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A Secret Garden Plant Library Design

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How to Build an Outdoor Garden Room That Is a Plant Library

A garden plant library? Yes please! Connect with community by sharing plants with neighbors and build a secret outdoor reading room.

Do you love plants? If so, then you might be interested in building an outdoor garden room that is a plant library. This type of garden room is a great way to showcase your favorite plants, have a private outdoor reading area, and also share plants with friends and neighbors.


What is a Garden Plant Library?

Definitively a garden plant library is whatever you want it to be. Do you prefer to have a quiet outdoor patio garden room that functions as a reading lounge? Great. That’s a good start for an outdoor garden library.

Perhaps an outdoor garden plant library is a literal library for plants. Your friends and neighbors can come and take pass-along plants that you have dug from your garden. They can “check out” a plant temporarily or be gifted a plant permanently from the library.

My Garden Plant Library Design incorporates both these ideas into a lovely, shaded, seating area under my favorite patio umbrella. Sit here and enjoy a quiet space to read a book, have a cup of tea or cocktail, or perhaps grab a plant from my pass-a-long collection for your garden.

Good Products I Used for Building My Creative Art Gallery Side Yard Garden & Garden Plant Library

  • All Weather Outdoor Art Canvas – These art canvases are UV Protected, waterproof, and resistant to fading
  • Birdies Raised Beds – Coated galvanized steel with a powder-coated food-safe, non-toxic paint for a beautiful, long-lasting result. Discount 5% off any garden bed product with the “SHAWNA5” Discount Code!
  • Garden Grid™Watering System – Easy pre-assembled system, just drop in and connect to irrigation lines. Get $10 off any Garden Grid™ Watering Systems order of $100+ with the “SHAWNA10” Code!
  • Gro-Well Raised Bed Soil and Nature’s Way Cactus & Patio Mix Soil – Ask for this soil at your local garden center.
  • Midtown Swilt Umbrellas – The Swilt 8 foot Terylast terracotta automatic tilt umbrellas with strong fiberglass ribs to resist wind.
  • Fish in the Garden Sculptures – Ceramic garden fish with special metal fish stands which help the fish float above your garden. An easy 5% off any garden bed product with the “SHAWNA5” Discount Code!

Where to Place an Outdoor Plant Library Room


So you have this fabulous idea for a Garden Plant Library room. How do you decide where to build a library on your own property? A literal plant library, where people might check out plants or donate plants, might be placed out near the border of your property close to a sidewalk.

A private outdoor garden plant library room is great squirreled away in a small quiet corner of your garden. Mine is at the end of my Art Gallery Wellness Garden . There was nothing in the corner but old garden furniture (see before photo). My goal was a beautiful transformation.


Do Your Plants Need Sunshine or Shade?

Do you have the types of plants in mind? Consider what type of plants will reside in your garden plant library. You will need to define the sun requirements. If these plants need full sun, then finding a sunny area is best for the garden. If the plants need shade, then finding a shady area is best.

Fermob Bistro Garden Patio

If you choose the garden area first before considering your plant needs, then the plants you place in the library will be dependent on the conditions of that garden area. Side yards are notoriously shade-filled areas. South facing gardens are typically sunny. Plan plants based on the sun exposure for best success.

List of Where to Build an Outdoor Garden Plant Library

The first step is to choose the right location for your garden room. It should be in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight and that is sheltered from the wind. You’ll also want to make sure that the area is level and that there is enough space for the garden room and the plants you plan to put in it.

  • Sunny patio corner
  • Narrow side yard
  • Empty covered patio area
  • Along a fence row
  • Behind the garage or barn
  • Next to existing outdoor seating areas
  • Front area near the street (for a public library idea)

Essential Pieces for a Garden Plant Library Outdoor Room

All rooms, indoors or outdoors, usually have a purpose. One purpose for a “library” is to build community by sharing books and other media at no cost to the public. This was my personal goal for my little corner outdoor room. I want to share my pass-along plants at no cost with friends and family while enjoying a quiet outdoor reading corner.


With this in mind, you will need to choose the essential pieces for your garden room. Once you’ve chosen a location, it’s time to start planning the layout of your garden room. You’ll need to decide how big you want the room to be, a seating arrangement, how many plant containers you want to put in it, and where you want to put the plants. Shade is also important, so I put up two umbrellas. One covers a bistro table (above) and the other covers the more comfortable seating.


I began with an attractive seating area beneath a shady umbrella in front of a plant stand. The plant stand holds a bit of art and a whole lot of pass-along plants I dug from my garden. The metal furniture I found second hand, same with the plant stand, throw rug, and random Letter C Art. You do not have to have brand new things to make a nice outdoor room. Creativity is key.

What Pieces Work for an Outdoor Seating Area

  • Furniture (old or new) for a cozy seat or bistro table for reading
  • Umbrella for shade
  • Plant stand or benches to hold the plants
  • Planting containers or elevated beds and soil to hold your pass-along plants
  • An outdoor coffee table (for drinks and to hold books or plants)
  • Throw rug, throw pillows, and art (not necessary, but a nice ornamental touch)
  • Pass-along plants (to give away or trade)

Build the Garden Room

You might be thinking that you need to construct this giant crazy patio with all the bells and whistles. This simply is not true. Keep it simple. I already had the patio area, containers, soil, plants, and basic seating.


If you DO want to break ground for a new patio or a deck, this is certainly your choice. If you’re not comfortable building your own, you can always hire a contractor to do it for you. My thought, in keeping it simple, is that you can put this together on your own with very little trouble.

A Plan to Maintain the Plants

Once the plants are in the garden room, it’s important to care for them properly. This includes watering them regularly, fertilizing them, and pruning them as needed. You may also want to consider adding a irrigation lines around the plants to help retain moisture and keep chores at a minimum..

With a little planning and effort, you can easily build an outdoor garden room that is a plant library. This type of garden room is a great way to showcase your favorite plants. You can invite your community in to share the space and your pass-along plants. It’s also a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Additional Tips for Building an Outdoor Garden Room that is a Plant Library

  • Use durable materials that will withstand the elements.
  • Make sure the garden room is well-ventilated to prevent mold and mildew.
  • Consider adding a water feature to help keep the plants – and visitors – humid.
  • Enjoy your new plant library!

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