Double Your Living Space With Outdoor Garden Rooms

Submitted by: Dee Power

Garden Rooms are an extension of your living room; and of course dining room, bedroom, and family room. A small house can seem to have doubled in space when the backyard, side yards and front yard are divided into livable areas each with a specific purpose.

If you’re buying a new house that is in the process of being built decide now what the priorities are for your outdoor spaces. For example if entertainment is high on the list you’ll need a level patio for dining with ample room for tables and chairs. Evening lighting extends the usability of the area well into the night. The dining room shouldn’t be too far removed from the kitchen as getting the food to the area while it’s still hot will be a challenge.

The first task is to measure the yard and draw a scale map. Include any trees, fencing, slopes or terraces. Note which way the yard faces. A yard facing the west will need some shade area from the brilliant late afternoon sun. A north yard has the advantage of shade but will be considerably cooler in the Spring and Fall months.


An automatic watering system cuts down on chores and can actually conserve water when it’s preset. No forgetting to turn the lawn sprinklers off and flooding the garden. More than one station is efficient for watering different zones. Trees may only need to be water once very 10 days to two weeks while a perennial border needs at least an inch of water on a weekly basis. Two, or more, watering stations make it possible to accommodate both.

House builders can install the pipes needed for a watering system at the same time the plumbing for the house is installed. And they can provide for outside lighting as well. If you’re considering a natural gas powered fireplace for evening fires it can be installed at the same time as the gas for the home’s heating system.

If your home is custom built, expanding the plans to include the outdoor rooms shouldn’t be a problem. And even if your home isn’t being custom built, laying the foundation for a backyard patio is more cost effective if it’s done at the same time as laying the foundation for the house.

After you’ve decided on your backyard priorities and have your scale map, sketch out where you would locate major hardscape features such as a gazebo, play yard for children, water features, and patios. Establish a budget for each feature and for the yard as a whole. Remember you don’t have to complete the entire yard at once.

Flexibility is important. You may have your heart set on a huge swimming pool and then find out that since you have children, the pool will have to be fenced even within your own backyard. Or that bedrock may prevent excavation of a pool without expensive blasting.

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