Everyone needs a space they can escape to. A space they feel at peace, relaxed and somewhere they can get away from the stresses of the modern world. And what better place than outdoors in your own back garden. We take a look at the ways in which you can transform your outside space into your very own wellness sanctuary:
Creating A Green Haven
We associate the colour green with nature, freshness and renewal and in order to reap the positive wellness benefits of this vibrant hue it is essential we keep our gardens as full of the different shades of green as possible. In order to do so it is important to water your garden regularly and so keeping a watering can and hose at the ready is a good idea. A hose reel, such as this one https://www.yardcare.life/best-garden-hose-reel/, will enable you to water every single square inch of your garden and will keep things looking their best. Colour psychology tells us that the colour green represents tranquillity, it relieves stress, it calms and is also associated with fertility and good health. Spending time surrounded by this colour is a sure fire way to wellness and it is something that is easily achieved, even for gardening novices!
Multi Sensory Experience
Your garden should be an experience for all of the senses and it’s really not that difficult to do.
Let’s tackle this sense by sense:
Sound – There is nothing quite so soothing and relaxing as the sound of running water so if you have the space consider building a pond in your garden. This will also encourage wildlife (see below) and will create a great focal point. If you don’t have the space for a pond don’t worry as there are plenty of much smaller water features out there that can be easily dotted around your garden that will allow you to take pleasure in the sound of flowing water. You might also like to think about hanging some wind chimes from a tree so that when the wind blows you will have your own outdoor orchestra. And of course what garden is complete without the beautiful sound of birdsong.
Sight – Create an explosion of rainbow colours by planting an array of different flowers, plants, bushes and trees in your garden. Each colour will strike a different emotion within you so choose wisely. For example, the colour red represents passion and excitement, whereas yellow is the ultimate positive colour, making us feel happy, optimistic and enthusiastic. Take some time to plan whether you want the same colours together, thus creating different areas of interest, or whether you want to mix and match colours for a mixed paint palette effect.
Touch – There are so many different plants available and it’s not just about how they look and how they smell, but also how they feel. Because texture and touch is hugely important to how we feel. Do your research and look for plants that are smooth and shiny, ones that have soft velvety leaves, flowers that have silky crepe like petals and bushes that have spiky, jagged edges (although make sure these ones are tucked out of the way of where kids might be playing or near any seating areas). Our sense of touch can transport us back to moments from our childhood in a mere instance, for example the feeling of soft moss on bare feet may remind you of doing cartwheels as a child or even the feel of your favourite teddy bear. And these associations spark joy within us, raising our positivity levels and feel good vibes.
Smell – From the sweet smell of a rose, the earthy smell of a freshly cut lawn, right through to the powerful fragrant smells drifting out from a herb garden, smell is an important factor in any wellness sanctuary. We all have our own individual preferences for the smells we like, after all we do smell things differently to one another and with different degrees of intensity. Just like our sense of touch, smell can be hugely evocative. Take the time to think about the scents you love, perhaps taking inspiration from your favourite perfume, and then visit your local garden centre to find the smells you love.
Taste – Gardens aren’t just for growing plants and flowers, they can also be used to grow your own fruits and vegetables and if you do you are of course going to need to test them out by tasting them! Plant a vegetable patch, grow strawberries and other delicious fruit and how about making a herb garden on your patio or in window boxes if you have limited space. It will bring both taste and delicious aromas to your little wellness haven, plus you will know exactly where it has come from and will help you avoid unnecessary chemicals and pesticides.
Know Your Plants
We’re not expecting you to grow green fingers overnight, but a basic understanding of what plants work well with the type of soil in your garden will help your garden flourish in the long term. It’s also helpful to know the levels of sunlight particular plants and flowers need; which work better in the shade and which need direct sunlight. Which plants spread out and therefore need more room. How much water they need and whether they are poisonous. On a very basic level, it’s always good to know your weeds from your flowers, because some weeds look prettier than others and yet they will still have a damaging effect on the rest of your garden.
Plants such as bamboo might look lovely, but it spreads like absolute wildfire (trust me, I’ve got first hand experience of this!) and what you see on the surface is only half the story. Its roots spread far and wide and it can grow very, very tall. Ask around friends and family who have well kept gardens for their advice and you may even be able to get some clippings from the plants in their gardens. After all imitation is the highest form of flattery!
Connect with Nature
Connecting with nature and spending time outdoors does wonders for our health and wellness. Encourage wildlife into your garden by planting shrubs that attract certain species. For example, butterflies love Buddleia (also know as the ‘butterfly bush’ or ‘summer lilac’ and bees like anything that is rich in nectar, such as wildflowers and dahlias. Hang bird feeders filled with nuts or fat balls to encourage birds and squirrels to visit your garden. And you could even set up your own hedgehog hotel to encourage those overnight visitors too.
Spending time outside in your own wellness sanctuary is the ultimate in self care. It gives you a chance to escape and to reassess, rebalance and to feel grounded. There are both physical and mental benefits to gardening too, so once you have created your haven, remember to look after it and it in turn will look after you.