For purposes of this article, let’s define “Cozy Outdoor Garden Room” as a place to sit outdoors and enjoy your surroundings, either with friends and family, or by yourself. This place to sit can be nestled in among your flowers. It can be a bench in a shady area of your backyard. It can be a table and chairs for al fresco dining. An outdoor garden room can be on your front porch, patio or deck. Or, perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a screened in porch.
We aren’t talking about a fancy design or spending thousands of dollars. We’re talking about using what you have, or making some simple purchases to create a functional and relaxing outdoor garden room.
A cozy garden room can truly be an extension of your indoor living space. Here in Minnesota, after our long cold winters, we like to spend every minute outdoors that we can.
Perhaps you already have an outdoor living space, but it needs some sprucing up. We’ll cover some ideas for sprucing up and improving your outdoor living room too.
First, we’re going to talk about how to make the dream of having an outdoor garden room a reality, or sprucing up what you have. And then, we have lots of pictures from Gingham Gardens’ readers of their outdoor garden rooms. I’ll just warn you, it’s pretty amazing. And, the most amazing part is most of the areas are completely doable without hiring a designer or a landscape company.
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How to Create a Cozy Outdoor Garden Room on Your Deck or Patio
First of all, start with a blank slate. If you’re creating your space on a patio or deck. Clean it up. Sweep away leaves and debris. Consider using a power washer if need be. Put junk away. Look for a storage container that doubles as a bench. A tidy area is so much nicer to relax in. I don’t know about you but I can’t relax if there’s junk all over the place.
Once, you have a clean slate to work with, decide where you’re going to place everything. If it helps you visualize it more (and instead of moving heavy furniture around), draw out your plan on graph paper (psst, there’s printable graph paper in the Gingham Gardens’ Resources Library).
If you’re going to add a rug go ahead and add it to the cleaned up area.
Next bring in the furniture pieces, like a table and chairs, a picnic table or comfy outdoor furniture. If you’re in the market for new outdoor furniture, see my tips below for sprucing up your existing furniture. There are even more tips under the section for creating a garden room on a budget.
If your outdoor space includes a grill and cooking area, consider adding a grill mat to protect your deck or patio from grease spills.
Once you have your big furniture pieces arranged, let’s add in the accessories. Accessories can include:
- Pots of flowers, vegetables or herbs.
- Don’t forget to add in some mosquito repelling plants like citronella, marigolds, lemon balm, lavender and rosemary to name a few. Tiki torches work really well too and add a cool effect to your outdoor space.
- Add in décor pieces to your taste.
- If you have walls, like fences, in your garden space, go ahead and add décor to them.
- Solar Lighting adds so much character and ambiance to your outdoor garden space.
- Considering adding a fountain or water feature. If it’s not in the budget, even a small table top fountain creates a relaxing atmosphere.
- Outdoor pillows can make uncomfortable furniture comfortable and they add a touch of style to your outdoor space.
Ways to Add Privacy to your Outdoor Space
- Shrubs or arborvitaes
- Curtains made of waterproof fabric
- fence or lattice panels
- old doors
Creating A Living Space Right in Your Garden
First of all, choose a location. I personally gravitate to the shady spots in my gardens. If you don’t have shade, you might consider creating some with a large patio umbrella.
If you’re working on a space in your garden, clear out a spot and level the ground. There’s nothing relaxing about sitting on a bench that’s wonky. If the ground is soft, you may want to add some paving stones or bricks to sit your bench on.
How to Add a Small Patio to Your Garden
- Rake and clear out the area.
- After you clear your space, put down a layer of landscape fabric. This is one of those rare instances where I recommend using landscape fabric.
- Then level the area by using paving sand, and place your pavers on top of the sand.
- Add gravel or mulch around and between your pavers. If you do a little internet search, I’m sure you can find a much more detailed tutorial on laying a small patio.
- Create a path leading to the sitting space in your garden.
Add the same finishing touches to your garden room as you would to your deck or patio space.
Ways to Spruce Up Old Garden Furniture & Furnishings
If your outdoor furniture looking a little rough and ragged, here are a few ways to clean it up and give it a fresh look:
- If it’s not in the budget to replace cushions, no worries, just use a mild soap and water to clean them up and then hang them to air dry. Most of my outdoor pillows have zippered covers, so I’m going to try just washing them in the washer. I’ve even seen articles where people spray paint their outdoor cushions. I’ve never tried it, but if it sounds interesting to you, do a little Google search.
- To keep fabric items like pillows, cushions, rugs and umbrellas looking new and water resistant, this Scotchguard product works very well.
- Give metal furniture a fresh coat of paint. Spray paint is amazing and so easy. I highly recommend spraying a coat of UV protectant spray on all your outdoor decor and metal furniture to keep it from fading in the sun.
