The Inside, Outdoors

Here’s a mind-teaser for all my MARtians: can you tell that this photo is not of an inside room at my house? It’s actually in my all-season potting shed, which I call my Garden Studio. With the weather so up, down, and sideways this Spring, I wanted to share how having an inside room outside has made my gardening life so much easier this past week.

Look closer: The floor is actually cement, painted to look like tile. The chairs are all-weather rattan. The table is weathered and ready for more. The lamp and shade won’t collect mildew or be affected by humidity; neither will the cushions. Together, it has the look of a comfortable, indoor room, but assembled for an outdoor purpose. And although it’s an unheated space, it’s super useful.

Why make it look like a traditional, indoor space at all? Because I love to blur the lines between indoors and out, between Mother Nature and us. To the left of what is shown in this photo are my shelves and shelves of pots, my butcher block table I use for potting, and lots of other, more obviously garden-related items. But I chose this view and this photo to make a point.

Your spaces, indoors and out, should be whatever you make of them. My garden shed isn’t a cookie-cutter vision of how one should look; none of your outdoor spaces or indoor rooms should, either. If you’ve read my first book, LIFE ON MAR’S: A Four Season Garden, you’ll know that converting the garage into my Garden Studio fits into this pattern.

Okay, so how exactly has my Garden Studio made my life easier this past week? Well, I’m getting ready for a video shoot in my gardens, and so there is work to be done to prep the grounds to make them camera-ready. This week I was able to stay out of the rain one day, duck out of the hot sun the next, and even store delicate plants inside overnight for several frost warnings. It’s the perfect place to tuck potting soil out of sight for a day or two, to sketch a plan for my window boxes, and even to sit with a cocktail at the end of the day.

So, here’s to all the places that make our lives easier. Even if they don’t fit the conventional expectations for décor, they have a special place in our hearts. Now that’s design I can live with.