March 1, 2019
Many homes have gardens which are rarely used or only ever ventured in during the hottest days of the year. But it shouldn’t always be so; your garden is there to be enjoyed and should be a part of your living space all year round. Here’s a guide of things to think about when designing your garden to make it into an outdoor living space that you can enjoy.
One of the first things to consider is accessibility. You should think about how easy it is to get outside. Do you have to don the trusty welly boots to step outside? Are the indoor and outdoor spaces nicely connected via pathway or patio, or are they two completely separate entities? Creating flow between your indoor and outdoor space can be a great way to get started on turning your garden into an outdoor living space.
If you extend your living space into your garden, think about using the garden as a courtyard or space through which you travel to your studio or home office. Integrating your outside space with your inside space makes a home of both your house and garden.
The next thing to think about is scale. If you want your garden to feel like somewhere you can sit and relax in then it needs to be on a human scale. Sitting next to the tall brick wall of your house exposed to the open area of a bare garden is just not physiologically comfortable. Creating a space that feels like the room of a house, that has protection and shelter created by planting and structures, be that in timber, brick or metal will afford that comfort and make it feel less exposed.
Another factor to consider is the functional aspect of your garden. Just like we have different rooms in a house, we have different rooms in a garden; in the smaller houses we have rooms with all the necessary basics and in the larger houses we have a variety of different rooms for a range of activities. The same is true for a garden. Whilst you may have a patio and a play lawn as your basics, the possibilities are as endless as your (or your garden designer’s) imagination. You may have a tool shed or a potting shed, a gazebo or sheltered sitting area perhaps including a firepit, or sauna and hot tub. Children of varying ages may have their own ideas from wanting a defined play area, a treehouse or a den, a swimming pool and outside cinema. You may be creating a particular style of garden, such as an ornamental garden, a gravel garden, a vegetable and or water garden, garden kitchen or a kitchen garden. You may also have a woodland or an orchard to consider in your designs.
Since your garden is an outdoor space, it’s open to the elements and as such, you should consider how you’ll use your garden differently as the seasons change. Shelter from wind is important throughout the year, we hear of wind chill in the winter, but in reality a cool breeze reduces the experienced temperature at any time of the year. Going a step further, think about the provision of heat on a chilly day or evening, a fire pit to burn sustainably sourced logs or a more modern fire that burns bio ethanol. Conversely, on the hot summer days, a gazebo or pergola will offer some protection from the beating sun, offering cooling shade. Consider the behaviour of light through sunrise, high noon and sunset and how to get the most enjoyment out of it, such as a sunset view at the end of the day. And with global warming, the ultimate cooler is a water feature to burble, glug and lower the soul’s temperature by a degree or two.
Finally, it’s about nature, letting life back into your garden for that extra feeling of tranquillity so that when you come to spend time outdoors you can enjoy the wildlife, small and large, that come to visit. When it comes to this, it’s about green, green and more green. A true garden draws in the insects, birds and small mammals, and connects us with our historic selves to feel at one with nature. If you’ve designed your house and garden well, you can see and feel that connection from your kitchen diner, your office or your living room.
When Dewlands Garden Design work on developing a solution, we consider the budget and the desires of the client and create a tailored solution. We visualise the potential of your outdoor space and work with you to realise it.
Your garden is there to be enjoyed, it’s as much a part of your home as your house is, and so it’s important to unlock the potential so that you can get the most out of your garden to enjoy it as an outdoor living space, all year round.