How to Design a Secluded Seating Area

Large-scale hedging and an exterior wall enclose the space

Fine Gardening – Issue 191
garden seating area
Photo: Carol Collins
Photo: Carol Collins

To the north, accessed through our dining room door, is the most formal of our garden rooms. A paved patio creates a nice space for entertaining as it gently contains and keeps people together. To further define and enclose this outdoor room, we planted a semicircle of lindens with low, spreading boxwood beneath. This creates an intimate space that feels private and calm. The blue-and-white-themed perennial garden also has some cool magentas and very pale yellows for depth.

The north wall of our home anchors this garden room. Container plantings and climbing vines soften the edges of the patio and visually tie in with the surrounding beds. Shelves and hanging planters give the space a homey feel and emphasize the human scale of the patio.

Photo: Carol Collins

Hedging makes a garden room feel more private. A break in this outer “wall” can function like a window and a door, providing both views of and access to the garden beyond.

Photo: Stephanie Fagan
Photo: Stephanie Fagan

Make the most of an exterior wall. Putting decorative items at eye level helps this garden room feel more cozy and intimate.

The details that make it work:

  • Well-defined hardscaping
  • Perimeter plantings
  • Exterior walls that are part of the space

Key plants

Greenspire™ linden ‘Tide Hill’ boxwood
Greenspire™ linden

(Tilia cordata ‘PNI 6025’, Zones 3–8)

‘Tide Hill’ boxwood

(Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Tide Hill’, Zones 5–9)

Climbing hydrangea Angel’s trumpet
Climbing hydrangea

(Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris, Zones 4–8)

Angel’s trumpet

(Brugmansia cv., Zones 8–10)


Key plants photos: Carol Collins (linden, hydrangea, and angel’s trumpet), JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University (boxwood)


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

Create Garden Rooms That Draw You In

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