Garden Rooms

Aug 23, 2016 | Gardens

Last night it was great fun to be the guest host of #gardenchat on Twitter. If you’re not familiar with it, this is a world-wide conversation about gardening that happens every Monday from 9 to 10 PM Eastern Time. Gardenchat was started by Bren Haas and is always a rollicking time…it’s kind of like attending a cocktail party with 500+ people in a huge room and everyone has to keep moving, and talking, while on roller skates. You go in and out of conversations, or move past  them catching an idea here and a comment there, and come away feeling like you’ve fallen into a turning kaleidoscope at the start of the hour, and come out of it drenched in colors at the end. All in the company of really good people.

Most #gardenchat sessions have a theme and as the guest host last night I chose “garden rooms.” The topic is on my mind because of my latest book, but also because of a study I read that said that 85% of Millennials rate outdoor rooms as “very important” or “important.” More than half, 56%, of the study’s respondents say they have an outdoor room, while 21% say they’d “love one” 21% say they’re creating one, and only 2% don’t want one. Clearly these are numbers that plant pushers like myself should pay attention to.

Here are some photos of garden rooms along with random thoughts about the topic:

One reason I love going to GWA annual symposiums is that we visit private gardens in various parts of the country. Here is a gardening room I saw at the meeting in Pittsburgh.

One reason I love going to GWA annual symposiums is that we visit private gardens in various parts of the country. Here is a gardening room I saw at the meeting in Pittsburgh.

This entry to a garden room, seen on the GWA garden tours in Long Island, reminded me how powerful some simple touches of color can be on garden structures.

This entry to a garden room, seen on the GWA garden tours in Long Island, reminded me how powerful some simple touches of color can be on garden structures.

 

One way to make a small space more interesting is to divide it into spaces. When a small space is left open, the eye sees it all and the brain says "This is all there is." But when a small yard is divided into garden rooms, the brain says "There's MORE!"

One way to make a small space more interesting is to divide it into spaces. When a small space is left open, the eye sees it all and the brain says “This is all there is.” But when a small yard is divided into garden rooms, the brain says “There’s MORE!”

 

Three simple paper lanterns and a bench create not only a garden room, but a garden celebration!

Three simple paper lanterns and a bench create not only a garden room, but a garden celebration!

 

Never underestimate the design power of an umbrella. It instantly makes you think/feel "shelter" - and can bring color to the room as well.

Never underestimate the design power of an umbrella. It instantly makes you think/feel “shelter” – and can bring color to the room as well.

 

Speaking of color - this gardener (this garden also seen on a GWA annual symposium) was brilliant in using the colorful table cloths to create a garden room out of an area that might have otherwise been a corridor.

Speaking of color – this gardener (this garden also seen on a GWA annual symposium) was brilliant in using the tables and colorful table cloths to create a garden room out of an area that might have otherwise been a corridor. I believe that seating always “makes” a garden room. Without chairs, benches or other places to rest a space is more plant-gallery, or museum, instead of a ROOM.

 

My friends Judy and Dave made a garden room at the front door by placing a patio and two chairs by the entry. Brilliant! Why don't we all use our front yards as garden rooms?

My friends Judy and Dave made a garden room at the front door by placing a patio and two chairs by the entry. Brilliant! Why don’t we all use our front yards as garden rooms?

 

Another friend, designer Jeffery Thomas, reminds us that a garden room can be created as a place to celebrate a particular season.

Another friend, designer Jeffery Thomas, reminds us that a garden room can be created as a place to celebrate a particular season. With the right plants and a few accessories, you have an instant room.

 

Here is another front yard made into a room.

Here is another front yard made into a room. Patio + chairs + flowers = CHARMING!

 

In The Cocktail Hour Garden I question why we don't place some small furnishings in our veggie gardens and create instant (and abundant!) rooms.

In The Cocktail Hour Garden I question why we don’t place some small furnishings in our veggie gardens and create instant (and abundant!) rooms.

 

A garden room can be created that makes the visual and functional transition between wild and tame. This deck design moves seamlessly from from room to field.

A garden room can be created that makes the visual and functional transition between wild and tame. This deck design moves seamlessly from from room to field.

 

Where can YOU add a garden room? Think of function first. Do you want an outdoor office? A shady afternoon tea garden? A place for morning coffee, reading or cocktails? How about an outdoor craft studio, potting shed or writing garden? If you can dream it, you can plant it.

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