Tips for Creating an Outdoor Garden Room on a Budget
- Although they look really good for staging pictures, pass on the impractical elements like blankets. For some outdoor furniture, pillows are necessary to make it more comfortable, but pass on pillows too if they are just for looks and you are on a budget.
- Look for deals on Craigslist, garage sales or flea markets.
- If you have a large outdoor space, but you can’t afford to outfit it all in one year, simply work on one section at a time.
- End of season clearance sales are the BEST! About 3 or 4 years ago, we picked up a large patio umbrella really inexpensively and it still looks great. We were also able to get a heavy base for the umbrella on clearance as well.
Here we’ve created a very cozy outdoor garden room with a cute red bistro set sitting right in the midst of our container gardens.
A Few More Tips for Your Outdoor Garden Room
- Make your outdoor garden room functional for your family and situation.
- Be creative. No rules.
- Consider adding a fireplace or firepit to take your summer garden room to a 3-season garden room.
- If you entertain a lot consider creating zones, like: A couple of different seating options for adults. A bar area. Don’t forget a space for the littles too.
- Add in some citronella torches around your outdoor garden room to keep the biting bugs away.
- If you’re up for a cool DIY project, Victoria from HomeBNC has some great ideas from around the web for DIY Outdoor Furniture.
Create Your Look:
Cozy Garden Room Ideas
I’m super excited to share the following cozy garden rooms of Gingham Gardens’ readers. No two are alike, but all are beautiful spaces that anyone could enjoy.
Suhair from Arkansas shared this picture of her patio. What a fun place to sit and chat with a friend.
Shelly send in this picture of her patio and front porch. She says, “we love to spend our mornings on the front porch with the morning sun. Then in the evenings, out back on the patio to enjoy a glass of wine or coffee. We have water features in both places to enjoy the sound of water and to watch all the birds enjoy them as well! I’d be lost without our flowers and outdoor livingrooms!”
This front porch is a dream!
Here’s another amazing front porch sent to us from Donna. What a great place to sit and take in the view of the gardens. Beautiful!
Joeleen from Tennessee sent in this picture, and writes about this area, “We added the seating for shucking corn and shelling peas and just having a cocktail and dinner. It’s so nice to have a space to just rest and take in all of the things you created and watching all the fruits of our labor grow. It’s a great simple joy to be down in our garden with all the pollinators dancing around. Along with lights and seating we added two Bluetooth speakers that go right into the raised beds and are completely weatherproof.” This is so awesome! I love the lights, the umbrella and the picnic table. And, the idea of the waterproof bluetooth speakers is one I’ve never thought about until now.
My cyber gardening and blogging friend Kristen from Canada allowed me to share her Garden Room created on her deck right in the middle of her container gardens. Both Kristen and I are passionate about gardening and about teaching and inspiring other gardeners. I love how she painted her flower pots to match the rug and pillows.
Ann is sharing her cozy garden room in Georgia. I’ve never had the opportunity to have a garden surrounding my patio and I love this.
Here is another patio garden from Susan in Colorado. I like the idea of being able to walk out your backdoor right into your garden.
What a beautiful classy looking patio that belongs to Holly. It’s a bit spendy, but I’m seriously thinking about getting a patio swing like Holly’s. It looks like the perfect spot to sit with a good book, or to gently swing yourself right into a little snooze.
Here’s another classy looking patio garden room sent to us by Becky in South Carolina. She’s taken a classy looking patio, added her creative touches and turned it into a cozy outdoor living space.
DIY Ideas for Your Garden Rooms
Donna from Wisconsin sent this picture of her DIY Patriotic bench and tables crafted from clay pots. What an incredibly creative idea!
Another totally creative idea sent in by Tammy from Minnesota. Check out this firepit area her and her family built. Those benches are awesome!
BJ sent this picture in of a patio area she built in her backyard in Arizona. BJ laid cement fence caps (they are cheaper than brick or other patio blocks) stained them with terra cotta stain. She built the planters from landscape block. She also reconstructed the turquoise chair in this picture, from an old park bench frame & new slates. Get this, BJ is a grandma and she did this. Wow, very impressive!
Screened Porch Garden Rooms
Who wouldn’t love a screened in back porch. If you have one consider yourself fortunate.
Twyla from Texas is sharing her indoor garden room with us. Now I could do some major thinking in this sweet space. I could see myself sitting at the table with my garden journal and planner dreaming up my next project, or just catching up my garden journal.
This screened porch sent in by Becky is gorgeous. What a fun place this would be to take a break, especially on a rainy day. I love the adirondack chairs.
Additional Amazing Articles from Gingham Gardens:
This was so fun! I hope you enjoyed this tour of cozy garden rooms all over North America and are inspired to create your own cozy outdoor garden room or spiff up the one you have. Feel free to share your favorite(s) on Pinterest, as well as the pins at the bottom of the page. Do you have more ideas or tips on creating an outdoor garden room, please share them with us in the comments section below.
Pins to Share: