28 Jan Why Outdoor Rooms are Important

EMU_Ivy_Set“….the very joy of being outside reflects the reality that so much of life is spent inside.”John Pile.

Most of us spend about 80-90% of our day indoors – hence the importance of outdoor recreation and the joy we derive from nature! Our outdoor rooms give us another means of getting that much needed breather – right at home.

Creating an outdoor room is like adding an entirely new room to your house – without the expense and mess of a remodel. It’s another way to make the most of the summer (or winter, if you live in the desert) and maximize the enjoyment of your home and garden. The outdoor room has the added benefit of being a very forgiving and informal space: by nature it is kid- and guest-friendly, festive, unconfined and spontaneous. It is like a picnic, but without the ants in your food; nature, with an element of comfort, coziness and convenience.

Barlow_Tyrie_ArizonaWhat makes an outdoor room? Here is the wonderful thing: it can be almost anything you want it be. It is usually some defined space or area outside your house where you feel comfortable spending time relaxing or entertaining. An outdoor room can be a simple picnic table by a river or creek amongst the trees. It can be a 5’ x 10’ balcony in New York City with a couple of chairs, small table and potted plants. How about a few adirondack chairs surrounding a fire pit? Or it can be a luxurious terrace with an outdoor kitchen, jacuzzi and pool. In short, it can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be.

Whatever you do, consider these important elements:

  • A defined space. This can be a wood deck, a paved area in your yard or a clearing amongst the trees.
  • A “wall” on at least one side. This can be a true wall or corner of your house, a trellis, some shrubs, a willow fence, creek, pond – something that defines a physical border on at least one side of your outdoor room.
  • Something green! Surrounding shrubs, trees, potted plants, hanging plants.  Something colorful!
  • A “ceiling” or partial covering, such as an overhang of your house, boughs of spruce tress or a giant willow, an umbrella, a pergola, an arbor, etc… Anything that gives you a sense of sanctuary or shelter.
  • Comfortable furniture for dining, lounging, relaxing or entertaining!


Combining these simple elements will enable you to use the space outside your house a lot more, transforming it into an integral room within your home! These are some ideas for outdoor rooms, from simple to elaborate.