Table of Contents

Inviting Outdoor Garden Rooms to Relax In

Crafting an Outdoor Oasis

As I step outside onto the front porch of our 1850 farmhouse, I can’t help but take a deep, contented breath. The lush, vibrant gardens that stretch out before me instantly put my mind at ease. This outdoor sanctuary we’ve created is truly a labor of love, and I’m so excited to share it with you.

You see, when my husband Chris and I stumbled upon this hidden gem of a property over a year ago, we knew we had found something special. Located in the heart of north-central New Jersey, our 10-acre slice of paradise allows us to enjoy the best of both worlds – the tranquility of country living with the convenience of being less than an hour from the bustling cities of New York and Philadelphia.

From the moment we stepped through the door, we were captivated by the endless possibilities this home and its surrounding gardens presented. What was once a well-tended but somewhat formal landscape has now been transformed into a series of inviting outdoor “rooms” – each one offering a unique atmosphere and experience for relaxation and entertainment.

Join me as we explore these enchanting spaces, where the boundaries between indoors and out have seamlessly blended to create a true summertime oasis.

The Welcoming Front Porch

Let’s start our tour on the front porch, a space that has become a treasured part of our daily routine. Ever since Chris and I were first married, we’ve dreamed of having a grand, covered front porch – complete with rocking chairs, a swing, and a view of the gardens. Well, our dreams have certainly come true here!

As I mentioned on Stacy Ling’s blog, this porch is the perfect spot to start my day. With a steaming cup of coffee in hand and my favorite four-legged companions by my side, I love to sit and gaze out at the ever-changing kaleidoscope of seasonal blooms in the welcome garden. The soothing sights and sounds instantly transport me to a state of tranquility, leaving the stresses of the day behind.

To transform this space into a true summer sanctuary, I’ve incorporated cozy outdoor seating, vibrant floral accents, and charming vintage decor. The plush, neutral-toned cushions on the porch swing and rocking chairs invite you to linger, while the buffalo check and floral-patterned pillows add a touch of coziness. Hanging baskets of cascading pink angelonia and my signature black urn planters filled with a medley of Proven Winners annuals add pops of color and life.

One of my favorite thrifted finds, a vintage metal sign, hangs above the bistro table set – a perfect spot for enjoying morning coffee or an evening glass of wine. It’s these little touches that truly make this space feel like an extension of our home, rather than just an outdoor afterthought.

The Potager Garden Room

As we move through the gardens, the next stop on our tour is the potager – a beautifully curated space that blends form and function in the most delightful way. As Stacy Ling described on her blog, this garden room went through a significant transformation since her last visit, and I’m thrilled to show you the results.

The highlight of this area is, without a doubt, the new raised garden beds that my husband Chris and his friend Mark built over the course of a month. These sturdy, cedar-framed beds not only create a visually appealing and cohesive look, but they also allow us to maximize our growing potential in a compact space. I’ve planted them to the brim with an abundance of vegetables, herbs, and, of course, plenty of flowers – including a stunning display of 24 dahlias.

But this space is more than just a productive potager; it’s also a lovely outdoor living area perfect for relaxing and entertaining. We’ve relocated the dining table and chairs to the center of the garden, creating a cozy nook where we can enjoy farm-to-table meals surrounded by the fruits of our labor. Next year, we even have plans to add an outdoor kitchen, taking this space to the next level of functionality and charm.

As I wander through the potager, I’m struck by the sense of calm and contentment that permeates the air. The sights, scents, and sounds of this garden room – from the rustling leaves to the chirping birds – all work together to create a truly restorative experience. It’s no wonder this has become one of my favorite places to spend time, whether I’m tending to my plants or simply savoring the moment.

The Secret Garden Sanctuary

Continuing our exploration, let’s venture down a path that leads us to a hidden gem – the secret garden tucked behind the potager. As Stacy mentioned on her blog, this serene oasis is easy to miss if you’re not actively seeking it out, but once you step through the arbor, you’ll be transported to a world of tranquility.

I love the element of surprise and discovery that this garden room offers. From the moment you catch a glimpse of the picturesque front pond and bridge, you can’t help but be intrigued, wondering what other delights await beyond. And let me tell you, this space does not disappoint.

Last year, we focused on laying the groundwork, dividing and planting a variety of shade-loving perennials like hellebores, hostas, and ferns. Now, as I stroll through the lush, verdant pathways, I’m greeted by a symphony of colors and textures – from the vibrant blooms of the astilbes to the delicate, nodding heads of the brunnera. It’s a true feast for the senses.

The centerpiece of this garden room is undoubtedly the serene front pond, where we’ve introduced a school of shubunkin goldfish. I love to sit on the new Adirondack chairs and simply watch the fish gracefully glide through the water, their vibrant hues sparkling in the dappled sunlight. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and let the worries of the day melt away.

As I plan for the coming year, I’m already dreaming of ways to enhance this secret garden even further – perhaps with the addition of more spring-flowering bulbs or a whimsical garden ornament or two. But for now, I’m content to simply bask in the serene beauty of this hidden oasis, knowing that it’s here waiting whenever I need a moment of pure tranquility.

The Zen Garden Retreat

Finally, let’s make our way to the backyard, where we’ll discover the last of our outdoor “rooms” – the Zen garden retreat. As Stacy mentioned on her blog, this particular space has become a true sanctuary for Chris and me, a place we can escape to at the end of a long day.

The centerpiece of this area is the covered backyard porch, with its curved deck and shaded serenity. I love how the soothing sounds of the nearby waterfall and the graceful movements of the fish in the pond instantly transport me to a state of calm. It’s the perfect spot to curl up with a good book, sip a glass of wine, or simply watch the world go by.

To create an inviting and cozy ambiance, I’ve incorporated plush outdoor seating, adorned with a mix of vintage-inspired floral and buffalo check pillows. A faux boxwood wreath hanging above the sofa adds a touch of natural elegance, while the vibrant blooms of the azaleas and rhododendron provide a stunning living backdrop.

But this Zen garden retreat isn’t just about the porch – it’s about the entire surrounding landscape as well. As I gaze out from my perch, I’m captivated by the lush, mature trees that provide a canopy of shade, the carefully curated plantings that frame the space, and the soothing presence of the pond and its inhabitants.

It’s in this tranquil setting that Chris and I find ourselves gravitating to most often, whether it’s for an evening of quiet contemplation or a lively gathering with family and friends. There’s just something about the combination of natural beauty, comfortable furnishings, and ambient lighting that makes this space truly special.

Cultivating a Sanctuary

As I’ve shared our journey of transforming the outdoor spaces at our 1850 farmhouse, I hope I’ve been able to inspire you with the idea of creating your own inviting garden rooms to relax in. Whether it’s a cozy front porch, a productive potager, a serene secret garden, or a Zen-like retreat, the possibilities are endless when it comes to crafting a true summertime oasis.

The key, I’ve found, is to approach each space with a clear vision and a deep appreciation for the natural world around you. By blending functionality, comfort, and charm, you can create outdoor living areas that seamlessly extend the boundaries of your home, offering endless opportunities for relaxation, entertainment, and connection with nature.

So, if you’re ready to embark on your own journey of transforming your backyard into a true summer sanctuary, I encourage you to visit for a wealth of inspiration and practical tips. Together, let’s cultivate the outdoor oasis of your dreams – a place where you can unwind, recharge, and truly savor the beauty of the season.

Happy gardening, my friends!

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