• The rooms we have outside

    14 July 2012

    This being my very first blog, I thought I’d make it a little different by talking about the exterior rather than the interior. Gardens, or let’s call them ‘the rooms we have outside’, are really important now, aren’t they? It’s no longer acceptable to have a square bit of lawn and a little flower border. Now we have to have a well thought out space with appropriate planting. Depending on size, we can have a bar-b-cue area, a sitting area where we watch the sunset whilst drinking our glass of wine, a play area for the kids and of course a dining area. Even if we have a small yard outside, there is still the need to ‘furnish’ it with pretty pot plants and accessories such as wind chimes or ornaments.

    I visited Hampton Court Flower Show this weekend and I was amazed at how many of the show gardens were ‘dressed’ with furniture and accessories just the same as you would find in an interior design show such as The Ideal Home Show.

    A garden in the Hampton Court Flower Show

    A garden in the Hampton Court Flower Show

    We often hear people saying that they are ‘bringing the outside in’ when they decorate with natural colours and textures. I think these days we are doing more of the reverse – we are taking the inside out!

    Here are a few of my favourites from Hampton Court. Of course, they all include furniture and accessories and even a fireplace!

    Contemporary Contemplation

    Contemporary Contemplation – all that calm greenery and filigree white (lace?). The white grid at the back reminded me of a Victorian lace panel that I once had at my window.

    Where are we – out or in?

    These rocking chairs with their cushions, the coffee table, the ‘picture’ on the wall and the fireplace – where are we – out or in?

    Interiors on the outside

    Are our gardens our interiors on the outside?

    And this delightful example of a garden which is inside a building? Definitely makes you consider whether our gardens are our interiors on the outside.

    My favourite garden though was the Russian Museum Garden. This garden, according to the blurb in the handout, aims to encapsulate the essence of St Petersburg and its history as well as the art of the Russian Museum. There were some wonderful shapes mimicking Russian artefacts such as the nesting dolls but what I thought was really interesting was the way your eye was lead into the space like you were walking into the museum itself.

    At the front there was a white structural arch with a hanging chandelier almost like the entrance to a very grand room and around the walls was an elegant black rococo-like fence which would look fabulous as wallpaper. When you stepped over the threshold, you came across a circular, carpeted seating area enhanced by the ‘art’ on the walls. It was truly the grandeur of the Russian palace but in a garden. I loved it!

    Russian Museum Garden

    The Russian Museum Garden aimed to encapsulate the essence of St Petersburg and its history as well as the art of the Russian Museum.

    White structural arch with a hanging chandelier

    A white structural arch with a hanging chandelier almost like the entrance to a very grand room

    A circular, carpeted seating area

    When you stepped over the threshold, you came across a circular, carpeted seating area enhanced by the ‘art’ on the walls.

    The grandeur of the Russian palace

    Truly the grandeur of the Russian palace but in a garden. I loved it!

4 Responsesso far.

  1. Chris says:

    It looks terrific Jill, I wish I’d been there to see it this year!

  2. Ingrid Wesley says:

    Hi Jill,I’ve enjoyed reading this and I really enjoyed looking at the gardens with you as it encouraged me look at them in a different way. As a gardener I tend to focus mainly on the planting and so it was interesting and refreshing for me to view them with you from an interior design perspective.

  3. Kay says:

    I saw lots of simple, peaceful spaces behind garden fences in Yport, Normandy – green & shady, like you’d want your living room to be after work on a hot day.

  4. I love the idea of gardens being the ‘room outside’. It’s a great way of making sure we take as much care and attention in planning our garden designs as we do with our interiors. Great post, I will certainly be checking back soon!

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