A Tranquil Garden Space
To #liveyourbestlife, a peaceful garden might provide the key to better mental health
While plants have for thousands of years been used for their health-giving properties, gardens themselves can help with mental wellbeing. According to MIND, being outdoors can help beat depression – nurturing plants is good for the soul, gardening is the perfect outdoor exercise and being out in bright daylight can help conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Water, meanwhile, calms the mind. There are some great public gardens to look to for inspiration – or make a perfect retreat if you don’t have your own outdoor space. The Medicine Garden in Cobham is a fantastic example of harnessing the power of nature to provide a space where you can relax and reap the health benefits. So too is the Physic Garden in Chelsea – the oldest botanic garden in London not only houses medicinal plants but demonstrates how a tranquil spot can do wonders for relaxation.
If you want to make your own outdoor space as tranquil as it can be possibly be, take a walk around a good garden centre for inspiration. Watch and listen to how plants move in the wind – tall grasses are perfect for their gentle rustling and rippling effects.
Go for fragrance. Lavender is known for its relaxing properties, jasmine is said to aid sleep. Literally stop and smell the roses. Look at tactile plants too, with the likes of lamb’s ears having a soft downy leaf.
Set aside a spot for growing fruits, herbs and vegetables. Not only is there the positive nurturing aspect but also you have the opportunity to grow organically and fill your diet with good things to eat. Then the activity of gardening itself will help decrease stress – hacking away at a rampant hedge will enable you to vent any angers and give you a sense of control, repetitious acts such as hoeing can soothe.
Choose plants that will bring wildlife to your garden. Watching the path of a bumble bee or butterfly as it descends onto a flower head or the birds raking over a damp lawn in search of a juicy worm can be utterly therapeutic.
A water feature is the essence of a tranquil garden. If you prefer a more modern style, water bowls are a great way to bring in the benefits in a contemporary way. Wind chimes can also provide a peaceful background sound if a water feature isn’t practical. Look for light features that will scatter twinkling lights through the garden.
Design yourself a meditation or mindfulness spot where you can spend a peaceful 15 minutes away from interruptions. This can be as simple as a bench hidden away behind a plant wall or even a garden room so you can sit under cover while listening to the patter of the rain outside. A gazebo is perfect for creating a tranquil space. Look at your choice of furniture – swings and hammocks are ideal for a relaxing snooze in the shade.