Courtyard House, East DulwichContemporary Exterior, London
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2. They get out of the wayStacked to one side, bifold door panels are tidy once they’re open, so there’s nothing at all between you and the garden. To repeat the success of this design, consider frame size – a bulky frame wouldn’t stack so neatly. Think about the panel sizes that will span the opening, too, as narrower panels equal more to stack.
Follow the grainIt’s unlikely you’ll find a wood you want to put indoors that will also work outdoors. Many of the woods typically used in interiors, such as oak, pine and ash, just aren’t weatherproof enough for external use, and it’s unusual to see the more durable hardwoods, such as teak and ipe, used indoors. If you’re set on using natural woods for both indoors and out, you might find you have to go for different types. But you can create a sense of cohesion by ensuring the planks run in the same direction (towards the garden will lead the eye out) and are cut to the same width. You might try a weathered teak outside and silvery pine inside, or a white oak with cypress decking, or you might want to contrast a silvery wood, such as weathered teak, with something a little richer, such as oak.
Planning PermissionThis is the formal permission you will need from your local authority for the erection or alteration of buildings on UK land.The total cost of this will consist of your architect’s and the council’s statutory fees. Council fees are typically £172 for most types of permission and £86 for lawful development certificates (required for permitted development and proof that your household building work is lawful).However, if you are planning a change of use application (for example, from offices to residential) or if you want to change your house from single occupation residential use to flats, fees are higher and vary depending on the scope of the project.
Be aware of costsIt’s hard to generalise about cost, as materials, size and installation all come into play, but expect to pay around £2,000-£3,000 for a four-leaf system of doors.
Choose bifolding doorsThe use of floor-to-ceiling glazing is a great way to enhance the connection between inside and outside, which, in turn, will boost the sense of your patio as a living space. Bifolds are ideal, as they give you the largest possible opening. Having outdoor dining furniture – or indoor pieces you can easily whip outside – will mean mealtimes can transfer to the patio whenever the weather allows.What to consider when planning bifold doors