Outdoor Rooms: Creating a Room of Your Own in an Outdoor Space

Take a look at your yard and imagine a life lived in an outdoor room of your own.

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Arbored Shelter

Outdoor rooms are important features in any garden, big or small. We all need places for respite, places to escape to, places to just sit and be. Creating those spaces in our gardens is simply a matter of picking a spot and laying claim to it. Gardens are extensions of our homes, plots of nature designed and arranged according to our needs. They help connect us to the natural world, to our neighbors and to ourselves. Shaped by traditions and borrowed customs, outdoor rooms can be anything we want them to be — an expression of self, a creative outlet, a tranquil respite, a haven for wildlife, or a potager for cooking. Designing spaces around these themes, we can formulate their creation much in the same way as we would the interior of our homes.

This large arbor situated on the top tier of the terraced patio serves as a pool house, a living room, dining room, shade house, herb and rose garden. Hanging baskets hold scented geraniums to keep the bugs away, and heirloom plants are collected in plots and pots.

Side Yard Sanctuary

A custom, low-profile fence surrounds this tiered side yard creating a courtyard for the Spanish-revival bungalow. Through the Mexican wrought-iron archway, vintage metal furniture, wooden and stone benches sit on a flagstone patio, and bright, colorful textiles and cushions round out the Spanish flair. The concrete ledge between two rock walls holds more than one hundred planters overflowing with succulents.

Driveway Nook

A nook, sometimes doubling as an extra parking space for a stone craftsman house, is a tiered kitchen garden and sitting area. Butterfly chairs may be easily moved to wherever they're needed. The surface material, red-dog gravel, is permeable and goes well with the cottage feel of the overall landscape.

Poolside Paradise

A checkerboard of grass and pavers surround the pool and patio in this fenced-in courtyard. Loggias, eaves, and overhangs provide shade during all times of the day. Dining tables and chairs, loungers, and formal plantings and urns fill this tranquil space.

Lake Living

Vines hang from the beams lending shade to this lakeside gazebo, and a ceiling fan brings the breeze to alleviate the sweltering summer heat. Adirondack chairs provide rest from hard work in the landscape and give views to the surrounding lush gardens, fanciful garden art, and the tranquil cove of Lake Guntersville. The accomplishments are truly enjoyed by homeowners, Linda and Tom.

Rustic Respite

A clever use of hardscapes and fencing helps delineate the rooms in this small yard. A stone pathway leads to a casual sitting room bordered by a rustic post fence and vines. A trellis serves as a doorway into the outdoor room.

Urban Hideaway

Inviting yet secluded, this terra cotta terrace is hidden behind a wall of dense shrubbery. Combinations of pots and planters hold perennial grasses and bright annuals. Explosions of color pop from the arrangements, and artworks and textiles tie-in seating areas and focal points.

Secret Garden

Extending structures from the home can double the capacity for entertaining and living. A brick and stone patio, framed by roses and tucked behind the northern shade of this sprawling compound, stays nice and cool beneath the jessamine-covered arbor.

Summer Swing

Behind the wooden privacy fence, a brick pathway leads to the garden shed, a pea gravel pad and casual dining. Amongst the shaded woodland garden, a hammock beckons.

Lofty Lounge

From flagstone patio to verdant terrace, timber steps and statuary provide passage and transition from atmospheres and mood. Step up and through to play a game of croquet, read a book, watch children play or take afternoon tea.

Corporate Retreat

Every workplace needs a retreat like this one. A cut-stone path arcs around to a shaded dining area and to a patio in the sun. The circle of Adirondack chairs offers views of the pond and surrounding woods.

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