Decorating & Design - Design Lesson

Design lesson: Outdoor rooms

Extend the season as long as possible by incorporating these great ideas into your garden room.

Many Canadians, me included, spend a great deal of time, energy and money on their gardens, and want to enjoy them on every conceivable occasion. Creating well-defined outdoor garden rooms allows us to use our gardens more effectively as extensions of our living spaces.

Add a roof
We love the idea of enjoying the sky above, but outdoor living areas must be shielded from the elements for maximum service year-round. A pergola overgrown with grapevines can provide shade but not rain protection; a permanent roof offers both. Full sun or shade is possible with a retractable awning.

Build a hearth
This is especially handy if your room is adjacent to the kitchen, since it also facilitates easy serving. The additional warmth from the hearth will make the space usable during cooler days and evenings.

Purchase patio heaters
You'll find these portable space heaters at Home Depot and Canadian Tire stores across Canada, as well as at various Trail Appliances locations in Alberta and British Columbia.

Block the wind
Latticework is an excellent option for sheltering your outdoor garden room and looks beautiful planted with trailing vines, such as Chinese wisteria or climbing roses. For a contemporary feel, fashion a hedge from five-foot lengths of bamboo or create a more formal “living screen” by planting a dense row of cedar or yew trees.

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