Living in South Florida gives us many opportunities for spending time outside, hence the garden rooms. Over the years we have turned the blank slate that was our yard into many quaint living areas. They began with kid friendly spaces for jungle gyms, slip and slides, and outdoor areas for messy art projects and play dough. Over the years as our children have grown up these areas evolved for adults into the garden rooms.
The Garden Rooms: French Bistro
When the kids were small I picked up this bistro table and chairs at a discount, and it sat on the side of our home for many years rarely used. My intention was to have a hideaway amongst the plants on the shady side of our home for my husband and I to sneak off to. It rarely happened.
Then a few years ago while replacing all of our outdoor furniture after a hurricane, we decided to migrate this to a new spot. We chose under the awning on our front patio which is shaded from light rain. It provides a perfect place to watch the sun come up while drinking morning coffee. It also provides the perfect place for a romantic dinner of appetizers and wine. Out of the sun in the evening the area often has a nice breeze. Lately it has become a gathering place for neighbors and a place for us to greet neighbors out walking their dogs.
This is an easy social area to create. Include a small table for two with chairs and decorate with some plants. Make sure space is available to add additional seating if guests show up. Then your romantic bistro easily converts into a gathering place. I have included some sponsored links for outdoor bistro tables and plants stands:
It is very important to have at least one screened garden room for when the mosquitos are prevalent. We were lucky to buy a house that already had one. However, the floor was just a cement slab. With some how-to videos, a tile cutter, and supplies from Home Depot we had a nicely tiled floor. After adding a mini fridge, some Tiki furniture, and a dart board we were all set to entertain rain or shine. Here are some sponsored links for mini fridges. We have the smallest one because we have a full size refrigerator in our garage man cave. However, the largest fridge has a freezer section perfect for chilling beer mugs.
The Garden Rooms: Mexican BBQ
Again we had a blank slab of cement so we decided to create a faux Mexican tile. We googled how to do this and with some tape and 3 colors of paint we did it. The main thing is to make sure you pressure clean the cement so the paint sticks well.
Once the cement is pressure cleaned, paint the whole thing a neutral grout color with outdoor patio paint. Once you have done two coats and it has completely dried you are ready for the next step. Now you will have to measure and with a pencil or chalk draw lines for your “tiles”. These can either be 12″ apart or 18″ apart, but make sure to leave an inch between measurements for the “grout” to show through. Then put 1 inch painters tape in between squares. After that draw an x through the center of each square. Use this as a guideline to block off a center diamond with painters tape. Then you will paint the large squares with red paint and the smaller diamonds in the center with blue paint. Once it is completely dried according to paint directions, use a sealant over the whole thing.
This area gets some shade in the afternoon so it is great for grilling. We added additional patio squares on the side to put our gas grill and extra chairs if needed and painted them with leftover red paint. We moved our glass patio table with a Tiki umbrella to this area for additional shade and counter space when grilling. I have included some sponsored links for some of the products we use in our grilling area:
The Garden Rooms: German Biergarten
This is our latest project. Again plain cement but this time not even flat. We talked to several friends and contractors with no good results. Our options were to completely remove the cement or to build a wood deck above it. The first was very expensive and the second not practical due to the rain and humidity in Florida. So we decided to create a third option. We painted faux stones with gray paint. Then I went back and “grouted” the area with off white paint to form the “stones”. We figured this allowed some bumpy patches. Then we bought some 4″x4″s and some 8′ lattice. The wood was painted with house paint and the lattice with polyurethane. We used screws and brackets to hold the pieces together with some extra support from some planters filled with trees. We didn’t want a permanent structure due to permitting and hurricanes.
Although we haven’t completed this project yet, we plan to put up some solar powered string lighting. Here are some sponsored links for the products we are thinking of getting based on customer ratings:
The Garage Mancave
After years as a tie-dye studio and then additional years as a playroom, we finally made our garage into a man cave. Our goal was to have a functional area to hang out in while being able to move things in case we needed to put our cars in the garage for a hurricane. We also needed to cover up the tools, cat litter, cans of paint, etc. that littered shelves lining one wall. Years back we picked up a thick vinyl patio curtain with an outdoor design on it to block the sun on our screened patio. We never quite got around to hanging it so we rigged it up to block paint cans in the garage. Then we took some metal display screens from our tie-dye days and hung black fabric from it blocking the tools, bikes, etc. We added some hooks and created an art gallery.
Next we added some second hand furniture, an outdoor rug our neighbors were throwing out, and we had a sitting area. After that we moved our dart board from the patio, hung some beer signs, and Voila! Instant mancave.
Here are some sponsored links for the dart board brand that we use and recommend:
If you like this post, look for our article next month on how to make your garage into a man cave.
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.