A Sitooterie Is the Perfect Addition to Your Outdoor Space This Spring

Escape outdoors with the Scottish concept of the sitooterie. Here’s how you can carve out a space for gathering or relaxing (or both!) in your yard.

If you plan to update your outdoor living space this spring or summer, consider adding a sitooterie (sih-TOO-ter-ee). This fun-to-say word (try saying it, and you’ll see what we mean) originates in Scotland, where these structures are found in yards and landscapes across the country. Scots use sitooteries to “sit oot” (sit out), as they say in that distinctive Scottish accent, to enjoy a bit of quiet time and relax comfortably away from the hubbub of a busy home.

cement patio black pergola
Paul Costello

Sitooteries are predicted to trend in 2023, and we’re glad to see it. These lovely spots can make any yard more functional and welcoming to guests by offering an area to sit back and breathe for a few minutes, or an entire day.

What Is a Sitooterie?

A sitooterie is a small outdoor seating area designated for relaxation and socializing. Sitooteries can be outdoor rooms or structures, such as patios, gazebos, conservatories, or pergolas, where people sit and chat or simply enjoy the outdoors. The term sitooterie comes from Scotland.

Sitooteries are often built of wood or stone. Some sitooteries are simple, while others can be well-appointed, with walls, windows, and storage. You can use a pre-made pergola as the base of a sitooterie, or a gazebo can work as a sitooterie structure. To make either of these more intimate, add some outdoor curtains or latticework for an element of seclusion.

indoor-outdoor loggia with teak walls
Annie Schlechter

Creating a Sitooterie

If there’s privacy and a place to sit, it’s a sitooterie. However, a sitooterie isn’t necessarily a solitary place: With plenty of spots to curl up, chill, and enjoy the outdoors, a sitooterie is a perfect gathering space with friends and family for food, drinks, and plenty of conversation.

Ideally, your sitooterie will offer shelter from spring showers or the hot summer sun. For cooler days, a fireplace or firepit is a nice touch, adding to the naturally welcoming environment. If an outdoor space could be described as hygge (another delightful word to say, it’s the Danish word for a feeling of coziness), a sitooterie is it. 

A sitooterie doesn’t have to be a structure, however. If your space is limited, it can be as simple as a comfortable bench or lounge chair set apart from your main home, since the point of a sitooterie is to have a place to go to that can offer a feeling of calm. For example, if you have a wall in your garden, place a cozy chair with soft, waterproof cushions against it facing a garden or patch of trees. Voila, you have a sitooterie! 

patio with draped cabana style fabric
Edmund Barr

If you don’t want to spend the time or money to build a permanent structure, create a sitooterie with some folding chairs, a few outdoor umbrellas, and potted plants placed around them to create the sense of being enclosed. For kids, a tent with a couple of beach towels or an old blanket laid on the ground can be the beginning of a magical space where they can enjoy that sitooterie energy and let their imaginations run wild. Whatever form your sitooterie takes, the most important thing is that it gives you a place to enjoy the outdoors in peace.

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