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A Cozy Covered Porch Garden Room

Make the most of a warm microclimate

Fine Gardening – Issue 191
Photo: Carol Collins

Our U-shaped covered porch is the place to be in winter and early spring. The house itself blocks the north wind, and the space’s southern exposure makes it perfect for capturing the warmth of the low winter sun. When planning your own outdoor rooms, keep microclimates in mind, and take advantage of spots like this that collect solar energy. Because this area has a great view, we keep plantings to a minimum. Wisteria on the two pergolas provides shade and early summer blooms; we planted a cultivar of a North American native that will not damage structures as other varieties will. There is always potted mint handy for drinks.

Photo: Carol Collins

Wide, low walls double as benches while keeping sight lines open. Plantings are also kept restrained to allow distant views to be the main attraction. Ideally, a porch should have ample room for both furniture and foot traffic.

Photo: Stephanie Fagan

The details that make it work:

  • Reliable shelter
  • Great sun exposure
  • Minimal plantings
  • Open views

Key plants:

‘Amethyst Falls’ American wisteria Agapanthus
‘Amethyst Falls’ American wisteria

(Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’, Zones 5–9)


(Agapanthus cv., Zones 8–11)


Key plants photos: Fiona Rice/gapphotos.com (wisteria), Courtesy of Catharine Cooke (agapanthus)


To learn how to design even more garden rooms, view the entire collection:

Create Garden Rooms That Draw You In

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