Creating a garden room anywhere in your house and reinvent summer to beat off the winter blues.
First, don't think that you need to build on to your house. You don't. A garden room is an area with a garden theme. Think about a room in your house that you would like to transform with a garden theme. You may choose a sunroom, dining room, guestroom, or your living room. Now that you've decided what room you want to transform, the following is a list of basic elements a garden room entails: color, water, scent, plant life, and sound.
Color is important to create an overall calming sense to your room. Simply think of the dominant colors of nature: green, yellow, white, blue, etc. Choose a dominant color that will shade the walls of your room and duplicate it with other elements such as a plant or two. Green is a good choice, and so is white or off-white. They're calming colors.
Think about contrasting tones such as pink, rose, yellow or purple. These can be duplicated with garden objects you choose for your room such as decorative birdhouses, or architectural elements such as an old window frame or gingerbread from an old house. (Auctions are wonderful places to find these pieces)
Other elements of color you can bring into the room include flowers you want to bring in for the winter, or fresh flowers from the store. Houseplants add wonderful greens to your room also. Take a look at any furniture you want to use. If you like it as is, use it. If not, add a pretty slipcover. Old furniture finds from antique stores and auctions work well also. Paint them a white or cream color and add a layer of sealer on any tables you paint. If you're bold and you love color, then try a marine blue or raspberry shade. To duplicate these colors paint a terracotta pot or two and transplant some lovelies out of your garden before frost.
Paint the room the shade you've chosen, or stick with a neutral tone that you already have.
What's a garden without water? During the summer months you may have kept a bird-bath filled for your feathered friends, watered your plants, or taken care of a small decorative pond. There are many ways to add this element to your garden room. A popular item for many is the table fountain. They're anywhere from very small to quite large. Some sit on tables, and some are so large they are placed on the floor. Gurgling water is a nice relaxing sound. There are birdbaths that have small fountains inside the basin, and they would work well also. What a touch of whimsy! It's all up to the individual's taste and sense of adventure. Remember that winters can be dry indoors, and that these water fountains can even help to hydrate plants.
It's hard to duplicate nature's sweet smells indoors. Remember, though, that candles available today come awfully close. Choose a few scents such as lilac, rose, honeysuckle or lavender to light up when you feel an urgent need to get back to nature -- never mind that it may be 10 degrees below zero outside! Other alternatives are natural essential oils easily found in craft stores or other specialty stores. Harvest some lavender from your garden, dry it, scrunch it up into a miniature painted flower pot, and add a few drops of essential lavender oil to it. It will scent a room for days. This works well with rose petals, and other flower pieces can also be used as a potpourri base.
If you must have the real thing, then gather up your bud forcing vases (easily found at craft stores). Fall is a great time to stock up on bulbs, so buy several bunches and force them in water-filled bud-forcing vases. Paperwhites, tulips or hyacinth bulbs are fragrant choices. Try this during the bleakest winter month and you will hug yourself for it. Remember that you can always treat yourself to a bunch of fresh flowers from the supermarket once in a while, too.
Houseplants work well to introduce greenery into your garden room. There are all kinds of plants that you can bring in from your garden for the winter and plant once again in spring. Some do better than others. Experiment and you'll be surprised. Some that do well are lavender, heliotrope, snapdragons, alyssum, and tropicals. Keep humidity levels up in your garden room to keep plants healthy and hydrated. Keep plenty of vases on hand!
Another idea before spring officially hits is to go out and snip off some branches from forsythia or other flowering shrubs. Slip them into a tall vase full of water and in a few days you'll have luscious blooms and a sweet scent wafting through your garden room.
Ah, the sounds of summer. You may not want to invite the little birdies inside for the winter, but you can easily find CD's and cassettes of bird songs. Maybe you prefer other sounds of nature, and chances are you'll find them. It's a wonderful element that can transport you to warmer places. Hint: it helps if you close your eyes.
The sound of water is a wonderful sound to soothe any winter-weary soul. (It beats falling icicles) Purchase a CD or cassette of a rain shower, or maybe a thunderstorm suits your tastes. There are many selections of this type that you can pop in when you yearn for the comforting sound of a summer rain.
Now that you've reviewed all the essential elements for your garden room, you may still be wondering about what other kinds of things coincide with a garden theme. Here's a list to get your imagination going: architectural elements such as old trellises, doorways, pillars, arches, and window frames. A bird bath to use as a magazine holder or plant stand. Willow furniture, pictures of flowers, or old plant stands. A collection of bird houses, garden signs or a final collection. Bird cages to hang plants in, grapevine to twine around picture frames or a window. An old tree stump stained and sealed for a side table, or for use as a plant stand. Ivy topiaries, a collection of tiny bud vases, or an old watering can that has been painted a bright canary yellow. Build a seed packet birdhouse with a glue gun, or build up your pottery collection. Whiskey barrels make great magazine or newspaper holders. Baskets hold anything and everything, and are great for plants too. Build your own trellis against one wall and weave grapevine through it. This list could go on!
It's January. You're sitting back in your overstuffed chair, feet propped up on a pretty pillow atop a painted old tree stump painted a pretty willow green. Outside there is no color but white. There's the smell of lavender in the air, and the sound of a rainstorm coming on. No need to get up and close the windows (they're frozen shut). You shift deeper into the chair, close your eyes and smile. You smell roses.