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Gardening expert shares his tips for creating a therapeutic space

Posted by Leanna 31/07/2019 0 Comment(s)

Being outdoors can have some great benefits on your wellbeing. Here, Nicky Roeber, Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres, gives us his top tips for planting your own therapeutic garden at home to help you de-stress.

Because of the time you spend outdoors and the sense of accomplishment it can bring, gardening is always a relaxing activity and help to clear your mind. Therapeutic gardens use a combination of plants to stimulate the senses and give you an extra boost in emotional and mental wellbeing, helping to combat stress and reduce feelings of anxiety. If you want to create your own relaxing plot at home, I’ll be giving you my top tips and plant picks to help you get started.

Create a relaxing corner
Sometimes, you just need your own private corner to retreat into and relax. Find a comfy (but waterproof) chair, bench, sun lounger or even a hammock and place it in your favourite garden spot. If you don’t want to add any big pieces of furniture, large cushions or bean bags can work just as well.

Surround your corner with your favourite plants, which will boost your mood and give you a little bit of privacy from the rest of the garden. If you want, you could also add a small water feature to your corner. The soft trickling sound of the falling water can help to reduce feelings of stress as well as block out any noise from the surrounding area.

If you want, you could also add a fire pit to your relaxing space. The sound, smell and look of the fire can have some calming effects, and it’ll also keep you warm as the weather starts to get a little bit chillier. Just make sure you keep the flames well away from any plants or flammable furniture.

Why not take inspiration from traditional Japanese zen gardens and add some sand? Raking simple patterns into the surface can help to clear your mind, and the uncomplicated space will help keep the area feeling fresh. This will also be a great meditation spot in the spring and summer.

Add some calming lighting
For a relaxing space, you’ll want to go with warm white lights which aren’t as harsh on your eyes and can create a sense of cosiness in your space. Make sure your lights are made specially for outside. You can also get some great eco-friendly outdoor options which use solar power to run. This means you won’t need any annoying wires to get them to work, just stick them in the ground and let the sun charge your lights up.

Outdoor fairy lights can add a touch of comfort to any space. They can look great in gardens hung along fences or wrapped around trees to give you a calming fantasy wonderland look.

Attract the local wildlife
What’s more relaxing than the sound of birds singing? Not only will your garden be a calming haven for you, but it’ll also provide a cosy home for your local wildlife, too. Growing the right plants can attract a whole range of animals, including bees, birds and butterflies. You can read more about planting for wildlife in the section below.

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Choose your plants
No therapeutic garden is complete without the perfect choice of plants. Pick types that have a relaxing effect on your senses, so go for ones with soothing smells, interesting textures or calming sounds.

  • Lavender: This plant is used a lot in aromatherapy due to it’s soothing smell. Lavender is also great for attracting bees, whose quiet buzzing can help you to relax. It also doesn’t need much watering, so it won’t be too demanding to take care of.
  • Rosemary and mint: Aromatic herbs can have some great wellness benefits and, like lavender, some of them are also used in aromatherapy. The smell of rosemary and mint can help you to unwind and, as an added bonus, they’re also edible. Just give them a little watering when the soil feels dry and they’ll thrive.
  • Bamboo: When the wind blows, the hollow knocking sound bamboo makes can be incredibly relaxing. Because they grow so tall, they make great borders, so why not use them to define the space around your cosy corner? Try the Pseudosasa or Indocalamus varieties, which are the easiest to maintain. They grow best in moist but well-drained soil, so will need watering about twice a week.
  • Wisteria: If your garden is short of space, you can make use of walls and fences with climbing wisteria. They can add a lovely splash of colour with their hanging blooms, which also have a lovely relaxing scent.  Like bamboo, these also prefer moist, well-drained soil and thrive in the sun.
  • Fruit trees: Try planting some fruit trees in your garden to attract birds and insects. If you choose flowering cherry trees, a slight breeze will carry a lovely scattering of confetti-like petals in the spring.

Just follow my advice to make your own calming space right at home. By creating your own cosy corner and choosing the right plants, your garden will be the perfect place to retreat to when you’re looking to relax.


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