Converting Balcony to a Winter Garden


We have a relatively big balcony with a rotating/closeable sunroof (is that the right word?).

I have recently been thinking of converting this balcony to a winter garden so that it is more “habitable”, something similar to what is explained here: .

I am not the owner, but I am on quite good terms with the landlord and plan to cover the cost of the conversion partially or fully if it comes to it.

However, before mentioning the idea I want to assess a bit more of how crazy it is so that I don’t look like a fool Are there serious implications of such a transformation, making it very difficult or impossible? Is it damaging to the flats above or below us (the landlord owns them, too). What are the options, if any, here? I understand that we cannot leave the sunroof permanently open for some regulated reason; does it make the idea of a winter garden impossible?

Many thanks

You might want to check with planning rules and regs, regardless of what the owner says. Our neighbours tried to do that with their balcony which is on their own property, would have been mostly glass, not overlooking anything and not disturbing anyone or blocking views but the local council said no.

I think ShirleyNot made a good point, above.

Also, because you are not an owner, you might need to consider the fact that having a winter garden rather than a balcony could potentially make the apartment less desirable to future renters. Some people like to sun-bathe on their balconies, grill, etc.

I'm sure it couldn't hurt to just ask your landlord about it, though. But I certainly wouldn't expect them to cover the costs.

Planning permission from the council would be the first thing that comes to mind.

Then if we are talking about an apartment in a multiple-flat building (PPE) the modification of the exterior has to be approved by owners association (according to the association rules)

These things have to be led by the property owner - he could do all that on your behalf if you convince him enough - but you can't do it as a tenant. Or you could be the one that pays for a company that builds the thing and gets all the paperwork with the approval of the owner.

The only good thing is that if you are not the owner you don't need to worry about resale value

P.S. The planning permission issue may be that such a space can end up being considered "living space" and then a range of issues follow, like the square footage of the building vs the allowed limits, impacts on tax rates, of share of the whole building, etc. Definitely talk to a specialist

you need a permission for a wintergarten and then it still makes a difference if it is going to be heated or not, those are different permits.

additionally, you might not be able to do it if the so called 'Ausnützungsziffer' of the land the house is built on has already been reached. Basically each piece of land has a m2 of usage which is allowed to be on it. This includes all apartments as well as any common areas such as hallways, stair cases etc. if this has been reached, forget it.

plus what also needs to be considered is how close the enclosed part will be to the land border of the next property. it has to have a minimal distance(can't remember what).

so it's really not that easy unfortunately. a possibility is to keep the wall in which separates out to the balcony and just put glass fronts on the balcony. you will need permission for this again, dont forget. but it might be easier if you keep the wall in and just surround the balcony with glass.

you can get more information from the Kreisarchitekt (if located in city Zurich) or any other architect/bauplanner.

Thank you everyone. With all these hassles, it is a clear no-go and I’m happy I didn’t discuss it with the landlord

Now, what about buying one of these “sheds”(?) for the balcony:…_orderby=price . Hopefully one that is from glass, if such a thing exists.

I guess/hope they are ok, no? What do I need to consider?

I am interested in doing the same. As far as I can see.
You do not need building permission if it is not a permanent fixture fixed to the ground. From experience I have found it necessary to tie it well to the balcony railings so that it does not blow away in a storm. Up to now I have just used a light plastic one - works to promote growth in spring but does not give winter protection. I am thinking of upgrading to a polycarbonate one but am just shopping around to see a better offer and slightly smaller one than this:…grau/10472824/

Your link did not open for me to compare.

I’m on the top floor with no-one able to view the balcony from close up. If you want to play safe it it is always good to ask the landlord - I will let sleeping dogs lie.

Many thanks. That website is very slow, but the sheds sre similar to your link, made from wood. I look for something as big as possible, and from glass.

Let's update this post once/if we find something.

Polycarbonate tubules are supposed to have many advantages over double glazing; price, weight, strength etc. The amount of light getting in is secondary.

Thanks. Yes polycarbonate works great, too. By the way, I want a "livable room"; not sure whether s green house satisfies that :/

That is the crux of the issue. If it is seen as an extension of the living area you get into all kinds of complications. Better to make it look like a plant space.

How large is your balcony?…rden-igloo-360

A 2x6 metre artificial grass carpet is currently fit, with some space st the entrance remaining.

She was suggesting the igloo.

I did once put a lean-to type aluminium polycarb greenhouse on my balcony but the missus didn't like it and the storms destroyed much of it. Some of the panels bleww away into the street and you'd have to be especially careful if using real glass.

for your needs you're maybe looking at what in the UK is called a conservatory and if you have the right contacts you could maybe build your own, within the confines of your space so it's technically free standing.

This, exactly.

I don't have a balcony as although I'm on the first floor of my building, on one side we are just above street level so they couldn't include one. The upper floor balconies all have blinds that close them off completely all round, but the other 2 flats on my floor are on either corner of the building and have sliding glass panels to close them off so they can be either winter rooms or open in summer.

As we have no balcony we have the largest apartment in the building as we have a much bigger open plan livingroom/kitchen/diner to the others, also a bigger second bedroom. However the people with street facing balconies say they never use them in summer as they are concrete and far too hot. Courtyard facing are shady. I had a winter room type at my last apartment, it had a big window that slid open at one side and I didn't really like it. Only good thing about it was when closed it deadened the 24/7 noise from the Kleinbasel red light zone!