The Ultimate Guide to Making an Outdoor Room: Part One – Garden Structures

In this series of blogs, we are going to be looking at essential ideas to help you create the perfect outdoor entertaining space in your garden.

For the Ascot Spring Garden Show, our lead designer, Catherine MacDonald, has created a stunning entertaining space within her garden: the perfect place for entertaining guests and relaxing in.

The structure she has chosen to use is a Renson louvered canopy, which is being supplied for the garden by Garden House Design, a company she collaborated with on the Squire’s Garden at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in 2016.

The Renson Louvered Canopy in the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2016 Squires Garden

In the Landform Spring Garden, at the Ascot show, this stylish covered canopy is being used as an open structure, which allows you to feel connected to the garden. It is an innovative outdoor solution which gives protection from sun, wind and rain, so is perfect for our changeable British weather.

It is a very versatile option as well as being practical: electrically powered louvres can be opened or closed to allow in air or light and it can deal with rainwater run-off via an integral drainage system. Also, if a more enclosed space was preferred then glass panels, doors or blinds can be installed along the sides. And to extend use of this space into the later evening, lighting can be incorporated into the canopy.

Here are Catherine’s top tips to consider when choosing a garden structure for your garden:

1. Scale.

When choosing a garden structure, it is important to keep it in proportion to the scale of the garden. Too big – and it may make the garden look small or cast inappropriate shade, thereby limiting the types of plants that you can grow. Too small and it could feel cramped or you may struggle to find suitable garden furniture to fit the space, as typically garden furniture tends to be larger than indoor furniture.

Garden designed by Luciano Guibbilei, constructed by Landform


2. Situation

The structure could be attached to the house, or adjacent to it, linking the indoor and outdoor spaces together effortlessly. In houses that have an open-plan kitchen and lounge area indoors, this is the perfect solution for extending that space.

Alternatively, the structure could be a secondary area within the garden – a destination space. The structure could be situated in an area of the garden that enjoys late afternoon or evening sun; the perfect location for entertaining long into a summer evening.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show Homebase Garden 2013 designed by Adam Frost, constructed by Landform, photo by Steven Wooster

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011 Australia Garden, designed by Jim Fogarty, constructed by Landform, photo by Steve Wooster


3. Style and Materials.

Garden structures can be made using different materials to suit any type of garden, whether the design style is contemporary or more traditional. Whether you use wood, metal, tensile fabrics or sometimes a combination of these, the choices are vast. Here are a few examples of structures we have used in gardens we’ve either designed or built.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show Tourism Malasia Garden 2010 designed by James Wong & David Cubero, constructed by Landform, photo by Steve Wooster

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 Landform Garden, designed by Catherine MacDonald, constructed by Landform, photo by Steve Wooster

RHS Chelsea Flower Show Children’s Society Garden 2010, designed by Mark Gregory, constructed by Landform, photo by Steve Wooster

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2014 “A Garden of Solitude” designed by Alex Froggart, constructed by Landform

See our top tips for Garden Furniture in Part Two of our Ultimate Guide to Making an Outdoor Room.

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