We’ve all been through a lot of stress in recent months. So it is even more important than ever to create a calming garden – a haven where we can escape the stresses and strains of our everyday lives. A garden can provide a wonderful place to relax, and good garden design can help you create a space where you really can unwind.
So to help you create the restful idyll you are dreaming of, here are some design tips for a calming garden:
Incorporate Plenty of Trees, Shrubs and Perennial Plants
First of all, a calming garden will be one which doesn’t require too much work or take up too much of your time. It is important to understand that growing your own food need not be a stressful nor time consuming activity. You can create a garden that is low maintenance, beautiful and productive.
There is one key way to make sure that you have a productive garden, but still have plenty of time for relaxation and for enjoying the space. You should make sure that plenty of low maintenance trees, shrubs and perennial plants are included in the design. These typically require far less time and effort than annual crops, and can continue to reward you in your garden for many years to come.
Make Your Calming Garden a Productive Space, Year Round
A garden cannot only be calming as a space to spend time in. A well designed garden can actually work to reduce the amount of stress in your life.
By growing your own food and other useful resources in your garden, you can reduce the stress of uncertain supply chains and money worries. You can rest easy knowing that even when things in the outside world go wrong, you can sustain yourself and your family through what you grow at home. Even if you are not entirely self-sufficient, every little can help.
Erecting a polytunnel or other undercover growing area can make it even easier for you to grow your own. And it will allow you to continue growing – not just throughout the warmer months, but even over the winter too. So you won’t have to head off your property for the food and other resources you need, but always have access to these things right there at home.
Create a Feeling of Enclosure and Privacy
A calming garden can make you feel as though you have entered a different world. It can make you feel as though the world outside has retreated. And perhaps that it doesn’t even exist. But to create that feeling, you need to create a good planting design. Choosing the right plants to place around the boundaries of your garden is very important.
Choosing a diverse mix of herbaceous and evergreen plants for garden boundaries can make a big difference to how safe, enclosed and private your garden will feel. Pay particular attention to sight lines into your garden from neighbouring properties or busy roads. And layer plants to create lush an dense planting screens around your garden. Especially to give seating areas a cocoon-like feel, with vegetative screening to all sides, and perhaps even a canopy overhead for leafy dappled shade.
Welcome in Wildlife to Watch to Your Calming Garden
When choosing plants and creating features for your garden, it is important to consider the needs of garden wildlife. They live there too, so you should look beyond your own needs. But remember, what is good for wildlife is good for you too. Attracting a biodiverse range of wildlife to your garden can make it easier for you to grow your own. Since wildlife can help you garden in a range of different ways – helping you to keep your garden growing and manage pests.
Beyond these other benefits, attracting wildlife to your garden can also help make it a calming space. Being able to watch bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife will make your calming garden an extremely relaxing place to be.
Co-ordinate Colour and Textures for a Harmonious Whole
Plant choices and the choices of other materials in your garden are also important in terms of the overall feeling they create. Just as inside your home, colours and textures are important in creating the right ambiance in your garden.
Colour can bring a sense of cheer and vitality to a garden. But incorporating too many different colours all at once can bring a cacophonous effect. It can be useful to create a colour palette of just a few different shades for your garden and its plants. Sticking to a more limited palette can create a more soothing and restful space.
For example, you could stick to a palette of greens, whites and purples. Or greens, yellows and oranges. Or create a garden with just one colour of blooms.
Think About Sound and Smell, not Just Visual Appeal
To create a calming, tranquil atmosphere, think about how you can engage all the senses – not just your eyes. A calming garden will not only be relaxing due to the way it looks, but can also help you to de-stress with its soundscape and fragrances.
Think about the way the wind moves through the trees, rustling the leaves. Think about the plants beside a pathway or seating area. And how they release their scent when you brush up against them.
Choose plants like lavender, roses, herbs etc. for their scent rather than just for how they look. And think about how you can build up a full picture of relaxation that includes all the senses.
Consider Adding Water to the Calming Garden
One important way to add to the soundscape in a calming garden is to add some running water, or a burbling water feature. Incorporating water in your garden might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you are thinking about garden design. But adding water really can be one of the most effective ways to create a sense of peace in your outside space.
From mini wildlife ponds with small water features, to complete babbling brooks running across your garden. From rain chains, to fountains… There are plenty of ways to add some water to your garden. And since you can choose solar powered pumps to keep them going, you don’t need to worry about energy use and adding a water feature can be an eco-friendly and sustainable choice.
Do you have a calming garden? What makes it such a restful and relaxing place to spend time? If you have more tips to share, please do so in the comments below. Help others to create their own home havens wherever they live.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.