Outdoor Rooms

Outdoor Rooms

We’ve always been interested in garden “rooms,” but this idea has even greater importance and interest today. Most of us aren’t traveling during the pandemic, so our yards have become a place of focus and refuge. Many are working from home, so these outdoor spaces are also our office and “Zoom Room.”

Creating several outdoor living areas has many advantages. We can identify some places where it’s most cool and shady in the mornings –the breakfast room– and others that are pleasant in the afternoons or evenings. A cocktail hour garden, anyone?

The beauty of thinking about garden rooms is that you don’t necessarily have to do an entire redesign of your landscape. The addition of a few plants for privacy, some beds for flowers, outdoor furniture and some accessories can create such living spaces easily and quickly. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

I was thinking about outdoor rooms when wandering through the nursery today. There are so many great varieties of Hydrangea paniculata available. Some of these grow tall (think flowering hedge for color and privacy) and others shorter. All have flowers that start as white although many turn pink later in the season. White flowers are especially welcome where you’ll gather in the evening since they show up in the fading light.
The fastest way to create a garden room is to add furniture. Benches are especially nice, and when they add color to the garden as well as seating, it’s a win-win for sure.
I was blessed to be invited to a socially distanced dinner at the Kurz residence recently. Their benches, simple table and fire pit reminded me that such an evening outdoor living area can be easily created on a lawn.
Outdoor rooms can be under arbors of course. This grape arbor at the Fornari garden was built for shade at breakfast and lunch. If you’ve been to Italy you know that many houses have such an arbor just outside the door to the kitchen.
A collection of raised beds and flowers in pots turns a deck into a garden room that is a great place to grow vegetables as well.
Looking at these raised bed boxes on the patio in the store, I was dreaming of how they can not only be used to grow edibles, but can also be placed around a perimeter of an outdoor living area.
Large potted plants can provide instant screening and privacy around a small courtyard or patio. And garlands, such as these fish bells, are not only ornamental when hung from rafters or arbors, but they can also be used to define spaces.
Part of the fun of making outdoor rooms is picking the accessories. We not only have these lovely Hydrangea rugs, meant to be outside, but also quality, outdoor furniture that can be ordered in assorted colors and cushion fabrics.

Once you’ve got a few outdoor rooms going, don’t forget to use them! Remember to sit outside in the morning before it gets hot, and watch the birds come and go. This is one of the pleasures of feeding the birds all year…you not only get that motion and color, but you also have the pleasure of watching adult birds teaching their young how to eat at a feeder!

Enjoying the wildlife and the garden is a life-affirming experience we can all use these days, so create some spaces for rest and renewal in your landscape.

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