Using Garden Rooms To Maximise Your Garden Space

Many people are discovering the pleasure of 'garden rooms'. Using this technique allows you to maximize the potential of your available space.

Few of us live in open plan houses, yet many of us have open plan gardens. For many people this is just what they want - some trees, shrubs and flowers around the perimeter of a lawn. The lawn may provide space for children's games and play equipment, or may be a perfectly mown green sward, which is the gardener's pride and joy.

However many people are discovering the pleasure of 'garden rooms', leading to quite a different type of garden structure. Using this technique allows you to maximize the potential of your available space, be it large or small. Essentially, it involves dividing your garden up into separate sections, each one with its own characteristics and uses.

One example would be the long, narrow garden often found at the back of English houses built at any stage prior to the Second World War. Imagine walking out of your back door onto a small patio, then down steps into an area divided between paving and low-growing vegetation, then through a small patch of lawn surrounded by flower beds, then into a vegetable garden. A path running through these disparate elements can preserve a sense of unity, much as corridors are used in houses. Thus your garden can be used for multiple purposes. Many people would like a vegetable garden, for instance, but worry that it does not look particularly attractive. Having it at the end of a segmented garden means that the eye is drawn to the decorative features that occur before the vegetable garden. The neat rows of vegetables are barely noticed unless the spectator has an eye for them.

You can make good use of specific decorative elements in such a garden scheme. A pergola or archway covered with climbing roses and/or clematis, for instance, can become a focal point. An archway, in particular, can define the dividing point between two 'rooms', drawing the eye towards the further area in exactly the same way as an archway would do inside a house. You could have a water feature at some point in the garden, perhaps with a seat or two so that you and your guests can while away relaxing moments by the water.

Sectioning off your garden like this need not be expensive. Creating a patio, a rock garden or a water feature may need careful budgeting, but many other aspects of garden rooms are no more expensive than normal gardening. Careful use of eye catching ornaments in different areas of the garden add to the effect, but again these need not be expensive, luxury items. Many 'found objects' have found their way into innovative gardens, usually with no more expense than a lick of paint. It is easier to incorporate unusual items into a garden that is divided into a series of rooms, because there will always be somewhere to put your latest acquisition where it does not clash with something else.

Many gardens like these seem to be more densely planted than the average garden. At first glance you may be concerned about the amount of money that must have been spent on the plants, and on the upkeep. However it is not necessary to have a greater variety of plants, just more of them. You may, of course, choose to have a series of garden rooms showcasing a wide variety of exotic plants - a cactus area, a water area, a rainforest area, etc. However it is not necessary to do this if you do not want to or cannot afford to. Merely by propagating plants you already have, or begging cuttings from friends and family, you can increase the actual number of plants you have in your garden considerably, without it costing you anything beyond some potting mix and old plastic pots for your seedlings to grow strong in.

If at all possible, have a greenhouse tucked away in one of your rooms, preferably at the bottom of the garden. Shield it with some other decorative feature if you like. A greenhouse is expensive to acquire in the first place, but you then need to spend very little at all to raise thousands of plants from seed.

There are books in the gardening sections of good book shops that will give you plenty of ideas about how to put this method to work in your own garden. Any garden can be sectioned into rooms. If this looks likely to suit your lifestyle, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much more use you will get out of your entire garden by following these suggestions.

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