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Thursday
Nov032005

merging house and gardens

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A house of glass may offer one way to fully experience the landscape, however there are many ways to make connections between the inside of your house and the outside. And, there are benefits to making these connections.

Add extra living space to your house by including outdoor rooms: build porches, decks, walled gardens. Hedge enclosed terraces, screened porches and pergolas expand the indoor living space, even if only visually, when it’s too hot or cold to inhabit them.

Transition zones between inside and outside, such as porches and courtyards offer a both a sense of connectedness and security. Connecting with the land, subconsciously grounds us, giving us a sense of belonging. At the same time our yards and outdoor rooms buffer us from the outside world. Gates, fences, porches and courtyards provide layers of protection between us and any possible intruders, real or imagined.

Where possible use daylight to draw the natural world inside. Sunlight can be manipulated as it enters the house, through  size and shape of openings, repetition and pattern. Strong bands of shadow from an overhead trellis will stripe the floor and wall, accentuating the light source and the surfaces. A porch can buffer strong glare or heat from the sun. A vine covered pergola can filter summer sunlight, giving a room a warm greenish hue, while letting the warming sun through in the cold winter months.  A light colored terrace, or pool can reflect sunlight into a room from unexpected angles.  Translucent skylights or clerestory windows diffuse the light to a subtle glow.

Gardeners need to be able to enjoy their handiwork from inside, as well as when they are physically in the yard. In the winter months, gardens remind us to plan for spring. Anticipation grows as the plant catalogues roll in, and snowdrops and crocuses begin to emerge as dots of color in the brown-grey landscape. And, once plants start to fill in weeding, while a necessity, can almost become a meditative activity.

Summer parties on the deck and lawn, dinner with a couple friends in the screened porch, reading the sunday paper with a hot cup of coffee on the porch, or even dozing in a hammock in a quiet garden near the lawn, are just a few of the benefits of creating a strong connection between your house and nature…

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