STRESSED, feeling low, anxious or depressed? If you are one of the fortunate few who have never been blighted by this increasing endemic debilitating our society, I am sure you all know someone who has suffered.
This may be a serious subject to broach in a gardening column, but it is apt, since gardens can soothe even the most unquiet of minds, and induce a sense of peace.
With careful and sensitive consideration you can create a garden in your own back yard that can be a haven from all of life’s stresses and strains. Here’s how.
The first consideration is to create a feeling of safety — that is, security and shelter — in the garden through privacy. Utilise trees, hedging or climbers on trellis and seasonal additions such as a parasol or for a more contemporary look, shade sails.
Personalise the space with plants and/or objects that evoke positive memories from childhood, holidays, friends or family. It will give you that all-important sense of belonging.
Keep it simple, with the principle of “less is more”, regardless of size or space. Narrow down your choice of plants, be they shrubs, herbaceous perennials or annuals, by selecting a theme or style and keeping to that as your framework. It will have a significant impact on future maintenance.
When shopping for clothing or items in the house, we don’t buy everything we see or like. All too often, people are tempted by offers in garden centres, but apply the same logic you would apply to clothes when it comes to gardens. However inexpensive, bear in mind that each and every addition requires time and effort to maintain. Dead, dying or neglected plants do not add value and rob us of the very enjoyment we were hoping to create.
Cater for all the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.
De-clutter your vistas by limiting objects in the garden. Prioritise what you need and give thought to storage of essentials for all items used outdoors.
Seating is important — if you have the space, add a table and chairs. Pots enhance seasonal colour and interest if you must, but again keep to a single theme by using planters matching in style and finish. Use in groups or “nests”.
If you use your garden in the evening, soft lighting creates an ambience like no other. If your budget does not allow for permanent installations, tea lights in recycled glass jars are not only inexpensive, but extremely effective and safe.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of water in the garden, especially the sound of running water which can be very soothing. In the smallest of space, you can add a granite bowl with water running off the edge, or bubbling gently.
• With an eye for detail, Louise Venter has a lifetime’s experience in horticulture, extensive plant knowledge and is a practising garden designer. Her sensitivity to the environment, style and age of each property and attentive consideration of her clients’ brief is evident in all her projects, both large and small. Call 07803 583687, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.louiseventergarden design.com