Dividing Large Yards into Outdoor RoomsHow to use space in large yard landscapes
The famous residential landscape architect Thomas Church, named his book, Gardens are for People because that is what comes first in the site plan. So think of the large yard as you would your house. It would feel like a barn if not divided into many rooms, each a different size and configuration depending on its intended use. Site planning of huge backyards also divides them into outdoor rooms to suit your different moods and activities.
The smaller outdoor rooms are usually quiet and contemplative, creating a peaceful get away. The indoor equivalent would be a small den, sitting room or breakfast room. Outdoors this space would be suitable for a couple to enjoy a romantic meal, or to while away an afternoon over wine and cheese with a friend. This space feels intimate because it offers a the sense of privacy not attainable in a large open yard. Such small spaces make ideal locales for a spa tucked away from neighbors' or even family members' prying eyes.
Designers see larger spaces as active, though this is a relative term. Group dining, for example is rather passive, but there is a lot of milling around before and after, so these spaces can be active much of the time. They tend to be adjacent to the lawn, an active play space, just as the kitchen is often open to the family room. Thus everyone congregates there, but each in their own designated area - adults doing one activity, kids nearby enjoying the Frizbee or soccer ball.