It’s a new age of garden rooms – filled with indoorsy luxuries but also seamlessly integrated into the outdoor world

Lockdown left us all itching to get outside more, wishing our homes had a little more space, and desperately looking for a spot to work from home. It’s not surprising then that garden buildings shot up in popularity, which in turn has led to new ideas of how they can be styled and used. We are continuing to embrace and appreciate nature in all our living spaces, but, at the same time, we now have gardens that can house comfy sofas, grand chandeliers, and modern electricals – exploring new possibilities of how luxurious we can make our outdoor spaces. We want the outdoors in, but we also want the indoors out. With this in mind, here are our top 8 ideas that will elevate your garden building by blending the worlds of home and garden to make something that is gorgeously extravagant but still feels rooted in nature.

Above: This Hartley Botanic greenhouse is a prime example of how even the most traditional greenhouse can be given new life with a few touches of glamour

1. Lighten the Mood Time to have some fun with your garden room’s lighting! Between big glamourous chandeliers, quirky pendants and fun neons, there are statement lighting options to brighten up any building. Go as modern and trendy as you like to add drama and signal that this is far more than your standard wooden tool shed. This star pendant light (left) from Laura Ashley Lighting is £180.

2. Glass Act Glass, glass and more glass! More glazing means that a: your garden building will blend in with its surroundings nicely, and b: you’ll very much feel a part of nature when you’re inside. If you are looking for a garden building that can house happy plant life and also serve as a space for you to enjoy, a greenhouse or glasshouse might be the option for you – they aren’t just for hardcore gardeners anymore! Tom Barry, CEO of Hartley Botanic, has noticed that many of us are now looking to use greenhouses “in a more multifaceted way” as people are “introducing ‘living’, ‘relaxation’, ‘dining’ and ‘lifestyle’ elements”. He also points out that this was referenced in Hartley Botanic’s award-winning Chelsea Flower Show stand in 2019. “On the stand, a stately Victorian Lodge had an alfresco dining theme, a Hartley 10 Greenhouse was styled as a calm and tranquil meditation/ yoga space, a contemporary Magnum Opus became an artist’s garden studio and a Hartley 6 Grow & Store was transformed into a medicinal herb laboratory for growing and distilling healing plant tinctures.”

3. It’s the Journey Nothing will give your garden room more of a sense of belonging than a carefully thought-out path. These structures are often placed in distant corners of the garden to minimise blocking any sightlines, so if you have a little walk to get there, you might as well make it a pleasant one! The above is a luxury bespoke gazebo from Crown Pavilions which looks quite at home and inviting with its quaint winding path featuring a sweet wooden bridge. The use of natural materials in shades that are echoed throughout the landscape also helps it feel as though it has always been there. If you don’t have acres of land fit for glorious ponds and long walks, you could try a few charming stepping stones or a path made from a material that matches the building to create a sense of flow.

4. All Under One Roof An additional covered area will create a transitional space that will link the garden to the room. This makes the building feel more accessible and connected to the garden, while also giving you some extra room for furniture. Above is a Malvern Studio Pavilion, available at Bourne Buildings in Farnham, Surrey, which comes ready and complete for the job with its covered decked area. Garden rooms like this are also great because they are multi-functional, they are more likely to be used year-round and they could be anything from an office with outdoor seating to an outdoor spare bedroom with a sheltered hot tub space.

5. Hideaway A square shape plonked in the garden can feel unnatural and uncomfortable. Consult a landscaper to make your garden room look more at home and soften those hard edges by adding a few plants around it, or even an enhancing living wall or roof.

Below: Finnish Soul Garden, Sanctuary Garden, designed by Taina Suonio, Sponsored by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland

6. Colour Theory For an outdoor bar or entertaining space, it can be fun to experiment with some bright jazzy colours – but in a natural garden, these can stick out. The above garden bar is a great colour compromise, painted in Thorndown Paint’s Anthracite Grey on the outside, but with Greymond Wood paint and lots of colourful decorations within. A natural wood, grey or green exterior like this will blend nicely with a natural setting, but on the inside you can have a bit more fun. This way you can close it up for an unassuming look when not in use, and then throw the doors open wide for a real wow factor when entertaining!

7. Going Green Houseplants will be as popular as ever in 2022, and if your shelves have begun to get rather full it may be worth moving some to a garden room. Embrace the fact that it is part of nature and invite the plants inside. At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021, Malvern Garden Buildings perfectly demonstrated how much fun you can have with this idea by combining bright neons with a host of glorious evergreens.

8. Where You Stand If recent trends toward native planting have inspired you, it makes sense to match this in your garden building selection. Choosing one that’s in keeping with your home’s style will help create a link between the two, while also giving your garden a sense of connection with the landscape you live in. For classic English country homes, a shepherd’s hut is filled with character and is also super practical. This classic design has just been released by Outdoorsy Living for 2022 and is their first four-sleeper in a single shepherd hut – perfect for a spare room with all the mod cons or even a fancy holiday let.

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