eating al fresco

Eating Al Fresco

Advice on Designing an Italian Garden Room


An elegant coutyard Italy

Before finally deciding on a structural layout for your garden consider the idea of dividing up your green space into a series of  Garden rooms“, and maybe adding a dining area or relaxing area, where you can eat al fresco in your own home.

Even the smallest of green spaces can de divided into smaller sections, which instantly create interest and provide the illusion that the space is actually larger than it really is! Large green spaces allow the garden designer to create intriguing surprises by dividing the green space into many garden rooms, each with differing styles and themes. For example one can be lead on a meandering voyage of discovery through elegant formal gardens, formal vegetable gardens, quiet seating areas, wooded walks, peaceful courtyards to, maybe, an orchard or olive grove with wild flowers growing between them with meandering mown paths that lead somewhere else!

The art of garden design is to use natural materials, together with natural physics to create natural beauty and interest within any kind of green space. By using our knowledge of natural physics and mathematics we can really achieve some amazing visual effects in our green spaces, like making spaces  appear larger or smaller with the correct use of scale or paths to appear longer or shorter by using reds at the beginning and lavender blues at end, and vice-versa!

Dividing any green space into separate garden rooms will automatically create intrigue, interest and allows one to address and express any horticultural whim from gravel gardens to water gardens and from woodland glade to flowery mead, and all in one large green space! One can create many interesting gardens in one, but maintain a unifying theme throughout the design.

Italian Garden Room with Columns
Italian Garden Room with Columns

These garden rooms can be created using hedges, walls and fences, or they can be divided more simply by using trees and evergreen shrubs or even just by means of mown lawn areas inside a wild flower meadow. Some areas within a garden receive more sun than others and some areas can be boggy and so forth. A garden room can be styled around the personality and ‘feel’ of any particular area and should highlight and compliment the identity of that space, i.e. a small, shaded wood can be come a room for bulbs, ferns and other woodland plants. Whereas a south-facing rocky slope could become a Mediterranean area, planted with sun-loving plants such as Agave or Opuntia and various succulents or Mediterranean shrubs, which will clearly provide an exotic, arid feel.

Understanding the identity of any green space is fundamental when designing gardens, however this fact is often grossly overlooked, resulting in shade/moisture loving plants being planted in hot, dry and sunny areas.  How can balance and harmony be achieved in the garden when such simple rules are not followed?

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