The best garden designs out there are ones that have a careful balance between light and shade. Too much of the former can be overbearing, especially if your garden is south facing, and too much of the latter can sap the brightness from a beautiful natural part of your home.
This can cause a dilemma, particularly in small gardens, and necessitates a careful choice in how bespoke garden rooms are designed around the light in the garden is essential.
In some cases, a potential alternative solution that provides an open delineated seating area ideal for smaller gardens or in addition to a garden room is the pergola, a shaded walkway or a seated area made from lattice and sturdy cross beams.
Often credited to Leonardo da Vinci who originally used the decorative in 1498 at the Sala delle Asse, pergolas have their origins in the concept of the “green tunnel”, a somewhat rudimentary arch made from hazel or willow trees bound at their heads.
It came to the UK in the mid-17th century as part of a renaissance in garden design in England, but it would take several hundred years to truly stick.
Pergolas look incredibly beautiful, but by the 18th century the most popular types of garden were highly naturalistic, meaning that until Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens popularised the pergola again in the late 19th century, the concept remained dormant.
A garden room is a better shelter, which suits the often-changeable weather conditions of the British Isles. However, the combination of versatile wood lattice and climbing vines makes a pergola a highly distinctive alternative that can be tailored for nearly any garden design.
If you live slightly away from the Sussex coast and in an area that tends to be warmer and drier, it can be a perfect outdoor dining and entertaining location that stands out from the rest.