The room outside concept
Garden designer John Brookes introduced the concept of the 'room outside' in his book Small Garden.
Creating a seamless link between house and garden
This is not difficult if you treat it as you would any other room in your house. Imagine the garden and interior room as one whole space. Block out from your mind the fact that there is a wall/window/door dividing the two 'rooms'.
Consider the following points:
- Look at the interior of your home first. Are the colours neutral in tone? If so, you can probably be a little more daring outside with the use of stronger/bolder shades that may pick up on your interior colour scheme.
- When using paint outside, remember that you can use much stronger tones than you would indoors as the natural daylight will make colour appear much lighter.
- Including block built, rendered and painted walls or built-in seating in the garden is a great way of developing an area that can be painted.
- Choose similar flooring - if you use wooden flooring inside follow this through to the garden, ensuring to lay the wood in the same direction or following a pattern if one exists.
- If using ceramic tiles inside, choose external quality pavers of a similar size, again laid in the same way. When the windows are open in summer this will give the impression of the garden and family room being one very large space - that is a seamless flow from inside to out.
- Repeat inside lighting externally - if recessed ceiling lights are used inside, choose the same type externally - that is set into the ground or recessed into raised beds or steps. The same goes for furniture.
- Plants will be the only element that is integral to the garden but not necessary inside. Perhaps consider using a specimen planter/objet d’art in the garden and repeat this inside the house or match scatter cushions outside with those indoors during the summer months.
Next article: Getting in the mood