The Sooke Garden Club will discuss garden rooms at its next meet on May 25.

Outdoors rooms: blending purpose and self expression

Sooke Garden clubs discuss outdoors room at its May 25 meeting

  • Mon May 16th, 2016 8:00am
  • Life

By Loretta Fritz

As the days grow warmer and longer, it is increasingly hard to stay indoors.

What could be nicer than enjoying morning coffee on the deck, afternoon tea (and maybe a nap) in the garden, supper on the patio, evening conversation around the pond?

These are fairly routine activities for many of us.

However, the notion of having outdoor “rooms” designed for these and other specified purposes has only recently come back into vogue, albeit in a big way. Such purposes include cooking and eating, meditating, reading, conversing, entertaining, spotlighting garden features and plants … and the list goes on.

Outdoor rooms work not only at a functional level, by extending indoor living and recreation space, but also at a design level, by tying the home’s interior space to its exterior surroundings.

Many of the great houses of Europe initiated ‘garden room’ style on a grand scale, and we need travel no farther than Butchart Gardens to find splendid examples of this tradition.

Today, however, outdoor (or garden) rooms come in all shapes and sizes and span the range of formality. They may be on a deck or patio, under a tree, in the middle of the garden, or next to an outbuilding or pond.

Larger yards may contain several rooms, each notably different the others. They may incorporate flooring (gravel, flagstone, etc.), furniture (table, chairs, etc.), and special features (fountain, fire pit, plants, etc.). Their potential is limited only by imagination.

So what, precisely, is meant by the term garden room?  A room has a sense of spatial enclosure; but it is primarily the identity and intended function of an outdoor space that makes it a garden room.

Creating Outdoor Rooms is the topic of Pam Day’s presentation at this month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club.

Using the analogy of the rooms in our more modest homes and their connection to our outdoor living areas, Day will lead us on an exploration of ways to create interesting and defined spaces in our gardens.

She will consider the use of plants, forms, furnishings and such to generate a particular mood or highlight special features, to define the function of the space, and to provide a sense of enclosure or privacy or surprise.

Drawing from her expertise as a florist, Day applies the same design principles to the creation of outdoor rooms.

The goal of a garden room, she says, is to enhance the visual and emotional responses we wish to enjoy in our own outdoor spaces.

Bring your plans and ideas along. There will be time for discussion.

The Sooke Garden Club meets May 25, 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road. Also on the agenda: the annual rose trophy competition and the May parlour show. New members welcome. Questions? Go to here or email sookegc@gmail.com.