A garden room is a specific section in a garden that gives the feeling of being in an actual room, surrounded by walls and hedges. These spaces, filled with tall plants, have been a part of garden planning for a long time. They are different from patios and terraces, which are usually located close to a building and often furnished with tables and chairs. Garden rooms are designed for specific activities, like eating, cooking, resting, or meditating, and are a favored way to enhance outdoor spaces.


Unlike a basic shed, a garden room is a high-end structure, typically made from the finest natural materials to resist weather conditions. These garden structures are separate from the main house, created to add beauty to your home and garden. They are considered external buildings and usually don’t exceed 2.5 meters in height, which means they typically don’t need planning permission.


Garden rooms provide a peaceful retreat away from home distractions and can serve multiple functions, such as a home office, workout area, or a place to unwind. Here’s how you can plan one:


Assess your outdoor space.


Understanding your available resources will guide your decisions about how to utilize your yard. Consider the size of your property, the way sunlight falls in various areas, and the views from different spots. Is a tree enough for shading a seating area, or will you need to construct a pergola, an awning, or use a patio umbrella?


Intended use of your garden rooms.


What activities do you envision happening in these areas? Cooking, dining, socializing, lounging, reading, or meditation? A swimming lane, a dog run, a play zone for kids, or a kitchen garden to cultivate your own produce? Rank these activities based on the amount of time you’re likely to spend on each.


Choosing a location.


Contemplate the positioning of different areas. For ease of access, arrange frequently used spaces like dining and entertainment areas closer to the house. A cooking area would be most practical if located near an indoor kitchen entrance. Keeping cooking and dining zones adjacent prevents food from being carried over long distances. Spaces farther from the house could be used for reading, sipping coffee, or as a quiet meditation corner.


Privacy considerations.


To create a sense of privacy and separation, rooms can be either partially or completely enclosed. Partially blocked views can add an element of mystery and intrigue. Walls, fences, trellises, hedges, ornamental grasses, vines, and even old doors and gates can be used to make privacy screens. A cluster of potted plants or a large urn can help define a space.


Creating a flow.


Connect different areas of the garden with pathways or a transitional space such as a lawn, stone patio, or gravel landing. Encourage exploration with winding paths, a central feature like a bench or statue, or an attractive structure like an arbor.


Find inspiration.


Seek ideas for garden rooms in books, on the internet, at garden centers, or by touring other gardens. Make a note of the features that you would like to have included.


Selection of a style.


Think about how outdoor spaces will harmonize with your house. Choose a style or a mix of styles that will match the house’s exterior and resonate with your personal preferences. Use recurring elements such as colors, fabrics, plants, or hard landscaping materials to create a cohesive look between indoor and outdoor spaces. Opt for a soothing color palette or vibrant shades for a more stimulating atmosphere.


Develop a plan.


Start with a rough sketch to visualize the arrangement of rooms. Pay attention to scale to ensure each space is appropriately sized. For more complex projects, consider consulting a landscape designer or architect. It may not be feasible to transform the entire yard simultaneously, so plan in phases and establish a goal, budget, and timeline.


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