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Indoor and Outdoor Garden Rooms

August 30th, 2010

garden-rooms.jpgGarden rooms link the indoors with the outdoors, the house with the garden. They are refreshing and soothing, with lots of foliage and sunshine. Even amidst concrete jungles that are otherwise known as cities, they offer a sense of space. These glassed in places can be kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, studios, or studies. With time, garden rooms have evolved a distinct style that uses the structural elements of the building, along with the textures of stone, brick, and stucco, combined with the natural world of plants, flowers, sunshine, and moonlight.

The fundamental, essential ingredient of any garden room is plants. Most of us in our contemporary lives don’t have the time or the space for serious all year round gardening. Instead, one could make use of certain plants, especially the ones with Mediterranean origin, which can thrive in the climate and conditions of a garden room. These may be climbers, bulbs, shrubs in containers, or plants in pots brought indoors while they are flowering. The plants outside will contribute to the overall ambience of the room. Your selection of plants will greatly influence the colors and style of the room. With the use of plants and flowers, garden rooms don’t just look naturally beautiful, but also have a very earthy fragrance to them. Some common flowering plants with wonderful scents are jasmine, lilies, gardenia, geranium, and stephanotis. You could also make use of scented leaves and herbs. Scented candles and perfumed oils lit in lanterns can also be used for the purpose.

The use of material usually associated with the outdoors adds to the sense of the garden room. Rough brick, stone, and terracotta, which might be inappropriate elsewhere in the house, belong in this environment, as do stuccoed walls and old garden furniture transferred indoors. These materials and textures relate naturally to the plants inside the garden room, and create a relaxed space compatible with informal living. Whereas other rooms in a private house are constructed from brick, steel, and concrete, with wooden joists that are covered in insulation, plaster or other such material, in a glass garden building nothing is hidden: the decoration is the structure and vice versa.

Light and color are fundamental to the concept; one cannot possibly imagine a dark garden room. The brightest garden room will be a conservatory type structure, all glass, with a metal or wooden frame. Ideally, light should enter through the roof. Alternatively, large windows or glazed doors making a screen on one or more sides of a room have a similar effect and admit a view of the garden or terrace outside. Regarding colors, greens, and earth, brick and stone colors serve as a brilliant background to the life affirming colors of flowers. Use of bright fabrics gels well with the plants and flowers.

Whereas in the winter months, garden rooms offer a warm retreat from the otherwise cold house, in the summer months they tend to get quite hot. But then, it is not just a garden but also a room. One can always use air conditioning inside, though be careful not to overuse it or the plants may suffer. If you think that only large bungalows or country houses can have garden rooms, you are mistaken! Small apartments with bay windows and pent houses can also be transformed. You can have a bit of nature right in your living room!

This article was supplied by Swati Varma.

One Response to “Indoor and Outdoor Garden Rooms”

  1. comment number 1 by: Mehr

    Nice picture… If I had the money to build a complete house I would really like to add a Garden Room. Maybe in a couple of years…

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