Outdoor “rooms” are a huge trend, and after spending an industrious weekend turning a catch-all outdoor porch into a “green” outdoor room I can see why. Our transformed porch is now a cool summer sanctuary, a refuge we’ll use continuously as it is the perfect place to have truly quality time alone and with loved ones. Learn what we did, and how we made it green, here:
Here are four guidelines for creating an outdoor room, including their benefits:
1. Create structure, a sense of at least one or two walls, or even a ceiling. For my porch I used trellises on one open side to give a sense of enclosure.
2. Provide furniture and accessories such as pillows, statuary, etc.. Try out various types until you find the style that feels just right.
Benefit: Comfort and pleasing the senses.
3. Install lighting.
Benefit: Accessibility at night
4. Including all the elements: earth (plants, pots), water (fountains, bird baths), fire (outdoor fireplaces), and air (air circulation, wind chimes).
Benefit: Connection with nature.
1. Create structure using sustainably harvested woods, organic plants, and metal. Avoid plastic even if it is recycled (plastic when heated by the sun will outgass fumes) and all arsenic-containing pressure-treated lumber.
2. Choose sustainably harvested wood, or metal furniture. Try 100 percent natural fiber cushions and chairs, or recycled plastic on chairs that won’t be in direct sun (so you won’t breathe outgassing plastic). Use natural insect repellents and pure citronella/beeswax repellant candles.
3. Install solar-powered led garden lights and lanterns. Avoid nonrenewable and toxic petroleum torches. New led solar-powered garden lights can give light for 12 hours and can last for up to 20 years.
4. Find water devices that don’t use electricity, such as a simple bird bath. Alternatives to petroleum-fired outdoor fires and grills are preferable, such as outdoor fires using wood, but simple beeswax candles in glass hurricane lamps are the more eco-friendly choice while still achieving the fire element.