to be built using uPVC, aluminium and glass. Orangeries tend to be made from brick or timber, although nowadays they can also include uPVC.
The beauty of modern materials is that the double glazing and glass used helps to keep the rooms warm in winter and cool in summer. It’s the advances in the design of glass that have made such a big difference to the thermal performance of conservatories and orangeries.
And as the walls and base can be fully insulated, you can now use your conservatory or orangery all year round – making both highly attractive additions to your property.