The most comfortable and visually pleasing garden rooms are usually the result of careful planning. You will need to consider how best to use the available space, the vista, and the ambience before you prepare the ‘canvas’ for the decorative touches.
You will probably want somewhere to sit and, perhaps, eat or even entertain. If you have children, you will want somewhere for them to play, and you will also need to allow for some kind of storage area for tools, pots, and other garden paraphernalia. All this is perfectly possible even in tiny gardens. An area 2 in/7 ft square is sufficient space in which to sit and eat. Children would be thrilled with a sandpit just 1 m/.3 ft square and, if there is just a little more space, there will be room enough for a small playhouse.
Plan out in your mind the best place for each of these activities in much the same way as you might plan your kitchen, where you also need to provide space for working, eating, and leisure. Once these priorities are set, it will be much easier to work out the layout of the garden. This is important, even if you don’t have the resources for new pavings and landscaping, at least for the foreseeable future. For example, there may be a neglected flower bed just where you feel it would be best to create a seating area. With the garden layout left as it is, you would continually have to bring furniture in and out when you need it. However, with a few little changes, like simply turfing over the flower bed, you can re-organize the garden so it is ready for relaxation any time you want.
Once the main areas are worked out, it is much easier to decide where you want to have planting areas, and within this framework, you will be able to transform the space into a decorative outdoor room that you will want to use and enjoy for more than just the few summer months.
Planning for privacy
You will only be able to relax in the garden once you have organized the basic needs: privacy and shelter. If necessary; trellis can be fixed on top of walls and fences to create extra height. You can then grow decorative climbers to provide a natural wallpaper.
You could plant fast-growing conifers, such as thuja, though check their potential final height or you could end up deeply overshadowed.
Seating areas, in particular, need privacy. Even if you live in the middle of the country and have a huge garden, you will feel much more comfortable if you site these where, at least on one side, there is the protection of a wall of some sort. This could be the garden boundary wall, a hedge, or even a trellis screen to lend a more intimate feel. If you are closely overlooked, you may also want to create privacy from . One of the most successful ways of doing this is to put up a pergola and let it become entwined with vines or other climbers.
Secret places can be created in even the smallest of spaces. This pathway winds through plantings in a tiny 5m/I5 ft plot.
A small patio area and a collection of planted containers can be incorporated into most gardens, no matter what the size.
Atmosphere and romance
Once the space is defined, you can begin to act the mood. Creating ambience relies on stimulating the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, all of which are supplied free of charge by nature. To the sound of birds and buzzing insects, you can add the music of wind chimes or the evocative trickling of water in even the smallest plot. The outdoors also provides the most glorious fragrances, from sweet-smelling flowers such as roses, honeysuckle and jasmine to aromatics such as lavender and piquant herbs. Touch, too, can be stimulated. Plan for a variety of plants with interesting textures — there are many plants with leaves ranging from fleshy to frondy and feathery. Finally, eating out in the garden contributes taste to complete the sensory picture.
The most romantic gardens hint at intimacy. They could literally been closed outdoor rooms, such as courtyards, balconies, or roof gardens, which automatically offer intimacy. If your space is large, you can add romantic interest by creating hidden places. This isn’t difficult, even in the smallest garden. You can put a door in able to see beyond into another area, which lends perspective to the whole space, giving it structure and shape. However light the resulting screening is, it hints at secret places and romance just around the corner.
Finding the levels
Unless you have a very tiny space, or you have decided to have a particular and probably formal design, such as a knot garden, you will probably want to create some changes in level.
Even a single step up from one area to another can do the trick. But if you are not in a position to completely change the landscape for the sake of a few levels, there is still a lot you can do. You can add staging at one side, and use that to display potted plants. You can use a plant stand to lend a little height, and you can make a feature of garden buildings for higher-than-ground-level architectural interest. You can also use plants of various heights to create levels.
Part of the enjoyment of being outside is having a view to admire. This seating area on the patio next to the house overlooks an almost classical vista in an urban garden.