A serious gardener may find it preposterous that I have the nerve to write about garden rooms. This will be especially galling and irksome to any British garden afficionado, who probably knows more about garden rooms by the age of 5, than I can hope to aspire to by the age of 70. However, this cold, frozen, weekend afternoon, while indulging in the time-sucking, digital opiate, commonly known as Pinterest, I found myself drawn to outdoor dining images, and decided to create a Pinterest board, cleverly titled, Outdoor Dining. http://www.pinterest.com/stonewellarts/outdoor-dining/
(I mentioned opiate, right)? There I was, pinning away, niggledy-piggeldy, blissfully enjoying every wasted, second, minute (dare I admit, HOUR?) of my life, until nature called me back to the house to briefly enjoy the comforts of the room with the ceramic furniture. When I came back to the ‘studio’, which is, really, these days, a euphemism for my ‘woman cave’ (that’s right SISTERS!) I reviewed the Pinboard I’d created and noticed an aesthetic and practical thread that I think warrants some comment.
Here is my opinion. Outdoor dining areas are most successful when they fulfill two criteria. (No, wait, 3).
1. They create a sense of enclosure and protection, as any indoor room would, within the context of a garden.
2. They provide a vista, or, more modestly, a garden view.
3. They inhabit level ground. Practically speaking, the dining/entertaining area must support a table, chairs, a side table for serving, several wine buckets, and provide a sense of stability and enough roominess for a guest or host to rise, pace, (possibly stagger) and recite Garcia Lorca or T.S. Eliot or Pablo Neruda.
Other things do come into consideration. If the poets bore you, then there ought to be fragrant plants and luminous set-pieces to distract you (or engage you) from the activities/conversation at hand, as well as areas for seating. If the Federal Budget Deficit is weighing in too heavily on the conversation, and our conflicted, dysfunctional Congress is driving you to consider ‘asking your doctor’ about a prescription for ‘Lunesta’, then there ought to be some gorgeous,sweetly fragrant, night blooming Nicotiana to provide a bit of respite for you and other guests, especially those on unemployment.
We’re in the process of re-thinking our Kitchen Garden., in fact, all of our gardens, with an eye towards how they can best suit our aesthetic and practical objectives. I encourage all of you to view your gardens and garden rooms, as an extention of your home and consider how they will best suit you.