3 Basic Steps for Creating Garden Rooms

Are you tired of simply thinking of your garden as an open space or something to view from a distance?  Do you want your guests to feel as comfortable in your garden as they do in your home? Would you like to create an outdoor small space for a few moments of solitude and privacy? If so, read on . . .


garden with little rooms

This welcoming backyard area is filled with little garden rooms scattered throughout.

creating garden rooms

You can create a quiet place in which to read or watch the birds simply by good placement of furniture.

Garden rooms do not need to be expensive.  Sure, you can create an amazing area with stone walls, lighting, patio pavers, terraces and much more.  But even if your space or budget is limited you can still create a lovely garden room using these easy tips.


1) The first step is to consider some key points:

Define the purpose: Start by deciding what functions you’d like the garden room to serve. Will it be a quiet shady place to read a book or share stories with your best friend, a dining area for family and guests, an out-of-the way-place for a small cutting garden, a spot to enjoy an afternoon cup of tea or glass of wine, a more welcoming entrance space to your home or garden, or simply a place to rest after a busy day?

Distance:  Think about how far (or close) you’d like the room to be from your dooryard, porch or children’s play area.

Don’t forget the view:  Think about the views you’d like to have from the garden room. Would you like to look away from your house (and busy life) or toward it? Are there other spots in your garden or landscape that are peaceful to view?

garden swings

This little garden “room” is simply a swing placed in a higher elevation under the bows of sugar maple trees, providing both privacy and lovely views.

Elevation: Do you have spots that are lower or higher than others – spots that may set you apart simply by their elevation? If so, those may be the first places to consider for your garden room.

terraced gardens

Julie Trayah’s nicely terraced garden provides multiple mini garden rooms. Old pieces of recycled gates add privacy to the top garden room.

Furnishings and landscape features: Are you content to simply find a little space to decorate with a small chair and some containers or would you like to create a larger space for gatherings or afternoon tea? Either way, by having your  furnishings flow with the nearby landscape you can create a sense of privacy and comfort.

patio dining area

Guests enjoy the benefits of both the lush garden and a comfortable sitting area in Julie T’s Southern Vermont garden.

2) The second step is to create a sense of enclosure  . . .

Once you’ve addressed the first 5 points, it’s time to create your garden room by using a sense of enclosure.

This can be as simple as adding a few tall hedges or ornamental grasses to a section of your yard or arranging a display of mixed container filled with tall plants around an bench or small table. Old gates, screen doors, salvaged metal, twig trellises or small pieces of decorative fencing can also create a sense of enclosure.

recycled items in the garden

This home-made garden trellis in Julie T’s garden in southern Vermont adds interest while welcoming guests to the garden. The wreath is old barbed wire!


quiet spaces in the garden

If you’re expanding your gardens, adding some curves to the layout automatically creates a sense of privacy. A path leading to unknown spaces adds intrigue


creating garden spaces

The picket fence around this mixed veggie /cutting garden adds protection from critters and a sense of privacy to the seating area.


creating garden rooms

Tall potted plants grouped together create a simple privacy screen for this seating area.

3) Choosing plants for your garden room . . .

Even if you don’t need to add any plants to complete your new garden room, you may want to consider the sensory benefits of doing so.

Fragrant annuals like alyssum and stock, Oriental Lily bulbs or perennials like Volcano phlox, Sweet Peas or roses are easy to grow and add that oh-so-delicious sweet fragrance to your new space.

Herbs – either potted or planted in the ground – are also a nice addition to a garden room, especially ones like mint or lemon thyme that can be clipped and added to your tea or favorite beverage.

Climbers like Clematis vines or even annual scarlet runner beans planted on a trellis made of old twigs, a gate or an arbor can help to make your garden room more intimate.

Bird and butterfly-attracting plants can help bring a sense of completeness with nature to your garden room. It can be as simple as a single Buddlia plant, or a row of nasturtiums inter-planted with parsley.

Night-blooming and fragrant white plants add an romantic touch to any garden. Moonflowers climbing a trellis, White Volcano phlox and old-fashioned varieties of nicotiana are perfect additions to an intimate garden room.

attracting butterflies to the garden

This small seating area is filled with fragrant and colorful plants that attract birds and butterflies.


cottage garden

A perfect place for afternoon tea!


small garden rooms

Even a small structure can provide a sense of privacy.


small garden rooms

This tiny secluded but urban garden room provides a fun spot for all to enjoy!


recycled bath tubs

An old bathtub in this tiny urban retreat serves as comfy seating for one or more!




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