With space being at a premium in many houses, it’s time to think out of the box a little and create an almost room-like environment in your garden. “Outdoor-indoor” living may sound like a title in a trendy interiors magazine, but many people are discovering the potential in their much neglected backyard!
A well designed garden almost feels like a room and should be used as such. To achieve this effect, a natural flow from house to garden should be aimed for.
Even the smallest of spaces can be transformed. Take a good look at the space you have available and draw up a list of what you would like to use your “garden/room” for. Most people would like to have a seating area and perhaps somewhere to eat. If you have small children you may want to allocate an area for them to play and if you have teenagers a chill out zone would be ideal!
Your first step is to complete any structural work that is necessary. You may need to construct flooring by using decking or paving. Areas of the garden may need levelling and steps building to join the spaces. Consider adding structures that will provide height such as walls, pergolas and summer houses.
As using your garden as a room is reliant on the weather being good, some kind of shelter would be a useful addition. Your garden would still be used in pouring rain if sufficient shelter and heating is available.
There are many styles of patio heaters available, some powered by gas and others fuelled by wood. Both create a cozy warmth as the sun sets.
Lighting adds ambience and atmosphere, as well as being useful. You could consider installing lighting that is powered by solar energy or connect the lighting to your electricity power. Don’t underestimate the romance of candles flickering as the sunsets. Some candles contain a herb called citronella which is excellent for warding off pesky bugs.
For a modern streamlined look LED Rope Light options are excellent for decking areas and enhancing features and structures.
Decorating your garden as you would your home seems a little unusual, however if you extend your home decor to the garden the edges between inside and outside will blur meaning that your garden will seem to be living space.
You could consider painting the exterior wall the same colour as the room which connects the garden. Adorn the walls with mosaics and art as you would your home. To feel like a home your flooring needs to be even and clean. You could consider using an outdoor rug, wooden decking or even artificial grass.
A garden should have a focus, maybe a sculpture or statement plant or tree, be sure to enhance the piece with clever lighting.
Comfort is key. Invest in some good quality outdoor furniture that is comfortable and able to withstand the weather. To add more comfort consider purchasing soft furnishings such as cushions, throws and table cloths. These will be easily stored away should rain occur or during the cold winter months.
A table is essential and needs to be large enough to accommodate guests. A folding table could be an option if space is tight.
We haven’t touched on the traditional aspects to gardening yet and that is plants! Plants can be used to add colour, structure and create shade. Choose plants that hold interest year round and try to create a display of colour for every season. There are plants available that look fabulous in winter, with berries and scent.
In Autumn colour can be added by planting trees and plants which have leaves that turn golden, red and orange. Spring flowering bulbs add a splash of colour after the winter and during summer you will be spoilt for choice with the huge array of plants available.
When choosing plants, try to choose ones that are scented. One of the main positives of having a garden, is the scent from flowers as you sip a glass of wine. Scented plants include roses, sweet peas and stocks, to name a few.
Additionally don’t forget to incorporate an area in your garden which will provide a much needed habitat in our evermore sterile world. Perhaps add a bird feeding station, a pond or a patch of wild flowers. Our bees are in decline and your “wild” areas no matter how small will really help with their conservation.
Hopefully by following the above tips your garden will really feel like an extension of your home.