If you are considering installing an orangery then the chances are you will be aware of the romantic associations they have with country houses, but how has the past translated into the present in orangery design?
Historical Origins Of The Orangery
From its first incarnation in Padua in 1517, the orangery has been seen as a symbol of wealth and prestige. Particularly associated with grand country houses in England, whose designers were inspired by Italian Renaissance gardens, the orangery was not just a glorified greenhouse. It was in fact a symbol of taste and class. Many eccentric aristocrats installed fountains, streams and grottos, in an effort to outdo their friends in orangery extravagance and would invite guests to explore and admire their exotic plants, but undoubtedly one of the most impressive designs of this type of decorative addition to a garden still in existence today is that at the Palace of Versailles, France, built by Louis XIV and containing some 3000 orange trees.
The Modern Day Orangery
With these associations, it is no surprise that orangeries are one of the most aspirational of all extensions to a present day home. With more scope than a conservatory, an orangery remains an extension of the garden for some. Keen gardeners will enjoy the flora that can flourish in an orangery, which provides a perfect backdrop for the relaxed living style the space provides. Perfect for kitchens, dining rooms or simply a relaxation area, the orangery can be whatever you wish.
Unlike conservatories, an orangery has half brick, stone or hardwood elevations, echoing classical designs. Classical design features can also be seen in lantern roofs and elegant ridge features. Whilst any type of roof is possible, the vaulted glass roof is preferred by many for the sense of space it provides and the glorious amount of light it provides. Whether you are dining, cooking or relaxing in your orangery, you will never be struggling with light levels.
It is important for you and your designer to work closely together when choosing the look of your new orangery. It is an exciting process, with the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of tried and tested combinations. Classical and contemporary designs should all be open to you, constructed with durable quality materials. Choose a reputable company who can show you an extensive portfolio. Designing and installing any substantial garden structure is a big undertaking and your provider should be able to demonstrate their expertise in many fields, from working closely with architects, to interpreting your ideas clearly and to also be able to stay within your budget. A good company will want you to enjoy the process of making your design ideas become a reality.
For many clients an orangery is a dream come true. The associations it has with elegance and style, combined with the beautiful living space it provides, makes the modern day orangery the very pinnacle of house and garden design, making you the envy of all your friends and family.
Mary writes regularly for garden design websites and blogs. She has a particular interest in classical garden design and has her own orangery. She lives and works in London.