One of the least known advances in gardening, but is now becoming more popular, is the creation of the bathroom garden. It’s that little oasis of horticulture that softens the bleach-cleaned tiles, puffed towels and assortment of beauty treatments making our bathrooms a little less clinical – and, perhaps, wildly more inviting.
The bathroom garden is fast becoming the new frontier for gardeners who are losing space as dwelling densities increase – we need somewhere to grow a ‘forest’. They’re also gaining in fashionable stature because people are realising that our privacy can no longer be secluded to a tiny room covered in Italian monocotturras.
Now that the spa has become more of an indoor feature, and home-owners are fitting them into their bathrooms, it makes sense that we would want to somehow capture a little garden experience as we relax in the tub. Anyone who has ever experienced a spa in a hotel bathroom understands where I’m coming from – gazing at a room full of tiles can be very depressing.
And this is why gardens are entering the bathroom.
There are three forms for how this is being achieved;
1. The garden within the bathroom
Even the most self-effacing gardener likes to adorn their bathroom with a potted plant of some description. Even if it’s a fake flower the essence of it existence in this room signals that people like softening this hospital-like environment.
The trend here is to take the single potted plant to a new level and to incorporate a garden right inside the bathroom – mulch like the indoor atriums we built in the 80’s. The garden becomes part of the architecture and allows for plants to grow alongside, or around, your spa or bathtub.
This makes sense as it hides the harshness of geometry that bathrooms exude. And, it creates a feeling of dynamism – of life – where ones existence can be savoured and contemplated.
2. The garden outside the bathroom
Recent gardening trends have seen many homeowners remove their frosted glass and replace it with its clear predecessor. Then they’ve developed the garden outside the bathroom that screens the hideous fence and also displays a level of privacy through the use of well-positioned plants.
The idea with this garden, as opposed to the garden within the bathroom, is that the plants don’t need any special care when grown in their natural environment. Bringing them indoors can create more issues for the home gardener while the outdoor alternative can be nurtured like the rest of the garden.
3. The garden and bathroom become one
Probably one of the most exciting developments, and I’m sure we’re more likely to see this idea flourish in coming years, is making the garden and the bathroom one. Rather than just replace the glass that buffers the two home-owners are completely removing the wall that created the barrier. It allows you to step out of the shower and into the garden, and vice versa.
For some, this idea may never be practical but gardeners bent on getting back to nature are overcoming many of the obstacles and issues that have kept the two apart for so long. Issues like privacy can be conquered by creating private courtyards, using screening plants and taking advantage of fabric screens and shade-cloth. Cleaning problems can be overcome by relaxing that tendency to have your bathroom look TV-commercially spick-n-span – being less indoors the bathroom will have a chance to “breathe” for itself.
And, can you imagine sitting in the tub for an hour or two feeling like you’re relaxing in a tropical heat-pool? Wouldn’t it be divine!
Obviously, the winter months could pose some problems but they can easily be alleviated by installing some sliding glass doors to buffer against the inclement weather.
Bathroom Garden Plants
What type of plants should one grow in a bathroom garden? It’s completely up to you, limited only by your imagination, your climate and the amount of sunlight your plants are likely to receive. For my money, I would plan to have more tropical plants rather than the common roses and hydrangeas. Big leafy foliage that shades and conceals would definitely be a high priority.
But, it’s your garden – and your bathrooom. Grow whatever you want.