This past few weeks I’ve added another ‘must-have’ to my ever-growing list of things for the new house. A garden room for all seasons. It’s not a new wish to be honest, but one that’s been brought to the fore by the appalling weather this spring. When we built the pergola for this house, it was predominantly to provide a shady place to sit in a very hot and sunny garden. But I’ve often sat there (drink in hand), and thought how nice it would be if it was waterproof as well. And then the fantasy seems to have a life of it’s own and grows and grows…
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Come Rain or Shine
A fully weather-proof room, outside, that still has views of the garden is my absolute ideal. A bit like a garden shed with one side open to the elements. But roomy. I guess if you could shut it off in the winter to protect it from the worst the elements can throw at it, that would be good too. Or even better a brick-cave-like room, that wouldn’t even suffer from drafts or get damp. Now we’re talking. Of course, this garden room will also come into it’s own in our very rare heatwaves too. Providing shade, coolness, and a respite from the sun.
Comfort and Warmth
Every place we blonk our bottoms should be warm, comfortable and cosy. The garden room is no exception. Built in bench seating (but wide enough to slouch), daybeds, or super comfy armchairs all spring to mind. Anything you can fall asleep on. Hell, it could also double up as a fair weather bedroom for overnight guests (or their kids). And every seat should be piled high with cushions, furs, throws, eiderdowns and (in winter) the odd hot water bottle. You see, this garden room really is for all seasons.
Because it will also have a heater. Maybe one of those ones that hang down from the ceiling (providing you have the electricity out there) or perhaps an old woodburner. Chimney and all. You could even have a fire pit just outside. Close enough to feel some warmth, but not so close to set fire to the cushions or blow smoke in your eyes.
Home from Home
Image: Annie Sloan.
And just because it’s in the garden, it doesn’t mean you can’t decorate this room like any other room in the house. Add some accessories. Chandeliers (candle ones if you don’t have power) will add some glamour and sparkle. Mirrors will add reflections and throw the light around. Oversized mirrors will also reflect the garden back into the room and make it feel even more a part of the garden. Shelves can hold terracotta pots, old garden tools, artwork and plants. Old crates will be handy for books, carrying drinks, and general storage. The idea is to reinforce the idea that you’re in the garden, not to make it look like your living room.
Did I mention the dinner party fantasy? For special occasions I can imagine pushing back the sofas and bringing in a long trestle table. For one night only I’ll allow the bunting in. Add candles and tealights down the table in their hundreds, and hang fairy lights around the walls. How magical will that be?
Room With a View
I’ve left this until last but it’s not least. The room MUST have a view. There’s no point sitting in a garden room if it just feels like you’ve decamped to the garage. The view is all. It doesn’t have to be of the sea or mountains, as long as it’s green. The average garden has something to look at, but you can always make more of it by grouping potted plants in all the right places. Surround the entrance to your garden room with lush greenness, grow climbers up the sides, swap potted plants for those in seasonal flower when the time comes. And enjoy your garden room for all seasons.