Bookshelf    Inside Outside: A Sourcebook of Inspired Garden Rooms

Inside Outside: A Sourcebook of Inspired Garden Rooms

By Linda O’Keeffe (Timber Press, 2019)
Why should outdoor spaces be treated any differently than indoor spaces, asks Linda O’Keeffe, designer and former creative director of Metropolitan Home, After all, gardens of all shapes and sizes, and houses, both grand and rustic, share the same property, and ideally should complement each other. “Each and every garden serves a different purpose. Sometimes it’s meant to be viewed from inside a house and is rarely walked through, and sometimes it’s conceived so that its owners can literally live out of doors,” says Linda O’Keeffe, a London-born interior designer and design writer who makes her home in Ulster County. She believes the most welcoming outdoor spaces share characteristics with comfortable indoor spaces: good proportions; interesting colors and textures; and personal, intriguing furnishings. O’Keeffe’s latest book, Inside Outside: A Sourcebook of Inspired Garden Rooms (Timber Press, 2019), presents 25 gardens in a variety of settings, including the Hudson Valley, California, Finland, London, and the English countryside. Of these gardens, nine are personal gardens, eight are maintained by a professional crew, and eight are low-to-medium maintenance.  Some landscapes are mannered, trimmed, and shaped to recall formal gardens; others are a wild jumble of plants, trees, and wildflowers with meandering pathways and unexpected clearings. Some of the designs carry a hefty price tag while others don’t, but the ideas behind them are universal:  letting the indoors and outdoors talk to each other, with both contributing to a sense of harmony and wholeness. Three of the gardens featured in Inside Outside are unconventional spaces that “really stretch the imagination and redefine the term ‘garden,’” says O’Keeffe. Ulster County artist Sarah Draney’s garden, featured here, is filled with “volunteer plants”—greenery and flora that grow on their own. Patina’ed artifacts and moss-covered stones stand in for standard plants. Hopefully, says O’Keeffe, Inside Outside will “inspire readers to imagine a uniquely different garden for themselves.” The stories included in the book “illustrate the vast range of reasons why people create gardens, and all of them are valid,” she says. “Before spending time combing through garden books and landscaping catalogues, the first question to ask is how will our outdoor space be used? The answer will provide a necessary ratio between plant beds and hardscaping; it will help establish access paths and punctuation points and separate the public and private areas. It’s the same principle used when designing interior spaces.”
In addition to Inside Outside, O’Keefe is also the author of the books Heart and Home: Rooms That Tell Stories, Brilliant: White in Design, Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More, and Stripes: Design Between the Lines. With more than 30 years of experience in design, including 16 years as the creative director of Metropolitan Home magazine, she is a regular contributor to many architecture and home design publications. O’Keeffe also lectures on design and appears regularly on international design panels and national radio and TV design programs.