We often hear about bringing the outdoors in, but creating garden rooms is all about bringing the indoors outside.
Outdoor rooms provide a place to recreate, meditate, and just breathe. Think about the purpose of each room you want to create. Do you want an outdoor zone to serve as the kids’ playroom? How about a cozy outdoor seating area for drinking a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine after work? Doesn’t a room for outdoor meditation and yoga sound enticing?
How about an entertainment room with a fire bowl bordered by a row of compact snowball bush viburnums as a divider from other garden spaces? Use rows of plants, fences, walls, walkways, trellises, or pergolas to create a sense of separation between spaces, or “rooms.” A semicircular row of boxwoods, for example, can sequester a space and lead the eye to the next garden room.
A fence can become a room’s “wall,” allowing for separation while making a design statement depending on the color it is painted. The fence can serve as the projection screen for a movie in your outdoor living room. Consider adding espaliered camellia sasanquas to the fence to decorate the new room.
Certain elements can lead visitors from one room to another. A pebbled pathway can do the trick as well as a low retaining wall or solar lights. Garden art also can lead visitors along a trail to the next space and can be in the form of colorfully painted metal animal objects, topiaries snipped from evergreen perennials, carefully placed stepping-stones, or hanging creations that float from tree limbs.
Use the appropriate outdoor furniture and accessories to decorate the rooms. A set of chairs settled into an area bordered with a green privacy screening of holly shrubs on one side and a fence on the second side can be accessorized with outdoor cushions and colorful potted annuals.
Entice all the senses to draw visitors from one room to another. Fragrant tea olives, for example, can lead someone in search of the room that contains the wafting scent. A glimpse of bright pink encore azaleas can draw the eye to the next garden room.
Whatever your outdoor room’s purpose, make it a space in which you crave to spend time. You can create a sense of discovery
by dividing your yard into three or four distinct rooms where you can see something new around every turn. Consult your professional landscape designer for ways to get the most from your outdoor space.
DAVID PAYNE is the owner of HOME & GARDEN LANDSCAPES and can be reached at 919-801-0211 or HOMEANDGARDENLANDSCAPES.COM.