We eat, sleep, work and play in the garden, as we do in the home, so it makes sense to design the garden around these activities. Dividing the garden into ‘rooms’ is a helpful way to go about this.
If the weather is on our side there is nothing nicer than eating alfresco. The dining space needs to be shaded from direct sun but still warm enough to pick up the late afternoon rays. Here we want to enjoy the view of the garden and to show off to our guests our hours of hard work. But this area also needs to accommodate access to a cooking space, be that in the house or an outdoor ‘kitchen’.
There is no shortage of fabulous outdoor dining furniture from gorgeous teak to wrought iron and a range of synthetics that not only look amazing but can cope with the days when the sun isn’t on our side.
While we may not sleep for long in the garden, it is not unheard of to catch a bit of shut-eye in the sun. This outdoor ‘bedroom’ is where we rest and relax. It might be a space we use for meditation or simply lounging in the sun. As with the dining area, this is a part of the garden where views are important. We want to admire the ornamental aspects and this can be done through the planting or perhaps with sculpture or a water feature.
Working in the garden can take on many forms, be it kneeling in the borders weeding or turning sausages and flipping burgers. Some aspects of work we should keep out of sight – the compost, the plastic trays, the endless array of tools. And we can do this in a variety of ways. We can house them somewhere or we can screen them off from view and this can be done with fencing, hedging or decorative outdoor screens. These become the ‘walls’ of the home and they not only disguise the view of garden equipment or even the cooking paraphernalia, they also provide divisions for the space as a whole.
Dividing the garden into areas is not only useful, it will also give your eye somewhere to travel to when simply sitting back to survey your land. If the garden is one open space then the eye will travel around the border and then come back. This is fine if you have wonderful borders but by adding areas of interests, spaces that have been taken out of view, an intriguing plot behind a hedge perhaps, then the garden feels more interesting (even if it’s only the compost behind there).
The workspace needn’t be the ugly patch though and today more and more people are choosing to bring some wonderful purpose-built offices into the garden. These can be timber lodges or they can be salvaged metal containers reconstructed into a unique working space for you.
The last area is the play area and while there are some fantastic play towers, climbing frames and sandpits on the market, they don’t all need to be seen from the house. So try to create a safe space for children to have their dens and their fun without it ruining your beautifully landscaped garden.
Niki Schäfer is the founder of Dwell-being Designs ([http://www.dwell-being.com]) based in Henley-on-Thames.
Dwell-being Designs inspiring spaces, inherently yours
In truth, she’s actually far too down-to-earth to be an interior designer, but she’s passionate about colour and texture and re-arranges furniture within minutes of entering an establishment so the career choice became more of a must than anything else. She’s also a writer. This started with an obsession with Scrabble and grew into sentences and paragraphs later. Niki is a phenomenally inspiring wife and mum and reminds her family of this on a daily basis. In her spare time, Niki experiments in a number of martial arts in a pair of lilac boxing gloves.
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