Is an outdoor room in your future?

Mural artist Jennifer Andersen displays her work at the CalRes Realty office in Carlsbad Village as part of an outdoor room project. Photo by Jano Nightingale

An outdoor room is the extension of your home. Stand in your kitchen or living room and look out on the area in your yard in which you would like to sit, create a flower or vegetable garden or design a place for children to play.

If you purchase graph paper, a ruler and good pencils, simply draw a rectangle, square or half circle that vaguely resembles your available space. When you are starting out, you can pace out the area, and use the graph paper to draw to scale.

Once the area has been measured, you can delineate the sections you will be using. Using simple shapes, sketch out a seating area, play area and garden area. The garden area can be drawn with curving lines on the perimeter of the fence, or a series of rectangles for raised beds.


According to the designers who compiled an extensive garden design handbook, “Take It Outside”:  “Start by focusing on what you need versus what you want. Will you be having family dinners outside? Do you need room for kids or pets to play? Would a shed for tools be useful?

“Take note of these requirements first and then concentrate on aesthetic details later — such as plant palettes, furniture or color choices. … Go ahead and make a wish list, but then draw up a realistic budget and work schedule. You may have to divide the work into phases of construction.”

The outdoor room will certainly not be constructed in one weekend as gardens evolve and adapt to their conditions and your family’s needs. In future issues we will discuss how to choose plant material and the locations of a variety of specialty nurseries.


In Scott Calhoun’s informative book, “Hot Pots, Container Gardening in the Arid Southwest,” he suggests using found objects such as old chairs, mirrors, rusted-out wheelbarrows, chimney flues, even old bathtubs as recycled vessels for flowers or vegetables.

According to Calhoun, “In traditional Mexican-American households, when an object lost its usefulness in the house it often found new life as a container for plants. Remember the old adage: What is one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”


Maria Severino-Roller, a Carlsbad real estate agent, decided she wanted to create an outdoor area to entertain potential clients and have a place to relax with her fellow agents.

She hired Chris Bany, of Terra Mar Landscape Design, and his fellow mural artist, Jennifer Andersen, to create not only an outdoor room, but also to highlight one of the walls with a full-scale floral mural.

Not only was the area completely converted to a spacious seating area, but a decorative wall was completed with recycled lattice material and a tall picket fence that houses a wide variety of re-purposed succulents from Chris’s garden.

Andersen spent weeks on a scaffold to create a wall filled with 10-foot long bougainvillea, which completes the garden theme.


Severino-Roller is extremely satisfied with the results. “We started with a pretty sad looking parking area and Chris and his staff created a ‘pop-up patio’ in just a few weeks,” she says.

The patio will be showcased at the Carlsbad Village Mixer on March 16 at the CalRes Realty office at 2691 State St. Business owners and the public are invited.

For further information about the Carlsbad Village Mixer, call (760) 415-2217. To convert your backyard into an outdoor room, contact Chris Bany at (760) 421-9855.

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