Ollie Allen’s Garden Studio Project

Ollie Allen’s Garden Studio Project

Earlier this year we reported on carpenter, Ollie Allen’s home improvement project and, like many tradespeople, lockdown has provided the perfect impetus for further progress.

After a good few weeks of working on the garden studio framework and the structure, the time to get it all weathertight has finally arrived. I’ve chosen a flat roof system that could have a green roof added in the future to help it blend in with the wildlife.

I chose Rubber4Roofs one-piece EPDM system. It can be cut to any size you need easily, and ordering online was really great, with their online calculator adding in trims and kerbs where needed. I originally ordered the EPDM sheet in two sections for two roof platforms, but changed the design for simplicity when building the studio.

The sealing tape gives a permanent bond to join multiple pieces together on site, and ordering in two pieces proved to be a wise decision because they were heavy getting them up there by myself! Having said that, weight and robustness is exactly what I wanted for a roof covering system, and I feel safe knowing it’s not going to rip or tear if the odd branch or tree part falls on it in a storm. It was easily installed on my own with the water-based rubber adhesive, and cutting out for the roof windows was pretty straightforward. It’s flexible enough to easily mould into the upstands and, really helpfully, Rubber4Roofs have a video of each stage of the install.

After cutting out the holes in my OSB roof surface, I added raised batons to create the desired fall on the RoofMaker rooflights. I’ve chosen a pair of stunning 1m x 1m fixed rooflights, which add loads of light into the building. After lifting the units onto the roof, I sealed the perimeter with sealant, set them in place and screwed down ready for trimming and sealing up the EPDM to create a watertight seal around the windows. Simple as that – which was a nice way to finish the day of roof-based tasks! They have an intelligent profile design on the edge, which you can feed the EPDM sheet into really easily to create that final seal.

Following on with the exterior of the building I have been working on a few design ideas to make the building look a bit more creative and give it that WOW factor. Creative ideas, together with using different materials, can help you to build incredible looking projects, which don’t blow the bank!


Using Norbord’s 12mm OSB I cut my own design of shingle based cladding strips on my CNC router, using as much of the boards as possible to reduce wastage. Once these are cut and secured in place, I can leave the OSB raw or add a weatherproof paint or coating to create an even more modern look.

Inside the Garden Studio, I have clad the whole building in OSB, which is perfect for a hardworking workshop space, using thicker 18mm sheets of Norbord in areas where I know I need to hang cabinets or shelves to take that extra weight. I called my mate Greg the electrician to run all my conduit and install a new supply in armoured cable, along with connecting it all up to a nice new consumer unit just for the workshop circuits.

I’m sorry to say Mr Mole’s time as sole destroyer of our garden is over, as my mate and I got busy with some spades and dug a nice long trench to run the armoured supply in. Maybe next summer’s project is the garden landscaping – just don’t tell the wife because that was the summer 2020 project she had in mind for me!

Now I’m well on the way to a finished building. It makes a big difference having installed the LED panel lights, because I can see what I’m cutting now instead of using that one dodgy strip light I borrowed from the plasterers a few years back!

I’m really pleased with the hard work so far and it has transformed the space into a warm and exciting place to work in, which is pretty important now more than ever. The budget on this project is achievable for the average homeowner, or in your own back garden if you’re a tradesperson who needs that extra workshop space and doesn’t fancy taking on the rent of a unit in these uncertain times.

I’m now ready to finish the final cladding and flashing, which is a good stage to be at before the bad weather hits for winter.

For further information on any of the products mentioned in this feature, see down below:

Rubber4Roofs one-piece EPDM system www.rubber4roofs.co.uk/classicbond
Rubber4Roofs installation video www.rubber4roofs.co.uk/how-to-install-a-classicbond-one-piece-epdm-rubber-roof
RoofMaker Rooflights https://roof-maker.co.uk/rooflights/
Norbord OSB www.norbord.co.uk/ 

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