Outdoor rooms defined

Friends have built an intriguing structure for their back yard that provides not only a division of the former driveway into defined areas -- dining room and living room -- but provides them with a roof, green wall, planter, porch swing and a built-in shelf in the fence (wall) of the space.

The shelves were too new to have anything on them when I took the photo, but I love the idea. It really makes the dining area seem more like an outdoor room. Another device making each area room-like is the use of outdoor area rugs. Even the brick pattern, without the rugs, defines the dining area. Another device is hanging art on the "walls." They also have free-standing torchieres (not shown) which look more like free-standing lamps.

And yet another room definer is the coffee table in front of the swing. The green wall is a climbing hydrangea which will eventually take of the roof trellis as well. Can you imagine a painting hanging in front of that green wall?

Over the overhang, where the swing swings, now has a brand new fabric shade my wife made for them to keep the sun out of their eyes (not shown). The sun tends to inconveniently hit the swing at cocktail hour. If you break a wine glass stem in their garden, it gets poked into the planter box in the foreground with a tea light in it.

You can't see it in these photos, but they have a great stainless steel custom grill made by the owner of the Made In America store in Elma  (our friend is in the steel business). Custom features of the grill? It's got a drawer for utensils, burns both gas and wood, and has a beer bottle shelf to hold the cook's beer. Brilliant.

The most significant portion of their garden is made up mostly of herbs in concentric raised beds with a water feature and many garden figures tucked here and there, some fairy, some funny.

Maybe you've been in their garden for Garden Walk Buffalo - they have the colorful buffalo they won in a raffle from the Herd About Buffalo exhibit a few years back. That's some major garden art.

Anything you do to create the feeling of an outdoor room in your garden?


  1. It seems a very odd idea to me. I like being outdoors because it is outdoors. I like being outdoors because it is what it is - which is different from indoors.

    Why would you want carpets? Indeed, why have so many bricks? Why not have real outdoors ground?

    If neighbours came round and found I'd put sand and earth all over my living room and sown grass in the kitchen, they'd think I'd flipped so . . .

    We went camping for our holiday and came back thinking how much we would like to live outdoors. I like that idea. But . . . is this serious?

    I'm wondering if I've been caught out and this is really a spoof . . . Like the plants in prison in the last post!

  2. Esther,
    No spoof. It's serious. We live in an urban setting, and if not for making this area homey, it would just be a table and chairs on a concrete pad. We don't have the luxury of large expanses of grass or views of fields to steal. So we make what we have comfortable and design spaces for how they'll be used. Rugs are more comfortable to walk on than hot concrete, bricks look better than gray expanses, "outdoors ground" could only happen if they decided they'd never want to use their driveway ever again and spent the money to tear it out.

  3. What a wonderful use of space!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts