Gardens
Mar 2, 2011

Garden design: Sophisticated outdoor style

By: Gillian Cummings

Garden design: Sophisticated outdoor style Author: Style At Home

Gardens
Mar 2, 2011

Garden design: Sophisticated outdoor style

By: Gillian Cummings
We'd almost stopped going outside. With its unappealing patio and ramshackle shed, our 34' x 48' garden belonged to the overgrown shrubs, not to us. Even the lawn had quit, worn away by two badminton-loving girls. One brilliant design later, we now recline in the sun. We also dine under the stars, curl up on rainy days, hide away our bikes, bins and tools, and enjoy glorious blossoms spring, summer and fall. We even dance out here!

We have Bill Chandler, of Chandler & Company, to thank for this Georgian-style garden retreat inspired by our home's architecture. Bill erected a pavillion where the original garage stood decades before, adding a beautiful columned porch. Separate storage rooms at either end of the building flank a high-ceilinged sitting room. Two terraces form the garden's centrepiece. "The yard has become a comfortable, dynamic space that takes advantage of the garden's width," says Bill. Perimeter pathways and planting beds enclose the terraces, surrounding us in flowers. There's magic in this design: adding the building to our little garden has actually made it feel larger.

outdoor-living-room-dining.jpg
Dining terrace
I was anxious about paving over so much of the backyard, but contrasting materials in size and colour helps vary the look. Small, creamy Brussels Block brick defines the seating area. outdoor-living-room-indoors.jpg
Garden room
For a cottage look, I whitewashed the plywood walls and chair rail so the grain shows. I found the scalloped table on sale at my friend Paige's shop, Wildbird. The inexpensive art prints feature plants found in my garden. outdoor-living-room-trellis.jpg
Trellis

I had to be talked into painting this 14' x 8' trellis white, but it provides much-needed visual balance opposite the pavillion. It also creates a horizontal leading line for the eye across the garden's largest dimension. Beautiful 'Little Lamb' hydrangeas encourage me to linger. outdoor-living-room-hydrangea.jpg
The view
This pretty scene from my kitchen window shows how a great design can be enjoyed inside as well. Wrought-aluminum furniture is light and easy to move, especially when entertaining.Perfect your garden room design with these ideas from owner Gillian Cummings.

Introduce your home's materials
Whether you rework an existing garage or build new, keep architecture and materials consistent for a harmonious overall look. The red brick, slatelike roof tiles, wrought iron. French doors and white trim continue our home's aesthetic within the garden.

Use it for three seasons, admire it for four
Since the sitting room isn't heated, it's simply used for garden furniture storage in the winter, but even then, it's still a focal point from our house. Add architectural charm, such as a porch, columns or iron grates, for visual enjoyment in the colder months.

Incorporate pathways
Think beyond a sitting room and terrace zones. Pathways in our garden lead from the driveway, back to the tool room, along a holly hedge to the trellis, and past a peony border to our home's garden door. All these routes and destinations make this small garden seem bigger.
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Gardens

Garden design: Sophisticated outdoor style