Creating Garden Rooms in a Permaculture Design

Garden rooms are a ‘trendy’ feature of modern garden design. The idea basically involves compartmentalising a garden into a series of outdoors rooms. This helps blend the inside and outside of your home. It makes it easier to properly make use of the whole of the space available, and can allow you to play with views, reveals and hidden secrets in a way that can often make the area feel much larger than it actually is.

I incorporate the concept of garden rooms in a number of my permaculture garden designs. Building on from the permaculture concept of zoning, I think about how each of the different areas or zones in a garden can best be used, and how to create depth and drama (while retaining practicality) by creating partitions or partial screening between different areas.

In the example above (a section of one of the case studies I have already shared) you can see one idea, which uses raised beds of herbs and flowers to create an annual growing ‘room’, and a small wildflower meadow divided from the next zone by the polytunnel.

One other example of this might be to create a fruiting hedgerow or line of espaliered or pleached fruit trees between two ‘rooms’ in a garden – perhaps on the northern side of an annual vegetable growing area, and to the south of a wilder forest garden zone.

The first thing to think about when planning to divide your garden into rooms is what each rooms ‘purpose’ will be. Consider how it will be used and how it will feel. Dividing up the garden can allow you to create rooms that feel very different – a wide open meadow area, for example, with a path leading from there past dense planting, or through an archway, into a tranquil woodland or forest garden glade…

Once you have determined a basic plan, you need to think about how the spaces will be divided. There are plenty of ways to divide garden rooms from one another. There are many ways to use planting or man made structures to achieve this goal.

You also need to consider the pathways you will take through the garden. Think about how practical and pleasant it will be to get between your garden rooms. Think about how a winding or curving path could create a sense of something hidden around every corner. But consider also that sometimes, you just need to get from A to B – straight lines are not always the enemy.

If you get them right, dividing your garden into garden rooms can often be a great idea. If you would like some help to work out the perfect garden room design for your site, please get in touch.

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