A lot of city folks who live in gardenless high-rise condos and apartments often dream of having their own relaxing garden. It’s so easy to feel claustrophobic in the confines of your work cubicle or your tiny rental.
If you are blessed with garden space but don’t have it all fixed up, here’s motivation for you. Studies have proven that spending time outdoors in green spaces can elevate your mood and help you fight anxiety and depression. Whether it’s puttering about in your garden, visiting a public one, or even just chilling it out in an allotment, even just 30 minutes a week in such an environment can already do wonders for your mental and emotional health.
Here are 20 easy tips on how to transform your outdoor space into your very own haven.
Create Your Relaxing Garden
1. Have Your Own Secluded Nook
You don’t have to take over your entire backyard, but you can create a quiet and secluded nook just for you. You can start by picking out shrubs or bushes to give yourself a little privacy and building from there.
If you have a fenced in area, you may want to consider planting vines or hanging plants and having them cover the fence for a more natural and green look and feel.
2. Fragrant Plants
Aromatherapy is a very fast way to relax, and choosing fragrant plants is an easy way to achieve this. You can choose from potted plants, or you can plant them in the ground around your seating area. Gardenia, lavender, and clematis are all good choices that provide a light and sweet fragrance that can last all spring and summer long.
3. Plush Seating
It’s important that you’re comfortable when you’re out in your garden, and investing in some plush seating options can help you relax. There are several different options you can choose from including chairs, loungers, or small benches.
Ideally, your seating should be waterproof and easy to clean because it’s going to be outside in the elements. If you have the seating but no cushions, you can buy several outdoor cushions and attach them to your seating to save money.
4. Buy Some Wind Chimes
Wind chimes can add a calming element to your area. You can buy bamboo or metal wind chimes, and they can withstand rain, snow, or windy conditions without damage.
You may even want to buy two or three and place them around your seating area. They’ll add a calming touch to your garden, and they’re cost-effective as well.
5. Consider a Water Feature
Small ponds or waterfalls can serve several purposes. First, the sound of running water can instantly add a soothing effect, and when you watch the water running, it can help you block out the outside noise. Also, you can add Koi fish to your pond or plant water plants in and around your pond to create a centerpiece.
6. Space Plaques or Statues Around
If you’re a spiritual person, you can add small angel statues or Buddhas around your garden area. If you have favorite quotes, you can also place them in your space. Anything that you can use to give yourself a focal point works well to help you unwind and feel your stress melt away.
7. Keep it Simple
You don’t have to go all out with your containers. Simple textures like weathered terra-cotta pots, oxidized metals, or lightly glazed containers can help to pull your eyes around your space without crowding it.
It’s also a good idea to buy larger pots and plant taller grasses so you can move them around to create an illusion that you’re closed off from the world.
8. Go Natural
You don’t want high-tech steel or harsh lines in your seating area. This can distract you and make it harder to relax.
You want softer lines and angles, and you can get this by using wicker or sturdy wooden chairs. Ideally, you’ll end up with flowing lines that invite a feeling of rest and rejuvenation each time you see them.
9. Incorporate Pastels
Pastel colors can create a relaxing environment without causing distractions. This includes the flowers you’re going to plant and the furniture colors.
Ground cover, statues, seating, and any stonework should be soft and neutral colors if it’s possible.
10. Use Floor Cushions
If you don’t want to add actual seating or if your garden area is too small to accommodate seating, you can use plush floor cushions. These cushions make it easy to sprawl out with your favorite book and beverage and spend the day relaxing out in the greenery. You can buy large and small cushions to mix it up as well.
Adding the correct lighting can really help you relax and set a good mood for your garden area. Solar lights are really popular because they’re environmentally-friendly and they don’t need electricity to run. They come on at dusk and light up the area all night.
Candles are another easy option, and you can buy lightly scented ones as well. Finally, another option is a string of party lights that you can switch on and off.
12. Welcome the Wildlife
Small bird feeders or hummingbird feeders spaced around your garden is a sure way to be able to enjoy these animals close up. Once they realize food is there, they’re likely to keep coming back to eat again and again.
Also, planting flowers that attract butterflies is another option, and they can give your space a pop of color with a sweet fragrance.
13. Consider a Gazebo
If you don’t want to worry about natural walls, consider installing a gazebo or an arbor. An arbor typically has walls on a few sides of the structure, and they both provide a shaded feature for you to sit in. You can always add climbing plants or trellises to give yourself more privacy.
14. Add a Swing
When a lot of people picture a relaxing garden setting, they think of a pretty swing. You can attach a swing to a branch, and you have a quick and relaxing seat. You can even add small climbing plants to the swing’s supports to add a whimsical look. If you want a wider seating area, consider adding a large bench seat.
15. Fire Bowl
Maybe you don’t want to stop relaxing as the sun goes down. If you’ve already installed your lighting features, you can add a fire bowl or a chiminea to your garden area. It doesn’t have to be large, and it’ll fill your space with warmth and light so you can sit outside on those warm summer nights and enjoy the calm atmosphere.
16. Bring in Storage to Declutter
The last thing you want is to clutter up your new garden oasis, and adding small storage options can help to keep it neat and clean. They don’t have to be large storage containers, even smaller ones can house your odds and ends until you need them. As a bonus, they’ll keep them safe from the elements.
17. Create a Sand Garden
A sand garden is a unique way to enhance your garden area. You can add small sand gardens around your garden, or make a large one and have it be the focal piece. The hypnotic designs and clean space will instantly help you breathe easier. They’re a great place to relax and do yoga or meditate as well.
18. Bring in a Hammock
Relaxing in a hammock on a warm summer day is one way to feel yourself relax instantly. You can bring out your favorite book and beverage and spend the afternoon just lounging around in your small oasis. You can either string your hammock between two trees, or you can buy a hammock with a stand so you can move it around to keep it in a sunny or shaded area.
19. Pick a Theme
If you’re not sure where to start, choose a theme that relaxes you. This can be anything from a Japanese garden to a water-themed area or a butterfly garden. Once you decide on a theme, you can pull pieces that relate to your original theme and create a cohesive design that runs throughout your garden area. This can help you ensure that you don’t overload too many different design elements into this area.
20. Tiered Planters
You can create a pretty tiered planter that can add depth to your garden space while saving room. It’s a good idea to mix them up with a mixture of trailing flowers and shrubs. You’ll get texture as well, and you can use several of them to add the illusion of privacy.
These 20 tips can help you create a beautiful, relaxing garden that will become your sanctuary all spring and summer long. You can mix and match these ideas to create a completely unique area that you can’t wait to come back to at the end of every day.
Author: Jane Neu
Jane is the creator of Complete Home Spa – “It’s a good idea,” she said. But even she has been taken aback by its success. She lives with a cranky Englishman in a quiet countryside retreat. And in the past year, has become mom cat to a spunky rescue named Mina. Connect with her on Twitter @completehomespa.