With the rise of remote work in recent years, more and more people are spending full days at home. They are using the space not just for life, but for work and play, as well. Outdoor rooms are a terrific way to expand the usable footprint of a home by creating livable, practical, and attractive spaces within the property. The beauty of these areas is that they can—and should!—include an ever-expanding palette of plants.
We’ll show you how you can create outdoor rooms that give you privacy, set a mood, and serve a function. Plants not only provide a visually dazzling backdrop to your new “rooms,” but they fill practical roles like dividing space, providing sun screening, and even yielding edible treats.
Whether it’s to work, to take a call, or to find some sun and self-care space, an outdoor room can provide a quiet, private getaway. Situate this space far enough away from the home to avoid sounds but close enough for reliable WiFi connections for tech devices. Partition this quiet room from the home and neighbors by creating a “wall” with trees or shrubs. An evergreen hedge of Golden Oakland Holly or Blue Point Juniper provides year-round color and also a thick buffer from the troubles of the world. Arborvitaes such as Green Valley and Forever Goldy also make superb hedges. Or section off a part of a patio with ‘‘Soft Caress’ Mahonia or Purple Daydream® Loropetalum. Maybe a flowering shrub such as Sugar Cookie™ Sweet Viburnum is more your style; plus the pollinators love its blooms and the birds love to build nests in its branches. Talk about a life of leisure!
Set the Mood
It’s the accessories that define the mood of a space. Just picture the difference between a formal living room and a family room. The same goes for any room outdoors. For instance, an entertaining area can be made to feel fun and playful with containers of ‘Neverland’ Agapanthus (and, they thrive in the heat and humidity of the South!), and popping purple Buddleia or Delta Jazz Crapemyrtle.
Perhaps something reminiscent of Southern California is more your vibe: Skyscraper Senecio, Clarity Blue and Coolvista Dianella, and Platinum Beauty Lomandra provide that trendy “near-desert” look.
Looking for a classic garden space? Baby Gem Boxwood and the EverColor Series of Carex set the stage for elegant formality and crisp, clean lines.
Situated for Service
Outdoor rooms are the perfect place to put plants to work. Keep a stand of DownHome Harvest Thornless Blackberry and Blueberry varieties near the kitchen door for morning oatmeal and smoothie additions! A pot of Chef’s Choice Culinary Rosemary near the grill is convenient for marinades and skewers. The outdoor bar can be surrounded with a mass of herbs of your beverage choosing: Mint for mojitos, cilantro for margaritas and thyme for a refreshing spin on lemonade.
Whatever your garden experience, trees and shrubs, edibles and tropicals can not only craft an outdoor room, but can add flair and function, as well. No hardscaping required!